Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Book was DEFINITELY Better

As a follow-up to my previous post, I figured I would countdown some of the movie adaptations that were infinitely WORSE than the novels. This one is a pretty short list; the majority of movie adaptations I've seen, even the good ones, haven't been quite as good as the book, so the films listed here are the ones that particularly grind my gears. But before we get to that, there's one more movie that I neglected to mention in my "book wasn't necessarily better" list, which is surprising because it's a particular favorite of mine:

6) The Princess Bride- Another classic, although perhaps not quite as universally renowned as The Godfather or Gone with the Wind. But in my experience, it's hard to find someone who hasn't seen this movie and loved it. As with The Godfather, I was unaware for quite some time that The Princess Bride was based on a real book. Naturally, once I found out that it was I had to read it.

My personal opinion of this one once again mostly comes down to writing style. Just like The Godfather (and I never imagined I'd ever be comparing these two), The Princess Bride is a story that simply works much better as a film than it does as a novel. I can appreciate that William Goldman was trying to do something unique by pretending to be translating/retelling a story originally written by a fake author, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly and it became a distraction from the main plot. Goldman, clever though he may be in other respects, spends way too much time going off on extended tangents, often right in the middle of a scene. I can appreciate the book for being the inspiration for one of my favorite films, but ultimately it was kind of a letdown.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, on to the crap... 

1) Twilight- Unlike its ripoff fan fic spiritual successor Fifty Shades of Grey, the first Twilight movie makes its original source material look like a masterpiece by comparison. Of course both the book and the film are both terrible, but the film of the book is so bad that I'm actually surprised the sequels got made. I never truly considered myself a fan, but at one brief point in my life I did enjoy the books enough have bought and read the whole series, so in a way the movie is bad both because it was based on Twilight and also because it didn't do justice to the source material... even though I now think the source material was awful. It's a confusing position to be in.

There's pretty much nothing good that I can say about this movie. Every single character interaction is boring and extremely awkward. Edward goes through the entire movie with a look of constipation on his face, mumbles every single one of his lines (you know, now that I think of it, maybe this is where all the "murmurs" and "whispers" in 50 Shades comes from), and always seems to look down and off to the side when he talks. Bella is of course insufferable in both book and film, but arguably more so here, since in the book she at least had some semblance of a personality. The acting is uniformly terrible, the soundtrack is full of odd song choices, and even the film itself just looks bad. The first time I watched this I thought there was something wrong with the color display on my friend's TV, but no, the whole movie was filmed through that bluish filter. It's really annoying.

2) Eragon- Another book that I openly dislike, but unlike Twilight the film of this book is so goddamn terrible that it kind of pisses me off. By the time the movie came out I had long since grown out of my former love of The Inheritance Cycle, but you don't need to be a fan of the books to see just how much of a fucking insult this movie is. It's pretty much The Last Airbender of book-to-film adaptations.

So many of the changes made in the film make no sense at all. Arya was changed from an elf to a human for no reason (unless they're trying to make us believe that elves are identical to humans now and don't have pointy ears), which leads me to suspect that the filmmakers were not counting on sequels being made, because her being an elf is pretty damn important in the next book. Saphira the dragon was given feathers, which just look silly. Oh, and can we talk about the utter stupidity of the near-instantaneous growth spurt she experiences? I wouldn't have had a problem with it if instead of having it happen literally instantly, that some kind of time skip was implied.

I could go on and on about the many faults of this film, but I won't bore you with that now. I'll just leave this Cinematic Excrement review here for your viewing pleasure:

3) Ella Enchanted- Oh boy, this one is kind of a doozy. It's not boring, awkward, or terribly acted like the above films, but to me this one takes the cake. As a fan of the book, Ella Enchanted the movie makes me a little sad and a little angry. It makes be sangry.

It didn't always, of course. I mean, I loved this movie when I was nine years old, and it's not hard to see why a nine-year-old would love it. By itself it's not a bad movie, but compared to the book it's kind of an embarrassment. This was another film-of-the-book that I watched before reading the novel, but this time around I was so impressed by the book that it's almost hard to believe that it and the movie are even tangentially related. The plot was changed so drastically that the movie is really just Ella Enchanted in name only, and all the charm and wit that Gail Carson Levine had woven into her story was replaced with corny dialogue, unnecessary slapstick, mountains of cliches, cartoony villains, and humor that's certain to be lost on anyone over the age of ten. As a kids movie it's fun enough, but it's just sad that the filmmakers crank up the goofiness and severely dumb down the plot in order to sell it.


  1. This is such a fun idea for a post, and I'm sure it wasn't too difficult to compile because the book is ALWAYS better. For me, the only exception to this rule is Mockingjay - the movie (at least part one) had me way more emotionally invested than the book.

    I haven't seen any of the movies you mentioned except for Ella Enchanted, but I agree with that one - it isn't awful, but it pales in comparison to the book.

  2. Someone who doesn't like Eragon! At last! I loved that series when I was young but I eventually outgrew it (I find it weird saying that when I'm 16, but anyway). Looking back it's a total, blatant and soulless rip-off of Star Wars and the movie was one of the biggest cinematic turds I've ever had the displeasure to watch. It didn't even have the good grace to be so funny it was bad, it just sucked in every way.

    Killian @