There are always going to be bad adaptions of books that just don’t live up to expectations. That can destroy the thing that fans of the books love. There have been some books that I’ve read and loved, but just didn’t translate well onto screen or just barely had anything in common with the source material. Here are some of my least favourite book to screen adaptions (no particular order):
Maximum Ride, 2016 film:
So, I really loved these books growing up and I was a bit surprised when the film was finally released in 2016. Especially as I remember reading the books and getting excited to hear that the first book was being made into a film. In 2007. This wasn’t the worst adaption of a book into a film I’ve seen. The problem that I had with this adaption was special effects. I thought it stayed pretty close to the story, missing a few bits out about some of the characters. From what I can remember of the book, the film stayed pretty close to the plot but it just wasn’t amazing. It was okay but it’s nothing to get your hopes up for.
Harry Potter, 2001-2011 films:
Now I have a love-hate relationship with these films. I love them because they were such an important part of my childhood, but I do have an issue with how they changed things from the books. Some of my favourite characters in the books barely had any screen time and if they did they weren’t the same or as important to the plot as they were in the books. I love these films those but I tend to see them as kind of separate from the books. (Which is why the Harry Potter films are on both my favourite and least favourite adaptions.)
A Series of Unfortunate Events, 2004 film:
Now, when this film came out I loved it. I still appreciate it, but I don’t the TV series is a much better adaption in comparison. This film actually what got me to read the book series. But after reading the whole book series and having watched the TV adaption (2017-2019) it just isn’t as good anymore. I think that the mistake that they made was that they combined the first three books into one film. They mashed them altogether and it just didn’t work. All I can say is that it’s not a surprise that there wasn’t a sequel to this film.
The Percy Jackson series, 2010 & 2013 films:
So, I absolutely loved these books. They are the first and only book series I have ever read where more than one character is explicitly labelled as dyslexic. I am sure I’m not alone when I say that the two films were a real let down. The books were brilliant and creative but the films were kind of terrible. The films feel as if someone simply talked to someone about the books and then decided to make a film without reading the books themselves. They just weren’t good adaptions of the books, they were very loose translations from book to film.
The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014)
The thing that I didn’t like about the Hobbit trilogy was that it felt like they stretched the story out over three films simply because they felt like it. I don’t think that the Hobbit needed to be a trilogy, it’s not a long book, it doesn’t really have enough material to be three films in my opinion. I feel like they could have just made a 2-3 hour film and they would have been able to tell the whole story. I really don’t think that it needed to be a trilogy and it ruined the films for me. As I enjoyed the book but the films just dragged on and on. It felt like they made it into a trilogy purely because they could and not because they should.
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, 2009 film:
I honestly barely remember this film existed, that’s how much I cared about it.
Darren Shan’s books are always pretty dark and disturbing so trying to make one into a mass market film might not have been the best idea. This book was definitely lost in translation from the page to the screen. This is another book series that I loved and that I didn’t feel anything for when watching the film. I probably could have enjoyed this film if the actor that played Darren wasn’t so stiff. In my mind, this film seriously paled in comparison to the book.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, 2013 film:
This is a film that I remember really looking forward to seeing, as I at the time really loved the books. But I ended up be very disappointed. Half of the film followed the first book, City of Bones, pretty closely. And then it veered off from the plot of the book and made it’s own ending. They kept some of the details the same but they changed quite a bit of it. Robert Sheenan as Simon was a highlight of this adaption. As was Godfrey Goa as Magnus, that I remember being fancasted very often as Magnus before the film came out. I think without Robert Sheenan I wouldn’t have enjoyed this film very much.
Shadowhunters, 2016-2019 TV series:
Now the reason why this is on this list is because the TV series steered far, far away from the books. Rather than sticking to the books the show decided to take the concept and a number of the plot points and just ran with it. Honestly, this show was so bad that it was good. Unlike with the film, this adaption didn’t try to stick too closely to the book and then veering off with their own plot. It’s not amazing but it isn’t the worst either.
Compared to the film that came out a few years prior, I did enjoy this TV series more. Probably because you actually get the time to get to know the characters unlike in the film. A series gives you more time to explore different aspects of a story whereas a film does not.
True Blood, 2008-2014 TV series:
Initially, I really enjoyed this series but after a few seasons I got sick of it. I think my main issue with the show was that they changed Bill’s character. In the books I didn’t like Bill, his character develops to show just how selfish, manipulative and terrible he is. I liked that in the books we see Sookie in and out of love with Bill and then falls in love with Eric. I would have loved to have seen this in the TV show adaption, but it was changed because the actors that played Sookie and Bill got married. The show had shown how Bill only cared about his own interests and not Sookie’s, unlike Eric whose character changed to show him caring more about Sookie and being genuine towards her unlike Bill. I would have loved it if they had shown this in the show but I can also understand why they would change it. But I personally think that they could have followed the books more in that regards, as the actors are both and adults and it is their job to act. (If you can’t tell I’m still bitter about this.) I ended up not finishing this series simply because I just couldn’t stand it anymore.
I would love to know if there are any book adaptions that you’ve read and didn’t like. Or if you agree or disagree with any of the books/films/TV show that I’ve listed above.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, stay safe, and I hope you have a good day 🙂