5 book-for-movie adaptations that worked (& five that missed the mark)
Question: What’s the best way to attract an audience, create a new idea, and make a lot of money? Answer: Adaptations from the book to the film. Over the years, Hollywood has grown and expanded into hundreds of different stories, many of which are based on popular book series. From fantasy to science fiction to horror, there is something for everyone.
While some of these adaptations work, there are many that fail. For many reasons, some adaptations succeed, while others fail. As such, here are five book-movie adaptations that worked and five that missed the mark.
ten Worked: Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Hands down, the The Lord of the Rings The trilogy is one of the most influential book adaptations of all time. Not only was the material done in a way that honors the books, but it ultimately gave audiences a fitting adaptation.
Before LOTR came out, the idea of ââmaking a fantasy series as a movie franchise was just a pipe dream. When LOTR came out with its jaw-dropping visuals, topical themes, impressive lines and brilliant acting, the stage was set for a new genre of film.
9 Failure: Artemis Fowl
For a very long time, there have been many attempts to adapt Eoin Colfer’s unique fantasy series, Artemis Poultry. Many drafts came and went until 2020, when Disney finally made and released a film adaptation. Unfortunately, they probably should have gone through a few more drafts.
The adaptation not only suffers from poor visuals and weak plot, but also from misuse of the source material. Instead of taking what the book offered, Disney attempted to create a weak Indiana Jones-style film.
8 Worked: Harry Potter Series
The same year LOTR came out, another series of books was getting its own adaptation. When Harry potter was released he did more than LOTR could ever accomplish. Instead of just being a trilogy, Harry potter lasted almost 10 years and eight films.
The franchise has become the star of book adaptations, increasing the popularity of the book and creating a rich and vibrant world that continues to grow today. Thus, the wizarding world will remain a symbol of what a good book adaptation can accomplish.
7 Failed: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
What is the worst enemy of an adaptation from book to film? Too much information at once. You see, a lot of movies could benefit from a TV series instead of a movie franchise. However, since movies tend to make more money, they produce more with mixed results.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a perfect example. A franchise that hasn’t gone beyond its sequel, the films have tried to cram too much material into two films. Hopefully the series finds new life as the next TV series.
6 Worked: Jurrasic Park
Steven Spielberg plus Michael Crichton equates to a movie like never seen before. jurassic park is considered to be one of the greatest adventure films ever made. With its incredible animatronics and brilliant storyline, the film exceeded expectations.
What most people don’t realize is that jurassic park was adapted from a book by Crichton. The book, unlike an adaptation, is somewhat dark and gloomy. Fortunately, with the right dose of humor and the power of Goldblum, the film eclipsed the novel and became a 65 million-year-old adventure.
5 Failed: Divergent streak
When Divergent was first released, it was actually seen as a step up from previous adaptations. Granted, there were issues with the film, but in the face of what went well, a second film was made and released in theaters.
The second film, however, was the downfall of the series. Complex and swollen, the film was carried by the actor alone. Somehow, a third movie was added, just as messy as the sequel. Despite a fourth film in the works, the studio chose to close the book on Divergent.
4 Worked: Jaws
Believe it or not, the movie that scared you from the ocean is based on a book. Written by Peter Benchley, Jaws is a brutal thriller about hunting a deadly shark and the movie would have been the same … if the shark had worked.
During production, the film suffered multiple setbacks, which meant that the shark appeared less and less. If anything, it helped make the movie even better. With added lines and an improved ending, Jaws has become an even scarier film than the novel.
3 Failure: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Most book-to-film adaptations usually suffer from overuse or underuse of the source material. Mary shelley’s Frankenstein is a rare and interesting exception. Other than a few additional details, the 1994 film is considered the best adaptation of the novel.
Ironically, that ended up being the downfall of the film. Deviating from the source material was the best thing Hollywood could have done with their 1931 version of Frankenstein, creating an iconic and horrifying monster. Going back to the slow-burning novel was an unfortunate mistake.
2 Worked: Carrie
Horror has a name and it’s Stephen King. Stephen King is well known for creating some of the best-known horror novels of all time and his words jumped onto the big screen almost immediately, starting with his first novel, Carrie.
Carrie may be one of the best teen dramas of all time. A gruesome look at the effects of bullying disguised as a chilling supernatural tale helps bring the horror to life. In fact, without Carrie, the world may never have had other great Stephen King movies.
1 Fail: Fifty Shades of Gray
Typically, when adapting novels, writers will use material that will appeal to or entertain moviegoers. There is, however, the odd chance that writers opt for something a little more unorthodox and Fifty shades of Grey is probably the most unorthodox of these approaches.
Based on a novel inspired by fan fiction, Fifty shades is full of weird dialogue, wooden actors and weird scenes. Although it was a trilogy, it was a disaster of a adaptation which should have remained in book form.
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