Movie Adaptions: Books To Read Before The Movie Comes Out

Movie Adaptions – If you are like me, you have mixed emotions when you learn that a new film is being made of one of your favorite books. Part of you is excited that you will be able to visit that special place the book created and that you will be able to see those richly drawn characters brought to life.

However, another part of you is worried that the film will not do the book justice. You loved the author’s words and characters, but what if they are altered or somehow diminished?

Film critic Roger Ebert once wrote that it is the “genius, inspiration and the nature of the narrative itself… combined with reader—and now viewer—expectations” that make a great film adaptation. In other words, when we watch a film adaptation of a novel, we want to think, “Yes, that is just how I imagined it.”

Each year, an average of 30 novels are adapted into film, and according to research done by Xinran Lilly Liu of Duke University, an adaptation’s box office success largely depends on audience members getting that “yes, that’s it” feeling.

Movie Adaptions – Read or re-read the book before you see the movie

With Divergent, The Fifth Wave and even Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this year has already seen a few adaptations hit the big screen. With the summer movie season coming up, there are more adaptations on the way. In case you would like to read or re-read the book before you see the movie, here are a few adaptations coming up in the next few weeks and months.

Movie Adaptions – Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (originally published by Macmillan, 1971)

Lewis Carroll wrote this book as a sequel to his Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Set six months after the first book, Through the Looking-Glass places Alice in a magical reversed world that includes Jabberwocky, The Walrus and the Carpenter and Tweedledee and Tweedledum

Mia Wasikowska stars as Alice along with Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter. The Disney film, which is directed by James Bobin (not Tim Burton, who directed 2010’s Alice in Wonderland) hits theaters on May 27.

Favorite book quote: “I daresay you haven’t had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Movie Adaptions – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Penguin Books, 2012)

Louisa Clark is a 26-year-old woman who, after losing her job at a teashop, takes on a new position as an assistant for a quadriplegic man. Bitter and angry after an accident that took away his active lifestyle WIll Traynor is that man. Although this plot could easily turn into a predictable, cheesy novel, Moyes finds a way to make us really care about these characters and what happens to them.

Emilia Clarke (Games of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (Hunger Games) star in the adaptation of this romantic novel. Directed by Thea Sharrock, the film premieres June 3.

Favorite quote: “No journey out of grief was straightforward. There would be good days and bad days. Today was just a bad day, a kink in the road, to be traversed and survived.”

Movie Adaptions – The BFG by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake (Penguin Books, 1982)

Steven Spielberg is directing the film adaptation of this beloved children’s book by Roald Dahl, who is best known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“BFG” stands for the Big Friendly Giant that our young heroine, Sophie, encounters in the “Giant Country.”  Unlike other the other mean and violent giants, BFG is kindhearted, and he and Sophie, team up to stop other giants from eating children.

The Disney film adaptation, which opens July 1, stars Ruby Barnhill as Sophie and Mark Rylance as the BFG.

Favorite book quote: “The matter with human beans,” the BFG went on, “is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles.”

Movie Adaptions – Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (original publisher A. C. McClurg, 1912)

Tarzan, the well-known character of a man raised by apes, is no stranger to the silver screen, but this new film adaptation, called The Legend of Tarzan, takes a different approach to the novel.

We meet John Clayton III a.k.a. Lord Greystoke, as an English gentleman who is married to Jane and living in London. We then see his life in the jungle as flashbacks until he decides to return to his roots, and the action begins in this film set for release July 1.

Directed by David Yates, the film stars a ripped Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan and features Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz and Djimon Hounsou.

Favorite book quote: “I do not understand exactly what you mean by fear,” said Tarzan. “Like lions, fear is a different thing in different men, but to me the only pleasure in the hunt is the knowledge that the hunted thing has power to harm me as much as I have to harm him. If I went out with a couple of rifles and a gun bearer, and twenty or thirty beaters, to hunt a lion, I should not feel that the lion had much chance, and so the pleasure of the hunt would be lessened in proportion to the increased safety which I felt.”

Movie Adaptions – The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (Scribner, 2012)

When a rowboat containing a healthy baby girl washes up on the tiny island of Janus Rock, lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne and his wife, Isabel, decide to keep the baby and to raise the child as their own. This decision forms the foundation of a thought-provokingbook that deals with hope, love and loss.

Set with the horrors of World War I as a backdrop, the book’s film adaptation stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz.  Directed by Derek Cianfrance, the Touchstone Pictures film is set for a Labor Day weekend release.

Favorite book quote: “Being over there changes a man. Right and wrong don’t look so different anymore to some.”

Movie Adaptions: Books To Read Before The Movie Comes Out

About the Author

Tricia Drevets
Tricia Drevets has written for a variety of print and online publications. She specializes in education and communication topics.