5 Terrible Book to Movie Adaptations

I have always been a big movie fan, just as much as I’m a reading fan. However, I’m not an expert on film making. I can cook a mean breakfast and I have great handwriting, but I’m not a filmmaker. It’s just not one of my gifts. I’m also one of those strange book-reading-individuals that doesn’t hate book to movie adaptations. I love seeing how someone else interpreted a story that I’ve read. Sure, I play it all out in my head and have a dream cast all picked out, but I’m not married to those ideas. I’m open!

With that said, I know a terrible adaptation when I see one. I may still watch it and find it entertaining, but I recognize its shortcomings in comparison to the original work. Here are 5 book to movie adaptations that I’d categorize as “terrible”. I’m categorizing them that way based on the quality and adaptation of the book. You may disagree. I’m totally okay with that! In a couple of weeks, I’ll tell you which adaptations that I LOVE!

bones movie

The Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, in particular)

I’ve already reviewed the first book in this series, as well as the movie and the TV show HERE. I think the movie is pretty terrible. Even if I think about it objectively, not comparing it to the book in any way, it’s pretty meh and mostly confusing. The casting was 50/50 and it was just a big jumble. Magnus was a let down, Alec was kind of a creep, and Valentine was a freaking weirdo.


Twilight saga (but mostly the first movie)

You guys, I can’t. It’s super terrible, on a scale of terrible to super terrible. Even if you can get past the crap acting (which I can’t), it’s so hokey. Oh, you’re not familiar with that word? It comes from the word “hokum”, meaning nonsense. Nonsense, I say! With the vampire sparkle and ugh…granted, how could they have done that in a non-silly way? The book has some pretty nonsensical lines that are cheesy and all, but I didn’t really understand just how cheesy they were exactly until I heard them said by these actors.  (They did get better as the others were released, in some ways. The first movie is still pretty bad, though.)


Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Ok, friends…I love this book series. I have this exact movie poster in my classroom and I refer to the books all the time. But I don’t like the adaptation of the first book. As an individual movie, without any ties to the books, I like it okay. As an adaptation, it’s mildly terrible. There are quite a few events that played out differently in the movie than it did in the book, changing the entire direction of the plot line, making things all fall together in a strange way.


Ella Enchanted

Now that you know the meaning of the word “hokey”, let’s also apply it here. It’s…a…musical? This is almost a completely different story. In the book, the central conflict is Ella’s curse and how she’s going to break it. In the movie, she has multiple characters that are against her, jumbling up what the core story is really about. I think the movie has it’s entertainment value, sure. I just think it needs a different title, because it’s not the same story as the book.

hp az

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I didn’t realize how terrible of an adaptation this was until I recently re-read this book. You guys…SO MUCH information is missing from the movie! It’s like they took all of the blood pumping moments and left the other important bits behind. The depth of the story and a huge chunk of the Potter family backstory was left out, which is a shame because it’s so interesting. I like the movie, on its own, but I was really disappointed when I realized how much was left out.

What are some book to movie adaptations you don’t like? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading and watching! – Caitlyn


6 thoughts on “5 Terrible Book to Movie Adaptations

  1. I actually feel just the opposite about the Twilight movies. I lived the first one, in all its cheesy glory, and thought the others went rapidly downhill. I still haven’t seen either of the Breaking Dawn films.

    You are super right abiut Ella Enchanted, though. That movie is the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

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