10 books that were better than their movie adaptations
Ask any bookworm what they thought of a film adaptation of a book, and they’re likely to complain. Sometimes, however, the complaints are more than justified. Sometimes a movie can stretch or cut details too much, not fully understanding the purpose of a story, or not capturing a good visual representation of what an author was describing.
Here are 10 books that have had questionable or weak film adaptations. It will stick to movies, not television. While not all of the adaptations were downright dismal, they could be disappointing.
ten Harry Potter Series
It’s time to eliminate the obvious first. The Harry potter movies (not counting Fantastic beasts) are, on the whole, a fairly good franchise. That being said, starting with The goblet of fire, movies began to seemingly rely on audiences for already taking the time to read the books, and began to cut out critical details and characters to save screen time.
And sometimes those changes made sense. But the films continued to step aside, which continued to enter or omit the details of the book and expect the film audiences to accept it.
9 The inheritance cycle
Long story short, “The Inheritance Cycle” series is pretty decent, if a bit derivative. The first book, Eragon, was adapted for film only a few years after its debut and was tackled by a visual effects supervisor-turned-first (and only) director, Stefen Fangmeier.
Unfortunately, the film was, in short, completely boring. For what was meant to be the first entry in an entire fantasy franchise, it certainly started off on the wrong foot. The film was filled with endless exhibitions, tasteless dialogue and lukewarm performances, resulting in the cancellation of all sequels.
8 The donor
Lois Lowry’s dystopian young adult novel was just what was needed; a novel aimed at pre-teens, aimed at showing the importance of expression and emotion. It’s a bit like Fahrenheit 541 with training wheels. In 2014, a film adaptation hit the big screen, but it was disappointing. And being a disappointing movie from a “perfectly OK” book isn’t exactly something to look for.
Jeff Bridges has done a great job as the main character who conveys memories to his ward in a society that has forgotten / erased them, but the film has put an unnecessary emphasis on a romantic subplot and ends a bit too quickly in 97 minutes. .
7 War of the Worlds
HG Wells’ classic book has seen many adaptations over the years in all its forms; TV specials, musicals, movies and one hell of a radio show. The two most notable adaptations are the 1953 version and the 2005 Steven Spielberg film. Both are American films in modern settings, as opposed to the novel’s setting in Victorian England. The 1953 version is a bit pro-Christian (whereas HG Wells was secular) and does not have tripods (rather ships), but has dramatic effects for the time and includes most of the story. It’s just not that deep, though.
Spielberg’s movie has the perfect tripod designs and an incredible start, but the momentum continues halfway through the movie and has a sort of undeserved upbeat surprise in its ending. The post 9/11 images are brilliant, as is the tension. But it’s hard to endure about two hours of Dakota Fanning’s almost uninterrupted screaming.
6 Gatsby the magnificent
The only reason anyone saw Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel is because they were forced to read it in high school. Sure, the movie looks good, but it fails to sink into any real emotion, as much as it just adapts the surface moments of the book. It’s a classic case of style rather than substance.
The parties are glamorous and cool, but try to find a scene that lasts more than 5 seconds before the movie moves on to another; there is no time to breathe or to rest, especially on the emotion. It is as if someone is screaming in your face; it doesn’t matter what their words mean, because you’re a little concerned about the proximity of the saliva coming out of their mouths.
Mary Shelley’s classic Gothic novel is one of the best books ever written. It’s a perfect fusion of Gothic and Romantic storytelling, and arguably could be the first true sci-fi novel, written over 2 years, starting when Shelley was just 18. It’s been on screen plenty of times, and most movies have dropped the ball on it, and even big adaptations just don’t do the novel justice.
The classic Universal movies are fantastic, but make drastic changes from the book, put the monster to sleep, and are sometimes a little too simple. Kenneth Branaugh Frankenstein by Mary Shelley tried to be more faithful to the novel, but was quite over the top and featured tacky staging choices.
4 The Hobbit
Peter Jackson adapted JRR Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings downright perfectly. In fact, the movies are arguably even better than the book in their presentation and execution. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of The Hobbit. Maybe Jackson was just out of breath and a little beside himself. Maybe it was the production issues. The decision to focus more on CGI and ignore the practicalities was disappointing.
The decision to split the movie into a trilogy instead of a 2-part (or even a single movie) didn’t help at all, lengthening the story. Independently, The Hobbit the movies started off pretty well for some, but a lot of fans, even the most hardcore ones, couldn’t really take Battle of the Five Armies, which was essentially a boring 3 hour video game fight cutscene. At least the cast was awesome.
3 “His dark materials” series
Recently, âHis Dark Materialsâ got the HBO series treatment, which is probably the best for any long-book franchise adaptation. But in 2007, the first book in the series, “The Golden Compass,” received a cinematic treatment. Following the reintroduction of the fantasy genre to modern audiences with franchises like The Lord of the Rings and Harry potter, many movies and books also tried to earn money. Eragon, Enchanted Ella, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and several others, to name a few.
Among all these, The golden compass was probably the most boring and forgettable entry, which means something. The film was quick and streamlined to the point that it was difficult to follow.
2 The Dark Tower Series
For every great Stephen King adaptation, there are several bad ones. Sometimes the bad guys can be quite fun despite their flaws. And other times, they can be exhausting and boring. The dark tower is an example of the latter. The decision to take the Dark Tower series and make it a movie instead of a series was baffling, especially given King’s massive influence.
“The Mist” had a series, but not the Dark Tower? And to make matters worse, the movie was an incredible nap festival and lasted barely an hour and a half, not enough time to flesh out anything in such a complicated story.
1 The Lorax
Poor Dr. Seuss has probably turned in his grave so many times that the coffin is perpetually spinning like an exposed roast chicken. But of all the disrespectful or questionable films that have tried to cash in on Seuss’ hype, none are as offensive as the Illumination adaptation of The Lorax. Where to start? The Illumination animation is, as always, generic and lifeless. The message of taking personal responsibility is thrown out the window and instead blames the world’s problems on a singular evil businessman.
The film makes the impending environmental disaster in real life seem like a fantasy with a simple fix that anyone can sing Kumbaya to. And to make matters worse, the movie’s ad campaign even promoted the cars as “Lorax Approved!” Of course, the memes born from the movie were funny … but at what cost? Then, Illumination made an even worse film adaptation shortly after: The grinch. At least The Lorax had Danny Devito for that.
NEXT: 10 Teen / Teenager Books Begging A Film Adaptation
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