I love when books get the Hollywood treatment because it gives me a chance to experience them in a whole new way. Though in my opinion they are never as good as the books, there are the films that are worth watching while there are some — well, let me just say there are some books that should never have been made into movies. Whether the casting was all wrong, there were huge parts of the plot left out, or the ending was changed completely, there are certain book-to-film adaptations that are just plain awful.
Don't get me wrong: There are plenty of book-based movies that did it right. Rob Reiner's on-screen version of The Princess Bride is perhaps as, if not more, beloved than William Goldman's novel. Jurassic Park and Breakfast at Tiffany's, though not completely true to the books, are great film adaptations worth watching, and probably more than once. While the Hunger Games movies have their downsides, I still can't wait for Mockingjay Part 2 to hit theaters this month. I'll be the one, first in line on opening night clutching my pre-purchased ticket and rocking my very own mockingjay pin.
Current popular franchises and well-done classics aside, there are some adaptations that can't been unseen once you've watched them. Here are books that shouldn't have been made into movies — but please, don't let them ruin the originals for you.
CGI can ruin many movies, but it played a large hand in completely destroying the film adaptation of Beowulf. Not even the acting power of Angelina Jolie, Robin Wright, and Anthony Hopkins, nor the writing talents of Neil Gaiman, could save this awkward, over-done film version. I mean, who thought it would be a good idea to adapt an Old English poem into CGI-ed movie in the first place?
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
There are more YA adaptations than I can count, but not all of them are as well done as the Hunger Games series. Enter: The Golden Compass. There is too much crammed into the film, yet somehow, major elements from the book are left out. Though the visual effects were pretty amazing, The Golden Compass is perhaps one of the worst book-to-film adaptations ever, and Nicole Kidman probably regrets saying yes to this role.
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
I loved all of the movies in the Lord of the Rings series, but when I found out The Hobbit was being made into not only one movie but three, I knew it was doomed. There are more minutes in the film series than there are pages in the book, and you can feel it while you watch. The effects are great, the acting is stellar, but The Hobbit was only maybe (maybe!) movie material and certainly not trilogy material.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Oh, Leo, just when I though my love for you was endless, I saw the 2013 movie version of The Great Gatsby. The movie focused too much on the special effects and wow factor, and not enough time on character and plot development. The Great Gatsby proved that not all that glitters, no matter how excessively, is gold.
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
One of my favorite guilty pleasure reads, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series has gotten me many judgmental stares from all of the LOLing on the subway it causes, but I can't say the movie made me laugh once. Though larger-than-life in the book, the on-screen Stephanie, portrayed by Katherine Heigl, barely made an impression, and the hilarious grandmother didn't get nearly enough screen time. Though no one was expecting greatness, One for the Money was a total adaptation let down.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The film adaptation of The Scarlet Letter was so bad, it has earned an almost permanent spot on every "Worst Movie of All Time" list. Loosely based on Hawthorne's novel, the movie is over-dramatic, over-sexualized (can we talk about the bath scene for a second?), and a little too ridiculous. Sorry Demi Moore, not even you can make this movie good.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Even the Douglas Adams didn't think his book should be made into a movie, though he did eventually end up writing the screenplay. The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which starred Martin Freeman and was narrated by Stephen Fry, didn't have the same charm, wit, and humor as the novel, and it even included new characters and created a love story — all of which were majorly bad.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I love everything Julia Roberts stars in and everything Elizabeth Gilbert writes, but when the two of them combined for the film adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love, it was a complete snooze-fest. Gilbert's memoir was riveting, emotional, and a completely engrossing read, but the movie was slow-paced, boring, and unremarkable. The only effect it had on me was making me want a slice of pizza, which to be honest, isn't very hard to do.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
You would think that a Dr. Seuss book would have all the right elements to make a great movie — lovable characters, cool settings, plenty of laughter — but The Cat in the Hat, as well as almost every other Seuss adaptation, was a flop. (Was I the only one who got the creeps from the look of the Cat?) A children's story at heart, the movie version tried too hard to make it adult-friendly and included some pretty awful jokes. What would you expect from an 85-minute movie that was based off of a book that only has 236 different words? Certainly not the charm of the wonderful Doctor.
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