I’m one of those people who just have to read the book before watching the movie. While, admittedly, this can sometimes ruin the experience of witnessing just how thoroughly Hollywood botched your beloved book, other times it can lead to a deeper and richer movie-going experience
If you’re willing to risk it and read the inspiration before watching the adaptation, here are some of the book-to-film adaptations to look forward to in 2013.
February 13: Beautiful Creatures
Based on the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Beautiful Creatures is the first in a bestselling four-book series with a creepy and mystical vibe. Ethan discovers the girl who’s been haunting his dreams (and his iPod) has just appeared at his small-town school. And she’s a witch, though not, perhaps, as one would traditionally imagine one. Though a tad long, the writing stacks up well against many young adult offerings and engages the reader in its magical, mysterious atmosphere. The upcoming movie has raised fans’ hopes, with an impressive cast of Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, and Viola Davis. Devotees of the series will surely be picking apart plot points and character descriptions frame by frame.
For: fans of The Vampire Diaries or True Blood
March 8 (UK): Oz: The Great and Powerful
Inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Okay, so The Wizard of Oz was one movie I didn’t watch after reading the book, but to be fair, I was probably five when I first saw it. Oz: The Great and Powerful is conceived as a prequel to the 1939 original. It features the likes of James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Zach Braff, which means that it may be artistically profound, or mildly irritating. But it’s a good excuse to finally buckle down and read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – and watch the awesome Judy Garland version multiple times over in preparation. Right?
For: fans of The Wizard of Oz and its various offshoots
March 22 (UK): The Host
Based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer
I don’t know where I’ve been since Atonement (a great book-to-film adaptation), but apparently Saoirse Ronan is all grown up – like many of Twilight’s fans. Stephenie Meyer has obliged her maturing fans with a post-apocalyptic adult novel. This spring’s film version will star Ronan as Melanie Stryder, one of the last remaining humans who becomes infected with a sentient parasite. The parasite forms an emotional attachment to Melanie’s life and family, and decides to help humans survive. Despite its apparently heavy subject matter, it is a quick and light read, though a bit lacklustre – but I thought the same about Twilight, so what do I know?
For: fans of Twilight
May 17 (UK): The Great Gatsby
Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you aren’t already sick to death of hearing about The Great Gatsby, then you’ve probably already read the book. It feels like its release has been postponed for about infinity as Fitzgerald’s cult following has held its collective breath. To really get into the hype, be sure to read Fitzgerald’s famous novel first, and buy a flapper dress to wear to the premier.
For: already-confirmed fans of The Great Gatbsy
June 21: World War Z
Based on the novel by Max Brooks
Zombie apocalypses are all the rage right now – and this one stars Brad Pitt. The book is told in the style of a post-war UN report, publishing series of first-hand personal accounts of experiencing the horrific brain-eating Armageddon. If you’re not a big reader, there’s an audiobook version including Alan Alda and Mark Hamill – so, that sounds amazing.
For: fans of The Walking Dead or anything zombie-related
August 23: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Based on City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
City of Bones is the first in the six-book YA urban fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments. It starts off with a murder, and grapples with themes of loss, violence, sexuality, good, evil, and demon-hunting. It can be a bit predictable, and of course involves that apparently essential formula of teen drama: the love triangle. But the plot is action-packed, and expectations are heaped high on filmmakers to visually explore the sprawling and lush New York landscape littered with urbanised versions of just about every mythological creature imaginable.
For: fans of Divergent or Buffy the Vampire Slayer
October 18: Carrie
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Yes, Stephen King’s horror novel about a telekinetic teenager who takes revenge on the student body that ignores and bullies her is being adapted to the screen for the umpteenth time. I personally think Sissy Spacek was pretty awesome as the timid but vengeful Carrie, but the 2013 version promises to stick closer to the original novel’s plot. So make sure to read it so you can confirm the veracity of this claim. Its release has been pushed back to October – just in time for a creepy Halloween read.
For: fans of Stephen King and classic horror
October 25 (UK): Ender’s Game
Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card
This movie has been in the works for what feels like a millennium, and is finally in post-production, set to release in late October. With years of production companies talking about it, a cast of Asa Butterfield, Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley, and Card’s own hand involved in the writing and filming, anxious fans have their hopes running high. Already some are complaining about the age of Ender and his peers – Ender is supposed to be six in the series’ beginning, but is being portrayed by a 15-year-old. The book itself is considered not only a classic of science fiction and young adult writing, but a must-read book in general.
For: fans of Star Wars, The Hunger Games or Divergent
If you like to read before you watch, 2013’s cinematic releases will keep you busy reading for months. Also released this year will be the second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, and the part two of The Hobbit. Get reading!
Image via official Great Gatsby movie website