~ as someone who consumes a fair bit of both, I give you the run down of my top picks ~
As someone who is both an avid reader (peep the book tube channel – link on the sidebar), and an avid movie-watcher, I often find myself marvelling at the possibilities when these two worlds collide. Seeing my favourite tales come to life on the big screen, complete with stunning visuals, excellent character development and – of course – completely faithful to the source material, is one of my many futile, futile dreams.
Book to movie adaptations all too frequently leave us faithful readers with a sense of disappointment – or worse yet, utter disgust, as we leave the theatre. Be it because of time constraints, casting inaccuracies, or budget issues, the fact remains that it is virtually impossible to translate a written story into visual media without some sacrifices having to be made. Because of this all too familiar post-cinema despondency, I’m typically wary when it comes to suggesting books for a movie adaptation. However, there are some novels that seem ideal for a medium switch, a decision made either after many hours of deep consideration, or because I could just envision it instantly. Here, in no particular order, are five of those.
- Leigh Bardugo’s “Shadow and Bone” trilogy
This is one that I “envisioned” about halfway through the first book in the series, and while I haven’t even finished the trilogy yet, there’s just something about how Bardugo constructs her Grisha verse that makes it seems so alive. The world-building within these novels is so outstanding, I can picture exactly how it would look, down to every uniform crest and dormitory room. It might be because I listened to it on audiobook, but listening to Alina describe the Palace’s made them sound like them would translate beautifully onto the screen. Grisha powers would require some Doctor Strange levels of CGI-realness, and the soaring libraries and lakes of the Little Palace would mean this certainly wouldn’t be a cheap movie to make. However if done right, it would be magical and dark and breathtaking and gorgeous all at once. Also, Holland Roden would be literally the perfect Genya, and no one can tell me otherwise.
2. The Magic Faraway Tree, by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton is pretty much the eternal queen of childhood classics, and The Magic Faraway Tree is no exception. These books was such a key part of my life growing up, and I read it about twenty times over the course of my infant years. This book is so completely magical – the idea that a rotating worlds brushed the top of a tree that you could climb and thus, visit? Blew six year old me’s mind. I think exploring all of those different “Lands” on screen would be super cool – everything from the magical marketplace full of potions and spells, from that one where everything is edible. They would be incredible, and the quirky cast of characters that call the Faraway Tree home will have any kid falling in love in seconds. I wouldn’t even mind seeing this movie as an animation, but regardless I think Disney would do a cracking job, and I can guarantee that after its release, every kid in town will be accidentally falling out of trees after desperate attempts to reach Toy Land. Either that, or never even walking within mere metres of a one for fear that Dame Slap will come and belt them where they stand.
3. Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and The Olympians series
Now before you shout me down, I know, I know, these books have already been turned into films. Terrible, terrible films. So much so that the intended five films were cancelled after only two adaptations, and rumours of a possible third instalment are rapidly dwindling. There were numerous issues with these movies, a whole other blog post (and a half) of them in fact, but it was mostly down to the fact that the films just didn’t quite capture the witty, action-packed and heart-warming vibe of the middle-grade fantasy series. Which is a real shame, because the hilarious dialogue between the characters that drives the Percy Jackson stories would only be double the fun when coupled with a good team of writers and actual facial expressions. It might be a few years before it’s attempted again, but the source material holds so much potential that it warrants a second-crack at these films. After all, if a second Shadowhunters adaptation can arise from the pile of ashes that was City of Bones, surely Uncle Rick can get a do-over?
4. Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
I’ve already discussed this in my review of this book (check it out here), but there was something about how Kids of Appetite read that made it seem perfect for a cute little indie film adaption. The majority of the story is character-driven, so with a kick-ass ensemble cast and some on-site filming in New Jersey it could really be something. The forwards time jumps that happen at the beginning of each chapter would make for a really cool way to play with the timeline of the film. Perhaps the filmmakers could string most of them together to form one long scene, the circle back to the beginning of the story, before ending on the final chapter jump. Or maybe they could leave it true to the book, and insert little pockets of the police interview scene throughout the movie, leaving the audience to assemble the timeline in their head as they watch. My favourite film literally of all time, The Social Network (dir. David Fincher), does exactly that, and it’s part of the reason I love it so much. The promise of a distorted timeline was what prompted me to pick up the book in the first place, so to see that coupled with the beautifully constructed characters, would make this film really special.
5. The Night Circus
I’m actually a little on the fence when it comes to this one, because the world is so perfectly constructed that if a movie adaptation were to happen, and then be butchered, it would be absolutely devastating, like a blight on a beautiful piece of artwork. But if done right, this film would be the single most stunning thing to ever exist in history. It’s hard to get it if you haven’t actually read this book, but The Night Circus is so artfully written, with magical scenes that would translate seamlessly onto the big screen, and rich characters that would flourish under the hand of a diverse and talented cast. It’s hard to describe what exactly makes it so enchanting, maybe it’s the language use or circus setting – but I’ll leave you with this: I can’t decide if I would loathe or adore a Tim Burton direction of it. Yeah. That kind of story.