9 Books That Were Way Better Than The Movie
A 9-part list about what happens when really good books get made into awful movies
The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments became a fast favorite of many because of its ability to provide both a group of diverse characters (with a strong female lead, if I may add) and an interesting plot. The book covers moral and social issues as well as creates an interesting mythology of Nephilim and demons. The film adaptation, however, did not do as well. In an attempt to appeal to a young audience, the filmmakers for this atrocity did everything in their power to water down the story line and turn the whole film into a painfully boring love story. Clary Fray's characterization was completely off, and the independent and talented young woman was turned into a damsel in distress for the sake of subplot. To make matters worse, the biggest plot arch in the book wasn't even mentioned in the film because - you guessed it - they wanted even more romantic subplot.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a widely loved book series that follows a bunch of ADHD 12-year-olds as they discover they are the children of ancient Greek gods. Each character has a great sense of humor, emotion, and bravery and the series does a fantastic job explaining the difficulties many unfortunate children face. The part that upset a large majority of the audience right off the bat was the hugely incorrect portrayal of the characters. The characters were made to be teenagers instead of children and their learning disorders are just barely touched on. Most people wouldn't have cared about the age issue if their personalities were done correctly, but the film also fails to capture the sense of humor that encompasses most of the book series. It also fails to convey the plot by completely blowing off the main villain of the first book. This movie continues to hold the title of THE worst film adaptation of our time.
Kick-Ass 2 by Mark Millar
Kick-Ass is a rude, raunchy, and violent dark-comedy comic series about a below average teenage nerd called Dave who accidentally begins a rivalry between good guys and bad guys after he starts fighting crime dressed as a superhero. This comic series has an amazing sense of harsh reality as it shows how easy it is to make enemies by doing the right thing. The only thing wrong with the first Kick-Ass film is the fact that the movie had a different ending than the comics. Despite the different plot, they managed to keep the same characterization, tone, and style exactly how it was supposed to be, so the movie actually turned out well. However, things quickly went south for the film sequel Kick-Ass 2. All the changes in the plot that were made in the first film suddenly needed explaining and fixing in order to cohesively fit in with the sequel. Because of this, many awkward and unnecessary changes were made. The most awkward part of the whole thing was when they tried to turn Hit-Girl (a well known swearing tomboy) into a girly-girl cheerleading high schooler. This subplot brought on a lot of forced love triangles and tension between characters that had nothing to do with the story, and really contributed nothing to the plot. In the end, it basically turned the dark-comedy superhero sequel into a bad remake of Mean Girls.
John Dies at the End by David Wong
John Dies at the End is a criminally underrated horror-comedy about a pair of college dropouts who accidentally start the apocalypse by taking a supernatural drug. The book is very, very lengthy; it follows three different plotlines, touches on serious topics, and still includes horror and humor. Obviously, it's completely impossible to fit all of this into a single movie. The filmmakers therefore had to cut half the plot and several characters out of the film in order to keep a reasonable running time. This made the film difficult to follow and left a large portion of the audience confused. The film also failed to go in depth with the characters and therefore completely excluded the serious parts of the book that gave it emotional appeal. Of course, it did have its good parts; the film did a great job keeping the humor and tone of the book, and the acting was exceptional. But it just wasn't enough to balance out the lack of cohesive plot.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Speaking of movies that tried to fit far too much plot into a single film, here's The Golden Compass. The Golden Compass was also a long and complicated book that had to be cut down and mashed together for the film. Too much plot was happening at once for the average person to understand, and almost all of the emotional appeal that made the book sell so well was almost completely left out. What makes this even worse is that the film ended on a cliffhanger, as there was supposed to be a second and third movie. This means the writer made the conscious decision to cram an unreasonable amount of plot into a single movie instead of just making the movie a two-parter. It doesn't need to be said that The Golden Compass did not receive good criticism, so the cliffhanger will never be solved and this film series will not be redeemed with any sequels.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Also considered one of the worst book-to-movie adaptations of our time, Eragon never quite lived up to the literature it was based off of. To begin with, almost all originality the book had was completely lost when it became a film. Eragon has been called a half-assed knockoff of Lord of the Rings on more than one occasion, which is a criticism that the book never suffered. This might be because all the important plot elements in the book were completely ignored for the movie. The characters were void of any emotion they displayed in the books, most of their appearances (and even races) were far past wrong, and a lot of the characters' crucial backstories went totally unexplored. Characterization was practically nonexistent in the sense that everyone was reduced to a stereotype or trope, lacking any sense of human complexity. It's almost impossible for this film to have been any worse than it was.
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The first Divergent film was generally very well-liked and did a good job at portraying a realistic teenage girl protagonist. However, the second film, Insurgent, did not do as well as the first film did. The Insurgent novel followed Four and Tris fleeing the government after committing treason. The story does an excellent job at portraying death, fear, and bravery. The Insurgent film, however, was not as good. In a desperate attempt to turn Insurgent into a movie teenage girls will obsess over, the entire plot from the book was scrapped and replaced with painfully slow romantic subplot. Practically nothing happens throughout the entire movie; it's so incredibly crammed with drama there was never any room for real plot. Instead of all the action the trailer promised, we got two hours of Tris and Four ogling each other. This sequel was several steps back from the first film and nowhere near the same level of intensity and badassery as the book it was based on.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Tale of Despereaux is a very unique children's book about an outcast mouse living in the walls of a castle. The book has a few very dark themes, such as betrayal, bigotry, death, abuse, and even touches on depression. It could be fair to say that the movie makers for this film adaptation were afraid of including the darker elements of the book- after all, it is meant for a younger audience. This lead the writer to completely dumb down the storyline and turn it into a stereotypical brainless kiddie version. All the emotional value, symbolism, harsh reality of the book was completely scrapped for the film adaptation. Not to mention the once complex characters were twisted into some kind of caricature for children to laugh at. I guess you really can't expect that much when it's an animated kid's movie. But hey, if Coraline did it, so could they.
Carrie by Stephen King
Carrie White (one of the most iconic horror characters of all time) is a shy and traumatized girl who is constantly tortured by her abusive mother and bullying peers. Upon discovering her psychic powers, Carrie begins to open up and learns to stand up for herself. This leads to her turning psychotically violent and seeking revenge on her tormenters by brutally murdering them with her mind after a cruel prank, and eventually wreaking havoc on her entire city. Somehow all three film adaptations of this iconic book failed to encompass Carrie's power-hungry personality and powerful abilities. This all-powerful, unstoppable, and enraged character was turned into an embarrassed, sniveling mess who didn't know how to control her ability. Also, all three films fail to go in depth on her psychic powers and don't show a large portion of her capability. The destruction that filled half of the book only took about five minutes of screen time in all three films. In all honesty, this harsh tale of how all actions have consequences was turned into a castrated message about bullying.
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