Monday, December 15, 2014

Book To Movie Adaptation Do-Overs

Hello fellow readers!  Today I got to thinking about book to movie adaptations. Here on Myriad Novelations we're no strangers to highly detailed discussions about film adaptations, but I rarely ever talk about adaptations of the non classic variety. I've decided to upset that trend in order to talk about book to film adaptations I really wish Hollywood could redo. Just wipe the slate clean and take another shot at the source material. This is by no means a comprehensive list and is of course limited by the books I've read. This list is organized starting with the least worst and ending with absolute worst offenders. Let's do this!!

#9. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

I'm going to be honest. I didn't dislike the two Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies that they made. When you consider them apart from the actual book series, they are still two moderately successful movies that chronicle the lives of 4 best friends. The reason this made the list was because of my own distaste for the fact that they crammed 4 really great books into two movies. Now that I'm in the present where dystopian ya fiction trilogies get 4 whole movies whether they deserve them or not, I can't help but wonder how awesome the series would have been as a whole in movie form. As much as I would also like to nitpick about how so many scenes and characters were misrepresented in the films, I've got eight other movies to rant on. Sadly, I did hear that a movie based on the book Sisterhood Everlasting is in the works. If that does happen I can honestly say I won't even consider watching it. That book ripped out my heart and then proceeded to stomp on it repeatedly. I like to pretend the series still ended with Forever in Blue.  

#8. The Princess Diaries
Yet again I didn't hate the two Princess Diaries films made based on the series by Meg Cabot. In fact I like both of them enough to actually own dvd copies, but they are really nothing like the books. What I find so hilarious is that the movies are so different from the books that Cabot has Mia comment in the books about how the movies don't resemble her life at all. The first Princess Diaries was such a sanitary, feel good movie. A fluffy movie that you watch once in a while when you're feeling down. The Mia from the books is quirky, snarky, and a little bit mental in a way that's hard not to love. Fans of the book like myself probably wonder how the Grandmere of the books who is known for her sidecars and her coldhearted nature got turned into the ever wonderful Julie Andrews character. Let's not forget that the second Princess Diaries movie basically says F.U. to the first movie and introduces a new love interest out of left field. At the end of the day this incredible series was turned into your basic romantic comedy.
#7. Beastly
I struggled with my decision to put this book to movie adaptation on the list. I mean it's hard to be disappointed over a story that's a fluffy romance that plays up Disney nostalgia, and pure teenage wish fulfillment. Still I genuinely disliked the film and I can't not talk about it. So I read Beastly by Alex Flinn in middle school and promptly fell in love with the book. I'm a sucker for modernizations of fairy tales and Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie (you know, until I realized the ever intelligent Belle had a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome) Anyway, my younger self loved the concept of the vain popular guy learning a lesson about love and the true worth of a person. While the core of the plot is maintained in the film, I felt like the book was given the basic hollywood romantic comedy treatment again. Kendra was pretty tame in the film and Vanessa Hudgens sucked as Lindy. I do have one massive bone to pick with this film though. As a modernization of Beauty and the Beast, naturally Kyle's curse is that he looks like a beast. The idea is that his transformation makes him physically unattractive. Instead it seems the creators of the film must have decided the fur was unoriginal and went with the incredibly dated opinion that "Hey, people with tattoos are ugly, freaks of nature. Let's go with that." I know I'm probably delving a little too deeply in the film, but that's the message Kyle's character sends to me and I just don't like that.  

#6. Inkheart
Oh Inkheart you had so much potential!!!! This trilogy by Cornelia Funke was and still is one of my favorite series of all time. As a young book lover, the idea of a story where the characters can read stuff out of their books just spoke to me. It had the potential to be a really epic fantasy trilogy of movies. Too bad that won't be happening. While I loved the casting choices for Dustfinger and Aunt Elinor, the movie just doesn't really reflect the book at all. The plot is completely mangled to make the story fit and wrap up in just one movie. The movie's villains are watered down, caricatures of their textual counterparts and just in general the tone of the series doesn't translate into the film. Again, in a world where The Hobbit gets 3 film adaptations, I feel a bit bitter about the fact that Inkheart didn't get the adaptation it really deserved.  

#5. Vampire Academy

I just know what I'm about to say is going to anger some people, but I really really need to talk about this mess of a movie. That's right, despite intensely loving this series I detested the movie. Every last bit of it. Get comfy because this movie is still fresh in my mind and I have a lot to rant about. The first thing that clued me in to the fact that this movie adaption was going to suck hardcore was the promotion of it. I was optimistic about the movie at first. I remember that I had to reconcile the fact that yes the first book in the Vampire Academy series was a bit average and centered mostly around school and teenage problems. I was ready to embrace the film adaption just as much as I did the series. Well, dear readers the movie poster says it all, In a post Twilight world people have begun to realize that the public isn't so receptive to vampire love stories anymore, which is a real shame considering Richelle Mead's books are so fantastic, so fantastic that I stuck around for the spin off series. To try and set their vampire story apart, the directors tried to make this a snarky Mean Girls like narrative that takes a huge departure from the book. Basically in a effort to make an interesting vampire movie, the dialogue was stuffed with obnoxious and sarcastic one-liners so full of pop culture references that the movie dates itself within a month of its release. There wasn't nearly enough world building in the movie to help those who haven't read the book to understand it, Additionally, I though the casting was really quite terrible (Rose anyone?), but I'll just chalk that up to hollywood beauty standards. I heard there was a kickstarter campaign that failed to help fund the second movie and really I'm not surprised. The movie did a pretty good job of alienating many fans of book and didn't make a enough of an impact on those unfamiliar with the series.     

#4. Blood and Chocolate

It has been a while since I've read this book and seen the so called movie adaption, so this discussion probably won't be as in depth as I would like it to be. Even so, this terrible book to movie adaptation has to be called out. Aside from a few situations and the names of the characters, nothing about this movie matches up with the book. It's as if the script writers for the film read a synopsis of the book and decided to work from there. How about you care for your source material next time.  

#3. Percy Jackson

You had to know this would be on the list, right? Right? I'm going to be honest. I read the Percy Jackson series far too late, as in the two movies had already been released and I still hadn't read them. When my younger brother, who had read the series, freaked out over how terrible the movies were, I really didn't give it much thought. Now that I've read this series and all of the Heroes of Olympus, I see what my brother was talking about. The movie takes plotlines from a number of books and then just smashes them together in a hilarious mess. That Kronos fight anyone? No just me? I also love how this myst is something that conveniently comes in a perfume bottle. The characters from the movies also don't align with those in the book. I find it so annoying that Annabeth, the freaking daughter of Athena, is a clueless twit half the time, just an obnoxious love interest really. I could rant a bit more, but I think the rest of the internet has me covered. 
#2. A Series of Unfortunate Events
This movie crushed me as a child. Never before had I felt so betrayed by the movie industry and for good reason. Who in their right mind ever thought, we need an actor to portray a menacing villain, oh lets get Jim Carrey -_- A Series of Unfortunate Events holds a special place in my heart as one of the best series of my childhood. I grew up with these books and to this day, even the mention of the series makes me want to abandon the rest of the world and all of my responsibilities so I can re-read them all. This movie attempted to cram three whole books into one feature length film, which is a shame because aside from Carrey, the film had a terrific set of cast members who could have shined with more screen time, a better script, and a lead actor that doesn't ruin every scene he's in. The great news is Netflix is actually adapting the books into a series!!!!!!!! When I found out I had a bit of a fangirl meltdown in my dorm, which is a bit terrible considering this is a children's series and I'm a senior in college, but whatever. I just might have to cave and get a Netflix subscription.  

#1. Eragon
You had to have seen this one coming too, right? Let me set the scene. I was a voracious middle school reader, who in her time between school work and Harry Potter book releases filled the time with new underrated series, at the time this was underrated, trust me. I devoured Eragon the minute I got my hands on it and as a very shy student, bolstered the courage to ask one of my classmates to borrow his copy of the second book. When this movie was advertised, I didn't give my parents a choice. I had to go see it in the theater. To say I was disappointed would be a bit of an understatement. Again this movie had a perfect cast, honestly who else could play Brom except Jeremy Irons. The problem is the movie is a huge mess, full of jump cuts and time lapses that save on runtime, but leave out a ton of important plot points. Not to mention, the creators made sure there was no way they could ever make a sequel out of this mess of a movie. I will forever wish that this fantastic series gets the movie franchise to deserves.

As I said before, this is by no means a comprehensive list. In fact, this list was first drafted in August (sorry folks) and since then there have been a number of book to movie adaptations that could have very well made this list. Just like death and taxes, it is almost a life certainty that the film industry will mess up a beloved novel or book series. Until next time, enjoy the holiday season and Best Wishes!