You’ve heard it before: “The movie is never as good as the book.” Well, in some cases, that’s an understatement. With the slew of fantasy book adaptations hitting theatres in recent years, for every Lord of the Rings there were bound to be a few flops. Here are a few of the worst. (Note: comic book adaptations are not included here – I figured they deserve a list of their own.)
You’d think a screenplay written by the author of the source material would be pretty safe, right? Not when said author dies soon after handing it in and thus doesn’t get any more say. Douglas Adams’ original book is hilarious. The movie version, oddly enough, isn’t. I’m not sure just what got lost in translation, but when humour is the main order of business, there’s really not much left without it.
4. A Series of Unfortunate EventsMuch like Adams’ work, Lemony Snicket’s series about the three unfortunate Baudelaire children is bitingly snarky and works great on paper. While the movie version was visually captivating, the plot was cobbled together from not one but three novels, and the seams show. Jim Carrey does his thing as evil Count Olaf, but in the end, even that’s not enough to keep my attention. I’ll stick to the books for this one.
The filmmakers of this adaptation of the first book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy made the inexplicable decision, after outrage and calls of boycott from various Catholic organizations, to remove the entire ending from this movie at the last minute. Sure, the film is pretty to look at, in a Nicole Kidman-Daniel Craig-steampunk blimps kind of way. But the perplexing absence of the story’s biggest action and emotional climax – a scene that was in fact filmed and included in original cuts – leave things feeling rather empty, and effectively closed the door to any further adaptations. I just have one question. Why?
“Why are we going to Vroengard?” is the response you’ll get anytime you ask an Inheritance fan about the film version of Christopher Paolini’s debut novel, a clever reference to a plot point that features a place that’s unable to be remembered. Eragon is often cited as one of the worst, or most embarrassing film adaptations in recent memory. I’m unable to tell you exactly why, as while trying to watch it I fell asleep. Case in point?
My first clue that something wasn’t quite right about this adaptation of Rick Riordan’s popular Percy Jackson series should have been when they cast twenty-somethings to play twelve-year-old characters. From there, things just got worse, with the screenwriters picking and choosing scenes to include at random, inventing their own, and sexing up others. Add to this a complete miscasting and misunderstanding of leading lady Annabeth and a completely different bad guy for Percy to battle at the end of the film, and you’ve got one heck of a mess. My only consolation, upon leaving the theatre, was the relief that at least they wouldn’t be able to muddle their way out to make a sequel. I was wrong.