8 Film Adaptations of Children’s Books That Left Your Childhood Ruined Forever
Brace yourself, kids, there's a sexy new adaptation of Paddington Bear coming out in theaters. You heard me correctly: sexy. Due to some "mild sex references" the film was slapped with a PG rating, something that left the 88-year-old author Michael Bond "totally amazed." Time will tell whether these "mild sex references" are anything you'd even bat an eyelash at, but what IS apparent is that it's so easy for a movie adaptation of a kids book to hit you—BAM!—right in the childhood.
I never was super big on the Paddington Bear books myself—I was more of a Corduroy girl—but I grew up with a great love of reading, and, even in adulthood, I find myself uneasy when I hear one of my literary friends is going to make the jump from page to screen. I mean, there are so many things that can go wrong! Sometimes it's a lazy adaptation that I find offensive, or sometimes the adaptation so accurately captures the mood it's way too scary. Sometimes there are glaring issues in transforming an 11 page story into a bloated feature film, and sometimes it's those minor nuances that really just get under your skin.
Here's eight book-to-movie adaptations that in some way served as a direct affront to your childhood.
Dude, getting appendicitis is actually a terrifying thing, and not something to joke about in rhyme. Also, did Pepito have a guillotine in the original books? Did I mentally block that one out? (Fun Fact: he did, but that doesn't make this any more traumatizing).
Many years ago, my mother realized that The Man With The Yellow Hat didn't have a name (the monkey did, but not the human caretaker), and it was something that deeply unnerved her. Mama Garis even wrote an email to the (already long dead) author requesting a name for The Man With The Yellow Hat. By the time the movie rolled around, however, the man FINALLY gets a name and it's... Ted. Ted? Really? A little anticlimactic, don't you think?
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
The book is all about the gorgeous illustrations, and like zero percent about applying logic to why it's raining meatballs. So to stretch this out into an hour-and-a-half long piece of CGI garbage is a goddamn sin. Likewise, there's a special place in hell for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.
The Cat in the Hat
I grew up with a healthy love of all things Dr. Seuss, but translating his vision is sort of a tricky endeavor (aside for the Boris Karloff narrated How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which is gold). The live-action version of The Cat in the Hat embodies this trickiness. While it visually appears Seuss-esque, Mike Myers elevates The Cat from mild nuisance to a furry monster struggling with multiple personality disorder.
It's by no means a bad movie. However, Roald Dahl books, and all their adaptations, really touch upon a darkness not commonly seen in children's media. That's why the principal in this movie is way too scary, as is Anjelica Huston's big reveal in The Witches, as is this acid trip in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
I'm generally of the conviction that any and all modern twists on Cinderella is just lazy writing, but, for what it's worth, Ella Enchanted (the book) was actually a decent read. It's on my bookshelf right now, and I don't hate it, to say the least. But this adaptation is just... bad. And Anne Hathaway does a cover of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" at the end that makes you want to boycott the entire movie industry.
The Baby-Sitters Club
This show is flat out blasphemy, but it's the relationship between Stacey and foreign 17-year-old hottie Luca that's mighty unsettling. Sure, we've dealt with considerable age gaps in the books (Boy-Crazy Stacey, Stacey's Big Crush, and Dawn and the Older Boy for good measure), but seeing it on screen gave me the icks, even as a youngin. Towards the end, Luca tells Stacey he'll be visiting next summer, and she giddily says, "I'll be 14." COOL, SOUNDS WAY ILLEGAL.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Okay, before we get angry, note that NOBODY loves Harry Potter and all it's related media more than me. I did my minor thesis at Rutgers on it, and I cried at the screening of all eight movies. However, if you were a diligent reader of the books before the films came out, all of your pre-conceived images of Harry and the gang died with the Sorcerer's Stone. This was a series that got kids into reading and well... you don't need imagination if the images are being provided for you, now do you? Of course this isn't the case with most die-hard Potterheads (parodies and fanfics dominate the Internet), but it's food for thought, nonetheless.
Image: Studio Canal