Turning a book into a movie is a well-known trick used by Hollywood, although it can be a bit of a risky move. Young Adult novels are always popular to make over into films – and there are a lot more of them out there than you might think! Here are three of my favorite Y.A. films that started their life as novels. Find out how they measure up to each other.
The Movie: Geeky, gangly Mia Thermopolis finds out that her dead father was in fact a ruling monarch of a small European principality. Her kindly grandmother travels down to San Francisco, where Mia is living with her mother in a renovated firehouse (thereby igniting (pun intended) a life-long dream of mine to live in a renovated firehouse, complete with fireman’s pole) to inform Mia that she is now a princessand will one day have to take over as the ruler of Genovia.This movie pretty much launched Anne Hathaway into international stardom, and her ugly-duckling-turned-beautiful-swan is fun, hilarious and totally relatable. Julie Andrews plays the kindly Queen-Dowager grandmother. The movie is cute, fun, romantic, and hilarious thanks to Anne Hathaway, and (as we will see) based very loosely on the first book of The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot. And no, I don’t want to talk about the sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement.
The Book: When I say loosely based, I mean that the movie took the basic plot lines and Disney-fied the whole thing to resemble the movie above. Is that a bad thing? No, not really, but although the movie is quite funny and endearing, it loses a lot of the sharp wit and real feeling that comes in the first of The Princess Diaries novels. In the book, Mia is still the geeky, unpopular girl who is failing algebra. However, her father is alive, having just recovered from testicular cancer, but leaving him unable to have children, and therefore, it is revealed to Mia that she is the heir to the throne! The other major difference (aside from the fact that Mia doesn’t end up with hottie Michael at the end of the novel) is that Mia’s grandmother is a chain smoking, devious and rather mean-spirited grandmother from hell. The book is a far more engaging read, and it is followed by four sequels that I am very happy to talk about – four that are average, and one stunning finale that restores your faith in the whole series.
How Do They Rate? I saw the movie before I had even heard of The Princess Diaries, and I quite enjoyed it. It still remains a movie that I love, but in my mind, the books are far superior and last much longer.
Book (the first one only): 8/10
The Movie: Young Ella of Frell (Ann Hathaway, again) has been “blessed” from a young age with the gift of obedience, meaning that whenever someone gives her a command, she has to follow through. Her life is generally happy and wonderful until her mother passes away, leaving her father free to marry a horrible stepmother. It is sort of a traditional Cinderella story, with a sassy lead who would rather fight against Ogrecide (the killing of Ogres) than join the fan club of the dishy Prince Char. Ella goes on a quest with an elf and a talking book (long story) to find the fairy that gave her the gift of obedience to get it removed. Hilarity ensured.
The Book: Ella Enchanted, the novel by Gail Carson Levine, is and always will be one of my favorite novels. As with The Princess Diaries, basic plot elements are kept – Ella is obedient. But the whole demeanour of Ella and tone of the book are completely different to that of the movie. Ella is a little spitfire, and nowhere near as sassy as in the movie, although this isn’t a bad thing. The story focuses more on her struggles at boarding school, and her escape and quest to find the fairy that blessed her and free herself to finally be in control of her own decisions. There isn’t as much swash-buckling, but there is a lot more romance.
How Do They Rate: Horribly. This is definitely one of those situations where you have to look at the book and movie as separate entities. I was devastated at having one of my favorite books treated in such a way, but in fairness, although it is not the best movie in the world, it does have Hugh Dancy in it, which is a consolation prize.
Movie: 5/10 (For introducing Hugh Dancy to the world)
The Movie: Georgia Nicolson is 14 years old and extremely embarrassed by her family, and will probably never be able to show her face in school again after attending a fancy dress party as a stuffed olive. This is the story of how she and her three friends navigate the world of boys as she tries to win hunky Sex God Robbie from the clutches of Wet Lindsay. The ridiculously unrealistic and extravagant 15th birthday party is a fitting finale to the movie.
The Book: Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is based on the first two novels in the extremely wonderful Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by British author Louise Rennison. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and It’s OK, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers are amalgamated well into the above movie. There are a few differences – mainly the fact that there is no extravagant 15th birthday party, Jas, Rosie, and Ellen, (Georgia’s best friends) are much more hilarious, and we miss out on a host of crazy supporting characters. There is always something so appealing about a novel written like a diary!
How Do They Rate? The movie does the first two books justice, which is certainly saying something as all ten of the novels are still amongst the funniest books I’ve read to date. GO OUT AND GET THEM ALL.
Movie: 8/10 (For keeping in my fave character Dave the Laugh and showing us how to dress as a stuffed olive)
Books (The first two in the series): 10/10
Do you have a favorite or least favorite book to movie adaption?
♥AUTHOR: LAURA PIETROBON
Laura Pietrobon is a 20-year-old journalism student, studying in Australia - you might remember Australia from that time Oprah filmed a two part special about it. Laura spends too much time reading and wishing her life was more like a Meg Cabot novel, and not enough time helping to cook dinner and/or vacuum the house. She loves writing about history, books, and interesting places and people. Follow her on Twitter @missLpietrobon
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