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Disappointing Book to Film Adaptations

April 3, 2018

We all know most books are way better than their films. But sometimes the books is WAY better. Here are my top bad film adaptations:

 

 

1. Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins 

 

 

 I know this is probably a controversial choice, but I really didn't rate the film adaptation of Girl on the Train. It received so much hype that I went to the cinema highly anticipating to come out satisfied. But this just didn't happen; I actually got bored somewhere around the middle, and I didn't feel the same about the book. I particularly wasn't impressed with the change of setting from London to New York. The story felt less gritty and lost the charm that its 'Britishness' brought to it. 

 

2. Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis 

 

 

I was given this book by my A-Level teacher and it was one of the novels that inspired me to go and study literature at uni. I was excited to watch the film adaptation, especially since it features a young Robert Downey Jr. However, it seems to have completely missed the point of the novel. I know it’s only loosely based on the book, just taking the same title and characters, but it seems that the director didn't want to risk capturing the more raw and gritty social observations in the book. 

 

 

3. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer 

 

 

As a teenage girl, Twilight was everything. Mysterious and broody vampire falls in love with a normal, small-town girl. But the film is just actually pretty funny. The tension-less stares across the room, unconvincing CGI, and the fact Edward looks constipated whenever he is trying not to eat Bella, all meant I was chuckling the whole way through. 

 

 

4. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald 

 

 

So, I don't think this is a bad film. I love Baz Luhrmann's cinematic style, and in this case he created a great visual experience, capturing the lavish lifestyle of Gatsby. But in my opinion, it's a bad adaptation of the book. The beautifully crafted prose and devastating characters make this one of my all time fave novels, and I think the film glazes over the deeper meanings of the story. However, I think the film is still enjoyable, if you accept it is more about style than substance.

 

 

 

5. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold 

 

 

A heartbreaking story that just didn't translate on the screen. The treatment of grief and bereavement wasn't as true to life as the novel. The narrative was overshadowed by a needless focus on fantasy and CGI. 

 

6. The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman 

 

 

This is a great story that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. But, the film adaptation just felt like a tame version of the story. There was so much to try and cram in to just two hours, that it lost all the emotion and drama, and just became a children's story with talking animals. 

 

 

7. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan

 

 

 

Another example of a book series being adapted in an attempt to mirror the success of Harry Potter. The plot, characters and mythology was lost, and the adaptation never fulfilled its potential.

 

 

7. Animal Farm, George Orwell 

 

 

For me, this was never going to work. The way Orwell describes the pigs' slow transition into humans literally gives me chills, but this cartoon version just feels like a really weird Disney film. I don't know if a live action version of the story would work any better, so maybe this is just a book that is supposed to remain on the page. 

 

 

8. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll 

 

 

I know Alice in Wonderland should have an element of the bizarre and fantasy, but I am so confused with this adaptation. I just felt like I was in a really weird dream the whole way through. Just watch the Disney cartoon instead. 

 

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