RTW: Movies that were better than the books

This Week’s Topic: 

What movie have you seen that actually (gasp) IMPROVED on the book?

I have got to be one of the biggest Neil Gaiman fans on the face of this planet. My shelves are loaded with his graphic novels, short story collections, novels, children’s books and even his alphabet book (it’s awesome btw). Whenever they make a film adaptation of Gaiman’s work, I watch with an extra critical eye because I want the film to be just as awesome as the book. So far there have been three film adaptations of Gaiman’s work and I have to say, every one of the movies improved on the original book.

Awesome fairytale book set beyond the Wall in England. While I really enjoyed the book for its quirky characters and somewhat distant omniscient narrative, I absolutely loved the movie. The film gave the large cast space to breathe, allowing each of the characters a moment in the spotlight. The screenwriters also added a cross-dressing, lightning-harvesting sky pirate who didn’t feature in the original story. This character played by Robert de Niro, single handedly improved tenfold on the book. The book is cute, the movie is hilarious. The book is a cosy fairytale, the movie is an epic fantasy. I’d almost say skip the book altogether.


Coraline is a great kid’s story albeit a bit dark and disturbing. The genius of Henry Selick who directed The Nightmare before Christmas (Nope, Tim Burton had nothing to do with Coraline). The writer’s did one magically thing that changed everything in the movie version and improved hugely on the book. They gave Coraline a best friend, Wybie – the boy next door prone to mischief and mishap. This is one film where having read the book first definitely enhances the movie but the movie is brilliant all by itself.




I was exceedingly nervous when I heard they’d made Gaiman’s graphic novel MirrorMask into a film. The artwork for the novel is done by Dave McKean. McKean is without a doubt my favourite artist for his ability to create the most surreal and macabre images with the most luminous colours. If you’ve never seen any of his works, do yourself a favour and Google him now! The film was brilliant, exceeded all my expectations and drew me right into the surreal and twisted world of the graphic novel. And why? Because Dave McKean directed the film. With the combined genius of Gaiman and McKean, they could only produce something mesmerizing and outstanding. MirrorMask is certainly that and more. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing write now and watch it!

Other films I’ve seen which I considered an improvement on the book include Requiem for a Dream, Prozac Nation and Into the Wild.

Have you seen any films that improved on the books?
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