Let’s be real: There are great books, and there are great movies, but there are very few great movies made from great books. (Holes, I’m thinking of you.)
Here we’ve narrowed down the list of movies you may have seen in the past couple of years to the ones we really wish you hadn’t seen. Take our word for it, and don’t re-watch these flops. Go read the great books instead.
The Dark is Rising is the second—but most famous—in a series of YA fantasy books that follow a group of British children who discover that the eternal fight between the Light and the Dark is more real that they could have ever imagined. The magic incorporates Celtic and Norse mythology and Arthurian legends into a captivating, exciting adventure. The movie, well… I’m hoping you’ve never even heard of it.
The Seeker (The Dark is Rising in the UK) is so bad that even Wikipedia says it “made important plot and character changes from the book.” Worse, it’s boring. Don’t bother. Read the great books instead.
Now, I have to admit that despite its numerous failings, I rather enjoyed this film. However, the fact that they couldn’t drum up enough support to turn the second book into a movie really says it all. This urban fantasy series by Cassandra Clare has a huge following, but the movie has a huge Mary Sue problem. The female protagonist might be relatable in the books, but on screen is just weirdly perfect; in fact, the movie lacked suspense partially because there was never a moment in which you were actively worried about her. It was easy to expect one of her sexy male friends to come sweeping in and fix everything. Worse, the dialogue was bland and predictable. Oh well. At least you have the book—and possibly the new and hopefully improved Shadowhunters tv series—to look forward to.
This book is absolutely fantastic, and was one of my favorites for a long time. It follows a girl named Lyra, living in a world where people’s souls exist as sentient animals, who discover that someone is kidnapping children around the world—and it has something to do with the mysterious “Dust.” The book is both interesting exciting, and with a star-studded cast including Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, the movie really should have been as well. But somehow, despite all attempts, it just came out, well, flat. Too many characters, too many plot twists, and not enough backstory left it confusing, and created audiences without any emotional investment. So do me a favor—pass on the movie, and go read the book.
I know you’re gonna fight me on this one, but I stand by my decision. The book (well, graphic novel,) is awesome, and the movie is barely mediocre in comparison. Worse, they turned the core relationship of the book—the father-daughter connection between V and Evey—into a weird, slightly disturbing romance. Look, you’re not going to believe me until you read it yourself, so just go hit up your local bookstore and read the darn thing. #GreatBooks
This book, originally published in 1726, has inspired numerous movies, none of which have been more awful or less related to the actual plot than the 2010 film starring Jack Black. They literally have one plot point in common, that being the idea of a normal-sized man being stranded on an island of tiny people. In the book, that’s just one small part of the plot. In the movie it’s basically the whole thing. I’d like to tell you all the reasons that the book (and the 1996 film of the same name) is better than Jack Black’s misguided comedy routine, but they’re so unrelated that I really have nothing to compare.
When you reach the point where people are actively recommending that you watch a Nicholas Cage movie (National Treasure) instead of a movie starring Tom Hanks, you know there’s something weird going on. But this is one situation in which the character needed for the film was really more Nick’s style than Tom’s. And it shows. Instead of thrilling, this movie felt a little bit like watching one of my old professors trying to imitate Indiana Jones. Read the book instead. That, at least, was exciting.
While I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book, I did find it fun and entertaining. The movie? Less so. With a story inspired by Lord of the Rings and Star Wars about a boy and his dragon and their quest to defy the evil emperor, I expected a little more excitement. Unfortunately, the movie was a little too close to those inspirations, and lacked the epic feel of the book. So really, skip the popcorn and hit up your library instead. (Or eat the popcorn while you’re reading. As long as you don’t get the pages buttery I won’t judge.)
I feel bad even associating this movie with the book. While both share a basic premise—a girl much like Cinderella is given the “gift” of obedience at birth—I am honesty not sure how the movie producers kept the rights to the title with how many plot points and characters they changed. To name a few: In the book Ella’s obedience means that she has to do what other people tell her to, but she uses her wits to exploit loopholes in their instructions. In the movie it means that if someone tells her to stop while she’s jumping, she’ll literally get stuck in midair. Do you see the problem here? In the book, Ella is a real person stuck in a horrible situation. In the movie, well… she’s a Mary Sue. It’s just bad. If you’ve had the misfortune to see it, blot it from your memory and go read the book.
Since The Chronicles of Narnia and His Dark Materials (referenced above) were basically rival series, I guess it’s only fair that both were turned into awful movies. The first book in this series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, had a fairly good and successful film adaptation. However, this second one was pretty well ruined by a director (I guess) trying to make an already exciting book even more exciting, through the liberal use of characters older than they should be, and weird romance, and bloody battle scenes that shouldn’t have existed. In the end, fans of the book were annoyed and newcomers were disappointed, and the third book (Voyage of the Dawn Treader) was farmed out to a totally different director who, despite doing a pretty nice job of it, just couldn’t drum up enough support in an audience so underwhelmed by Prince Caspian. So, one last time now, pass on the movie and just go read the book.