One of the most difficult aspects of being a reader is the inevitable disappointment of falling head over heels in love with a book, losing your mind with excitement when a movies goes into production, then having a film be absolutely THE WORST.
It’s so heartbreaking. And it’s an endless cycle. We know the movie won’t live up to our expectations. Then we get excited for the next book. And on and on it goes! I’ve written about this a couple times, in discussion of the monstrosity that was Eragon, and more recently with my broken heart and Ready Player One. While it’s true not all film adaptations are bad, we find so many of them lacking the richness of the books we love.
For example, I am mortified to watch The Dark Tower. It’s one of my favorite book series, and I’ve heard nothing but bad things about the movie. Mostly that it’s horrible and disappointing, and a mishmash of all seven books and Random Weird Stuff That Doesn’t Make Sense. I was so, so excited when I heard that Midworld was coming to film, and now I can’t bear the idea of watching it.
What even is this? I think that the Blinky lights on the walls are supposed to be gunshots… Where’s the plot? … Anyways…. I guess it doesn’t matter because it’s not The Dark Tower without Eddie and Suze.
I can think of so many movies that make me sad, because there are books behind them that are genuinely good. But the public won’t be seeking them out, because the movies were painful.
A lot of Michael Crichton falls into this category.
Most folks these days will know this movie.
Who doesn’t love that iconic scene?! Jurassic Park is a stellar book and a stellar film, even with the discrepancies. Other of Michael Crichton’s novels didn’t come to the silver screen in such a pretty light.
Congo always comes to mind, because even watching the hokey film, you can see the science and intelligence behind the storyline… but those apes. And the lasers? Ack. Tim Curry’s character was also pretty… oy. I like Tim Curry in most things (I adore him in Clue and Rocky Horror) but… not in Congo.
Guys, there are so many movies that didn’t translate well. Many of them I can give passes to, because they make decent films if you haven’t read the book. But what about Tom Cruise’s Lestat in Interview with a Vampire? Horrible, ruined the film. And overall I did not enjoy The da Vinci Code (even though I LOVED Angels and Demons and thought Inferno was pretty decent).
It’s hard to love movies and books, guys. They ought to come together and be brilliant. But they just… don’t.
What are some of the worst book-to-film adaptations you’ve seen?
Are there any times where you liked the movie better than the book?
What ruins an adaptation for you (casting, script, special effects, etc.)?