Guest Post: 5 Great Books That Were Terrible Movies by Caroline

It’s a great feeling when you finish a deliciously wonderful novel. You’re still hovering in its marvelous universe you lived in for a while. It’s my favorite feeling and definitely why I read books. The next best thing is fantasizing about the likelihood for a movie remake once you close the covers (assuming there’s no sequel, of course).

While movies like “The Hunger Games” and “The Imitation Game” are pretty good likenesses of their wordier counterparts, sometimes the page doesn’t make it quite to the script. Here’s a list of five stellarly horrible movies that were excellent reads.

Ella Enchanted

“Ella Enchanted” was easily my favorite book in elementary school. I don’t know what sort of magic Gail Carson Levine wove into her stories, but everything about it was simply divine in my eyes. A strong-minded heroine? Check! A reimagining of fairy tales with a more satisfying end? Double check! Plenty of magical creatures? Absolutely!

What went wrong with the movie adaptation was Anne Hathaway (Hugh Dancy was the perfect Char, I have to admit) and all of the modernization, including the mention of malls and musical numbers. They went the way of Disney without Disney expertise and it failed. Totally 100 percent failed.  

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban

If you ask a true Harry Potter lover, they’ll say the first two Harry Potter movies were the most accurate and everything went downhill from that. I’m one such Harry Potter lover. I’ll admit that the first two are easier to recreate accurately because they’re smaller (and maybe also a little bit more boring), but that’s not the point. The point is Alfonso hurt the Potterheads.

Let’s start with the opening scene where Harry is practicing magic (illegally) in his bedroom. It was unnecessary and completely wrong for the universe. Move on to the fact that they never did a good explanation of the Marauders, turned Tom the barkeep into Igor, and completely left out the major beef between Snape, Lupin, and Sirius. It’s a good thing I read the books (repeatedly), otherwise this movie would have made absolutely no sense at all.

Disney’s live action remake was, admittedly, one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. The dresses, the set, Helena Bonham Carter—all great. Which makes me almost hesitate to add it into this list, but not quite.

I don’t know who was in charge of the script, but it was seriously lacking. Without the charming animations, the music, or a script that was believable, the whole movie just fell flat. Well, except for when I was hysterically laughing (Prince Charming’s pants were not a good idea). After this, I don’t have much higher hopes for 2017’s Beauty and the Beast remake, even if Emma Watson is leading the cast.

The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown’s instant hit was really well written, intriguing, and then poised for a movie starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Paul Bettany and the perfect Sir Ian McKellan. When watching the trailer, it seemed that absolutely nothing could go wrong. The problem is, it did. 

With a lackluster and rushed plot, even Tom Hanks couldn’t deliver a convincing line the whole movie through. That which is a lot to say for the veteran actor, who has been the best thing since sliced bread in absolutely everything he’s ever been cast in (don’t believe me? Watch his films streaming on Netflix from anywhere and you’ll understand). While I give total props to Paul Bettany’s Silas, I felt convinced that Teabing and the Church weren’t thinly veiled villains with no substance. Who even likes a 2D bad guy anymore?

The Secret Life of Arriety

A loose adaptation of The Borrowers but with the excellence of Studio Ghibli behind it, I was so pumped for “The Secret Life of Arriety” before anyone else even knew how to say Arriety. I’ve also been in love with Kiki’s Delivery Service since I was 8 years old and figured that in the vein of “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “The Secret Life” would find its own place on my favorites shelf.

Yet between the voicing actors, the script, and the lackluster magical element, I felt bereft of the usual splendor and enchantment that Miyazaki films usually fill me with. Maybe it was because it was directed by the genius himself. Maybe it was because “The Borrowers” isn’t exactly my favorite book. Regardless of the reason, I’ll take a pass. Instead watch the delightful documentary on the famed Japanese studio (also available on Netflix for a limited time).

While I’m not so much of a snob to say that I don’t love it when my favorite book titles become movies (I love what Jackson did with “Lord of the Rings”), I am a little discerning in my taste and definitely prefer the films where major plot points aren’t left completely out of the story arc. Is that too much to ask?

Do you have any other movies based off of books that you’d like to add here? Are there any thoughts you have about the books listed above? If so, please leave a comment below with what you think!

About the author:
Caroline is a coffee and internet addict, splitting her time between writing about the latest and greatest in entertainment and adding more and more pins to her Netflix & Chill Pinterest Board. She loves to read and hopes that you’ll find a new book to read today!
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