Michelle Isenhoff

What's your favorite book turned movie?

My favorite book-turned-movie has to be The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
I loved all of Lewis’ Narnia books as a child (and I still do), but that first one especially resonated with me.  I was in sixth grade the first time I read it, and I ate up the magic.  I wanted to live there.  I wanted to climb in Mr. and Mrs. Beaver’s lodge, and to take tea with Mr. Tumnis.  And of course I wanted to bury my face in Aslan’s mane.  I visited often.
By sixth grade, I also had an understanding of the allegory hidden beneath the surface of the story, and I appreciated the powerful illustration of love and redemption.  So when I heard that Hollywood was turning the book into a movie, I had some valid concerns.  I figured the story would be unrecognizable.  Was I ever wrong! 
I left the theater with chills coursing down my spine.  Not only was the film a very faithful rendering of the book, they created the Narnia of my imagination down to the tiniest details!   I purchase very few movies, but I bought this one.  I’m thrilled that my kids have developed the same love for Narnia that I have.  My one (huge) regret is that they are less likely to visit the pages from whence Narnia sprang.  To rectify this, I’ve been known to pop the books into the CD player on road trips.  I hope as they grow up they’ll find as much value in the books as in the movies. 
So, what’s your favorite book-turned-movie?

What's your favorite book turned movie?

19 thoughts on “What's your favorite book turned movie?

  1. I’ve seen the Seabiscuit movie – I always like a racehorse story. (I was a huge fan of The Black Stallion by Walter Farley when I was a kid, and I’d have to say that movie still rates high on my list.) I’ve never heard of Commander. I’m curious…

    1. Master and Commander is the first of about 20 books by Patrick O’Brian in the Aubrey-Maturin series. The movie really used parts from the whole series. But these are not kid’s books.

  2. Ah, I recognize the name “Master and Commander”. Somehow I read over the “Master and…”. Wasn’t the Gladiator guy in it? (Names slip my brain.) I didn’t know it was based on a book. It looked like the kind of movie my husband would like. Maybe I’ll have to watch it with him sometime.

    1. Yes. Russell Crowe was in the movie, but the movie doesn’t capture the wonderful complexity of O’Brian’s style. I hope you enjoy watching it with your husband!

  3. OH I LOVE THIS QUESTION!! Michelle you took my favorite! The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was done so very well! So often I am crushed by what movie makers do to books I love. My favorite in the Narnia series is the Magician’s Nephew which I hear is going to be the next movie. I hope that one is done well too! Erik LOVED all the Narnia books but hasn’t seen any movies. I’ll have to make a point to show them to him. To add to the discussion I have a quirky one -The Green Mile. I am not a huge fan of Stephen King, but I really got into this story (maybe it was because it was published in a serial format). I thought the movie was exellent. I loved Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Dincan in it. I haven’t heard of Master Commander in book or movie form, I’ll have to check them out!

    1. I’ve heard of The Green Mile but I’ve never seen or read it. I bet it’s on Netflix. 🙂 I was really impressed with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, too. After two crack movies, I have high hopes for the rest of the Narnia series. Another one I really liked was Bridge to Terebithia.

  4. I never really saw the movie of a book (that I read) that I liked. Therefore, I will say that I want to see “The 39 Clues” (series or first book, I don’t care) into a movie because I LOVE the books. 😉

  5. I found the first and second 39 Clues books free on Kindle yesterday. I downloaded them, but then I noticed they said “Sneak Peek”, and I’m wondering now if they’ll just give me enough to get me hooked and make me buy the book.
    It’s true the movies are often disappointing. But your mom mentioned watching the Narnia movies with you. Take her up on it!! 🙂

  6. I think that’s what those sneak peeks are – just to get you interrested. I want to see the Narnia movies! Our TV has been broken for like 3 months and for some reason my parents really aren’t in a hurry to replace it. I have to work on that….

  7. Two VERY good pieces of news:
    I can’t wait to see “The Magician’s Nephew” (the VERY first Narnia book) turned into a movie [there’s been rumors of that…] or at least watch “The Voyage of The Dawn Treader” {my favorite Narnia book}!
    *It was AWESOME!!! We were just talking about how the book/movie is related to what Christians believe. But why were there fauns, centaurs, cyclops, minotaurs, unicorns, griffons, etc. in it? It’s really odd how they’re in the book/movie when it’s related to Christians, right?

  8. Wasn’t LWW awesome?! I didn’t like Caspian as much, but I loved the Dawn Treader. I can’t wait for the others!
    You bring up an excellent point about why Lewis included paganism in his “Christian” book. First, it wasn’t originally intended to be a Christian book, but rather simply a children’s fantasy. But when he stumbled onto his idea for Aslan, it took that direction. And even when it was finished, he often said the series wasn’t intended to be allegorical, but open for anyone to read into it what they will.
    However, Lewis also saw paganism as a forerunner to Christianity. Meaning a pagan is more likely to become a Christian than someone irreligious. So he obviously didn’t hesitate to incude pagan images. (See the Lewis quote at the end.)*
    Also, I’ve read that Lewis follows the form of the “monomyth”, which I don’t know too much about, but it seems that it’s a hero story, like Beowulf or Gilgamesh or the Illiad, that includes elements of religion. From what I understand, the Irish at least had Christian monomyths, and Narnia is sometimes compared to them. Lewis, I’ve been told, was well read in such literature, and may have copied the style, feeling free to include mythical elements. ???
    So, I for one, think Narnia must be seen primarily as a fun fantasy, not as an evangelistic piece. It’s ENTERTAINMENT. But the fact that I see my faith reflected in its pages is certainly a bonus. 🙂
    *”When grave persons express their fear that England is relapsing into Paganism, I am tempted to reply, ‘Would that she were.’ For I do not think it at all likely that we shall ever see Parliament opened by the slaughtering of a garlanded white bull in the House of Lords or Cabinet Ministers leaving sandwiches in Hyde Park as an offering for the Dryads.If such a state of affairs came about, then the Christian apologist would have something to work on. For a Pagan, as history shows, is a man eminently convertible to Christianity. He is essentially the pre-Christian, or sub-Christian, religious man.” – CS Lewis in his essay “Is Theism Important?”

  9. Thought of another favorite movie – the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They maintain the spirit of the books fabulously. The two things I do NOT like about the movies are the high percentage of battle scenes as compared to the book – they’re overdone – and the length. When I start hitting two hours, my butt falls asleep. Three hours and the rest of me follows. So to solve this, and to make it kid-friendly, I simply jump over most of the battle scenes. Cuts it right down to stay-awake length.
    I’m anticipating “The Hobbit” movies currently in production. The first is due out next December. The second a year later.

  10. It think Lewis is saying that someone who practices a religion is more likely to become a Christian than someone who doesn’t care about religion at all. And that would be my guess as to why he included pagan mythology. Well, and because it’s a fantasy and he COULD include it if he wanted to. It does make for a great story. 🙂

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