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Plenty of my favourite books have been adapted. the results vary. my favourite adaptation is the 200 5 version of Pride and Prejudice. everything about it is a close to perfect as you can get. ELizabeth and Darcy are hot, the right age, fit the part, have loads of chemistry, all the actors fit their characters very well, the costumes are right, the photography is amazing, the music is brilliant, it stays close to the book without being a carbon copy and it has its own life, its own spirit, it stands on its own.
there are plenty of good austen adaptations. and some quite not so good. and others that are a different animal like lost in austen and p&P:a latter day comedy
I love Harry POtter but the films always disappoint me. and even though the movie is kind of a mess,really, I love Prisoner of Azkaban cause at least the characters begin to have a life of their own, they're not just a motion version of the book,like the 2 first movies feel, andthey're not even good adaptations. they have gotten increasingly better, even if the latest one disappointed by falling flat at the end, as a fan I still love them even if they're far less than perfect and most of the time I'm sure non-fans don't understand a book,but with harry potter I'm afraid I take the stance of "if you haven't read the books, then it's your own fault if you don't understand" cause there's some many things to do, than waste time explaining plot or how something works or what is a character thinking seems like a waste.
recently, percy jackson was adapted. I admit, I had not heard of the series before it was adapted. but I have been reading it aand I really,really like it. the movie is fun, even if it is completely different and often feels like an AU version of the story, despite being directed by chris columbus it is still a pretty good movie, I thought.
another adaptation I love is Nick Hornby's "About A Boy" which strikes a great balance of adaptating a book, letting it find its own feet,while mixing two stories and using voice overs. it's a film I've seen a billion times, since it's on tv all the time and I don't grow tired of it. the film cuts a few thins I would've liked to see but mantains the integrity of the story and the spirit of the characters and lets them be the same story while standing on its own.
The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy is a similar story to Percy Jackson. I honestly like the movie, it's charming and its got great casting, but it's the kind where it's not so much an adaptation as it is an AU, a retelling perhaps of the story, like the same characters but in something not-quite-unlike the original.
what I look for in a adaptation is that the film is enjoyable, that it has its own spirit, that it can stand on its own while keeping respect for the original, not to turn the characters OOC and completely change the story and the meaning or on the other hand, to change nothing and be a boring carbon copy.
carbon copy examples: watchmen, vanilla sky, they're simply put, boring. watchmen has a few redeeming moments and it is at least visually impressive. vanilla sky makes you want to go to sleep