Hollywood has often taken great books and transformed them into movies, mainly because it easier to make money since the books already have loyal followers. This has had mixed results, with some classic movies like Fight Club and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, while other movies based on books have completely flopped, such as every single movie based on The Scarlet Letter. It takes a certain kind of book to survive the transition to the big screen, and it takes a good crew and actors to do the books justice. All in all, it is a tricky thing to attempt, but I believe these 7 books could make great movies, as long as they were handled correctly.
Nightbringer – Graham McNeill
Nightbringer is a novel set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which would already bring in a devoted fan following to its movie counterpart. Nightbringer is about Space Marines, genetically altered human warriors, killing some evil alien pirates in space. That already sounds like the type of sci-fi movie guys would want to go see, and that’s only the first half of the book. The true threat, an extremely ancient alien race that devours suns, is revealed towards the end, and the space marines must do whatever it takes to save the galaxy. It has been a while since there has been a good quality straightforward sci-fi movie that just involves some highly trained soldiers duking it out with their alien counterparts. A good visceral sci-fi movie is just what we need after seeing blue cat people hug trees.
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is one of the premier authors of our age, and American Gods is arguably his best novel. American Gods takes a hard look at how the Gods of antiquity, such as Anansi, Odin, and Anubis, are being replaced as we begin to worship new Gods, such as The Intangibles, Technical Boy, and Media. The most famous quote in the book is “This is a bad land for Gods,” said by the main character Shadow about Gods in America. These are the kinds of topics that interest people, and the twist at the end of the book is better than anything M. Night Shyamalan has produced. There are also some action sequences that could look amazing on the big screen, especially when Shadow traverses the realm of the Gods.
Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
As 2012 draws closer, we are seeing more and more movies about the desperate struggle of people trying to survive the end of the world. Good Omens could capitalize on the end of the world craze while taking it in a whole new direction. Gaiman and Pratchett worked together marvelously to produce what is undoubtedly the funniest satirical take on the end of the world as we know it. The Anti-Christ ends up with a nice family, his demon dog is actually a little puppy, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have modern day jobs, all these seemingly absurd pieces come together to form a hilarious but thoughtful picture on society. Some good actors would be able to deliver some very memorable speeches and one-liners in a movie version of this book
Trollslayer – William King
Trollslayer is a fantasy novel about a Dwarf, Gotrek, who was vowed to die a glorious death fighting evil beasts due to some past dishonor, and his human companion, Felix, who drunkenly vowed to follow the dwarf wherever he goes to record his doom in an epic poem. Gotrek is a gruff warrior who is quicker to fight than he is to speak, and Felix is caught up in the events around him. What could make this book a great movie is not only the action, but the fact that it is the first in a series of books. Throughout the series there is a lot of character growth, a twisting plot with recurring side characters and villains, and lots and lots of action. This is pretty much everything you need for a good movie series, as long as a ruggedly handsome actor was cast as Felix, you know, for the ladies.
Storm Front – Jim Butcher
Storm Front is also the first of a series of books, following modern day wizard and private investigator, Harry Dresden. The books are written with a dry wit that would be absolutely hilarious as Dresden has mastered the art of the understatement while being attacked by horrific creatures. This series could also capitalize on the popularity of werewolves and vampires in modern culture, as Harry Dresden has gone up against both of them, and not the twinkle in sunlight kind either. While it is true that there was a television show based on these books, it was low production quality and did not have the best actors. When done right, these books could be turned into a modern day fantasy series that could easily become very popular.
Jhereg – Steven Brust
To finish this list off, we will add some balance and add the third book that is part of a series. Jhereg is the first book in the Vlad Taltos series, and follows the thief, enforcer, and assassin Vlad Taltos as he tries to work his way up the societal ranks. The kicker is that he is a human, and looked down upon by the larger and longer living Dragearans. Taltos uses his wits, cunning, and blades to keep himself safe, and he does indeed move up and gain some influential friends as the series progresses, is forced to live as an outcast, and goes on a variety of misadventures. This is another book that could be turned into a fantasy movie for the ages with the right production quality.