Saturday, February 28, 2015

5 Surprising Movies that are Based on Books

As we sit comfortably on his couch with an array of snacks an pillows, my movie-buff friend glares at me as he shovels a handful of popcorn into his mouth, daring me to say what I had almost said.
         But I refrain. Mostly because the argument that would begin when I said the words I am inevitably going to let out was one we'd had too many times.
       We watch the movie, me laughing and crying at all the wrong places, and settle into a nice lull as the credits start rolling. Then it happens - I say the posionous words - they just slip out involuntarily!

"The book was so much better"

And there began a well-worn argument that went on all night, and at the end of it we agreed to disagree. As usual.

I have this conversation with my movie-buff friend every single time we watch a movie that has been adapted from a book, and I just might be starting to get tired of it.

Well this blog post is not going to be about that tiring argument A. because I'm obviously going to side with books, and B. because you've probably had a similar argument yourself or at least read about it somewhere (my favorite Youtuber did one here).
          It's going to be about the movies themselves - not about how bad they were, but just the fact that they were made. Because, let's face it, it's a huge tribute to books that Hollywood is giving them any attention at all - movies are just bigger than books (I blame all the flashy cars, scantily clad people, and groovy soundtracks).

So here's a list of movies that you didn't know were based on books (or plays as the case may be)

1. Lion King
Awww.. [I'm just giving you some space to recover from the cuteness that is this^ picture]

Anyway, Lion King is actually based on Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. Okay, maybe the Bard didn't invent the idea of an evil uncle, but look at the general story line. A just and noble king is accidentally-on-purpose killed by his evil brother, the confused prince has a vision of his father, is sent away and kept company by two chatty and foolish childhood friends - and then comes back to avenge his father and claim what is really his.
        A bit of a stretch, but Shakesphere's play was originally a tragedy, and it was adopted by Disney - of course there was a happy ending, and no reality in the situation! (If you close your eyes to the fact that most of the movie characters are animals - you can almost see it)

2. Mrs. Doubtfire
The much acclaimed comedy with the much beloved Robin Williams dressed as a matron is actually based on a book by Anne Fine, named  Alias Madame Doubtfire.

3. Silver Linings Playbook
Another acclaimed comedy - I see a pattern arising. Silver Lining's Playbook was actually a book by Matthew Quick before it was redone as the award-winning movie that brought Jennifer Lawrence to the A-list.
       Actually, I did read this book before I watched the movies, and I must say that the adaptation was very liberal - more than half of the original storyline is destroyed and the other half is ruthlessly enhanced into a very glamorous version of itself!

4. Slumdog Millionaire
This gorgeously-made movie (that won too many awards to count) ranks really high on my favorites list (right up there with Requiem for a Dream and The English Patient), and turns out it was adapted from a book called Q&A by Vikas Swarup - that one is going on my To-be-Read list!

5. Shrek
Steven Spielberg apparently acquired the rights to shrek from William Stieg who wrote a book of the same name.

So it's not really about whether the book or movie is better, it's about whether the movie was made from a book or not!


  1. I never realized these movies were derived from books! Love the post!

    1. Yeah I know right? I didn't know about Mrs. Doubtfire or Shrek either..
      Thanks for reading :)

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  3. Hahah I totally get the argument with a friend about books being better than the movie adaptions. I really can NOT shut up when watching a movie adaption. I will be like "It shouldn't happen that way! It should be..." or "Did they just not include a scene from a book!" etc. I feel sorry for my friends, really, but I feel the need to educate them on what they are missing! xD
    I only know that Silver Linings Playbook and Shrek was an adaption from books so I was not surprised but I am surprised with the others especially The Lion King! I don't think it's really much of a stretch because when I think about it now, they do have a lot of similarities.
    I agree, nothing in Hollywood seems original anymore. It seems like everyone is digging from a pile of bestsellers to see which books they are going to adapt into a movie next. It's disheartening, really.

    1. I'm glad you agree with my Hamlet-Lion King hypothesis!!

      Hollywood was awesome during the noir age (Alfred Hitchcock was so undeniably noir) it's just melting into this pile of sex, drugs and violence recently.

      (and yeah, books > movies)

  4. It's so interesting to see what films have been adapted or are original- one of my favourites, Howls Moving Castle, was made into an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki, and though it shares the title of the Diana Wynn Jones novel, they're so, so different. For me, that's one of the best adaptations. I love how novel and film, and even film-based graphic novel, are all so different and breath a different story into these characters lives. They're all well done and favourites of mine!
    Another would be The Princess Bride. I love both the film and the book, but they're so different, original in their own right.

    I was very surprised when I learnt a couple of years ago that Hamlet was the inspiration for The Lion King! But then it did make sense...

    1. Howls Moving Castle is my favorite too! Anything of Studio Gibli is my favorite actually. xD I know it was from a book but I never read it so I don't know the difference.

    2. Ahh I get it - books and movies are different types of art, and must be judged differently. I agree with you, that's what the video I linked to in this post talks about - you should watch it :)