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crazyivan's avatar

What is the worst cinematic adaptation of a book?

Asked by crazyivan (4471points) September 22nd, 2010

We’ve all heard it before. Disappointed bibliophiles wandering out of a theater saying “The book was better…”

So sure, the book was pretty much always better. What we’re looking for here is the worst movie adaptation of all time. Didn’t have to be a great book (or even an awful movie for that matter), I just want the biggest gulf between how good the book was and how bad the movie was.

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36 Answers

ducky_dnl's avatar

Twilight. I read all four of the books and liked them, but one time watching the movie and it made me hate the twilight series forever.

crazyivan's avatar

@ erichw1504 God, I couldn’t agree with you more. The shame is that now whenever I recommend that book to people they give me this “You’ve gotta be kidding me,” stare and I have to go into this whole explanation of how different it is than the movie.

@ducky_dnl Never read it, but my wife agrees whole-heartedly.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

Eragon was a really terrible movie, but I loved the book(s).

talljasperman's avatar

the animated version of the lord of the rings… I think it came out in the late 70’s

Fairylover78's avatar

I’m with @ducky_dnl The movies ruined the book.

But I would also have to throw Stephen King’s Dream Catcher out there too. The book was awesome and the movie just went all over the place…let me think on it, I’m sure I’ll come up with more!

iamthemob's avatar

“Queen of the Damned.”

Damn, was that a hot mess.

muppetish's avatar

I don’t know what the absolute worst adaptation is, but The Golden Compass was absolute rubbish and my younger brother ranted for a long time the other day about what a terrible job they did with The Vampire’s Assistant.

I don’t think book-to-film adaptations have to necessarily be 100% faithful to the plot of the books in order to be wonderful, though. Big Fish and Coraline were equally amazing as films as they were novels – even with the liberties that were taken.

I’m not a fan of either the Twilight saga or The Inheritance cycle and the movies felt pretty much like a match in terms of how terrible they are in spite of adaptation flaws.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m with the Starship Troopers posters. I wince at the thought of it.

FutureMemory's avatar

The Postman.

diavolobella's avatar

The Bonfire of the Vanities

isuppose's avatar

Beowulf. They butchered the story pretty badly.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Disney Version.

Austinlad's avatar

Most of Stephen King’s stuff, in my opinion. The original “Shining” was pretty good, but generally, his stories just don’t adapt well to the screen.

delirium's avatar

I’m still taking the modern version of Hitchikers Guide personally.

crazyivan's avatar

@Austinlad I’m with you. If you went only by the films you would think everything he wrote sucked.

@muppetish I’m with you. There are a few examples of movies that were better than the books on which they were based. Jurrasic Park, Clockwork Orange and Jaws come to mind.

muppetish's avatar

@Austinlad Do you feel that way about his novelettes? I haven’t read either of the original works, but I think Stand By Me and Shawshank Redemption were masterpieces.

@delirium I’m one of those weird fans who loved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a film. I think the reason most fans dislike it is because of the expectations they had. I didn’t watch it expecting it to be an adaptation of the first book, but as a stand-alone story. I also think Martin Freeman was a perfect Arthur Dent. Why didn’t you like the film?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, yeah, and Clan of the Cave Bear, although darryl Hannah was very fetching in those furs…

muppetish's avatar

I completely forgot about The Cat in the Hat. That was awful.

JilltheTooth's avatar

And the Jim Carrey Grinch.

filmfann's avatar

the original Day Of The Triffids

hobbitsubculture's avatar

Dune The version that came out in the 80’s. First of all, there was Yueh and his creepy mustache. Then there was the stuff where they fought with sounds, and all the weird psychedelic crap. But what really stood out to me was the line “Paul and Chani’s love grew.” In the book, their growing love takes many chapters, many years. But David Lynch can’t tell a story, so he had to cut that and replace it with the aforementioned sound fights and colors.

Twilight the book is so bad it’s good. I hear the movies don’t even have that going for them.

ipso's avatar

War of the Worlds (2005)

faye's avatar

@ipso yes, what dreck. Just watched the ‘50’s version and enjoyed it again.

Trillian's avatar

Heidi. The Wizard of Oz. The Shining (Kubrick)

muppetish's avatar

@Trillian Wow, I rarely see anyone say they dislike The Wizard of Oz. Is there a particular reason you don’t like the film adaptation?

Trillian's avatar

@muppetish If I may answer without being accused of derailing a therad… I never said that I didn’t like the movie, only that as an adaptation, it was a disappointment. That was the question, was it not? I read the book many times as a child.. Way too much was left out. Stuff that didn’t belong there was put in. The lands they went through and the different people inhabiting them,..in the poppy fields, they were rescued by mice. There was another good witch in the south. The hat to control the monkeys, you had to say a sequence of syllables and the monkeys flew them over the mountain of people who had neck liks springs and could make their heads shoot up and slam you. Lots of really cool stuff never made it to the Hollywood adaptation

muppetish's avatar

@Trillian Oh! I didn’t mean to imply that you didn’t like the movie (by “film adaptation” I meant “adaptation of a book” – I didn’t mean to put any words in your mouth.) I was just genuinely curious what specific points you wished had stacked up to the book.

My children’s literature professor likes the movie separate from the book, but when she puts them side by side she found they don’t even compare. Especially since they added the “it was all a dream” facet to the film. I read the book for my class and didn’t love it, but it made me view the movie in a different way. I think it would be neat if a new adaptation were made. I’d especially enjoy seeing the porcelain town and the flying monkeys more accurately portrayed.

On an unrelated note, I’m currently reading Ozma of Oz and I love it so far.

Trillian's avatar

@muppetish On a way further unrelated note, Zardoz is one of my alltime favorites. ;-)

iammia's avatar

@JilltheTooth Aww i loved those books, someone gave me the DVD and have to agree it was awful!

I hated Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal on film, the books were so much better!

diavolobella's avatar

@hobbitsubculture I love the film version of Dune, but mostly because it was so silly. You should take a look at the Dune redub done by Sequential Pictures on Youtube. It’s hilarious.

crazyivan's avatar

@iammia I thought the adaptation of Silence of the Lambs was one of the best jobs ever of capturing a book and bringing it to the screen. The end was a little more fun in the book and the whole “Billy Rubin” thing was awesome, but other than that, I thought Demme did a remarkable job with that one.

Hannibal, on the other hand… Why would you take such a spectacular ending and then rape it and beat it and leave it on the side of the road to die?

MeinTeil's avatar

The bible by multiple offenders.

Fairylover78's avatar

@meinteil Nice one, I guess you could count the Passion of Christ as an adaptation of that book and it was rubbish too!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@MeinTeil Would you be willing to name specific movies? I’ve never seen a movie based upon the whole bible, but certain parts of it.

MeinTeil's avatar

Exactly @Fairylover78

Freakin bloodthirty big budget snuff film.

Mel Gibson is Hollywoods King of Pain.

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