BOOKS ON SCREEN: Bron’s Favourite Fantasy Movie Adaptations

by |March 21, 2019

Welcome back friends!

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic start to the year (of course you have, just look at all the incredible books that have come out already)!

As you might remember, back in January I ran you through my favourite fantasy TV adaptations. There were so many to choose from and this time around it was no different…

Below, you will see that I’ve done my best to choose my favourite fantasy movie adaptations… and, gosh guys, it was hard.

Without further ado, here they are!

Books-to-Movie: Stardust

by Neil Gaiman

Let me just start by saying that Stardust is my favourite adaptation of all time. I was lucky enough to meet the incredible Neil Gaiman himself and tell him that to his face.

This is a story of pure adventure and I’ve loved it for a long time, so you can imagine my excitement when a movie adaptation suddenly emerged. You can also imagine my delight upon discovering that the movie was just as epic as the book was!

Where do I even begin? The cast. THE CAST! Charlie Cox and Claire Danes are our lead characters Tristan and Yvaine, but you’ve got an endless list of mega-stars acting alongside them. Peter O’Toole, Mark Strong, Michelle Pfeiffer, David Walliams (it is him, I checked), Rupert Everett, Robert De Niro (playing the incredible Captain Shakespeare!), Sienna Miller, Ben Barnes, Nathaniel Parker, Mark Williams (why, hello, Mr Weasley), Ricky Gervais… and to top it off, the movie is narrated by Sir Ian McKellen.

What’s next? The music, of course, from Ilan Eshkeri! This soundtrack sends shivers up my spine whenever I listen to it (I’ll give you three guesses as to what I’m listening to right now).

I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t even told you what it’s about! Basically, you’ve got sweet, innocent, doe-eyed Tristan (Charlie Cox)… who is in love with this horrid girl called Victoria (nothing against you Sienna Miller). One night they see a falling star. In order to convince Victoria to marry him, he vows to retrieve the star for her, which means he must cross the forbidden wall into the magical realm of Stormhold.

When he arrives to retrieve the fallen star, he discovers not a clump of celestial rock, but a feisty woman – Yvaine (Claire Danes). She’s fallen from the sky and needs to get home. He promises to help her return to the sky after he brings her to meet his ‘one true love’ (vomit), and much mischief ensues.

I think I’ve gone on long enough about Stardust, so I don’t want to say much more. I do feel compelled to leave you on this final gif of my favourite character: Captain Shakespeare!

Check out Stardust (the book) here.
Check out Stardust (the DVD) here.

Books-to-Movie: Peter Pan

Peter Pan
by J.M. Barrie

Close second! Really, really close second! Peter Pan has probably been the story I’ve loved the longest.

Now I know you’ve all seen the cartoon. It’s definitely a lot of fun and has a great sing-along soundtrack. However, I’m going to focus on the live-action movie from 2003.

I was about 12 when I saw this and… I admit I kind of fell in love with Jeremy Sumpter, who plays Peter. It’s such a fun and magical film – because it’s such a fun and magical story! Of course, you all know how it ends. After all, all children grow up, except one…

Still it’s a wild ride while it lasts! Jason Isaacs plays two characters – Mr Darling and Captain Hook. This is an iconic story that has touched the hearts of countless children since it was written by J.M. Barrie well-over a hundred years ago.

Tinkerbell, The Lost Boys, the ticking crocodile, Tiger Lily, Neverland, second star to the right and… (finish it for me)!

Here’s something that’s kind of sad: most people I’ve met have never read Peter Pan. They’ve seen the cartoon, and maybe the live action movie, but they’ve never picked up the book! Please, pick it up! It’s a mind-bending read, and Peter is so much more interesting in the book itself.

Check out Peter Pan (the book) here.
Check out Peter Pan (the DVD) here.

Books-to-Movie: Howl's Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones

Let me just put it out there: Diana Wynee Jones is a genius! Howl’s Moving Castle is so unique and incredible. This is a love-story wrapped up in adventure, humour, and so much heart. The movie adaptation is just as fantastic – with a killer soundtrack and wonderful graphics.

Our main character Sophie has always been plain, shy and a little lost. After a run-in with Howl – a notorious wizard without a heart – she is unwittingly swept up in his world. Not by Howl, though. The evil Witch of the Waste has got it in for Howl and thinks that Sophie is her ticket. So what does this witch do? She curses Sophie by turning her into an old lady, who then leaves home in search of the one place that might hold the answers to break the curse: Howl’s moving castle.

Sophie is a fantastic character and brings life, zest and passion back to a house that is as lost as it’s owner (and she makes for a hilarious old lady). Howl is dark, moody and a lil’ bit crazy, and let’s not forget the rest of the mismatched household. My favourite is Calcifer, a fire demon who is currently confined to the hearth and has an unmatchable wit.

Check out Howl’s Moving Castle (the book) here.
Check out Howl’s Moving Castle (the DVD) here.

Books-to-Movie: The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story
by Michael Ende

This movie is my childhood! This is one of those instances where I saw the movie before I read the book, but I’m just so glad that this story even exists.

This is a tale that gets you thinking. It’s a story within a story… and I often wonder if there is someone reading a book of me reading The Neverending Story as Bastian also reads it and… it’s a little mind-boggling.

Our main character is Bastian, a scared and reserved kid
mourning the loss of his mother, who steals an old book called The Neverending Story and decides to ditch school to read it. He is swept up in the magical world of Fantastica and gets very invested in the adventure of Atreyu and his horse Artax (*cries*), who is on a mission to save the world. Soon enough, Bastian realises that this isn’t any ordinary book. He becomes a character of the book itself who is to play a key part in saving Fantastica.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer, and you’ll definitely cry. This is one adventure you won’t want to miss.

Check out The Neverending Story (the book) here.
Check out The Neverending Story (the DVD) here.

Books-to-Movie: The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia
by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic fantasy series that has enchanted readers for decades… and I’m no exception. Definitely pick up the books and have a read, but let’s not forget the movie!

Sadly, they didn’t make the whole series into movies but I do believe there is a Netflix adaptation on the way.

The first movie is The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. In case you are one of the few people on the planet who know nothing about this series, here’s the gist: there is a magical land called Narnia and you get there by going through this one particular wardrobe.

At least, that’s how it goes in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This is a story with many layers, as it revolves around four siblings who are sent away to the countryside during WWII. Basing part of the story on real-life events settled this fantasy story in reality for me. Watching the movie, I feel the constant threat and sadness that surrounds WWII and seeing the effects it has on the siblings is very upsetting at times.

Lucy, the youngest sibling, finds the magical land of Narnia when she hides inside a wardrobe during a game of hide-and-seek. Her other siblings don’t believe her at first, but when Edmund, Susan and Peter all eventually stumble into Narnia, it’s hard to deny what they see.

Soon they discover that Narnia is in the middle of its own war and the siblings didn’t just accidentally come to be in Narnia. There is a prophecy that involves the four of them. Not only are they destined to defeat the evil White Witch, they are also the rightful and long-awaited Kings and Queens of Narnia.

One of my favourite lines is when Susan passionately exclaims: “Mum sent us away so we wouldn’t get caught up in a war.”

It’s quite confronting at times to watch these four children preparing for and fighting in a battle. They make a lot of mistakes along the way but this is a beautiful story full of important lessons.

The soundtrack is, again, one of my favourite parts of the movie – not to mention a brilliant cast and unforgettable story.

Check out The Chronicles of Narnia (the books) here.
Check out The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (the DVD) here.

Books-to-Movie: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

I have so much love for The Princess Bride! It is funny, smart, witty, heart-warming, and full of adventure. The book is a lot more meta than the movie and has more detail, but this endearing movie is definitely one of my all-time favourites.

It is my goal to one day cosplay as Inigo Montoya and say his famous line again and again to every single person I meet.

This is a tale of star-crossed lovers: beautiful Buttercup and farmer boy Westley. Things just keep getting in their way. Westley leaves to make his fortune and Buttercup vows never to love another. But then Westley is killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, while our heartbroken Buttercup has drawn the attention of Prince Humperdinck.

This is an epic fairytale full of poison, revenge, giants, snazzy one-liners, torture, giant rats, and, of course, true love.

Check out The Princess Bride (the book) here.
Check out The Princess Bride (the DVD) here.

Books-to-Movie: Harry Potter

Harry Potter
by J.K. Rowling

I feel like this is almost unnecessary: to state that I love Harry Potter. But I do. Just like millions of other people in this world, Harry Potter has made a huge impact on my life.

If you are one of the few people who haven’t read the books but have only seen the movies, please read the books. They are so much more detailed than the movies. In saying that, the Harry Potter movies are fantastic and I love all eight of them.

If I had to choose a favourite book/movie – it would be number three: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but I will happily watch any of them at any time.

J.K. Rowling changed the world when she wrote Harry Potter. I was lucky enough to be part of the generation that grew up with it, and it inspired me to read from a young age. J.K. Rowling’s mind is unfathomable. She redefined the word ‘magic’ when she wrote of Quidditch and Boggarts, Butterbeer, and Marauders.

Just in case you have never read or watched this series, here’s a little breakdown. Wizards and witches exist in our world, but they keep their existence a secret from non-magic folk. Harry Potter spent the first eleven years of his life knowing nothing of his magical background and living with his horrible aunt and uncle. But on his eleventh birthday, he receives an invitation to study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Needless to say he’s a tad surprised to find out he’s a wizard, even more so to discover that his parents didn’t die in a car crash. They were, in fact, murdered by an evil wizard.

Nothing can keep this series down – it never dies off, never gets old. A whole new generation of readers are becoming just as obsessed (and who can blame them!)

This isn’t just a story: this is a whole world. A world that J.K. Rowling created for us to live and thrive in.

Check out Harry Potter (the series) here.
Check out Harry Potter (the DVD) here.

Books-to-Movie: The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Here’s another one that is no surprise to anyone. The Lord of the Rings is the perfect example of epic fantasy. J.R.R. Tolkien spent decades writing this series – creating a rich history, languages, backstories, twists and turns – and it all paid off! This is one of the biggest stories ever.

The books are massive but if epic fantasy is your thing, you won’t regret delving into them. After you’ve done that, definitely watch the movies! The cinematography, soundtrack, acting and graphics are all incredible – making the Lord of the Rings movies a staple in many households.

This is another story where I would be surprised if you knew nothing about but just for the sake of it: this is a world of elves, dwarves, hobbits, talking trees… you name it.

In his quest to rule all of Middle-earth, the Dark Lord Sauron plans to gather all the Rings of Power but he is missing the most important one of all… the One Ring. Enter our Fellowship of the Ring: the people who have made the very brave decision to travel with the One Ring to Mordor in order to destroy it and save Middle-earth from Sauron.

This is a tale of true-friendship, Frodo and Sam’s ‘bromance’ is one of the most iconic friendships in anything, ever. Not to mention the rest of the gang: from serious to funny; brave to cowardly, this is one quest that challenges each and every character in a different way, and it is fascinating to watch them all grow and change over the course of the story.

Check out The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (the book) here.
Check out The Lord of the Rings (the DVD) here.

Do you have a favourite fantasy book-to-screen adaptation? Tell us in the comments!

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About the Contributor

Before entering the exciting world of books, Bronwyn served in the Royal Australian Air Force, travelled extensively and worked (still does!) as a barista on the weekends. Books are her true passion. Bronwyn's debut fantasy novel Relic is coming out in 2019 with indie publishing house Talem Press. They are to publish her entire trilogy called The Relic Trilogy. In her spare time, Bronwyn writes, reads and enjoys keeping fit (which she undoes by eating loads of chocolate) with Martial Arts and personal training. She can't answer what her favourite book is but she has a soft spot for Peter Pan (J.M Barrie), Outlander (Diana Gabaldon), Stardust (Neil Gaiman), The Illuminae Files (Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman) and Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo). Fantasy, sci-fi and YA make up the majority of her bookshelves.


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