Yes, making a book into a movie is a tricky process: one fraught with minefields that fanatics let everyone know about the second they see the dirt mound.
One way to think about it is that they are two different mediums and thus require different parameters to be judged upon, not just loyalty to the book, but response as a creator in a new time.
In saying this, there have been some truly unfaithful adaptations (I’m looking at you Eragon) and adaptations that barely resemble the original source material, but have found a place in all our hearts (Tangled, thank you. I don’t know how Disney could have pulled off eyes blinded by thorns and Rapunzel knocked up with twins).
It’s my privilege to highlight some movies you can watch with literature you can read at their bones.
For twice the fun and filling up time.
1. Around the World in 80 Days (1956, 1989, 2004)
Based on the book Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours by Jules Verne.
Can promise viewings of wild west gunfight on a train and meat pies.
1956 - This film has everything you want in a 50’s movie: fantastic set, brilliant stunts, and a compelling plot. It also has the 50’s Hollywood trademark of using Anglo-Saxon persons in ethnic roles! Don’t worry, this changes in the following adaptions.
This movie pioneered the use of cameos by actors in films, so you have it to thank for seeing Hugh Jackman in X-Men: First Class, and Stan Lee in every Marvel movie ever.
Faithfulness to book: 8/10 Entertainment
Value: 9.5/10 as confirmed by my cat.
1989 - Pierce Brosnan and Eric Idle. Need I say more? While technically a miniseries, I treat it as a three part movie as its all the same story. It covers a lot of ground, and despite a slightly different route to get around the world, it works well.
Faithfullness to book: 7/10.Entertainment Value: 10/10 as confirmed by me, James Bond and Monty Python fan.
2004 - Yeah, this flat out doesn’t follow the book outside of premise and characters. BUT! We do have steampunk aesthetics and the Wright brothers, which supremely shifts the point in time that they are circumnavigating the globe. We do have to consider that the audience for this film was considerably younger, and 8-year-old me can confirm that I borrowed this from Videoezy more times than I will admit. It also deals with colonialism and the issues surrounding the British Museum at a kid’s level, as well as placing women in roles that Jules Verne did not. Horace Slughorn also makes an appearance.
Faithfulness to book: 3/10
Entertainment Value: 9/10