Some people believe that reading a book is always better than watching a movie, and while we can agree with that to some extent, we simply can’t deny the fact that movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are real masterpieces that deserve all the love they’re getting. That being sad, not all book to movie adaptations are equally successful. In fact, more often than not they turn out much worse than the source material. Here we’ve gathered 15 best and worst book to movie adaptations ever created.
Best: Lord of the Rings (2001)
We had to start the list with an all-time favourite based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien. You might not even like fantasy as a genre and never even think about reading the books, but once you start watching the movie the beautiful world of Lord of the Rings just comes to life, inhabited by orcs, elves, humans, and huge talking trees. It is just as compelling for kids as it is for adults and the story never gets boring or lacklustre.
Worst: The Dark Tower (2017)
Based on Stephen King’s dark fantasy book series, The Dark Tower movie simply doesn’t do it any justice. Whether you’ve read the books or not, the movie itself is simply no good! The suspense builds up from the first scene only to end up in a total disaster. That’s definitely not how Mr. King writes his spine-chilling novels!
Best: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
David Fincher’s screen adaptation of Stieg Larson’s book is one of the most thrilling and gut-wrenching movies you’ll ever watch. Starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, whom you probably won’t recognize in the movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo captures the dark and thrilling atmosphere of the book, depicting even the most gruesome details.
Worst: Ender’s Game (2013)
If we compare it to the source material, Ender’s Games is quite a mediocre sci-fi movie that really lacks the depth of the original. While the special effects are quite decent, the characters seem to fall flat, whereas in the books each of them had a spectacular story to tell. In the book, Ender’s sister and brother play equally important roles not only in his character development, but for the story as a whole. Definitely go read the book, especially if you liked the movie!
Best: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
There is much controversy surrounding the Harry Potter movie adaptations, but one thing we can say for sure – there are some spectacular films in Harry Potter movie series, Prisoner of Azkaban being one of them. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, whose love of stunning visuals is evident in the Gravity, the movie tells the story about Harry’s third year in Hogwarts. With Alan Rickman’s and Gary Oldman’s stellar performances, this movie is among our favourites.
Worst: Maze Runner (2014)
Okay, we admit that the book itself is quite mediocre, but its premise is at least semi-original and the characters are diverse and not lacking ‘screen time’ as compared to what happened in the movies. Yes, they are all gorgeous, but some of them have no personality whatsoever! You will also find that in the books the two main characters have a very peculiar way of interacting with each other, which the movie doesn’t reveal. The whole plot was changed too much!
Best: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The second instalment of The Hunger Games movie franchise certainly did the book justice. And not only that – it’s probably the best movie of the series! It’s action-packed, highly dramatic, with great acting, romance, and a battle royal that is simply breathtaking.
Worst: Ella Enchanted (2004)
If you read the book you’ll find out that it is more about female empowerment than anything else. That you can be yourself and still manage to save the day (and the prince!) on more than one occasion. The movie, on the other hand, is all about waiting for the man to come and save the day. Now that’s just boring, don’t you think?
Best: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
The book’s fans certainly didn’t expect the movie to turn out so good! This deep and philosophical coming of age novel was turned into an equally fascinating and thoughtful movie. Emma Watson and Ezra Miller gave their best performances and the phrase “And in this moment, I swear we were infinite” became one of the biggest catchphrases of year 2012.
Worst: The Golden Compass (2007)
Even if we don’t take into consideration the messed up chronology of the movie and its evident focus on the younger viewers, The Golden Compass movie is simply lacking depth compared to the book. Most of the fans are enraged by the fact that the more philosophical topics were absolutely ignored, while His Dark Materials trilogy explores love, religion, physics, and many more complex subjects.
Best: Fight Club (1999)
Fight Club is a brilliant screen adaptation of an equally thrilling book. No one expected Hollywood to produce such a gut-wrenching, witty, and complex story without cutting off pieces from the original. Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club, applauded Fincher’s adaptation. And we do, too!
Worst: I Am Legend (2007)
You may argue that the movie is not so bad, but only if you haven’t read the book first. It’s completely different! They changed so many details in the movie that it was unnecessary to put the book’s title on it. There were vampires instead of zombies, the whole thing took place in Los Angeles in the 70s, and Neville’s family actually died from the virus. The whole philosophy of the book is also different as in the end Neville finds himself to be the aggressor, one of the few who attacks the ‘new humanity’ in order to save himself.
Best: It (2017)
It might very well be the best Stephen King’s book to movie adaptation ever created. There’s everything you expect to see in a horror movie – the bone-chilling suspense, the mystery, the tension, and well-developed characters to crown it all. The movie has an amazing cast and we can’t but mention the exceptional performance of Bill Skarsgård who portrayed Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the creepiest way possible.
Worst: Twilight (2008)
Sometimes the book to movie adaptation is so bad that you’re scared to even take a sneak peek into the source material. With stiff characters, silly dialogues, and no chemistry between characters, Twilight managed to gather a bunch of decent actors and make a truly horrible movie series. We wish it was better, but it’s not.
Best: Blade Runner (1982)
We admit that Blade Runner is very loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Nevertheless, the movie itself is so thrilling, dark, and philosophical, that we can’t but applaud Ridley Scott for the work he has done. The stellar cast and cutting edge special effects made this movie one of the all-time favourites among sci-fi fans. Its 2017 sequel brought even more dark sci-fi glamour to the table!