I’ve noticed a theme in Hollywood lately, and it’s an interesting one. More and more novels are being turned into major motion pictures. I don’t know if Hollywood got tired of writing their own stuff, or if someone woke up one day and realized, “Hey, there’s already a plethora of good stories out there just waiting to be movies!”
Either way, I’m enjoying the heck out of it. Sure, some of them are horrible (we won’t mention names), but others are truly great on the big screen.
2013 saw a whole lot of movies based on books—too many, in fact, for me to list here. So, instead, I’ve picked several that I was (and am still) pleased with the cinematic outcome.
I’ll follow up this post with another that lists some upcoming movies for 2014 that I’m excited about, so stay tuned.
- Carrie by Stephen King: Stephen King’s debut novel has been made into a movie before, but was rebooted in 2013. Steven King is good—very good, and the movie wasn’t too shabby either. It’s interesting to revisit King’s first novel. I’m sure he had no idea he’d ever make it so big.
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card: This is one of my favorite books, so I was pretty excited to see the movie. My wife actually liked the film better than the book, and I only had a few minor problems with it. Both are pretty good, and well worth your time (even if the book is better—sorry, Amanda).
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit is the book that got me into reading and made me want to write. It pushed me toward where I am today professionally, and gave me the drive to write my own book (which I hope to see on a list like this in the future). The first movie (An Unexpected Journey) was entertaining, but not great. The second movie (Desolation of Smaug) is better. Anything above a 7 on IMDB is a pretty decent score, and ol’ Smaug is currently sitting at 8.3. If you haven’t read the book, you should—it was instrumental in creating the entire fantasy genre as we know it today. There and Back Again (the third movie) should be arriving in December of 2014, and I can’t wait.
- Horns by Joe Hill: This one isn’t as popular, but the movie certainly paints Daniel Radcliffe (a.k.a. Harry Potter) in a new light. Both the book and movie have been met with fairly positive reviews, and this book has just made my wish list. The premise is weird and new. I like that.
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: This is a case where the movie was actually a little bit better than the book (in my humble opinion). That being said, I think reading the book added a lot to my enjoyment of the film. The novel is insanely popular, and highly rated, and the movie is just adding to the fervor (8.1 on IMDB with 146,413 ratings). Part 1 of the Mockingjay movie (I have no idea why this is a two-parter) should arrive in November of 2014, so be on the lookout!
- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: Yeah, I know the movie came out in 1993, but you know what? It’s awesome, and they re-released it in 3D back in April. The book is pretty darn good too, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should. It’s completely different from the movie, and will shed some new light on Alan Grant’s dinosaur problem. Suddenly, I’m craving green Jell-O.
- Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan: OK, if you’ve only seen the movie, you need to go out and get the book. The movie only really shines when Nathan Fillion (lord of the nerds) is on screen, and that scene is entirely too short. The book series, on the other hand, is actually a blast to read.
- Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: I absolutely loved this movie, and it inspired me to read the book. I liked the movie just a hair better, but I’m told that’s typical. If you read the book first, you like it better. If you watch the movie first, that’s what you’ll prefer. Either way, the book is definitely worth picking up.
- World War Z by Max Brooks: The book was pretty entertaining (though lacking in female characters), and so was the movie (though it’s completely different from the book). The book was tightly written, and almost seemed a plausible response to an actual zombie plague. I enjoyed listening to it (the audiobook is great), and with the massive-budget movie release earlier this year, there is still plenty of interest to go around.
What was your favorite book-to-movie in 2013? Did we miss any on the list? Let us know on the comments section below.
Quinton Lawman is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.