Friday, October 23, 2015

All of these Movies Sucked (For Teen Read Week)

Movies can be super awesome. Sometimes they can be super lame. Sometimes they can wave the original creator's severed head on a stick in front of their weeping mother.

But, in lieu of those harsh times, bad movies bring us closer to the literary material that we hold so dear. Every Dr. Seuss movie adaptation has shown us this, so here are some more examples! In honor of Teen Read Week, here are the best books that stemmed horrible movies


Eragon by Christopher Paolini
      When you hear about this book, you think one of two things:
  1. Dragons! Cool!
  2. I can't believe a kid wrote this!
When you watch the movie, you think one of two things:
  1. Dragons! They look so fake!
  2. I can't believe a kid didn't direct this!
The movie blows, read the book, end of story.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
       I'll be honest, I really like the version with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, but I can understand why most people don't like it. It's very dark, and most of the cast just seem bored. With the book on the other hand, it's a strange road trip towards opium-induced daydreaming. This book may have been written decades ago, it's still very magical and very fun.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
      This movie should have gotten the attention The Last Temptation of Christ did. People should have flooded the streets and movie theaters, protesting the atheist tones marketed towards children. This movie should have made of lot of money... if they kept in what made this book controversial in the first place. The movie is bland and all around confusing. Even though the polar bear effect is great, you'll probably be snoozing by the time the movie gets there. The book does a much better job at explaining the complicated details, and has the great advantage of treating you like a thinking person. Give it a shot!
Watchmen by Alan Moore
     I freakin' loved this book! It has everything: suspense, violence, action heroes, beautiful graphics, and a well-written story. Unfortunately, this graphic novel got what I called the "Zach Snyder" treatment: it wasn't fun, it was all over the place, the colors were muted, and of course, the awkward sex scene no child should have to watch next to their parents. Read this instead!

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
      All Christianity symbols aside, the Disney movie adaptation was long, slightly racist, and had an emo floppy-hair boy as the title character. The original source is much better, and to be fair, does that come as a shock to anyone anymore?

The Giver by Lois Lowry
      Okay, seriously, what the hell happened? This novel has been a staple of middle school reading list for years and yet your movie adaptation still sucks? You see, this is the problem with having a post-apocalyptic novel adapted to the big screen, during which post-apocalyptic futures are huge cash cows. They added unnecessary elements to the story, like a grand escape, another love story, and, oh yeah, the whole thing is in color.
      If you're sick of the genre as I am, this novel is the most unique take you'll read.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
    So far, this is the only Jodi Picoult book to be adapted in film, and I can see why. How could Jodi ever trust a movie studio again after what they did to her work? The major reason why this book is on here is because the original ending was changed in the movie. Like many of the authors listed here, Jodi hated with what they did with it, and so did the fan base. You know the drill, read this book.
Lemony Snicket's A series of Unfortunate Events
      Why, Jim Carrey, why? Other than the completely misguided casting for the sinister Count Olaf, the movie also crammed in not one, not two, but three of the first books in Lemony Snicket's series into a two hour story. And yes, it was bad. Much of the mystery was skipped to fill in the time slot, but that's where the heart of the book was: its mystery. There hasn't been a children series like this one, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested.
The Princess Diaries AND The Princess Diaries: Royal Engagement by Meg Cabot
      Before Anne Hathaway was taken seriously as an actress, she starred in the Disney-produced fluff simply known as the Princess Diaries series. While the first one was harmless, the other acted like it gave good morals to the little girls even though it just promoted consumerism. And Anne Hathaway's derpy-clumsy character didn't help the movie in it's favor. Speaking of which....
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
     Yet another horrible adaptation produced by Disney starring Anne Hathaway! What are the odds? Okay, so this book got really dark, which didn't hype with Disney's image at the time. So in it's place were neutered jokes that hardly ever got a giggle. The book is so much better, yadda yadda yadda.
But Anne Hathaway's cover of "Somebody To Love" should be watched over and over.
The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
       One of the lowest grossing movies Disney ever made. The characters are annoying, the animation isn't that spectacular, and once again, it doesn't hold up against it's maker. You've heard me say it more times before, READ THE BOOKS. DON'T WATCH THE MOVIES.
I've missed a lot of horrible adaptations, but I focused more on the young adult novels people actually like to read (ahem, The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gastby). So let me know your opinions on the worst book-to-movie adaptations you've seen. Happy Teen Read Week! 


  1. I liked the movie "Ella Enchanted" okay, but yeah, the book was better. The rest of your points are dead on!!! What a well-raised child you are.

    Stephen King does not have a great track record of book-to-movie conversions, so I will vote for "The Dead Zone" -- wonderful, moving book and terrible, unappealing movie.

    Great post! Lots to think about here.

  2. Great post, Mel!! And great advice! I can only think of a couple of examples of movies being better than literature, and usually that's because they were adaptations of short stories or non-fiction works. For some reason, novel adaptations hardly ever turn out well. Sadly, many novelists can't make enough money to support themselves these days unless they sell film rights. I think TV may be becoming a better way to adapt novels to the screen. At least the producers have more time to get it right. In the meantime, reading is the way to go.

  3. I remember the devastation I felt when I first watched "Gone with the Wind" after reading the book. The movie is great--as long as you don't realize just how much was cut out! Great post, Mel! Too funny and unfortunately too spot on!

  4. Great post! I agree with everything you said - some of these books were just destroyed on screen!

  5. Excellent writing and advice!
    My pitch for worst book to movie -- Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise. Lee Child has written many thrilling books about Jack Reacher, an ex military cop who wanders the Earth getting into adventures, kind of like Kung-Fu but with guns and bone-breaking instead of martial arts and meditation. Reacher is described as being 6'6" , 260lbs - a MASSIVE human which figures prominently in how many guys just run away from him in fear. Tom Cruise is like 5'2" 150 lbs on a good day. He is a JOKE as Reacher. Millions of Lee Child fans agree with me.