Thursday Movie Picks: Worst Book to Movie Adaptations

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

Today we are going to talk about the worst book to movie adaptations! I’ll probably always be in the minority on this, but I really enjoy adaptations for the most part. Even when the material isn’t adapted super faithfully, I just love seeing it come to life, but … as with all things, not everything turns out great. This topic was suggest by Becks @The Punk Theory and I hope you’ll all enjoy it!

*I’ll stick to books I’ve actually read here, but know that I know there are a lot more bad examples of adaptations*

Fallen

Oh boy, it’s a long time that I’ve read and/or watched this, but it was not great. I’m pretty sure they fully intended for this to become the next Twilight, just with angels, but they missed the mark by a lot.

Inkheart

The Inkheart trilogy is one of my all time favorite childhood book series and I was elated when they decided to make them into a movie. Paul Bettany as Dustfinger and Brendan Fraser as Mo were really great casting choices, but other than that … I found very little to like about what they did with my beloved material. It’s a shame, because so many cast members were really top notch, but somehow they couldn’t portray the whimsy and magical setting or even the beautiful complexity of the characters.

My Sister’s Keeper

The book and movie are both sure to make you cry with their devastating premise, but by changing the end of the film, I felt like they undermined one of the key elements of the book. It’s not a bad movie exactly, but I felt like they lost a really important message along the way.

The Wave (1981)

This was a movie made for TV and it really showed in its quality. Based on the book that is based on a real life experiment a teacher underwent with his class, this movie just felt fake and corny. I remember having to watch it in school and just shuddering at the bad performances.


What are book to movie adaptations you were not happy with? Let’s talk!

16 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks: Worst Book to Movie Adaptations

  1. The only one of these I’ve seen is My Sister’s Keeper, and I hadn’t read the book, but I remember my friend who did absolutely raged at the ending change. I agree, it does undermine the entire point of the novel from what I’ve read. Plus it turned it into a very generic movie. It would’ve been better with that devastating ending.

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  2. I thought The Wave movie was good when I saw it in junior high or high school.
    And the first example of a bad book to movie adaptation I can think of is the Netflix Death Note movie, followed by the newer Pet Sematary movie.

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  3. I vaguely remember seeing Fallen at the book store but I never read it. It seemed like Twilight really set off a chain of imitations. I was in a production of The Wave when I was younger! lol but I never saw the adaptation! I hadn’t even known they made one.

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    • You did not miss out on Fallen at all! It was very cliché.
      There are several adaptations for the Wave, but I prefer the German interpretations, especially since it’s a relevant topic here. I can recommend the 2008 movie, which is vastly different from the book but very well made.

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    • I know! I think I mentioned it a couple times in the comments, because I liked it too. I haven’t watched the Wave Netflix show yet though, that’s the only adaptation I’m missing … I think. Maybe there are even more.

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  4. I’ve heard of all but the last but unfortunately, or fortunately considering the theme!, have seen none. The first two aren’t in a genre that I gravitate to and My Sister’s Keeper held some interest but Cameron Diaz isn’t an actress I always enjoy so I never made a concerted effort to track it down. Now that sounds like it was for the best.

    I’m curious when something I’ve read is adapt but also leery since so often they twist and reshape the book out of all recognizability. These three fall into that category, though to be honest I didn’t like The Scarlet Letter when I read it but it was certainly better than the version I chose.

    The Scarlet Letter (1995)-In a 17th century Massachusetts Puritan settlement Hester Prynne has a secret adulterous affair with the local minister Arthur Dimmesdale while her husband is in Europe resulting in the birth of a child-Pearl. Condemned by the townspeople she is forced to wear a scarlet A in perpetuity to atone for her sin. Such is the meat of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s moralistic novel, but you will find extraordinarily little of any message, or anything else, in this sexed up hash that stars Demi Moore and Gary Oldman. When it’s not vulgar it’s stupid.

    All the King’s Men (2006)-Southerner Willie Stark is a simple man who once he is elected to office slides wholly into corruption stepping on anyone in his way and crushing enemies and friends alike in his insatiable quest for power until a reckoning befalls him. Author Robert Penn Warren’s roman a clef novel of the rise and fall of politician Huey Long won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into an Oscar winning film (Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress) in the 50’s. All that is thrown away in this cinematic dog where the director managed to attract an amazing cast (including Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law and Mark Ruffalo) and guided them all to giving some of their worst performances in a film that is both overblown and boring.

    Romeo & Juliet (1936)-The tragic story of impulsive teenagers who because of their families enmity feel compelled to take drastic measures rather than be parted. More a stage text than a book but either way this stiff and clunky adaptation shots itself in the foot coming out of the starting gate by having 34-year-old Norma Shearer playing the 13-year-old Juliet and even worse Leslie Howard aged 43! cast as her 16-year-old swain!

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    • I think I’m one of those odd people that doesn’t mind when an adaptation does its own thing entirely (making the source material unrecognizable), because I feel like I’m good at separating the source material from the new entity in my head. Somehow, I find myself more mad when they stay extremely faithful to the book for the most part, but change one major (or to them minor) thing. That always gets me mad.

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  5. I know I watched the Inkheart movie back in the day but tbh I forgot basically everything about it, so that’s how memorable it was 😅 The Inkheart books are so great and I do remember that the movie didn’t really do them justice 😔

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