What are great films made from terrible books
11 classic children's films based on books!
Ah, the 90s. A time when “What if a child stayed home alone” and “It's Hamlet, but with lions” were the basis for classic feature films. If you grew up in the 90s, you will surely remember some of the wonderful children's films that came out during that decade. The 1990s brought us dogs that played basketball and Looney Tunes that also enjoyed playing Michael Jordan. But now that we, the kids of the 90s, are intellectual adults, it is time to examine the literary value of our favorite films. Here are some of the books and stories that inspired our favorite 90s children's films.
# 1 “Matilda” by Roald Dahl
Matilda is one of the great childhood heroines - both in the book and on screen. Yes, the Roald Dahl book is a little creepier than the adorable children's film. But in both versions of the story, Matilda is an intelligent little girl with special skills and a great love for reading, trapped in a family that just doesn't "understand" her. Great book, great movie, great inspiration for nerdy 90s girls everywhere.
# 2 "Beauty and the Beast" by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
The "original" "Beauty and the Beast" story was published as early as 1753 and had previously been in circulation as a folk tale. Most of us today associate “Beauty and the Beast” with singing teapots and Belle who lies to her boyfriend so that he can build her a library. However, the Disney film changed some key elements, such as the fact that Belle suddenly had a bunch of siblings. But the message of thinking outside the box to find love is timeless.
# 3 "Stories from a thousand and one nights"
Disney has definitely taken some liberties in adapting this template (the original Aladdin story comes from China, by the way). But both stories boil down to the young, reckless Aladdin finding a magical spirit, going up against an evil wizard and falling in love with the beautiful Princess Badroulbadour (better known as Jasmine).
# 4 "The Incredible Journey" by Sheila Burnford
"Back Home - The Unbelievable Journey" is a gripping film about two dogs and a cat who have to cross the dangerous wilderness to find their families again. Personally, I found it very exhausting as a child. It's based on the equally grueling 1960s book The Incredible Journey, and pretty much any version of the story is guaranteed to make all pet owners cry. Folks, children’s films consider calmly be happy!
# 5 "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
When little Mary Lennox loses her parents, she moves from India to Yorkshire to live with an uncle she has never met. It turns out that her uncle's house is teeming with creepy and fascinating secrets. The popular film is based on the book of the same name from 1911, which is bursting with disturbing colonial undertones.
# 6 "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare
Yes, children's films are also based on classic templates - and the Lion King is based on Hamlet. It's the same story of a young prince whose father is murdered by his uncle - except that Nala doesn't go mad and drown herself, of course, and Simba doesn't die in a sword fight. Besides, Scar doesn't get together with his mother as far as I can remember. So it's Hamlet, but with lions and a happy ending.
# 7 “Jumanji” by Chris Van Allsburg
"Jumanji" is in the original a rather short picture book with large, eerie illustrations. The plot is pretty simple: some kids get bored and play a board game that somehow calls different animals to their suburban home. But the idea of a jungle-based board game that comes to life was still inspirational enough to produce the '90s film as well as a remake in 2017.
# 8 “Tarzan with the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Speaking of the jungle and 90s films that are only vaguely related to their source material - Tarzan is based on a book from 1912. Both versions tell the story of a young Englishman who is raised by monkeys in the remote jungle and who eventually falls in love with a lovely lady . The racism from the original is simply replaced by Phil Collins songs at Disney.
# 9 "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" by Victor Hugo
The Disney film "The Hunchback Notre-Dame" is based on the very long and gloomy Victor Hugo novel of the same name - but with a happy ending and about 80% less plot (including a few talking taps). Hugo himself rewrote the ending of the original novel when he adapted it for the opera. So he probably wouldn't have minded Disney's sad novel being turned into a much happier musical.
# 10 "The Hunt to the Witch Mountain" by Alexander Key
“Die Jagd zum Hexenberg” was a book from 1968, then a film from 1975, then a film from 1995 and finally a thriller from 2009 that no one has seen. But if you remember the comic TV movie from '95 as an absolute classic, then you should read this science fiction book about telepathic twins who travel.
# 11 “The brave little toaster flies to Mars” by Thomas M. Disch
Part of me still thinks that I was just hallucinating this whole series of films and books. It was a kind of “toy story” ... but it's not about charming toys looking for a little boy, but about a pile of household appliances, led by a sensitive toaster. And then they travel to Mars…. to prevent a war? And the toaster is elected president. A strange and rather terrifying movie that still gives me nightmares today.
Which book-based children's films do you like best? Let us know in the comments!
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