We've all been there. You read an epic book. One you can't put down. You rave about it to everyone you meet. You experience book grief when you finish reading it. Then weeks later you hear it is being made into a film. And your heart sinks, because you know there is very (very) strong chance the movie is going to ruin the book for you. So much so you consider not going to watch it. But of course you do because there is that slim hope it may just do it justice and you'll relive that high all over again.
But have you ever considered which of those film flops let you down the most? It turns out there is a way to calculate the worst adaptations ever and I have the results. I wonder if it matches yours? Read on to find out...
So let's start off by telling you my worst book to film adaptation... The Hobbit. Now I actually had reasonably high hopes after The Lord of the Rings trilogy was adapted for the big screen so spectacularly, so I wasn't fully prepared for just how terrible and boring the film version of one of my favourite childhood books was going to be. They made up a whole load of stuff to make, what at heart is a simple tale into a 3 part movie so they could wring as much box office cash from it. If anyone has The Hobbit on their book shelf next to The Lord of the Rings glance over and see how thin The Hobbit is vs LOTR. Why did no-one mention this during the script writing...
Anyway turns out The Hobbit isn't the world's worst adaptation according everyone else on the planet and I know this because the clever people at OnBuy.com have worked out the top 10 by calculating average GoodReads book scores against average IMDB movie review scores and calculated the difference. The bigger the difference the worst the adaptation. I call this the let down score.
This very clever graphic illustrates there is a clear winner (or loser?)...
The rest of the results I agree with somewhat. I agree Fifty Shades of Grey was a terrible film, but it was also a terrible book. I've read them and my copies even had spelling mistakes in. I skim read the final instalment just to put some closure on the awful experience. So the GoodReads score cannot be trusted here and I'd put this into the category of terrible book, terrible movie.
Falling into a somewhat less skathing category of 'not that great a book in the first place' are The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl - I actually went to see Gone Girl at the cinema hoping they would give it a better, less ridiculous ending. Let down again.
The Da Vinci Code - Tom Hanks may as well have phoned in the role, but then again Robert Langdon has very little personality in the books so he's not entirely to blame. (Side note - I thought Angels and Demons was a much better book.)
Me Before You was a huge let down, I'm desperately hoping they don't make a movie of After You or Still Me (which wasn't a great 3rd book sadly).
The Kite Runner and The Lovely Bones are hugely emotive books and are always going to be hard to recreate the emotion you felt during reading on the big screen. I actually thought the adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars was worse as it didn't feel as genuine somehow.
The Hollywood Daniel Craig version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie was very bad but the Swedish Yellow Bird versions of the trilogy with Noomi Rapace as Lizbeth are phenomenal. If you haven't seen them watch them immediately (after you have read the trilogy).
The Hunger Games movies I thought did a pretty good job at adapting the books and the overall tone. They aren't my favourite books though so perhaps I wasn't emotionally invested enough to be let down by the final film.
And (shock horror) I haven't read the Harry Potter books, apart from the first one which I read to my daughter a long time after I had seen the movie, so I can't comment on that.
So now I am off to read The Help and The Book Thief then be bitterly disappointed by the films...
What is your worst book to movie adaptation? And do you agree with the results?
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.