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Some Really Bad Adaptions of Books to Movies

Post by: Sonam Kapoor

Rightly said, “never judge a book by its movie” stands tall and true with so many books and their weird movie versions. Here’s a list of some books that ruined the reading experience of the books.



The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife


The Time Traveler's Wife was the debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger. It is a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist, who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences.
The Time Traveler's Wife

The movie, directed by Robert Schwentke, had stars Eric Bana as Henry DeTamble, a Chicago librarian with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel randomly as he tries to build a romantic relationship with his love Claire, played by Rachel McAdams.
The movie turned out to be an average chick-flick with the wierd pairing of Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. Messing with this book's complicated chronology was another mistake.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, one of the first of six books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams, is one of the most interesting and impressive works of science-fiction.


But the movie (directed by Garth Jennings) failed to live up to the expectations of the book and its related tv/radio series. Even a narration from the mighty Stephen Fry couldn't make this anywhere near funny or interesting enough, with those fancy new sub-plots added out of nowhere!



Captain Corelli's Mandolin


Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a 1994 novel written by Louis de Bernières which takes place on the island of Cephallonia (Kefalonia) during the Italian and German occupation of World War II. The main characters are Antonio Corelli, an Italian captain, and Pelagia, the daughter of the local physician, Dr. Iannis. An important event in the novel is the massacre of Italian troops by the Germans in September 1943 -- the Italian Acqui Division had refused to surrender and fought the Germans for nine days before running out of ammunition. Some 1,500 Italian soldiers died in the fighting, 5,000 were massacred after surrendering and the rest shipped to Germany -- although 3,000 drowned when the ship carrying them hit a mine. The book explores many aspects of Love. A superb offering.



But the movie (directed by John Madden) saw almost zero chemistry between Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, with a range of bewilderingly bizarre accents. The only good thing about the movie was John Hurt and yes the cinematography.



Captain James Hook is the main antagonist of J. M. Barrie's plays Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up and its various adaptations. The character is a villainous pirate captain of the Jolly Roger brig, and lord of the pirate village/harbour in Neverland, where he is widely feared. Most importantly, he is the archenemy of Peter Pan. It is said that Hook was Blackbeard's boatswain, and that he was the only man Long John Silver ever feared. His only two fears are the sight of his own blood (which is supposedly an unnatural colour) and one fateful crocodile.


Now the movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, saw Robin Williams give a sad performance. Who ever thought of making Julia Roberts Tinkerbell?!?! It looked wrong on so many levels to me!






Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. It tells the story of a young farm boy named Eragon, who finds a mysterious stone in the mountains. The stone, in fact, is a big egg out of which a dragon (later christened Saphira) hatches.



Sadly, no amount of fire-breathing and flared-nostril action from John Malkovich could live up to the level of the book. The movie was directed by Stefen Fangmeier.

The Scarlet Letter


The Scarlet Letter, a 1850 romantic-historical-fictional work by Nathaniel Hawthorne, exploring the themes of legalism, sin, and guilt, is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.




The 1995 American film adaptation, directed by Roland Joffé, staring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, and Robert Duvall deviated a lot from the original novel.
Imagine Demi Moore in a period costume...can't right?!! The erotic bathtub scene and the happy ending did little to save the movie from being the disaster that it was. It was nominated for seven Golden Raspberry Awards at the 1995 ceremony, winning "Worst Remake or Sequel."

The Time Machine


The Time Machine is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. The story is credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively.



The 2002 movie adaption by Simon Wells (who is H.G. Wells' grandson) starred Guy Pearce, Samathna Mumba, Mark Addy, etc. The movie started out pretty well but ended up being a flabby futuristic B movie with a loopy love story and logically incomprehensible storyline.

The Da Vinci Code


The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery-detective novel written by Dan Brown. It follows symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder in Paris's Louvre Museum and discover a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus having been married to Mary Magdalene.



In 2006, director Ron Howard adapted the novel for a movie only to kill his audience. Not even cute Audrey Tautou could perk up this arduous adaptation of Dan Brown's bestseller about religious secrets. And Tom Hanks' po-faced performance made the plodding plot drag its heels even harder.

Marley & Me


"Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog" is a New York Times bestselling autobiographical book by journalist John Grogan, published in 2005, about the thirteen years he and his family shared their life, home, and heart with Marley, a possibly neurotic, and certified "untrainable", yellow Labrador Retriever with a heart of gold. A rather good, witty, and well-written tome.




In 2008, David Frankel directed the movie (Marley & Me) u, staring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston without much flavor and wit as the book.


Alice in Wonderland


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (or Alice in Wonderland), an 1865 classic written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, tells the tale of Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.



Tim Burton directed the 2010 movie adaptation of Alice in 3D! That somewhat helped it gather audience but the storyline looked more feminist and Alice was more of a teenager than a young seven year old. Johnny Depp was as crazy as ever. Loved him. Not the movie really.

Breakfast At Tiffany's


Breakfast at Tiffany's is a novella by Truman Capote published in 1958 that immortalized Holly Golightly (the main character of the book).




The movie did see a wonderful performance by Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly but the edits in the plot did not live up to the book's mark. Blake Edward's  film version is infuriating for its butchered "happy" ending, surely one of the biggest copouts in film history.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events


A Series of Unfortunate Events is a series of children's novels (or novellas) by Lemony Snicket (the nom de plume of American author Daniel Handler) which follows the turbulent lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents' death in an arsonous house fire.


Although this might have been a fun movie to see if you hadn't read the book, it's an absolute nightmare if you're at all familiar with the brilliance of Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events." Though the three children cast to play the Baudelaire orphans somewhat accurately portrayed the characters according to the books, Jim Carrey's playful interpretation of the sinister Count Olaf strips the film of any of the genuine emotion Snicket wrote about in the series, making the film seem more like a parody than an adaptation.

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas


Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, one of the most beloved children’s author continues to rule the hearts with his “Grinch” series. But turning his books in to movies just fell flat. The concise storytelling and typically delightful rhymes went out the window, and the exaggerated design of Seuss' book was amplified into a garish nightmare of color and noise in the movie version directed by Ron Howard, with Jim Carrey in the title role.



Decked out like a green, feral, cruel, pot-bellied dog, Carrey overplays Seuss' diabolical Grinch with his aggressive slapstick, which is separated from his usual rubber-faced antics only in its mean-spiritedness.

The Hours


Michael Cunningham's 1999 novel The Hours weaves together the stories of three women's lives with the care of a fugue. Themes repeat, echo, and get reversed, and the subtlety of his prose only strengthens the book's emotional impact.




The inexplicably acclaimed Stephen Daldry adaptation from 2002 is a far cry. Over-the-top visuals and overreaching performances, weird edits (read: inserts) ruin the book beyond belief.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen


Although the gap between what can go into a comic book and what can go on a movie screen is narrowing, the gap between what Alan Moore can put in a comic book and what Hollywood can put in a movie sadly isn't. Moore's wildly inventive League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics are a gimmicky cross between turn-of-the-century literature and Silver Age superheroes, with fictional folk like Allan Quatermain, The Invisible Man, Captain Nemo, Dracula hunter Mina Murray, and Dr. Jekyll (with Mr. Hyde, of course) banding together, Avengers-style, to save the British empire.



In theory, this is perfect fodder for the movies, but in practice, Stephen Norrington's version is overloaded with plot, incomprehensible action, idiotic dialogues, inexplicable motivations, and madness devoid of any feeling making the combatants unique. A real disaster!

1 Comment

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I would like to add the entire Harry Potter series to this list.
Fri,Dec 2nd 2011 11:37 AM