Monday, April 18, 2016

When the Book is So Much Better

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about movies that were better, or at least just as good in their own right, as the books that inspired them. Those movies are a bit of an anomaly, because usually it goes without saying that the book is always better. However, that post got me thinking about a few book-to-movie adaptations where the book is just so much better that it's laughable. They shouldn't have even tried. So below I've compiled a short list of movies that I think are atrocities and should not bear the name of the awesome books they supposedly adapt. I wish someone would remake all of these movies and at least try to do the book justice. But alas, I have no power over Hollywood types, so my opinion counts for nothing.

(Also, please note, these are personal opinions. If you love any of the movies listed below, no hard feelings! I still love you!)

Ella Enchanted

You guys! This book is amazing. I reread this book a million times during my adolescence, and was so excited when I heard it was being made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway. And then! I saw that awful monstrosity of a movie and I was crushed and devastated. A friend or someone told me that if you thought of the movie as being completely separate from the book, then maybe it was a decent little chick flick. But no, I can't think of it as anything but a travesty. Someone in Hollywood really missed out on an opportunity to make the best Cinderella retelling of all time when they did this adaptation. Honestly, did they read the same book as me? Ugh!

Harry Potter (all of the them)

Okay, hear me out. I know there is a strong fan group that loves these movies, and I will admit that certain parts were wonderfully done (the music, the adult casting, the final two films...), but by and large these are terrible adaptations. They do not stand alone as movies. You cannot watch these films without having read the books and understand what is going on. The screenwriting and pacing (not to mention the child-acting) in some of these is just painful. Honestly, the plots are just too complex to fit everything into the normal movie time-frame. My vision for a remake would be a TV series (hear me out), along the lines of what they've done with Game of Thrones (haven't actually seen Game of Thrones, but I've heard enough to get the idea). I envision each book getting its own season, so there's actually a chance to develop all the wonderful characters and expand the plot in the detail it deserves. I think that's what this series truly deserves.


Okay, so I'm cheating a bit with this one because I haven't actually seen the movie. I read this book for the first time last year, and while I wouldn't say it's my favorite sci-fi by a long stretch, I was still super excited to check out the movie adaptation. That is, until I saw the trailer for the movie adaptation. Oh, no, I'm staying as far away from that as possible. But now that we've got all the proper CGI effects in place, couldn't someone remake this and do an awesome job with it please?

A Wrinkle in Time 

Okay, this another cheat, because again I've only seen the trailer. But that was enough. Did you even know that Disney made this into a movie a few years ago? Yeah, they did, and it looks terrible. Like, really bad. Such a shame, because this book is the best. Honestly, I'm not sure this one should be made into a movie. Really, just stick with the book, there's no way to top it. Definitely a favorite.

That's all I can think of for now (my brain's a bit fried from all this end-of-term-paper-writing going on right now, which I'm taking a break from to write this fun little post). I know there are plenty more terrible adaptations out there, these are just the ones where I really liked the original book and would love to see an actually good adaptation. Anyway, I'd love to hear, what are your favorite book-to-movie adaptations to hate on? What books would you love to see remade into really good movies?

P.S. Episode 5 of The Book Blab will air this Thursday evening, April 21st, at 8 PM Central Time. Please join Amy and me for a fun discussion on how to fit more reading time into busy schedules! You can come right here to the blog to view the live feed, or look for the recorded episode with show notes to follow soon after.


  1. I hated the "Ella Enchanted" movie! They took all the defiant, playful, whimsical side right out (everything I loved about the book) and we were left with dopey automatic obedience. Ug!

    Plus, I've watched a couple different versions of "The Secret Garden" and haven't really liked either very much.

    One that's a cheater: "Snow Falling on Cedars." I went to the movie, not realizing it was based on a book. I was so lost! Mostly there were all these scenes of people running through the trees, and lots of flashbacks. I still have never read the book. Maybe my whole perspective would change if I did.

    I'm struggling to think of others--I guess I don't watch very many movies!

    1. You're right, there's not really a Secret Garden movie that does that book justice. I haven't seen Snow Falling on Cedars, but I'll stay away. :)

  2. One of my favorite books is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Have you ever seen the animated adaptation of it? Ugh! It's horrible!

    1. Oh I love Mrs. Frisby! I think I have vague memories of some cartoon version of it, but yeah, it was terrible!

  3. We watched "A Wrinkle in Time" after Natalie read the book. The book is definitely better, and the movie is way too long and a little boring. Tim and Kate were confused by the story, but Natalie liked the adaptation.

    1. Well, maybe Disney knows their target audience, but still, they shouldn't have messed with it.

  4. Yes, don't watch a Wrinkle in Time. I agree it's a classic meant to stay in book form. Don't even get me started on Ella Enchanted.