Top 5 Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptations

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The lovely thing about original Hollywood productions is that an audience cannot utilize any preconceived notions to judge the film. But when you add expectations to the mix, a whole new slew of hurdles must be overcome. Nothing raises more controversy in the “borrowed storyline” format then when a company announces its plans to adapt a novel into a feature length film.
Luckily, some of these films have managed to successfully convey the general themes and emotions that made the books so adored in the first place. The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, for example, received rave reviews just a few months ago and we can’t forget to mention the Harry Potter film’s insurmountable success.
But for as many of these films that succeeded, significantly more have faltered. Without further ado, here are CM’s picks for the 5 worst book to film adaptations to (sadly) have hit a theater near you.

1. Eragon


Saphira Returns
Eragon —

Remember when everyone though this franchise by Christopher Paolini could be the next Harry Potter (sorry, Twilight)? Yeah, neither do we. While the argument will ensue as to whether or not the original trilogy was a work of fantastical genius or contrived Sci-Fi, the film cannot even be included in the argument. Between the terrible acting, giant plot deviations and overall lackluster cinematography, this sad excuse of a film played out like a parody of itself. Luckily, the film’s poor performance nixed any future plans for the rest of the trilogy to make it on screen.  

2. The Lovely Bones


Alice Seebold’s riveting novel about the story of a teenage girl who is raped and murdered by her serial killer neighbor is an absolutely gripping read. It is a thought provoking and horrifying story told in an exceptionally unique way. But while it deals with heavy issues, it maintains a lightness that makes it all the more powerful at its close. The film of the same name has a remarkable cast but falls flat everywhere else. Critics gave the film mixed reviews, although they were primarily negative, and the lack of poignancy made it feel stale.

3. The Cat in the Hat

Little can be said to make this film not seem like the creepiest thing ever. Based on the classic Dr. Suess tale, this real-life adaptation was not only frightening and odd, but also poorly done. Even Hollywood’s beloved Dakota Fanning couldn’t make this film a winner. Note to the filmmakers for the upcoming feature-length film, The Lorax: if it looks anything like this, please, don’t even bother.

4. Battlefield Earth

L. Ron Hubbard, the famed creator of Scientology and also one of the most talented Sci-Fi writers of this generation, penned a fascinating tale about a post-apocalyptic world run down by aliens in “Battlefield Earth”. The movie version, however, is not only widely acknowledged as one of the worst book adaptations, but also as one of the worst films of all time. Critics and audiences ripped apart every little detail of this horrendous film from John Travolta’s acting to the boorish script. The expensive movie made nowhere near the amount necessary to cover its production value and was forced to recoup most of its costs.

5. Revolutionary Road

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet could do no wrong in the beloved film, Titanic. Fast forward over a decade and we were struggling to find one thing that felt right about the duo’s second collaboration in Revolutionary Road. The acting was terrific, as expected, but not enough to elate the dull film. The novel of the same name by Richard Yates was celebrated for its shocking but tasteful portrayal of middle-class life. The movie, however, made it difficult to view the characters anything but pathetic.

Freshman > Journalism > University of Maryland

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