My Top 5 Print-to-Film Adaptations

Who made the leap off of the page and survived intact?

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By Nemesys - 6/26/2010
Which movies have made the most successful transition from their written form, be it comic book or novel, to the big screen? This is my first shot at an article, true-believers, so be kind if you would.

We're blessed to live in a golden age of CBM's, with their frequency and quality increasing every year. I can remember sitting in my buddy's room as a kid, playing a little D&D, and coming up with our own fan casts for movies like the X-Men, never really thinking I would see it realized. I mean sure, we had the Superman movies, but a comic like X-Men? We wanted to see people like Mel Gibson play Wolverine, Grace Jones play Storm, Dolph Lundgren as Colossus, and Yul Brynner as Prof. X (this was the mid-80's mind you). So we waited, and waited, and waited for an X-Men movie, and FINALLY we got our wish...or so we thought.

Now don't get me wrong, I was as geeked as the next comic fan when "X-Men" came out. However, as happy as I was that it was finally made, and not a bad movie overall: it just wasn't what I read growing up (damn FOX!!). This is my example of a not very successful leap to the silver screen, in the sense of a pure, source material-driven adaptation. It made gobs of money, but was it really what we fan boys really wanted to see? Not so much.

Recently there has been a lot more movies that are more accurate representations of print, not just in the comic world, but in fantasy as well. These have been done "right," being very close to what was seen on the page, or in the mind's eye in the case of novels. My top 5 print-to-film adaptations are as follows:


5. Iron Man

Although some minor changes were needed to modernize the story & settings. "Iron Man" got the spirit of Tony Stark's journey into the superhero world pretty well, appealing to the masses as well as the fan-boys.



4. The Harry Potter series

Very close to the novels, yet at three hours long, these movies still leave out too much from the books. Relationships get glazed over, memorable scenes omitted, delted altogether or left on the cutting room floor (Dumbledore's funeral, for example. I couldn't wait to see how they did that on screen, but it never even made it into the movie).



3. The Lord of The Rings trilogy

See comments for # 4. But still a visual spectacle, spot on to what I saw in my mind's eye from the pages of Tolkien.



2. Watchmen

Were there any changes, really?



1. 300

Leapt off the graphic novel's page...literally!! 'Nuff Said!


Let me know what your thoughts are.

Nemesys - There can be only one!!
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12 Comments
Nemesys - 6/26/2010, 4:12 PM
First-blocker!
CorndogBurglar - 6/26/2010, 6:00 PM
@ Nemesys

there were definitely changes in Watchmen, but not anything that really mattered. except maybe no squid, but that didn't hurt the film, in fact i think it was a BETTER ending in the movie.

in the comic, the squid appeared in the city, and then promptly exploded. big deal. it would have been one thing if they had to fight it or something, but they didn't. making the explosion come from Dr. Manhattan's power makes more sense. the general public was already unsure of Dr. Manhattan's intentions, so when they saw his power signature in the explosion, it was very easy for everyone to turn on him.

it was a much better plan than making the masses think some extra-dimensional monster just happened to appear in our world, and kamikaze the shit out of everyone.

and they both served the same purpose, it got the countries of the world to unite against a false enemy.

so were there changes? yeah, but the biggest change actually strengthened the movie, imo. :)
CorndogBurglar - 6/26/2010, 6:08 PM
also, Sin City deserves to be up there. maybe more than Harry Potter or LOTR. not that those don't deserve a place either, though.
marvelguy - 6/26/2010, 6:08 PM
Good first timer! Maybe more accurately stated movies that left the least out.
The Iron Man movies certainly merged several "chapters," but did so in an entertaining and endearing manner.
The others of which I am not as familiar, but maybe your next article could be: best adaptations with the most liberties taken?
I would say I've only read a couple issues of "Hellboy," yet I feel like visually the movie was dead-on. The first one meandered in plot, but the second was really fun.
peterparker420 - 6/26/2010, 7:58 PM
I agre with CDB..SIN CITY should be up there..

I don't care WHAT people say the Harry Potter filmes
were and are AWESOME!..I can't wait for
"Deathly Hollows: part 1"..Maybe I like them so much,
because I NEVER read the books..The Goblet of Fire was
the BEST!

300 is in my top 5 CBM list..It is actually #2
(Sin City being #1)

Anyway great job!!
Denn1s - 6/27/2010, 3:46 AM
as for 300 don't forget that there was a MAJOR change. in the comic we never saw what happened with the queen during the battle.except for that it was spot on. sin city is #1.
Nemesys - 6/27/2010, 6:21 AM
I must admit, I never read Sin City. Loved the movie, but no frame of reference for the purpose of this article. I'll take you guy's word for it.
marvel72 - 6/27/2010, 8:59 AM
top 5 comic adaptions that are almost spot on to the source material that they are based on.
1.the watchmen
2.300
3.sin city
4.kick ass
5.iron man
my favorite comic movies
1.the watchmen
2.the dark knight
3.x-men 2
4.spider-man 2
5.iron man
Kyos - 6/28/2010, 12:35 AM
It's "Watchmen"...
ROMACK - 6/28/2010, 2:40 PM
Hey Nemesys. Very tight list, but CDB is spot on about Watchmen and Sin City. Very well done article dude!
marvelguy - 6/29/2010, 12:20 AM
I guess I'm the only one who found "Watchmen" a tad boring. Best scene: Rorshach in prison telling the other prisoners they're lock in with him. Right out of the book!
OdinsBeard - 6/30/2010, 10:36 AM
CDB@ i agree. the movie ending for watchmen was better than the comic ending by a long shot.


wonder how alan moore feels about that... i'll take a stab at disgruntled and bitter

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