worst book in film adaptations – Palatinate
At Film and TV, we love to hear more about what our readers think about the Silver Screen. Peruse our next Ask the Reader – and yes, expect some controversial opinions.
Sol Noya – Percy Jackson
As a 10-year-old going through his mythology phase (because who among us hasn’t), discovering Percy Jackson’s books was a eureka moment. I immediately immersed myself in the world of Camp Half-Blood and became attached to the characters as I watched them grow. So when I got my hands on a DVD copy of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, I had high hopes – which were quickly dashed.
I’m not the first and probably won’t be the last to point out that every departure from the movies in the book series that inspired them was completely wrong. The main crime: aging the characters, presumably in order to capture an older audience. This meant that the timeline of the books was inevitably crammed into a shorter amount of time, so some of the events in the book that seemed minor but would be essential later in the series never happened, and some episodes of the following books did. were piled up. in the first movie.
Other regrettable decisions involved Percy’s best friends: Grover’s characterization lost much of its adorable awkwardness, and making Brown-haired Annabeth, seemingly a meaningless change, actually reduced his resolve to prove herself. beyond stereotypes of what a girl could and should be.
In short: you know an adaptation is bad when the author of the original series declares that his peace of mind forced him to stay away from it.
Katie Heyes – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Mike Newell’s 2005 film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a perfect example of how zero passion for your project can gravely affect the final product. The previous directors of the first three films – Chris Columbus and Alfonso CuarÃ³n – worked on the original source material to put real thought and depth into each scene. Still, Newell couldn’t even bother to watch the franchise’s first three movies. Right off the bat, there’s hardly any enthusiasm for the series. Such a nonchalant attitude towards the book’s thematic content is what ultimately led to its downfall as a film adaptation.
The book was shrouded in mystery with so many questions left unanswered such as; “Who put Harry’s name in the goblet of fire?” “,” Who cast the dark mark? “,” Did Barty Crouch Jr really commit the crime? The answers to these questions are withheld until the very end, keeping the reader engaged. However, Newell took away all the mystery that sullies our antagonist’s characterization and leaves little to no investment. Any time that could have been spent deepening the mystery or fleshing out the characters for the rest of the ongoing series has instead been used to show off the visual effects. Despite how visually captivating these scenes are, from dragon chases to mermaid attacks underwater, that leaves little to no investment in storytelling or character.
Sarah matthews – Girl on the train
If you like books that have unreliable narrators and multiple perspectives, Paula Hawkins’ The girl on the train well worth a read. I say read specifically, because the remake of the 2016 film loses the most gripping elements of that psychological thriller. Arguably, Hawkins’ ability to misguide and confuse the reader is what makes the book so appealing. The story is told from three different angles – the first being Rachael, a recovering alcoholic whose addiction only worsened after her divorce. Her voice includes hazy memories and memories of drunkenness, so we are never sure to trust her sanity; she often doubts herself. The first person retrospective storytelling is done so effectively that reading becomes an active blank-filling activity as we try to navigate the past and present. In the film, however, these hazy flashbacks are forced and predictable; Rachael’s story is told through a voiceover, and it feels like viewers are being spoon-fed revelations rather than acting as part of the investigative process. The fast-paced storytelling is poorly translated into uncomfortably long set-ups and awkward cliched dialogues, isolating the viewer even further.
Megan and Anna are neighbors who tell the rest of the book – Megan is babysitting Anna’s child and Anna is married to Rachael’s ex-husband, Tom. Hawkins’ writing of three interconnected female narrators reinforces the plot as an exploration of femininity, sexuality, and motherhood. Each narrator grapples with their femininity which affects their sanity and personal relationships, but the book explores this in much more detail than the film. This is one of the many reasons the film lacks substance. Anna, in particular, doesn’t get enough attention, and so her character becomes subsidiary to the plot of the film, despite some parts being narrated. Conversely, Rachael’s obsession with Anna’s baby isn’t revealed until 17 minutes into the movie’s start, making the other parts of the plot clichÃ© and predictable. It’s almost as if Tate Taylor was so focused on turning the plot into a conventional “thriller” that she missed out on what makes the plot so compelling. Many critics of the film found it frustrating and boring, tarnishing the reputation of a bestselling book with enormous potential for a film adaptation.
Thomas wilson – Frankenstein
Critically acclaimed, commercially successful and considered the very first horror film, this 1931 adaptation is not a film many would expect to see on a list like this. It’s undoubtedly a technical marvel, and Boris Karloff’s performance as the infamous monster has been etched in the consciousness of popular culture for nearly a century. The problem is, Frankenstein’s “monster” is described as an actual monster, its seemingly violent nature stemming from the accidental use of a “criminal mastermind”. This awkwardly removes any nuance from the ensuing character study, leaving a futile battle of good versus evil in place of a literary classic. The novel’s message was that Frankenstein’s creation was never born a monster, but became a monster out of prejudice, neglect, crippling loneliness, and a lack of human empathy. As a result, it raises questions about how we perceive ourselves in society, how we treat those who are different, and whether we have the right to ‘play God’ and create consciousness as we might well do with it. ‘artificial intelligence.
The novel is timeless, while the adaptation is a piece of dated, deterministic pseudo-eugenics that takes all the heart out of the story. In fact, this could hardly be called an adaptation, if you really want a cinematic experience that’s true to the original story, I implore you to watch Ex Machina instead.
Grace Jessop – One day
One Day by David Nichol is a sensitive and straightforward tale of two friends who fall in love in a complicated “will-they-won’t-they” dance spanning two decades and ultimately ending with their inevitable marriage to late thirties. Each year during this time we see how our protagonists: down-to-earth Emma from Yorkshire and posh boy Dexter spend July 15th, having a glimpse of their hearts, minds and souls through the tender, nuanced voice of David Nichol – we see them in and out of touch, relationships and love and Nichol breaks our hearts with a cruel plot.
So when the 2011 film hit theaters, there was much expectation of Anne Hathaway, Yorkshire accent in hand, and the perfectly charming Jim Sturgess to appear on screen as Emma and Dexter. , and Nichol himself writing the screenplay, it sure looked like it would be a delightfully satisfying romantic comedy with generous garnishes of Paris, heartbreak, and weddings. The result is the opposite, and critical reception has tended to agree, with the film scoring a paltry 36% on Rotten Tomatoes. We leave the film without really knowing who Emma and Dexter are and those who touch the life of the character, while we end the novel with absolute certainty.
Illustration: Samantha Fulton