fiction

5 Best & Worst Book to Movie Adaptations

I watch a lot of movies, more movies than I read books, but hey, who’s counting? Oh right, the reason we’re here. Most of the time, movies don’t do a book justice but there are those rare occasions when everything works. So here are my top 5 Best and Worst book to movie adaptations.

Best

  1. Lord of the Rings
    1. I think this is pretty universally acknowledged as one of the best adaptations out there. Sure, Peter Jackson took a few liberties (lookin’ at that Faramir mess in the 2nd movie) but he managed to fix it.
  2. Pride & Prejudice
    1. Am I talking about the 1995 5-hour long movie or the 2005 Keira Knightley adaptation? Both! They are both great and I love them equally.
  3. The Hunger Games
    1. I was so excited for these movies to come out and they did not disappoint. My favorite book is Catching Fire and the movie lived up to my expectations (with the exception of leaving out Haymitch’s games, but a fan on youtube has recreated them for us so I’m not too sad).
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    1. I purposefully read the book first so I could watch the movie. I do that pretty often actually. Logan Lerman was perfect in his role as Charlie though Emma Watson’s accent did leave something to be desired.
  5. O’Brother Where Art Thou
    1. A great adaptation of the Odyssey. It’s not what you would ever think, but the elements are all there and it’s funny and quirky.

Bonus: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved – webseries produced by Pemberly Digital that are captivating and follow the source material brilliantly. Find them on youtube.

Worst

  1. Harry Potter
    1. Look, as a huge fan of HP, I so wanted these movies to be amazing. The first movie came out when I was 14 and I was disappointed right from the start. The only movie they even somewhat didn’t f*** up was Deathly Hallows Part 1, in my opinion. Perhaps my standards had been lowered enough by then for me to enjoy it?
  2. The Hobbit
    1. Another movie I waited years for. The first installment is actually not that bad. It has a similar feeling to the LotR movies, which was what I was hoping for. The 2nd movie wasn’t quite as good, but the 3rd movie, oh Lord. I felt like I just watched a 3-hour computer program. Way too much CGI. Did this really need to be 3 movies?
  3. The Haunting (of Hill House)
    1. A terrible adaptation that didn’t even attempt to follow the book. The book is amazing and everyone should read it.
  4. Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief
    1. I actually saw the movie first. Yes. I just read the books a few weeks ago. On first viewing, it didn’t seem too bad, though the movie didn’t really hold up on a 2nd viewing. After reading the book, I watched the movie again and man, I see now why fans were upset. Bad writing, choppy acting (sorry, Logan. You were great in Wallflower) and it doesn’t follow the book plot at all.
  5. Eragon
    1. I heard the movie was bad but I was not expecting it to be that bad. Terrible acting, writing, plotting. Just all around bad. I really liked the first book in the Eragon series (the others did drag on a bit, though, after that). They could have done so much more.

 

So there you have it. I know there are tons more book/movie adaptations. Wikipedia has an entire list here. What are your top and bottom book adaptations?

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3 thoughts on “5 Best & Worst Book to Movie Adaptations

  1. Favs? The Maze Runner, which adapted very well to screen; Gone Girl, which was pretty much interchangeable in brilliance with the book; The Time Traveler’s Wife, which cut out all of the pretentiousness literary crap from the book and made it more about the characters; and I agree with your choices of O Brother Where Art Thou and The Hunger Games. Actually, I thought Troy was a fair adaptation of the Iliad as well, and the Beautiful Creatures movie wasn’t bad (haven’t read the book yet though).

    Least Favs? Divergent had a lot more depth as a book. The movies just seem like cheap Hunger Games rip-offs. Ender’s Game and Dark Places weren’t very good either. I didn’t mind the HP movies because I don’t feel like a longer story necessarily equals a better one, but I hated David Yates’ direction on the last four of them. He had the Zack Snyder habit of making everything cold and lifeless. Funny enough, I thought Chris Columbus captured the feel of HP pretty accurately on the first two films, but I don’t think his child-friendly sensibilities would have worked beyond Chamber. So it was probably good that they replaced him.

    1. I liked the first Maze Runner, but I haven’t seen the 2nd one yet. Haven’t seen most of those other movies. Divergent has always seemed like another of those teen romance-y things where I’m supposed to care about who she’ll choose (I’m basing this all wildly off previews I’ve seen for the movie, also I heard the last book was terrible).

      1. Actually, Divergent is pretty refreshing in that there’s no love triangle, and she ends up with her love interest fairly early on, so there’s no “will they won’t they” nonsense. If anything, the romance was sort of a high point for me, because it isn’t forced and the characters have good chemistry. But I would say that the world-building is ultimately lame, and I don’t appreciate how Roth stretched out answers to all the questions just so she could have a third book. Also, it suffered from Too Many Named Side Characters Syndrome that Twilight and The Hunger Games had, lol. It’s weird that YA writers are rarely economic with their minor characters.

        I think I know why most people hate the last book, and I consider the reason a bit whiny/unfair. When you kill off a major character, 90% of the fans will ALWAYS revolt even if that character’s death was justified, romanticized, etc. However, I think the third book didn’t really need to exist in general, so that’s kinda my beef. A lot of authors can’t get published unless they have a trilogy in them, and stretching a thin story to make that happen is unfortunate IMO.

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