Now I know what you’re going to say “All books are better than the film adaptions” and I would have to agree, in fact the only film I have liked better than the book was Jaws. This post will focus on some lesser known books and some probably more mainstream that I would recommend you read if you enjoyed the Film.
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
“I looked on, I thought, I reflected, I admired, in a state of stupefaction not altogether unmingled with fear!”
The intrepid Professor Liedenbrock embarks upon the strangest expedition of the nineteenth century: a journey down an extinct Icelandic volcano to the Earth’s very core. In his quest to penetrate the planet’s primordial secrets, the geologist–together with his quaking nephew Axel and their devoted guide, Hans–discovers an astonishing subterranean menagerie of prehistoric proportions.
Now I will admit to only watching the Brendan Fraiser adaption but this was enough to stop me picking the book up for years! However, after reading a few reviews, and realising that it would not be a children’s book, I decided to read the book by the man defined as “the daddy of Sci-fi.” Although I would class it as more of an adventure novel than Sci-fi I enjoyed it nonetheless.
The film adaption was stereotypical of “Hollywood” dumbing it down to make it suitable for a wider audience, and when I saw the casting I had an idea of how in depth the film would be. I will admit to enjoying the film, its an easy watch, and something that you could easily put on in the background. The book, however, was not an easy read. There were parts that I thought dragged slightly, and ill admit to some of the science going straight over my head. Nevertheless, I have read the book multiple times, and it led me to buy more of Vernes novels. They give you a great sense of adventure that I didn’t get from the film.
The character’s in the book were much more interesting than the film adaption and I got a Terry Pratchett/Monty Python feel from the book, despite it not being overly funny. The book is told from the perspective of Axel, the nephew, who reports on the thoughts and actions of the main character Professor Lidenbrock, similar to the Way Arthur Conan Doyle writes Watsons commentary on Holmes.
If you like a book to get your teeth into, full of adventure with a great narrator and main character then this is the book for you. I would also recommend some of Vernes other novels; Around the world in 80 days and 20,000 leagues under the Sea.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
“God creates dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God creates man, man kills God, man brings back dinosaurs.”
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them—for a price. Until something goes wrong. . . .
I love Jurassic Park, It is one of my all time favourite films and so felt very little need to read the book. Nevertheless, I saw it in a charity shop for 50p and couldn’t resist. Now I have to say this is one of the better book to film adaptions that I have seen, however, there were parts of the book that I felt were better which lead me to put Jurassic Park on this list.
One of the main differences from the film was the character of Dr Hammond, in the film he was portrayed as naive and ideological, however, in the book he is depicted as an egomaniac. I loved the book depiction as I felt it was more true to life, you cant build a company and create Dinosaurs without being slightly full of yourself. I was also more satisfied with the ending of the book as I feel that, with how he was portrayed, he was met with the ending that he deserved.
There were bits of the book that I struggled through, mainly Ian Malcolm’s dialogues, however, they added to the story and they haven’t stopped me from reading the book multiple times. Reading this also led me to pick up more of Crichton’s novels, including Sphere and The Lost World, which I would highly recommend.
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
“God answers all prayers, but sometimes his answer is ‘no’.”
When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol — seared into the chest of a murdered physicist — he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati… the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth.
Langdon’s worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican’s holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces he has hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.
Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even to the heart of the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair… a secret location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.
I love the Robert Langdon books by Dan Brown and Angels and Demons has to be my favourite! I was so excited when I heard they were being made into films, however, once I read the cast list and the movie plot my hopes for a great book to movie adaption were dashed. I will admit to being a stickler for casting and if someone is cast that I don’t like for a part it can put me off the film and this is what happened. I adore Tom Hanks and I love practically all of his films, however, for me he was not Robert Langdon.
This was my first sticking point, the second was the exclusion of one of the characters that was of great significance to the plot, Maximillihan Kohler, the executive director of CERN. He was a pivotol character in the plot of the book and completely left out of the film. They did manage to palm his important interactions off on other characters but this just did not have the same affect for me.
I have to admit of not really liking any of the adaptions of Dan Browns novels, however, with Angels and Demons being my favourite book this is the one I Included. I would definitely recommend the other books if you did like the movies simply because, as with any book to film adaption, they contain so much more detail and information and there’s little doubt you will not enjoy them.