From Gone with the Wind in 1939 to The Lord of the Rings in the 21st century, adapting books into movies is hardly anything new in Hollywood. With the smorgasbord of tales available – be they fantasy, science fiction, romance or suspense – the gems of the literary world give Hollywood an infinite supply of stories to tap into.
Here are a few you can watch on M-Net this January.
Starting as a folk tale, the story of Cinderella has since morphed into everything from opera and ballet to movies and musicals. However, it’s popularly remembered as one of the fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm. The original folk tale and the Grimm’s version are a lot grislier than Disney’s adaptations (from 1950 and 2015) would have you believe, but they’re all grounded by the same idealistic heroine.
Watch Disney’s live-action Cinderella, starring Lily James as the title character, on Thursday 12 January at 16:29 on M-Net Movies Showcase.
- The Maze Runner
There’s an absolute plethora of young adult novels being churned out and just about as many rushing to the big screen for their cinematic adaptation. Often featuring a dystopian future, with a crew of young adults saving the day, James Dashner’s Maze Runner series is one of them. Featuring Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (from Love Actually and Game of Thrones), the series has been adapted into three movies, the last of which will continue its temporarily stalled production this year – moving from Canada to South Africa – and will be released in 2018.
Watch the first movie, The Mazer Runner, on Friday 13 January at 20:00 on M-Net Movies Showcase and the sequel, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, on Wednesday 18 January at 14:20 on M-Net Movies Action+.
- Alice in Wonderland
“Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” says the Queen, in Lewis Carroll’s classic about the curious girl of the title. Alice has seen many incarnations on screen, one of the most memorable being Disney’s animated adaptation in 1951. Nearly sixty years later, Disney released a live-action remake, which twisted the tale a bit but still retained the book’s colourful characters and its faith in the impossible.
Watch the Disney live-action remake of Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton, on Tuesday 17 January at 19:55 on M-Net Inspire pop-up channel 109.
- Fifty Shades of Grey
Based on E.L. James’ titillating novel centring on the raunchy relationship between Christian Grey and Ana Steele, the book was adapted into a film four years after its publication in 2011. The book forms part of a trilogy whose second instalment – Fifty Shades Darker – has also been adapted for the big screen and is due for release this year.
Watch Fifty Shades of Grey on Tuesday 17 January at 22:00 on M-Net Movies Showcase.
To stand a chance to win tickets to an exclusive prescreening of Fifty Shades Darker, with M-Net Movies Night out, click here.
- The Hunger Games
Another young adult dystopian thriller, this is perhaps the best known of the many out there. Written by Suzanne Collins, her trilogy was turned into four films, the last of which was released in 2015. The franchise thrust its star Jennifer Lawrence into the limelight, and includes great support in the form of Game of Thrones’ stars Natalie Dormer and Gwendoline Christie, as well as screen veterans Julianne Moore, Donald Sutherland, and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.
To read about more post-apocalyptic movie franchises, click here.
- The Revenant
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy deliver tour de force performances in this adaptation of Michael Punke’s novel of the same name. The ending is changed quite dramatically and extra elements are added to the story, but they serve to strengthen the themes director Alejandro G. Iñárritu highlights in this hard-boiled tale of survival. The real scene-stealer, however, is the American West, breathtakingly captured in all its icy glory by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.
Watch The Revenant, your Sunday night movie on 22 January at 20:30 on M-Net.
- The Hobbit
Written by South African born J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit has a handful of screen adaptations to its name, but none so gargantuan as the adaptation by Peter Jackson. Having given us an epic fantasy franchise when he adapted The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it would be nine years after the release of the third film that The Hobbit (whose story is a precursor to The Lord of the Rings) would hit screens. The slim fantasy novel was expanded into a trilogy, with the filmmakers borrowing from appendices in The Lord of the Rings to expand the story.
Watch the final part of the trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, on Tuesday 24 January at 20:00 on M-Net Movies Showcase.
- The Chronicles of Narnia
If Turkish delights remind you of Narnia, then you’re clearly a fan of the series. Consisting of seven books, the first to be published (although second in The Chronicles’ chronology) was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Most of the books in this fantasy series have been adapted for the screen in some form or another, the most recent being live-action adaptions of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Watch The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (the second book to be published, but the fourth in The Chronicles' running order) on Sunday 22 January at 13:25 on M-Net Movies Showcase.