Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

It’s Tuesday, which means that it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme of top ten best/worst movie adaptation is a bit difficult for me, as I will either avoid watching the movie if I loved the book or will avoid reading the book if I loved the movie out of fear that it will ruin the experience for me. That being said, there are (of course) several exceptions to this rule, as seen below.

As usual, the order of the list reflects only the order in which I thought of each item, not their ranking. Movie trailers have been attached so that you can take a look, if you’re so inclined.

The Best

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

As one of my absolute favourite books, I was very worried that the movie would not do it justice. However, as Stephen Chbosky himself wrote the screenplay, and Emma Watson (who I absolutely adore) was starring in it, I decided that it was worth a try – and I am so glad that I did. It was one of the most true adaptations that I have seen: so much of the actual dialogue was lifted straight from the text, and it managed to make me cry just as much as the book did.

2. Harry Potter series

While not all of the movies stayed true to the books (looking at you, Order of the Phoenix), I was really impressed overall. My classmates, some of my teachers and I had a tradition of dressing up as the characters and attending the opening night showing of each of the films, so they hold a very special place in my heart.

3. The Hunger Games

Having read The Hunger Games when it was first released, I was so excited to see that there was going to be a movie adaptation of it. The movie was so true to the books, and I really enjoyed how scenes outside of the arena (like those involving Seneca and the other Gamemakers) were added.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

I loved this movie. It captured the feel of the book, and was simultaneously sweet and powerful. And, just as importantly, Aslan and Mr. Tumnus were perfect. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series (and still holding out hope that The Magician’s Nephew will eventually be adapted).

5. Fight Club

Seeing as the first rule of Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club, I’m not going to say too much about this one. I will, however, say that I equally liked both the book and the film, as the book gave Marla more personality and the film provided a more satisfying ending.

6. The Notebook

I have to admit that I haven’t actually read the entire book; I started it, but just couldn’t bring myself to continue reading. I did like the movie though – and considering I don’t usually like “chick flicks” or romance-centric movies, that’s saying a lot.

7. The Help

This movie was perfectly cast, and I enjoyed it just as much as the book.

8. The Lord of the Rings series

These books were made to be adapted into movies. They took me forever to read because of the pages upon pages of detailed description that I confess I often skimmed through. It was incredible to see all of that imagery come to life in a way that was very true to the text.

9. Hugo

The Invention of Hugo Cabaret was a really unique, beautifully illustrated story. The film may be long and not as action-filled as I usually like, but it certainly succeeded in recreating the illustrations in a stunning way.

10. Coraline

This movie managed to perfectly capture Neil Gaiman’s creepy-yet-imaginative story. I loved the animation style, which definitely suited it a lot more than actual acting would have.

+ Sherlock

I know that this isn’t a movie, but this BBC series is the best Sherlock Holmes adaptation I’ve seen. Despite being a modernization, it is so true to the actual text, and it’s incredibly written.

Honourable Mentions (or items that I wanted to include before realizing that my list was already at ten): Stardust, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Pride and Prejudice (including The Lizzie Bennet Diaries), Holes, Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, The Princess Bride

The Worst

1. Twilight
I didn’t mind reading the first book; it wasn’t the greatest book that I had read, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I really did not like the movie, though. The acting was flat and expressionless, and turned me off the rest of the series.

2. Inkheart
I loved the book so much, but unfortunately the movie did not live up to my expectations. It wasn’t just that it was unfaithful – it was just… bad.

3. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
This is one of my favourite middle grade series, so I was really disappointed when I finally watched the movie. If this was a standalone movie, I might have enjoyed it more… but I felt as though the more important aspects to Percy’s journey were left out or reinvented. Hopefully the next one will be better.

4. The Cat in the Hat
This movie was (at best) a train wreck. I don’t know how I managed to sit through the entire thing.

5. The Golden Compass
After taking away the religious and philosophical themes in favour of more action sequences, I’m so glad that it was just a standalone – that way, there’s still a chance that it will be adapted properly at some point in the future.

6. Eragon
The book was beautifully written and fun to read. The movie just consisted of poor acting and a choppy plot, and is the main reason that I haven’t read the rest of the series.

7. Beautiful Creatures
There were just so many unnecessary changes that made this quite disappointing to watch. I really enjoyed reading all of the books, but I doubt that I’ll bring myself to watch any of the other movies.

8. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Surprisingly, I actually did kind of like this movie, even though it was poorly handled, rushed, and failed to include a lot of the details I enjoyed in the books. That being said, I hope that one day someone will adapt the entire series in such a way that includes all of the important parts – especially if that means that each of the books is made into its own movie.

9. The Lovely Bones
I really did like the book, but the movie wasn’t able to portray the mix of horror and sentimentality that the book so delicately balanced.

10. Angels & Demons
It’s my favourite of the Robert Langdon books, but the movie was just waaay too different. I understand that a few things needed to be changed in order for it to be viewed as second in the series, but a lot of the changes were unnecessary, confusing, and made me angry.

What are your favourite/least favourite adaptations?

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