Tag: Best

The 5 Best Adaptations of 2020 (and the 5 Worst)

As we come to the end of the year, it is always a lot of fun to see which of our favorite books made it to the big screen and how they panned out. However, one major setback of 2020 was that with the pandemic, we lost out on a lot of the adaptations we were supposed to get. Luckily we still got enough to satisfy our bookish cravings (and to make these lists) so while we wait patiently for more adaptations to come in 2021, let’s take a look back at the five best and five worst of 2020.

 

 

the five best

 

5. The Call of the Wild

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

Part of me wanted to put this on the “five worst” list, because of how far away from Jack London’s original tone and voice this movie strays, but my heart seems to always hold true with Disney. This was never a book that should have been picked up by Disney, but if you can remove yourself from being a literary purist and look at the movie with fresh eyes, it’s actually quite enjoyable. The CGI Buck can easily melt your heart; plus, we get to see this adorable pup next to the legendary Harrison Ford.

 

Original: The Call of the Wild by Jack London

 

4. The Witches

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

The Witches came under fire upon its release due to the portrayal of the witches’ hands, so it can’t break top three on our list, but its accuracy to the Roald Dahl classic still lands it a spot in the top five. In addition to the faithfulness to the 1983 book, the casting was also done excellently. Stanley Tucci has never disappointed me in a role, and this is no exception. Anne Hathaway seemed to channel her inner Miranda Priestly, and Octavia Spencer’s warmth radiates off the screen.

 

Original: The Witches by Roald Dahl

 

 

3. The Kissing Booth 2

 

IMAGE VIA WIKIPEDIA

 

To address the elephant in the room: yes, the first one was definitely better. On the other hand, though, we can’t deny that the sequel gives us everything we could have hoped to get out of it. The Kissing Booth 2 is a quirky, happy rom-com that might not accurately portray college but it does accurately portray the difficulty in picking one. Plus, how could I not include a Jacob Elordi movie on the top 5 list?

 

Original: The Kissing Booth 2: Going the Distance by Beth Reekles

 

2. Emma

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

Before I can say anything else, let me just say this: Bill Nighy. I could not image anybody else playing Emma’s father, the crazy Mr. Woodhouse. I have liked Bill Nighy since Love Actually, I have loved him since About Time, and now I love him even more from being perfectly casted in a Jane Austen adaptation. Besides him, though, the casting was perfect all around and the movie itself portrayed the complicated world of Jane Austen love stories excellently.

 

Original: Emma by Jane Austen

 

 

1. Invisible Man

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

Normally I am not a huge fan of modernizing classic tales, but this adaptation completely blew me out of my seat. It was the last movie I saw in theaters before everything got shut down and I cannot put into words how happy I am that I got to experience it in that setting. My heart was pounding the entire time, there were just a few healthy plot twists for the movie to maintain a firm grasp on my attention, and I always love seeing Elizabeth Moss being a hardcore, “don’t mess with me,” leading actress.

 

Original: The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

 

 

the five worst

 

5. Dolittle

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

For me, it’s hard to watch another adaptation of Doctor Dolittle when we just had the Eddie Murphy ones from the late nineties/early 2000s. Critics didn’t love it, but I grew up with those movies, so Robert Downey Jr. had some large shoes to fill nonetheless. Despite the star-studded cast, it just fell flat. The CGI animals didn’t look great and at times they were nearly as creepy as the cast in Cats. The storyline was also messy and unentertaining, only fit for an incredibly young audience that needs constant stimulation.

 

Original: Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

 

4. Artemis Fowl

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

Unfortunately, Artemis Fowl is another children’s book gone wrong when it comes to its screen adaptation. Artemis Fowl was worse than Dolittle, though, because Kenneth Branah and his team tried to cram two books into one movie. Why is Josh Gad narrating every single thing in the movie (and I mean things you can and should already understand to be happening, and do not at all need a narrator to point out to you). The casting did not match up with the characters well, but the plot itself is a mess anyway so at that point it doesn’t matter.

 

Original: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

 

 

3. Rebecca

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

This is another movie where I actually was not sure if I loved it enough to put it on the top five list or hated it enough to put it on the bottom five one instead. However, I will always find myself biased towards previous screen adaptations that I’ve loved already for years. The best-selling novel was brought to the big screen in 1940 by Alfred Hitchcock and would garner him the only Oscar he would ever receive, despite his timeless and legendary portfolio. I enjoyed the most-recent adaptation (and I especially enjoyed Armie Hammer/Armie Hammer with Lily James), but who in their right mind ever thought they could do better than Hitchcock?

 

Original: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

 

2. The Turning

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

This adaptation was honestly just bad. There are no other words for it. If you don’t know anything about the Henry James gothic classic, maybe you can find it to be a somewhat decent horror film, but even so it leaves much to disappoint. Liberties were taken too far to create a new and different narrative than that of The Turn of the Screw. The ending was also completely botched; supposed to be left open to interpretation but instead left me feeling like I wasted my time. All I had to show for the hour and forty minutes I spent watching it was one lousy headache.

 

Original: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 

 

1. Wonder Woman 1984

 

IMAGE VIA IMDB

 

I admit, this is a stretch to be included on the adaptation list, since it is a movie that was simply inspired by comic books and the storyline has very little to do with the comics themselves. However, there were a few things that made it from the comic books to the big screen; some of which went well and some of which did not. One that did not bode well is the explanation of the Golden Eagle armor, despite the fact I surprisingly like its origin story better in the movie. I believe the opening scene of Diana as a child was supposed to link to why she could wear the armor later on, but that’s my best bet given the fact the scene never came back into conversation. Realistically, that scene could have been eliminated entirely and the movie would have been better off. The duration of the movie is so unnecessarily long and if the opening doesn’t explain anything anyway, then what is the point in keeping it? Besides the pointless and dragged out opening and the failed explanation for how the armor came to be in Diana’s possession, the overall story was just stupid. Sure, it was entertaining and I was happy to see Gal Gadot back as Wonder Woman (and with Chris Pine by her side, somehow no longer dead). However, I had higher expectations for the sequel I have been waiting three years for.

 

Original: Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston

 

 

FEATURED IMAGES VIA IMDB

 

The Top 5 Best Wizards in Fantasy Literature

Wizards are a classic staple of fantasy literature and it’s easy to see why these characters have been fascinating readers forever. From the classic image of the wizard as an old man in a pointy hat to more modern interpretations, wizards endure thanks to their varied abilities, cool characterizations, and usage to explore the fantasy realms they inhabit. But who are some of the best?

 

Here are top five of the coolest and best wizards (in our opinion) of fantasy literature.

 

5. The Crimson King from The Dark Tower

 

The Crimson King, a figure in a red robe, features hidden, sits on a throne of skulls with a crumpled form sitting before him
IMAGE VIA STEPHEN KING WIKI

Not all wizards are good. Many throughout literature have been downright evil, with the classic image of an evil sorcerer becoming a well known fixture of various novels. No villains of this caliber have become as far reaching as The Crimson King, the main villain of The Dark Tower and indeed, Stephen King’s literary universe. Introduced as a powerful and mysterious embodiment of evil, the Crimson King’s influence is felt across multiple universes, where he controls others to do his bidding. He appears as the dark force setting in motion the novels Insomnia and Black Housebefore he is properly revealed to behind the destruction of the Beams in The Dark Tower universe which holds reality together, plotting to rule the chaos that will follow.

The Crimson King takes many forms throughout Stephen King’s novels, appearing as Satan, a handsome young man, and withered old man with crimson eyes. He is the ultimate evil and although his powers are not explicit, it is known that he uses mind control to keep his men in line, as well as probably being a shapeshifter.

 

4. Rastilin Majere from Dragonlance

 

Rastilin, a wizard, stands before an open window as lightning flashes behind him
IMAGE VIA TOPTENZ

Dragonlance by Tracey and Margaret Hickman is basically a Dungeons and Dragons campaign chronicled in novel form. Rastilin Majere fulfills the common characteristics of a classic wizard but he’s much more dark and ambiguous in his loyalties than his fellow party members. Although physically extremely weak owing to a traumatic upbringing and his magical usage, Rastilin is extremely intelligent and adept with his extensive knowledge of sorcery.

He’s ruthless in his pursuit of power, viewing others as mere tools and is characterized as arrogant, egoistical, yet possessing his own strange code of honor. He’s a fascinating character, instantly hatable yet strangely complex. This status as a fan favorite earned him the starring role of Dragonlance Legendsfollowing him from his own twisted point of view.

 

3. Harry Potter from The Harry Potter Series

 

Harry Potter stands in front of a blank background, glasses on

Image Via Harry Potter wiki

Harry Potter is one of the most enduring protagonists of young adult literature, made famous by the books and the movies to become a pop culture icon. Harry Potter himself is a great character, at once being a relatable POV character while also giving way to more nuanced characterization as the series goes on. We get to grow up with Harry, showcasing his uneasy steps into adulthood as he deals with mundane terrors such as schoolwork, girls, and bullies while the looming threat of Voldemort, who he is destined to destroy, looms ever on the horizon.

Harry Potter has flaws despite his Chosen One status, such as his temper and impulsive behavior, not helped by the pressure he’s under almost constantly. It makes him a hero for a generation, being just a regular kid thrust into the wizarding world to destroy the Dark Lord.

 

2. Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings

 

Gandalf, the robed wizard with a staff, stands with a fierce expression
IMAGE VIA LORD OF THE RINGS WIKI

The Lord of the Rings set the standard for fantasy literature in many ways and it provided the classic image of a wizard whom many draw inspiration from: Gandalf. Gandalf himself was inspired by Merlin, the iconic wizard of King Arthur’s round table. Gandalf is in truth (secretly) more akin to an angel than a wizard, he is a Maiar, servants of the universe’s counterpart to God, sent to Middle-earth in human form to aid the mortal races. Gandalf is forbidden to use his true power, so he nudges everyone forward in more subtle ways, getting them to work together and using his wisdom as their guide. Gandalf perishes in the first book of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but returns to life and is sent back to help the heroes as Gandalf the White, reborn with greater power and given permission to use (some) of his magic more explicitly. Gandalf, despite his wisdom, is often short tempered, mischievous, and sarcastic but considering all the Hobbits he has to put off, it makes sense that he’s a little stressed.

 

1. Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files

 

The wizard Harry Dresden clutches a staff covered in runes before a raging storm
IMAGE VIA PININTEREST

The Dresden Files chronicles the adventures of Harry Dresden, a modern day detective based out of Chicago, only he’s both a wizard and tackles supernatural cases. Working as a consultant for the Chicago PD, Harry tackles everything from werewolves to vampires to evil fairies to skin walkers. Harry’s life is a bit of a mess, as he’s generally anti-social, has bad luck with women, and suffers more and more with each book. Yet, he’s a hilarious protagonist, commenting on everything from a very meta point of view and making references to comic books to movies throughout his intense fights. Wielding all sorts of spells that he conjures with Latin words, not to mention magical items and allies, Harry builds up an impressive resume as he solves case after case, each one tougher than the last.

Who are some of your favorite wizards? Let us know in the comments!

 

Featured Image Via Lord of the Rings Wiki

 

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