A movie adaptation is like a door that opens two ways. For those who enjoy movies more than books, this door opens up a world where literature crosses paths with visuals, music, and action. And those who prefer poring over a book nonetheless, a movie adaptation brings to life their beloved characters, walking and talking.
We’ve seen many books depicted on the silver screen, where the characters come to life. From fantasy novels like Harry Potter to classics such as Pride and Prejudice, countless books have been adapted into movies. Some more than once. In this feature, Soulveda lists seven classics and their adaptations that were welcomed by both movie buffs and booklovers.
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
This Nobel-prize-winning novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding has two notable film adaptations. First in 1963, and again in 1990—both movies narrate the story of schoolboys stranded on a desert tropical island, in the midst of a raging war. Exploring the dark side of human nature and mirroring the corrupt society we live in, Golding, through the boys’ descent into brutality and violence, displays the fundamentally savage nature of humanity.
With every experience unfolding on the island, the boys display a different aspect of human nature and the society that is threatened with anarchy when left with no supervision and laws. At the end, when the little boys are rescued, their condition and circumstances force the rescuers to relook at their war, and how it turned innocent children into monsters.
While the movies received mixed reviews, they didn’t get the cult status of the novel. Read the book or watch the movie to view a world that speaks of an apocalypse, a political satire, a parable, and a parody all in one.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
First published in 1813, this 19th-century romantic novel has since been adapted into movies, TV series, and plays more than three dozen times.
Overflowing with incisive wit, irony, realism, and precise character portrayal and everyday life, the novel centres around the turbulent relationship between a socially inferior county gentleman’s daughter, Elizabeth Bennet, and a rich aristocratic landowner, Fitzwilliam Darcy.
With the mix of bitter and comical commentary on society and its treatment of women, Austen uses its main protagonists to first oppose, argue, and then reconcile with each other. And with their reconciliation, she offers a solution to a much bigger societal problem.
With each new adaptation, the dialectical thrust of the story is brought to the surface in Austen’s most popular work of fiction. Read the book to get a glimpse into the 19th-century everyday life woven around a love story.
The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien
An epic high-fantasy novel, first published in 1954, Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien has been adapted numerous times. The most popular one is Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy that won 17 Oscars. This trilogy is a sequel to Tolkien’s The Hobbit but holds its ground firmly even for those who are unaware of the previous tale.
Influenced by the evils of the First World War and the ill effects of industrialisation in England, Tolkien has used greed and tyranny to build the foundation of his epic fantasy novel.
The Lord of the Rings adaptation has been appreciated for its grandeur in visuals and criticised for its many changes to the original characters and scene delineation. The audiences may be divided, but Tolkien’s story has left an indelible mark on the minds of the readers and the movie-goers alike.