When a studio in Hollywood snatches up your favorite book, I think you die a little inside. How many fantastic novels have been rewritten, gutted, misrepresented, and utterly destroyed in their big screen adaptations? Too many to count, right? You could probably devote a film blog to documenting them all. But every once and awhile, a movie comes along that is actually better than the book. It's rare, but it does happen. As we have a fair number of film and book fans browsing our fair site, I'd like to know which adaptations you think make this elusive category.

I'll give you two of my own to start -- and I'll probably cause a flame war just for my opinions on T.H. White. I'm a medievalist at heart, and a junkie for the fantasy genre, who eagerly picked up a copy of The Once and Future King one summer as a break from studying Old and Middle English. I thought it was a crime I hadn't read it, since I do own multiple copies of the Morte d'Arthur and promised my professor I would read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the North Midlands dialect someday.

I expected to be blown away, to sneer at Disney's milquetoast adaptation, and put it there alongside my umpteen copies of Chaucer. Instead, I could barely get past the cat boiling, the threats against Questing Beasts and hedgehogs, and the blatant misogyny. (Guinevere is a basket case because she can't have kids!) Disney's The Sword and the Stone may not be my favorite film, it may not even rank among the greats of animation, but it's better than The Once and Future King -- if only because it lacks cat torture and misogyny. (It does, however, lack Robin Hood, which is the highest point of White's novel for me.)

categories Cinematical