7 book-to-movie adaptations that need another shot

Hearing that your favourite book is heading to the big screen is definitely exciting. But sometimes, directors just don’t hit the mark. Like, at all.

Almost every reader knows the feeling. You put down an amazing book, full of characters that you imagined looking exactly as the author had described, plot twists and turns that took your breath away, and pages of emotions that had you positively hooked. Then, the movie comes out, and something’s missing. The characters are lifeless, the plot has been butchered and everything is just so wrong. And although you wanted to see your book brought to life by the power of Hollywood, you suddenly feel robbed of what could have been something truly amazing.

Here’s a list of seven book-to-movie adaptations that were not done the justice that they deserve, and are in desperate need of a second shot.

Eragon

Otherwise known as the founding father of bad book-to-movie interpretations, Eragon (2016) was not only nothing that book-lovers wanted, but also nothing that movie-lovers could appreciate. Ultimately, the movie was critically-panned for its lacklustre acting, and the ways in which it disregarded almost every plot point from its source material. If given a second chance, Eragon could be a deep and enjoyable fantasy film or TV series, with so much life and colour - with a bugger budget and more time dedicated to world-building, maybe then this dragon will actually take flight.

Fahrenheit 451

For a book about burning, Fahrenheit 451’s (2018) film interpretation was… not hot. Not only did the film erase Guy Montag’s wife, a dynamic and broken character dealing with depression in a dystopian world, but it also dramatically changed the extremely satisfying ending, leaving much to be desired once the film finished. Now while Fahrenheit 451 was attempted in 1966 as well, there still hasn’t been a film adaptation that captures the pure fire of its source material. Given another shot, we need directors who have a burning desire to bring this book to life in a gripping way.

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures (2013) transformed a complex and engaging fantasy world into a lacklustre version of Twilight, but with witches. Ultimately, this creature was not at all beautiful. Given a second shot, the movie would excel as a television series, exploring the unique take on coming of age and love that the original book so brilliantly portrayed, but the movie lost to cheap theatrics. 

Murder on the Orient Express

Flashy costume changes and exquisite set design are barely enough when it comes to putting Agatha Christie’s novels on the big screen. What makes the crime queen’s books excel is the descriptions of captivating personalities, and the exploration of the characters' minds. Murder on the Orient Express (2017) needed to be less of a typical murder mystery and more of an Agatha Christie murder mystery, one with thought, feeling, and extremely clever scenarios. Maybe next time they won’t murder it.

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman

With a score of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes and Sean Connery attributing this movie as to why he quit acting, it’s no secret that The League of Extraordinary Gentleman deserved better. This comic-to-movie interpretation turned dark and complex characters into mindless love interests and action set pieces, all for the worst. Next time, it would be extraordinary if they incorporated the complexity of the comics, and didn’t shy away from the comic's more mature identity.

The Percy Jackson Series

While Percy may have been (accused of being) the Lightning Thief, it's the audience, rather than Zeus, that were really robbed. While the books explored a surprising depth of Greek mythology with humorous descriptions, the film seemed to lack any real sense of wonder or imagination. If there is a second shot, the movies need to have a sense of awe and majesty that was found in the Harry Potter series, but make it distinctly Greek, with full of that special Rick Riordan charm.

The Lorax

It’s almost impossible to turn a Dr. Seuss book into a bad movie. His worlds are colourful, his metaphors are extremely well-hidden, and his charm is universal across children and adults. I mean, even Cat in the Hat (2003) and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) had their meme-able charm. However, The Lorax (2012), a colourful story about environmentalism and the warnings of an adorable bearded-creature, is converted into one boy's quest to impress a girl by finding her a tree seed. While the Lorax himself is animated beautifully, the movie loses the book's essential core. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t a film with a human in an orange suit.

Michael Di Iorio is a third-year Journalism student. He has a passion for human rights, local drama and protesting against misguided portrayals of the Lorax.