By: Joelle Charbonneau
Happy Hunger Games everyone. I will admit that today is an exciting day for me. Due to my strange schedule of writer/mom/voice teacher/wife/whatever I have not walked into a movie theater in over a year. The last was for Harry Potter 7 part 1. Today, I’m going to see another film based on a book—The Hunger Games.
While I’m thrilled to be seeing the movie, I admit I’m a bit nervous since the majority of books I’ve read and loved and were eventually turned into movies…well….sucked. Take Absolute Power by David Baldacci. What a great thriller. The book grabbed me by the throat and pulled me along for a fast-paced, powerful ride. The movie…not so much. By the halfway point, the movie took a sharp left turn from the book and never recovered. While the casting was good (especially Gene Hackman’s brilliant portrayal of the murdering President), the movie left me longing to throttle the folks behind butchering the book. Sigh.
And that isn’t the only example of poor book adaptations. The Lost World (Jurassic Park #2) by Michael Crichton wasn’t my favorite book ever. In fact, I thought it came up far short of the excitement of the first novel. But the movie??? Yikes! I guess it bore a loose resemblance to the bound text since there were dinosaurs in the film. The rest was unrecognizable. Other bad adaptations (in my humble opinion) One for the Money, The Firm, Under The Tuscan Sun, Pet Cemetery, Contact, The Scarlet Letter (Demi Moore version), Flowers in the Attic –the list goes on and on.
Not to say there aren’t good if not excellent movies made from books. Misery is a wonderful movie. Seabiscuit was fabulous. The first three Harry Potter films captured the book and created the world that lived in our imaginations. The Bone Collector was strong. The Green Mile blew me away.
So I guess today, I am hoping that the odds are in my favor and that The Hunger Games belongs on the “good adaptation” list. In a couple of hours, I’ll find out. In the meantime, I’m curious. What are you favorite movie adaptations of books? Which ones left you cold?