I tend to be one of those really annoying people who go to see a film and come out telling whoever is unfortunate to be with me exactly all the reasons that the book was different and BETTER.
I try not to be too obnoxious, especially if said person tells me that they liked the film, but I do stew for a while in my own self-righteous juices. I tell you this because I want you to know that you shouldn’t take it lightly therefore when I admit a film is better than a book. It happens so rarely to me and I thought it was so weird that three of that small group should be about princesses, I should write something to draw attention to it. So here, for once, are three movie recommendations you should check out.
1. A Little Princess
This is the oldest book on the list, written by the same author as the much more famous The Secret Garden. The book hasn’t aged particularly well, in my opinion, and it’s pretty depressing, especially for a kid’s book. The story centres on Sarah, a girl brought up by her father after her mother dies. There’s some war (I can’t remember which) and Sarah is sent to school in America. Spoiler alert, her father dies, and Sarah is reduced to a life of servitude. It all comes out well enough in the end, but I wasn’t very impressed.
The film, on the other hand, is much more optimistic and it looks amazing. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, he of Prisoner of Azkaban and Gravity fame, it is a magical piece of film. Sarah’s life is sumptuous, and the New York aesthetic is almost as good. Add in some great performances – a young Liam Cunningham as Sarah’s father shows his Davos stripes years before Game of Thrones – and a heart rending but definitely happier ending and you’ve got a film I would gladly watch every day.
2. The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride is an eighties cult classic, a Rob Reiner film that is the one movie I would force people to sit down and watch. Fans of this film – and I include myself here – can quote this masterpiece word for word and if you haven’t seen it yet, drop everything in your life and watch it now. It’s a comic fantasy, a work of art and full of characters you will have no choice but to love.
I adored the film so much that I, of course, tried the book. Written by William Goldman, I had high hopes. I would like to be able to provide a good critique of the book here but I can’t, because quite frankly it is unintelligible. There could possibly have been a story, but I didn’t find it. For me, personally, another insult to injury was the very small part played by Inigo Montoya AKA your new favourite character. What baffles me is that Goldman wrote the screenplay for the movie and managed to do an infinitely better job with it than he did the novel. It turns out he could tell the story after all.
3. The Princess Diaries
This is the film that I expect most of you will have seen, along with the even more perfect Princess Diaries 2. Where’s my Queen Diaries movie, is a question I ask myself every single day.
Anyway, you’ll be familiar with Anne Hathaway and her hair in this film, as well as Julie Andrews as her impossibly classy and fabulous grandma. I’ve never met a human who dislikes this film and you happen to be one then you can just go now.
A lot of people my age had read the books before they saw the films, so maybe I was spoiled in coming to the books afterwards, but I didn’t enjoy them at all. Queen Clarisse was mean, like really mean, with no Julie Andrews twinkle. Joseph, the Inigo Montoya of this movie, is a totally different character and not that nice either.
I can safely say that if I had read these books first, I wouldn’t have watched the movie and that would be a giant loss.
So do you agree with me, or are you a straight up Meg Cabot fan? Are there any movies you think are better than the books? I won’t even try and fight you, if you can give me a good enough reason!
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