Movies That Were Better Than The Book

Yes, 9.8 out of 10 times the book is better. But there is that 0.2 time…

The Princess Bride by William Goldman- [book] [movie] I actually like the book more than most fans of the movie do in this case, but the movie always puts a smile on my face.

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding [book] [movie] I liked the book a lot, but I think the casting pushes this over the top for me. Colin Firth was pretty much perfectly cast as Mark Darcy (I mean, the man is Mr. Darcy!) and I’m not usually a huge Hugh Grant fan, but I really liked him in this.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton- [book] [movie] Again, very good book. But some things work better on the big screen, and I think this is one of them. If nothing else, the music is so memorable. I hear it and right away think “Jurassic Park!” I remember seeing it for the first time and sitting there, stiff with tension as I watched, waiting to see if the characters I’d come to care about (I hadn’t read the book yet) were going to be eaten by dinosaurs.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman- [book] [movie] I think that this book has a very different feel to it. so it’s almost not fair to compare them. But the movie added some charm and humor and expanded things in a way that really worked.

To All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han- [book] [movie] I actually saw the Netflix film before I read the book. It was sweet and enjoyable and I looked forward to a similar experience in book form. Instead, I found a very irritating narrator who didn’t seem to learn/grow/develop/mature all that much before the end of the book.

The Prestige by Christopher Priest- [book] [movie] This is another case where I almost think it’s unfair to compare them because the movie does something totally different. It takes similar characters/premise and develops them in its own way.

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg [book] [movie] Again, in this case the movie took the premise of the book and made it’s own thing.

Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown- [book] [movie] The book felt very “blah.” Not bad, just “blah.” The movie, and specifically Reese Witherspoon’s performance, elevated it.

So what movie (or TV series) do you think is better than it’s source material?


12 thoughts on “Movies That Were Better Than The Book

  1. Stardust is my forever answer to this question. I love the movie, and couldn’t stand the book. I think it’s because I saw the movie first and expected—and didn’t get—the sweet humor from the movie in the book.

    But you know what? The Princess Bride is another great case. I know a lot of people loved the book. I enjoyed it the first time I read it. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to re-read it since that one time. The movie, on the other hand, I will re-watch just about annually.

    I hadn’t really considered the others since I haven’t read them more than once. (Or watched the movies more than once—except of course for Jurassic Park.)

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  2. Of all of these, the only ones I’ve both read and watched are Jurassic Park and The Princess Bride.

    I absolutely agree with you about The Princess Bride. The movie is just such a gem: perfectly cast, and it hits that sweet spot where it can be watched as romance/adventure for the kids, and as a comedy for the adults. The book veers more toward the comedy, enough that it kind of ruins the emotional impact. Apparently, its role in life was to provide the inspiration for The Perfect Movie.

    Jurassic Park, the novel, came out when I was in high school. My friend and I read it, and yes, it was scary. I do think the movie took things up a notch, mostly due to Jeff Goldblum. In the book, the Ian Malcom character was just this annoying guy who was constantly lecturing everyone. Goldblum made him into the annoying, sarcastic hottie that we all know and love. I think the way he played the character matched very well with Crichton’s original vision for that character. Also, I think the movie did a great job of capturing the wonder of when the scientists first see live dinos, aided by CGI and swelling music. As with every movie based on a book, they had to leave out a lot of details and worldbuilding, dumb things down and Hollywood things up quite a bit. But I do love the movie franchise. It’s as if Crichton said, “Here’s an interesting idea” and Hollywood said, “I know exactly what to do with that!”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely agreed – I enjoyed the book, but I do think Spielberg improved on Crichton (not least for dialling down the lazy sexism) and that score just gives me goosebumps. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch the scene where Alan Grant gets his first glimpse of dinosaurs and the music swells into a crescendo without my eyes leaking 😉 Also with you on The Prestige and Stardust – I love how they’ve been adapted into something new, and really enjoy both versions. I’ve been meaning to rewatch Children of Men for ages for much the same reason; the film and the book are so different, but both have impact.

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