Thursday, April 28, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Eleven

So Many Books, So Little Time is hosting the 30 Day Book Challenge. Each day for 30 days I'll be answering one question about books.

Day Eleven: Your favorite book that has been made into a film

I'm going to answer this question in two ways: first, my favorite book made into a film; second, my favorite film based off of a book. There's a distinct difference here. There are books that I love that have been made into films and there are mediocre books that have been made into films that I love.

So, my favorite book made into a film is:

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh is one of my all-time favorite novels. It's funny, it's gritty, and the characters are insanely memorable. It also made one hell of a decent film. I saw the film first, before I even knew that it was a book, and I was surprised to find how true to the novel the film was. The screenwriter, director, and producer were all big fans of the novel and they also got input from Welsh himself. I read an interview once where one of the filmmakers (I think it was the screenwriter) said that they all sat down and debated about which bits to put into the film. The book, which is pretty long, isn't linear and some of the characters only show up for one chapter, maybe two, so they had to really condense things. The character of Tommy in the film, for instance, is an amalgam of several different characters from the novel because there were a lot of great bit characters that were involved in some of their favorite scenes that they didn't want to take out but they were shooting on such a low budget that they couldn't afford a huge cast. 

Favorite character in the book: Francis Begbie
Favorite character in the film: Francis Begbie (Robert Carlyle) 
Favorite scene in the book: Sick Boy and Renton shooting at things in the park
Favorite scene in the film: Tommy explains what really happened with Begbie during the pool match

Trainspotting trailer (WARNING: contains slight nudity)

My favorite film that was based off of a book is: 

Stardust by Neil Gaiman is yet another film that I saw before I knew that it was also a book. The difference between this film and Trainspotting, however, is that I really, really disliked this book. For all of my raving about how much I love Neil Gaiman's novels, I thought that the book was kind of...dull. The ending, especially, was very lackluster. Anyone who has seen this film (and if you haven't, you really should) knows that right before the very end of the film (you know, the happy epilogue part), there is a really dramatic fight scene and some very good acting by Michelle Pfeiffer (as well as that awesome bit with Prince Septimus). I won't give away the end of the book but I will say that there's none of that. In fact, the book sort of just ends. It was incredibly disappointing. The film, however, is one of my favorites. I thought that the cast was well-chosen and that the parts that were added to the film that were lacking in the book were well done. It's a very beautiful story and incredibly unique and imaginative, I just think that the film got it right where as the novel...well, it was Neil Gaiman's first, so we'll cut him some slack.

Favorite character in the book: Yvaine
Favorite character in the film: Prince Septimus (Mark Strong)
Favorite scene in the book: Yvaine at the inn
Favorite scene in the film: Prince Septimus punishes the old seer for lying to him (A. Ma. Zing.)

Stardust trailer: 



  1. I'm seeing a theme with your Gaiman reads, you don't like his kids books! They're not really young adult ones but aimed at quite young readers so I can understand not enjoying them so much. I quite like their simple charm though.

  2. I don't really consider Stardust to be a kids' book, although I could see its appeal for children. I think in this case it can all be blamed on my having seen the movie first. If I had read the book first, I probably would have appreciated it more but the film's ending is so amazing that I couldn't appreciate the nuanced one in the book.

    I still haven't read Coraline so there may be a kids' book by Gaiman that I do like. :)

  3. Stardust the movie do I put it...cute? other words it made me giggle. They ghosts were very funny.

  4. Cute and fun are definitely words I would use to describe Stardust. It's one of those movies that I can just sit back and watch without having to think to much. But in a good way. It's not mindless it's just...fluffy? Maybe that's the word I'm looking for. I don't know. It's just a good film all around.

    Something that I think you'd appreciate: if you ever watch the film again, at the end when the ghosts are finally released from earth, watch where Prince Septimus' soul goes as opposed to the other brothers. It made me laugh so hard when I finally caught it.

  5. Oh I love Trainspotting so much, I had it down on my list for favourite book to film also! I'm re-reading it as we speak, it's been such a long time and I'd forgotten how much I love all the characters!

  6. Kayleigh: It really is a great book. I'm thinking of rereading it over the summer. I'm also going to try to squeeze the sequel, Porno, in as well. I started reading it earlier this year and then school got in the way.

  7. I just bought a copy of Porno about a month ago, which is why I decided to re-read trainspotting, seemed like the right thing to do. Lucky me, I happened to go to a bookstore that had an Irvine Welsh appearance last year and squashed between regular copies of Porno was a signed copy!!

  8. I'm insanely jealous of you right now. The bookstores in my area don't really do author appearances, which makes me a sad fish. That's awesome that you got your hands on a signed copy, though. :)

  9. I'm normally in the same boat as you, not too many authors in my town except at the writer's festival (a wonderful 5 days that make up for the rest of the year!) but I was on holiday in Sydney and happened across it.

  10. A writer's festival sounds amazing. *That's* something that needs to happen in Rochester but it probably never will.

    I love when you find random things in bookstores. I was at a bookstore in Pittsburgh and I found a copy of The Odyssey in ancient Greek. That same bookstore also had first editions of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, but they were so expensive that they had to keep them in a special locked case. Needless to say, I now own a copy of The Odyssey in ancient Greek but NOT first edition James Bond. In a perfect world, I would have gone home with all of them. :)