Great Books Not So Great Movies – Worst Book-to-Film Adaptations

I am one of those people who love a good story. I am also one of those people who enjoy going to the movies or just watching a good flick at home. There is nothing more pleasing than seeing my favorite book adapted into a film.

However, over the past few years Hollywood has chopped, chew and swallow some amazing books in their attempt to bring great books into the big screen.

I am not a movie critic, nor I intend to change anyone’s mind about how good or bad some of the recent adaptations have been. But I have to say,  imagination and originality is running short in Hollywood these days. Some of the adaptations are so bad, they make me want to cry. Considering the amount of money put into creating a film, you would expect better research and better acting.

Below is a list of the worse book to film adaptations I have watched over the years. In my opinion, it should be mandatory that all actors read the story before handing them the movie script.

  1. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  2. Stardust
  3. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  4. The Cat in the Hat
  5. A Series of Unfortunate Events
  6. The Musketeers
  7. The Time Machine
  8. Alice in Wonderland
  9. Beowulf
  10. Twilight (1st of the series – the others weren’t so bad, but they could’ve been better.
  11. The Last Song

I didn’t put them in any particular order because regardless of the order they were all bad. So, do you have your own list you would like to share?

Reader, book reviewer & blogger, love books and most genre: contemporary romance, fantasy, paranormal, mystery & thrillers, new adult & historical romance. When not working, I like spending my time reading, watching tv with my husband and socializing with my friends.

All Comments

  • The 1998 adaptation of Les Miserables wasn’t so bad UNTIL the end. Now of course, they abbreviated lots of the complexity of the novel, but I can’t hold them to account there. If they’d included everything, the film would have run about ten hours. But the sugar-coated ending they gave it was deplorable, and corrupted the whole theme of the book.

    Killian McRae 09/22/2011 12:22 pm Reply
    • Hi Killian,

      It is understandable they abbreviate a lot of the content and perhaps the plot, but I think Hollywood is becoming lazier when doing research about the stories they bring to the big screen. When you consider the previous work of the director and their work trajectory you assume the same quality of work and effort will be put in place. The film industry has changed for the worse, now we live in a “reality show” era which not only has deteriorated the industry but it has also reduce the quality of acting.

      Thanks for the comment Killian, keep them coming!

      readingdivas 09/23/2011 1:52 pm Reply
  • Hi Keith,

    As I mentioned to you via Goodreads, the remake of The Time Machine is an insult to the original and the book. The destruction of the moon hardly explained the evolution of the two races. I suppose I expected more, but then again over the years directors and producers find the need to change plot and story lines in most adaptations.

    As far as Alice in Wonderland, there are 2 things I liked about this movie, visual effects & cast. What I didn’t like, everything else. As you say, too much content for one film. In my opinion the movie didn’t grasp the adventure and true crazy weirdness of the story.

    Thanks for reading and for the comment 🙂

    readingdivas 09/22/2011 12:15 pm Reply
  • Enjoyed this article. I agree with these, especially the Time Machine remake, not good at all. Alice in Wonderland, maybe just too much content and detail for a movie without doing two parts? It must be hard, though, to capture the true nature of a book on film, especially with the differences in creative thinking between author and Director. Good job!

    Keith Weaver (@drmweave2501) 09/22/2011 11:31 am Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you human? * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.