Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This week's topic: What makes some books seem ideal for a film translation?
I think a book with a very vivid sense of time and place makes for a great story. If a book is entirely character-driven, that can be harder to translate because the actor/actress chosen might not fully encompass the character like the book. These days, casting choices for films are posted practically the second they happen, and everyone has an opinion. No one liked Robert Pattinson as Edward in Twilight when he was first cast. Online chatter was negative on most of the Hunger Games main cast--especially the guys, I think this often shifts when the movies come out, although sometimes poor casting really tanks a movie.
Here are a few I think did well with book-to-film translations:
The Harry Potter franchise
This might be the best ever, honestly. Bringing Hogwarts and quidditch to the big screen worked so well, along with an unforgettable cast that made Harry, Hermoine and Ron cultural legend. The books had all the elements to make for a great film series. Plus, the films matured from kid to teen/adult in the same way the books did.
Pride & Prejudice: the 1995 miniseries
When you have longer than 90 minutes to work with, a movie version of a book can really shine. Barely anything is left out in this miniseries. Besides Jane, the movie is wonderfully cast (sorry but Jane never fit right for me). I will say, the 2005 Keira Knightly version is not so bad considering the time-crunch. It's gorgeous and definitely captures the era and the relationships among the sisters, the family and the societal pressures they faced. Even Mr. Collins is still annoying and creepy.
Not so much...
One for the Money
Sorry Katherine Heigl; you and the rest of the cast just seemed off. Except maybe Sherri Shepherd. This zany series felt stifled by some of the more serious crime and Steph felt more like a victim here. Since she's so much of the allure of the series, an odd casting choice really makes it a tough sell.
Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, and Gone With the Wind are a few more examples that really brought the book's setting to life on film.
Other misses: The Other Boleyn Girl--it's fine to make the movie you want about Henry VIII, but from the start this film didn't follow the book. The only resemblance to Phillipa Gregory's work is it featured Anne Boleyn's sister.