Whether or not you loved The Road, most people seemed to feel it captured Cormac McCarthy's novel. Sadly, most adaptations do violence to the original books, but not all. Here are 12 SF/fantasy adaptations that did right by the books.
The Lost World (1925)
There have been many movie adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel, but for our money, the original is still the best, thanks to some pretty amazing stop-motion animation showing dinosaurs trashing London. The groundbreaking special effects, by Willis O'Brien, gave rise to later classics like the original King Kong — and O'Brien trained Ray Harryhausen. This is also the only Lost World adaptation that Conan Doyle seems to have approved of personally. The whole thing is on Youtube, and here's the climax — skip to about 4:58 for the beginning of the dinosaur-rampage awesomeness.
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Sure, it's a Disney movie, and it's got Kirk Douglas singing "A Whale Of A Tale." But it also has James Mason's understated, creeptastic performance as Captain Nemo, full of subtle menace. And the special effects still look pretty breathtaking, even 55 years later. Most of all, it captures the wonder and boundless curiosity of Verne's book.
The original film version of Ray Bradbury's book-burning classic is a vivid, lurid masterpiece — I saw it as a kid, and it still sticks in my mind. But what did Bradbury think? He wrote, in the introduction to one edition of the novel:
And what do I think of the film?
I have heard those cries in the past of outraged authors whose books have just been gang-raped by a studio.
Such is not the case, luckily, with me.
I think that Truffaut has captured the soul and essence of the book. He has been careful and subtle in his shadings and motions. He has escaped making a technological James Bond film, and made, instead, the love story of, not a man and a woman, but a man and a library, a man and a book. An incredible love story indeed in this day when libraries, once more, are burning across the world.
I am very grateful.
According to Wikipedia (although it's not sourced), original novelist Anthony Burgess felt Stanley Kubrick's film was brilliant — but almost too brilliant for our own safety. Whether Burgess really said that, he'll get no argument from the hordes of people who've loved this uncompromising, brutal look at hooligans and social control in a dystopian future. It's Kubrick at the top of his game, honoring and transforming the source material. (Note: We considered including 2001 as well, but since the book was written after the movie, we decided against.)
Yes, this film takes some liberties with Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?" But it's also one of the best reflections of Dick's constant paranoia and flood-of-weirdness storytelling methods. And of course, Dick himself wrote an ecstatic letter praising this film's vision and his belief that it would re-energize science fiction altogether.