Jake’s Picks: Have you seen any good film adaptations lately?

By Jake Myers

Film adaptations are simply works of art previously presented in another written form: novel, graphic novel, play or short story. In my opinion, 90 percent of the time, the book is better, but I love seeing the characters come to life on the big screen.

Oftentimes, adaptations are billed as such to increase ticket sales; for example, the “Harry Potter” film series by J.K. Rowling and “The Hunger Games” film series by Suzanne Collins. Recently, some good adaptations have hit the theaters that maybe you weren’t aware were adaptations.

“The Girl with All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey was released on film (2017) with the same name and was directed by Colm McCarthy. I would recommend both the book and the film. M.R. Carey also wrote the screenplay and the film is currently available on Amazon Prime.

I would also recommend “The Shack” (2017), directed by Stuart Hazeldine and written by William P. Young, and “Silence” (2016), directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Shūsaku Endō. I have read “The Shack,” which was very good, but I have not read “Silence.”

I recently saw the latest adaptation to hit the theaters. As I mentioned in my fall preview article, “Have You Seen Any Good Movies Lately,” I was all about seeing Jo Nesbø’s novel, “The Snowman,” come to life on the big screen. In fact, I waited to do this article until after I got to see the film “The Snowman” (2017) directed by Tomas Alfredson.

I was extremely disappointed. There are many missing pieces essential to the storyline and I feel the film did not present the pieces it did include, in a cohesive manner. It failed to capture everything I loved about the novel and it wasn’t gripping, suspenseful or elegant.

I heard the initial reviews of the film were bad, but I went anyway thinking having read the novel, I would be able to fill in the gaps and still enjoy the film. Unfortunately, there is very little backstory on Harry Hole, the main character who is a detective in Oslo, Norway. In fact, there is very little anything. The film is a series of cuts that don’t tell the story.

Harry Hole deserves to be presented in all of his flawed glory on the big screen. I feel like Michael Fassbender was not given the opportunity to fully represent Harry Hole. In contrast to the aforementioned, every once in a while, I view a film adaptation and feel the film elevated the story to a new level. One example is the novel “Gone Girl,” written by Gillian Flynn.

In my opinion, the film “Gone Girl” (2014), directed by David Fincher, more fully brought the characters and storyline to life. I listened to the audiobook and it was one of the worst audio performances to date for me. There were two narrators, Kirby Heyborne and Julia Whelan who portrayed the two main characters, Nick and Amy. Heyborne spoke too slowly and overacted, and I venture to say, the “awfulness and horribleness,” to quote “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (1966), of Whelan’s performance truly “will never be forgotten.”

It was all I could do to get through the novel. Fortunately, I saw the film anyway, and it really delivered. I wouldn’t suggest to not read the book, just take my word for it, and don’t buy the audiobook.

As you may have noticed, adaptations are not always made into films. Many have been made into series. Some must-sees in my opinion are: “The Walking Dead,” based on the comics by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, “Bosch,” based on the Harry Bosch detective novels by Michael Connelly, “The Night Manager,” based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré and “The Son,” based on the novel by Philipp Meyer who also produced the series.

Lastly, and a series I just finished and would wholeheartedly recommend, is “Mindhunter,” based on the novel by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. Douglas became the first criminal profiler for the FBI. Incidentally, “Mindhunter” is explicit.

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