Everyone loves a good adaptation: there’s something especially satisfying about seeing your favorite characters transported onto the screen, exactly how you imagined them. Some of the greatest cinematic epics have been translated directly from the pages of books and have their original literary counterparts to thank for their success. However, not all book adaptations go well, and more than a few of us have had our favorite franchises destroyed by their pitiful attempts to translate them to the screen. If you haven’t seen them already, here are five great books that were adapted into terrible movies that you should never, ever watch.
The Golden Compass (2007)
Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy has longed been viewed as a real work of literary genius. A stunning example of magical realism and a tale of epic proportions, all told through the eyes of a young girl. However, the adaption of the series first book could not have been more of a letdown.
The 2007 release, The Golden Compass, was disappointing from the beginning. Even its name changed from the emotive book title Northern Lights, lost most of its excitement in the adaption. Although studded with an all-star cast, the intrigue, intellect and complexity that defined the novel is almost completely lost, and the story seems to become two-dimensional and flat.
There’s been some speculation about a sequel, but we hope the producers stop at once before they cause any more damage to this classic tale.
The Hobbit Trilogy
J.R.R Tolkien’s first move onto the big screen was an undeniable success. The Lord of the Rings trilogy took movie theaters by storm and became a cult classic in their own right! However, the subsequent prequel release significantly missed the mark. With such big shoes to fill, it was always going to be a gamble, and unfortunately, it seems The Hobbit trilogy has gone the same way as the later Star Wars films—a relevant story, but no cinematic spectacular. The Hobbit book is a much-loved classic, filled with exactly the right amount of action, drama, tension and scene-setting. Therefore, attempting to string it out into three movies was probably a bad idea from day one. Needless to say, the much-anticipated hype around the first installments release was quickly quelled and the second didn’t get the time of day from most fans. To make things even weirder, the trilogy is available on Netflix, but in no location can you access all the films at once. While the Part 3: Battle of Five Armies is available in the UK, Part 1: An Unexpected Journey is only viewable in central European countries, such as Austria and Germany. Austria and Germany also have access to Part 2: The Demolition of Smaug along with most South American and Caribbean countries and New Zealand! Because of this, you’ll have to use a Virtual Private Network to gain access if you want to see them all, or just spare yourself the hassle and stick to the book!
Alice In Wonderland (2010)
While the 2010 adaption of Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic appears to have it all— star-studded cast, mind-blowing CGI, the creative brains of Tim Burton and a world-famous franchise to build upon—there’s something about this film that’s decidedly lackluster.
Maybe it’s just because the tale has been well-told for so long, or perhaps the spectacle simply overtook the purpose. Either way, the psychedelic delights that so defined the book, and were even present in the animated Disney version, seem to have disappeared completely from this film. Instead, the story falls flat, and the audience is bombarded with a visual assault of special effects and eccentric – at times, overacted – characters. This is not to say the film doesn’t have its place, it’s certainly a testimony to the creative power of CGI, but it just hasn’t quite hit the mark for living up to the original novel.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
Douglas Adam’s sci-fi classic has long held the reputation of being one of the funniest of the genre. Its flamboyant characters and extravagant plotline are expertly held together by the protagonists quintessential Britishness and off-the-cuff commentary to create a classic novel that truly is unlike anything else. The film, however, does not achieve these perfectly crafted nuances. As a comedy it’s weak, and as an adventure, it is much less than epic. In fact, the only real saving grace and memorable part is Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin–the chronically depressed robot with “brain the size of a planet,” who seems to be as disenchanted by the whole affair as the viewers who are having to watch it.
Stuart Little (1999)
So this one isn’t a truly terrible film, but it does pretty much miss the entire point of the 1945 novel by E.B White. While the original book was a coming of age tale and followed Stuart as he left the comfort of family life and was forced to make his way in the vast, outside world, the movie almost entirely subverts this. Instead of finding his feet, and flourishing and growing as a character, the film instead focuses the whole plot on Stuart’s attempt to return to his family and escape the dangers of “the big wild world.” The animated Stuart has been completely stripped of his empowerment and well-earned independence that is so crucial to the original plot. However, it’s undeniable that the film is a family classic that is bound to be loved for generations, so maybe we can let this one off!
Obviously, so much of film and literature is subjective, so maybe you disagree with some of the points on this list or feel there are other examples that deserve a spot. We’d love to hear your ideas, so be sure to leave a comment below and share your thoughts!
About The Author: Caroline is an entertainment and technology blogger who loves searching the archives for incredible new films and books and sharing all her finds with fellow fans. For more head over to www.culturecoverage.com