Lots of books are made into movies. How one story gets chosen over another is a mystery to me; I’ve read some books that should absolutely be made into movies. I’ve read other books that were made into movies that maybe shouldn’t have been. This is a list of of books that were good. I mean good enough to make me want to see it in movie form. And then the movie was made. And the movie was terrible.
So go read the book. But you’ll probably want to skip the movie.
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
This book-to-movie was so promising. The book was a could-not-put-down, devour-every-detail kind of thing. It was so good. I liked this stand-alone way better than Meyer’s Twilight series. And since Twilight was made into a series of decent movies I was expecting something at least on par with that quality. Which was a fairly low expectation, if I’m being honest. I didn’t like the first Twilight movie. So I was so disappointed when the movie sucked. This is one of those rare examples where very little was changed from book to movie plot-wise but it was still really bad. There were a whole lot of weird music choices. It’s like the movie was trying to feel all ethereal but it didn’t work. And the conversations that were supposed to be happening inside Wanda’s head were so, so awkward. In the book it made perfect sense. In the movie it was just weird.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I think the first problem with this movie adaptation was the casting. In the book Ethan is kind of a serious, thoughtful guy. The movie-Ethan was a sweet, goofy guy. He just wasn’t right for the part. And movie-Lena was nothing at all like book-Lena, either. So right off the bat the two main characters are completely changed. And then the movie added some weird stuff–like Amma doing her rituals topless–and removed a couple of key characters. And then just regular movie stuff was bad: The editing, the music choices, the acting (except for Emma Thompson who is amazing in everything). Just ugh. It was bad.
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan
Logan Lerman is absolutely perfect for this part. He owned it. And that is the only nice thing I will say about this movie adaptation. All the other casting choices were wrong (don’t even get me started on Grover and Annabeth), and it felt like they took a children’s book, cast adults in it, then made those adults act like children. Oh, wait… yeah. That’s about right. It was over-the-top cheesy kids’ programming. It felt condescending. Completely unlike the book.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares
When I read this book I thought it was sweet, endearing, thoughtful. When I saw the movie I was annoyed at myself for going to see something so insipid. I understand Blake Lively’s sex appeal, I do, but why couldn’t they cast someone who could actually play soccer as Bridget, Soccer Prodigy? Seriously, Lively can’t even run well. She’s clearly not an athlete. And then the entire Lena/Kostos storyline was changed. The entire storyline! In the book it was so perfect! Why change it completely, if at all? And then the ending was different, too. Just too many changes. It went from endearing to annoying when it went from book to movie. So disappointing.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett
Have you read these books? This series is one of my all-time favorite children’s series. They are so funny and smart and entertaining. Just so good. The movie had a lot of things going for it: The casting was excellent. The style, the coloring, the costumes: All of it fabulous. The music was endearing. I mean, this movie was almost amazing! What went wrong? They crammed three books into one movie and tried to put an ending on it. Granted, it was a stand-alone movie not a series of books. But how do you tie in an entire 13-part series with just one movie? You don’t. It was awkward.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
I think just about everyone on the planet has read this beloved children’s book. It’s a classic. Which is why I cringed when I first heard someone was making it into a full-length movie. Then I grimaced when I heard Mike Meyers would be the cat. And then, when I actually saw the movie, I may have fallen asleep somewhere in the middle. So I honestly can’t say I’ve seen the entire film. But I can honestly say I don’t want to. Because when a studio takes a book that only takes 20 minutes to read and makes it into a film that’s 90 minutes long, you know it’s gonna be filled with a bunch of useless crap.