Blog 113: Was The Movie Better Than The Book?

March 23, 2021

Many bookworms would gasp at the idea of a movie adaptation being better than the original book, and in most cases the book is usually better than the movie. There are some movie adaptations that are awful, some that are good, and only one that I personally think is better than the book. Here are a few movie adaptions that stick in my mind for both good and bad reasons…

Stardust by Neil Gaiman was a fantasy novel published in 1999 and adapted into a movie in 2007. Stardust is a pretty faithful movie adaption, there are only very minor differences from the original story and characters. The main difference is the romance between Tristan and Yvaine, in the book these characters don’t have much romance at all, and they don’t actually become a couple until the very end of the book, and years after their adventure they become king and queen. In the movie the couple fall in love gradually throughout their adventure, and immediately afterwards they become king and queen at the end of the movie. The movie cast were great choices for all the characters, especially Claire Danes as Yvaine. The movie has a respectable 76% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones was published in 1986 and adapted into an animated movie in 2004 by Studio Ghibli. Again this is another pretty faithful adaptation, although the ending differs slightly in the book from the movie. The only major difference is Howl’s character, Howl is much more childish in the book compared to the movie. There are a couple of minor differences with Sophie’s sisters, but overall the movie captures the magic and humour of the original story. The character Calcifer is extremely well done in the movie, and is one of my all time favourite characters. In the English dubbed version, the actresses for Young Sophie and Old Sophie are both brilliant and authentic. The movie has a great score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini was published in 2002 and adapted into a movie in 2006. Unfortunately Eragon is possibly the worst movie adaptation I have ever seen, and a lot of people agree. It’s a real shame because the book is pretty good and the movie doesn’t do it any justice. Even the majority of the cast were poor choices, the only good choices in my opinion, were Jeremy Irons as Brom and Garrett Hedlund as Murtagh. The CGI was awful and they didn’t even bother trying to make Arya, played by Sienna Guillory, look like an elf. The story is a mess too and isn’t faithful to the book, Saphira (the dragon) ages way too quickly, key plot points are completely missing and the ending is just… meh. Unsurprisingly, the movie has a measly 16% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Fellowship Of The Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien was published in 1954 and adapted into a movie in 2001. This is probably the greatest movie adaptation I have ever seen. There are minor differences between the book and the movie, the most notable being Arwen replacing Glorfindel when taking Frodo to Rivendell, but this change makes no difference to the story. The movie is so well done, the cast was perfect and the whole filming was done with so much care and attention to detail. I think all three movie adaptations of The Lord Of The Rings are actually better than books. The movie has 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest out of all four movies mentioned in this blog post.

Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television.