Worst movie from a children's book
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Since we're going through some of our favorite movie adaptations, what about some of the worst?
My vote is for Hoot, such a great book, such a horrid movie - though I did like some of the music
I know this isn't a children's book, although many young adults read the book, which I didn't, but The Da Vinci Code has to be my least favourite film from a book.
The film version of theThe Rats of NIMH bothered me; it cut out some of the better parts of the book.
I didn't care for the cartoon version of Watership Down very much at all.
Hallmark Hall of Fame version of Sarah, Plain and Tall. I'm grew up in a small town on the arid high plains of Colorado, and their setting was nothing like I imagined it, and definitely not harsh enough.
I say that the series of unfortunate events was bad. I like the books better.
I hated Ella Enchanted the movie. Great kids' book, terrible, terrible movie. The adaptation of the Hobbit has to up there, although it's pretty fun to watch in a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 way, making fun of it (I mean, just look at Thranduil!) I also hated the Jim Carrey How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie; give me the animated version any day.
I actually liked the Series of Unfortunate Events movie, but I only read the first book and I read that after seeing the movie. That always seems to make a difference.
I'd have to say the first 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. I think Gene Wilder was in it. My son and I hated it, didn't follow the book at all.
It may not have followed the book, but Dahl wrote the original screenplay and 90% of the finished film is all his own work. He approved the changes in plot.
I know most of you will think I am crazy, but I have always detested the film version of The Wizard of Oz. I always found the idea of having a teenager (Judy Garland) play the role of Dorothy unbearable.
Here's a twist: I loved the Wizand of Oz movie as a child, and saw it a skillion times. But when I tried to read Baum's Wizard of Oz books, I disliked them intensely because the stories were so different from the movie and the illustrations depicted the lands over the rainbow so "incorrectly." How bizarre is that! The movie totally ruined the books for me! :-(
Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that Dahl wrote the screenplay and okayed the changes. I wonder why he would do that? It is such a wonderful story the way it is? Strange.
I second the Ella Enchanted movie. That was just plain bizarre.
After having read Peter Pan a few times, and having never seen Disney's cartoon version of it, I tried watching the cartoon but just couldn't stand sitting through it. Or sit standing through it, for that matter.
I didn't really care for the movie version of A Wrinkle in Time. I hadn't read the book in a long time when I watched the movie, but it just didn't seem at all like I remembered the book. I think it would've been better if it had been a major motion picture instead of a miniseries.
So maybe it's a bit unfair to judge, but I am dreading the new Bridge to Terabithia movie.
***Potential Spoiler-Bridge to Terabithia***
If my memory serves (I read this book back in 4th or 5th grade), it didn't have a very happy ending at all. Does anyone know if they've changed the ending in the movie? My son wants to see it and I refuse to go unless I know if they've changed the ending or not.
Earthsea was destroyed by sci-fi. This isn't my opinion either, Ursula K. Le Guin has written a couple peices about how they butchered her work. Fortunately she was kicked out of the project early so she wasn't hurt by it. She wrote the book about racial equality, and they bastardised it into a religious war. I still don't get why they did it either, the books are amasing as the are. Le Quin is considered a Grand Master of the genre for a reason, and what was done to her work shows that sci-fi obviously didn't get it.
Eragon--really lame movie from an overrated book. Special effects couldn't save it.
Hey i thought hoot was good, it's a little loosely based, but it is better in some ways
are you even a kid?
how do you get to decide if it is good or not?
I entirely and comlpelety 34567891011121314154ect the Ella Enchanted book/movie the movie was horrible and wreaked the plot and it had next to nothing right about the book
i HATED IT its so sappy and gross
well the new cheaper by the dozen has nothing to do with the story
One word: Chitty chitty bang bang (not sure what the touchstone is about with the extra stuff in the title ... and, okay, it's not one word ... and neither is this message. I'll just quit now, shall I? Heck no!) - I don't even know why I sat through that movie. I searched in vain in the book for a lot of it. At the moment I don't really remember what was so appalling about the movie. I guess I just repressed a horrific memory.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was an awfully long movie--were our attention spans really that much longer in 1969? Dick Van Dyke kept alternating between his regular American accent and his poor imitation British accent. We bought the video for our son a few years ago, having forgotten how awful it really was. The kids pop it in the VCR once in a while, but usually are doing something else before the second act. I was eleven when I saw it in the theater with my family. I went out to get popcorn and the high school girl at the concession stand cheated me out of a quarter in change. I was so humiliated I cried through the rest of the movie. Maybe I cried because the movie stunk so bad, and I just projected the trauma elsewhere...and they had the audacity to use the movie poster as the cover of the paperback version of the book! They had nothing in common! Mr. Fleming is surely spinning in his grave over that one!
I would assume the Flemming of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang isn't the Flemming of James Bond fame? I could be wrong, but they just seem so completely different it doesn't seem likely.
Yes, Ian Fleming of James Bond fame wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. To my knowledge it was the only children's book he published. One scene in the book involves several hundred pounds of explosives, a staple of most Bond books as well...
I would have to say that recently for me Eragon was the worst - I'm not saying the book was great, but it was an enjoyable escapist tale. The film just didn't make any sense to me.
26: Off topic (my fault, I started this) but rhetorical, how much did the James Bond movies follow the books?
I have only read Man with the Golden Gun and that was back in 8th grade and I'm in college now, so I don't remember it that much. However, I seem to remember that, while the movies based on Flemming's books are much closer to espionage thrillers than the recent ones, they don't follow the books that closely. There's significantly less action in the books and more realistic espionage work. This actually makes sense as, if I remember correctly, Flemming was actually retired from the British intelligence community when he wrote them.
How about Disney's The Little Mermaid? That was the most crazily popular and amazingly annoying stinker. Set to music, for lily-gilding sake.
34tommyngina First Message
I agree with you about dreading the Bridge to Ter. movie. The previews look nothing like the book...BUT I will go into it with an open mind! :)
Tommy: I haven't seen the movie yet, but my mom did and she said the previews make it seem much more fantasy oriented than it actually is.
#5: Thank you for reminding me of that film. I saw it when I was very young and it scared the daylights out of me! I was not used to the idea of savage carnivarous rabbits. At least that's how I remember it.
Getting Watership Down for christmas one year I was both horrified and rather interested in reading it. I haven't, but it looks good.
I used to rent some movie or another, and one of the trailers that was on at the beginning was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The trailer was enough to drive me out of my mind. Horrors! Thankfully I never saw it. Even now, I can call the theme song to mind with ease.
the movie of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang destroyed the book. The book was an adventure novel that actually had some Flemming hallmarks, like blowing a weapons cash in a seaside cave sky-high. The musical was a completely different storyline.
Ten Worst: (in no particular order)
-The Grinch (the Jim Carrey one: love the Boris Karloff version)
-The Cat in the Hat (Mike Myers version)
-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp version)
Disney versions of, well, any fairy tale:
-Beauty and the Beast
-The Little Mermaid
Mind you, on the last four, I'm not saying the movies themselves are no good: just that they bear almost no resemblance to the stories they came from.
My brother made me watch the animated version of The Hobbit with him about a million times when we were kids, so just the thought of it sucks for me. Love the book, but don't ever make me watch that movie.
I just watched Bridge to Terabithia yesterday. I liked it well enough that if I had kids I'd buy the DVD. I haven't read the book yet -- the Goodwill's been out of them -- so I'm not ready to offer a comparison. It seems everyone here said they were "dreading" seeing the movie, so I'm wondering if any of you have finally seen it and how you think it compares??
For my opinion of the Eragon movie, check out my blog...too much to write here (it's a longish piece).
Every Swiss Family Robinson movie ever made. Not one of them follows the story at all. And its a wonderful book. Loved it.
I agree that Ella Enchanted is truly terrible. I was actually talking about this adaptation just yesterday!
Reading this thread makes me realize how many books and movies I have missed.
For me the worst book to children's movie is the Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame (not that the original book is a kids tale). I HATE how they changed the story into a happily ever after (I dislike The Little Mermaid for the same reason) and still think the scene with the dancing fire spirits is inappropriate for small children.
Read it. Watership Down was my favorite book for a very long time (the first book I ever turned back to page one and immediately started re-reading upon finishing it the first time). The movie leaves out a lot. I don't really think of WD as a kids book although I first read it in middle school. My husband read it aloud for the first time towards the end of my pregnancy and for the first few months after our daughter was born and really enjoyed it as well.
Oh, Watership Down is a fantastic read! Please read it, those of you who are on the fence about it! It's the book I've re-read the most number of times in my life, has to be more than 30. I've only seen the movie once, maybe twice, and don't remember liking it that much, though every now and again I find myself humming that "Bright Eyes" song.
And, without giving anything away, I'll just tell those of you who are wondering, both the book and the movie of "Bridge to Terebithia" end the same way, in all the important ways. What's the point otherwise?
I was the one on the fence about it. I have nothing against the book, in fact it looks right up my alley, but the animated movie was traumatizing. I can hardly remember it, just a savage evil rabbit and a horrible part where blood stretches out across a field. I don't think it would bother me now, and plan on reading the book (hopefully soon).
#42: I grew up with the Swiss Family Robinson movie that I think Disney made. An old favorite, although I have never read the book so that might make a difference.
My sophomore English teacher looked more like a rabbit than any other human being I have ever seen: big eyes, prominent teeth, and twitchy sorts of mannerisms. Being sophomores--and sophomoric--of course we made a lot of jokes about it. A friend of mine was reading Watership Down that year, and when I asked him what it was about, he replied,"It's Mrs. Rabbity English Teacher's autobiography."
Since then,every time I've tried to read it, I get the giggles so badly I have to give up. Still sophomoric, I guess.
Ella Enchanted. That was THE worst adaptation POSSIBLE. It had practically NOTHING to do with the story.
(Neither did Cheaper by the dozen but the new cheaper by the dozen is prettyfunny)
Eragon takes the cake. a HORRIBLE movie and it doesnt even faintly RESEMBLE the book but yeah i could go on...umm...A Series of Unfortunate Events- JIM CARREY??? DUM.
Loved the book Holes, hated the movie.
This may be blasphemous but I am disappointed with the Harry Potter movies. They've completely left out all the humor of the books. I know it's suppose to be dark, etc., but the books have great humor in them that the movies simply ignore.
I also agree with the posters who could not enjoy the Wizard of Oz books. I had the same problem.
The recent version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They certainly sucked the magic right out of that one. Too bad too, since the actors were all quite good.
I would have to agree with you on the new version. I still enjoyed it, but something just felt off. Of course, having grown up with the BBC movies, which from what I remember of the books (haven't reread them in a while) are almost anal-retentive when it comes to exact translation from page to screen, I guess it makes sense.
The current The Lion, the witch and the Wardrobe Lucy is whiny, Peter is to goody goody, and the movie although better special effects wise is not as good as the Chronicles of Narnia done by the BBC in the 1980's. They actually completed up through The Silver Chair and it was very well acted, and directed. If you have to see any movies based on the works of C.S. Lewis you need to rent the BBC version first
I stopped going to see the Harry Potter films: they weren't thrilling me any more. But one of the problems with them is that they sometimes try too hard to follow the book: the result is lots of little cameo set-pieces that readers may recognize, but make little sense in terms of the film.
The best book-to-film transfer I know is The Neverending Story. I thought the film was magical; the book seemed very ponderous in comparison, and at the point where the film stops, the book trundles on, getting more and more tedious.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
There is nothing as magical as the original. Boris Karloff's reading on the animated TV special was pretty special - but even that version added some things. Why? The books is wonderful as it stands. When I read the book to my students, they want to tell me about the stuff the movies added. ARGH!!
There are a lot of bad movie adaptations of children's books, but IMO there is only one contender for WORST movie from a children's book - Disney's version of Winnie the Pooh.
>55 I have to agree with that. Everytime my boys watch the movie I keep thinking, "Why!!" I never watched The Grinch movie. It looked downright scarey!
I've been wanting to watch the movie version of Blood and Chocolate which was recently released on DVD. I'm totally keeping an open mind about it because everyone who has seen it has said it is completely different from the book.
>58: I never saw the Blood and Chocolate movie. I wanted to, I saw previews for it, and then it just seemed to disappear. If it's out on DVD now, it couldn't be good. Also, Vivian in the previews seemed completely different from the book Vivian. Kind of spineless.
Definitely the live action versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat with Cat being slightly worse than Grinch.
All the magic and joy of the books were excised in favor of outlandish special effects and zany* slapstick, sometimes potty, humor.
*- I once read a film book that said anytime you see a review blurb on a film advertisement or video/DVD box use the word "zany" you know it's a horrid film.
#57 Akiyama ~ Yes! I haven't seen the Disney Pooh movie ... I'm not usually such a purist but I'm afraid its only 'vintage Pooh' for me. I cannot abide the Disney version, whether it be the movie, books, merchandise, or whatever. And the same goes for Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore etc.
OK, I think my little anti-Disney rant is over now .... phew! Sorry, Disney fans! :P
I agree with the posters who listed the Harry Potter movies. They would probably be ok if I hadn't read the books, but having read the books, I find the movies so lacking in the (for lack of a better word) magic of the books. One of the most amazing things that J.K. Rowling did in the HP books was to create this incredibly rich universe full of minor characters and then to refer back to these characters in later books. Since most of this is not essential to the overall plot of any given book, it gets left out of the movies. I also agree with the comment that sometimes the movies try to provide such a faithful adaptation of the books that they don't work as movies in their own right.
I also cannot stand the TV version of Little House on the Prairie. So saccharine.
I actually liked the Tim Burton version of 'Charlie & The Chocolate Factory' better than the Gene Wilder version, but that's me.
ALL Disney adaptations are bad. End of story.
But without a doubt, the one that stands out as the WORST children's adaptation in the history of film is 'Pinnochio' with Roberto Benigni. My little brother cried.
#63-Disney (Sorry for you that don't like disney much) put out a mini series a few summers ago that was Little House on the Prairie. Now, its been a long time since I read the book, but it followed some events fairly well. Crossing the river, Jack gets lost upstream and returns in the middle of the night. Mr Edwards crossing the river in his underwear to bring the girls gifts from Santa. There is alot in there about Indians, which I don't remember reading-however that was over twenty years ago. Anyone see the miniseries that has read the books more recently? I kept meaning to pull it out and check but haven't had a second.
Also, any see Bridge to Teribithia? I don't recall some of the things in the book that I saw in the previews.
Must be my old age creeping up!! hehe
The Neverending Story. Like Earthsea, the author hated what they did with his work so much that he asked to have his name removed from the credits.
Belles on their Toes, the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen, took a fantastic story about a widow carrying on after her husband's death and applied the sensibilities of the era by marrying her, perpetuating the myth that a woman can't succeed without a man. And don't get me started about Steve Martin's update to Cheaper by the Dozen. I love Steve Martin, but I hated the movie.
My starry eyed idealism keeps me going to movies based on my favorite books, hoping for an adaptation that is true to its book, but many seem to miss the point of the stories their movies are based on.
I have never liked the movie version of "Mary Poppins." The Mary Poppins of my memory (from having read all of the books as a kid) was nothing like the cheerful, singing Mary Poppins of the screen.
I have to say that I did like the sound track album, but I don't think Mary would have sang the songs.
Oh, I hate to say it, but I presage a new low. We just went to see the Harry Potter movie (well, it was okay, although I think Warner is just out for the money now - some of the effects looked very cheap and the closing credits ... well, I've seen better on YouTube) and there was a trailer for a movie coming up that made me shudder. There was a long series of fantasy film trailers (natural, considering the main feature) and one of them made me start to cringe. "No," I said under my breath. "No." Then, "Nooooooooooooooooo!" Refresh my memory, please, was there kissing in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising? Did that kid have a love interest?
There was no love interest in the Dark is Rising. You got to see previews for it?? Maybe I can find them online... And which trailer made you shudder? I'm looking forward to the Golden Compass, though I saw a trailer for Stardust, a book I've never read but the movie looks a little iffy to me.
Re: The Dark is Rising movie trailer... it has been a really long time since I read those books (and I've been planning to re-read for a while now and haven't got to it), but was Will an American in the books?
Has the movie industry done for the DIR what they originally wanted to do to Harry Potter and Americanized it? And how the hell does that work? All that celtic mythology transplanted across the pond? I have a bad feeling about this and I don't think that having Christopher Eccleston and Ian McShane in it is going to help...
Also, my 15 year old son thought the DIR trailer looked cheesy, although he thought the one for The Golden Compass looked intriguing. He hasn't read either book.
Bingo. DIR looks americanized. Will was not an American. The fantasy in the book, the symbolism, and the folklore it draws on is British Isles. Just remember what US television did to the Dr. Who franchise. Horrifying. Oh, the actor playing the Doctor was fine, but the doctor does not kiss people! Will does not have a girlfriend.
If The Dark rose in the US, it would be a completely different kind o' dark. It would either be an indigenous dark with native american imagery and symbols or it would be the chunky stew dark of folklore from all over (alla Neil Gaiman).
Is there an american children's book author who has written anything like this?
There is already an entire website devoted to the horrendous, sweeping changes made to the original Dark is Rising story in the new film. Not only is there a love interest (entirely absent in the book), but they're taken out entire the Arthurian basis of the series and made it all Christian. Susan Cooper had sold the rights ages ago and they were repurchased (as I understand it) so she could do nothing about this. The director hasn't read any other books in the series and most of the actors haven't even read this one.
I do not intend to see this movie!
Ugh, it sounds like that's another one I'll have to scratch off my list. You can't take an Arthurian story and put it in America. Why would a director think he could sell a movie that shares nothing with the book except its name? It's just-never mind. *deep breathing*
77carolannvan First Message
For sure the WORST was 'The Neverending Story". That movie was so bad and I get frustrated when I recommend the book to people and they say "Oh, I saw the movie" and don't want to bother with what a truly magical book.
I heard a rumour one time that Ende was so upset about the movie version that for a while there he refused to have his books translated into English. Anyone know anything about that?
If it is true, I couldn't blame him. FYI, did anyone know that Jack Black was in one of the sequels?
I agree. The Neverending Story film was awful. I had read the book to my little brother and was entranced by it; all those parts where Ende would say "but that's another story and shall be told another time" seemed to me to be great seed ideas for more books. I couldn't get enough of the thing. And then the movie...with that cheesy looking dragon. We sat down to watch it and found that it only covered about a third of the book. Rotten. Didn't they make two more parts to it? I know I didn't bother to see them.
There really have been a lot of terrible film adaptations of children's books, haven't there? I have refused to see the film of Ella Enchanted. Lovely book, but I have not heard a single good thing about the film from other fans of the book. And I didn't even know there was a film of the Earthsea trilogy. I'll be sure not to see that, either.
A note about Disney's Peter Pan... when did Tinker Bell get to be a sweet angelic little creature? She is as close to being Disney's mascot as Mickey ever was. She was a nasty little creature that was always trying to kill Wendy! She was never sweet and innocent. Remember when the book asked you to clap so that she would survive her poisoning? She never thanked those that clapped and held a grudge against those that booed and hissed.
And another thing, in the book the mermaids were close to being monsters but the movie showed them as playful. Disney made confectioners sugar out of one of my favorite stories!
Doesn't Disney do that to all of the fairy tales it turns into animated films? I have never read it, but I have heard that in The Little Mermaid, Ariel actually dies at the end.
I try not to fault Disney too much. If it hadn't been for their (admittedly sugar coated) adaptations of books, I may never have read some of the originals. For example, I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame out of curiosity after seeing the movie. Disney is simply dependable in their watered down adaptations. They know their audience and that's who they cater to. I don't see Disney films with any expectations except for good animation. I enjoyed The Little Mermaid as much as the sadder Hans Christian Andersen tale it's adapted from.
What I hate is losing the essence of the story, as was the case in movies like The Neverending Story and Belles on their Toes that I mentioned above. (#66)
Once while trying to find a movie he could get me (a nervous nelly) to go to, a friend sarcastically suggested the possibility of Disney's "Pinocchio" which was re-released at that time. I said that I'd probably find it too intense and he gave me an exasperated look, but we went to see it anyway. Later, he admitted that it had scared the willies out of him. Although not quite as dire as the book, the whale business was pretty scary for a kid's movie.
Every time someone mentions The Golden Compass film, I feel a rush of fear.
For some reason I felt personally offended by the Nancy Drew movie, and I have no idea why, considering I was never that attached to the books.
All the movies that have enraged me are adult (like 'Constantine.')
I just finished His Dark Materials the day before yesterday. I know what you mean. It would be wonderful if the movie turns out well but I'm not holding out a huge amount of hope.
#83: I know what you mean, jugglingpaynes, a lot of times rather mundane films can engender interest that make you go on to explore the original, or works with similar content. But then I see a film by Miyazaki and think, "Wait a minute, Disney actually COULD make a good adaptation and people WILL see it!"
twacorbies- I love Miyazaki's animation! From what I've understand, Miyazaki doesn't really care if Americans "get" his movies, whereas Disney execs are very concerned about their bottom line. They have all their merchandise tie ins to worry about...:o)
Miyazaki's work is nice but his version of Howl's Moving Castle differed significantly from the book and although it wasn't a bad movie it was IMHO massively inferior to the book.
Disney aside, I have noticed that if I read and love a book before I see the movie, I hate the movie. If I see the movie before I read the book, I tend to like both.
>85, I feel offended by the Nancy Drew movie because, based on what I have seen in the previews, they made Nancy a prim dork! I know the books are often criticized for their depiction of gender and there are questions about whether Nancy is a good feminist role model for girls, but when I was growing up (in the 70s and 80s), reading these books was both fun and inspiring. Nancy was always having some exciting adventure and figuring things out before anyone else. In the movie, she seems like a ninny.
#91 Exactly! Nancy could have been redone as someone realistic and fun, but instead they made her into a blithering idiot. And her clothes hurt my eyes.
The Indian in the Cupboard was the first book that I loved that I saw turned into a movie. I was so disappointed! I was shocked at every minor change. It was my first inkling that movies are not faithful to their book counterparts.
I saw the preview for Dark is Rising while seeing HP5 and after hearing my sister's righteous indignation next to me I went and checked out the series from the library. And now I share in her outrage...American?? And that is not AT ALL how I picture Merriman.
94JefferyEDoherty First Message
The author is very angry with the movie. It apparently bares not resaemblance to the book whatsoever, other than the name. I can't say for certain because I havn't read it or seen the movie.
I just started reading Over Sea, Under Stone a day or so ago, and absolutely love it. And as such, I just can't picture *any* book in this series being transported to America. It sounds terrible, so that is one movie I am just not going to bother with...
Eragon was done on the cheap. I couldn't keep my eyes off of the sequins on the costumes.
Anne of Green Gables was a made-for-TV series, but it was a real disappointment.
I'm not sure if this qualifies as a "children's book" but how about Maeterlink's play The Blue Bird? The 1976 joint US-Soviet production, directed by George Cukor and starring (among others) Liz and Ava and Jane Fonda is the most hilariously bad movie I've ever seen, and Jane Fonda (whom I adore) is the most hilariously bad of all, playing the evil "Night" and rigged out in a costume that makes her look like Darth Vader in drag (or maybe like a Bene Gesserit from Dune)!
Someone way up thread mentioned the movie version of A Wrinkle In Time. I never saw it, but I heard that some reporter asked Madeline L'Engle if the movie was what she expected, and she answered "oh, yes. I expected it to be awful, and it was." I have no idea if that's true, but it cracks me up to think it might be.
To stay with Madeline L'Engle, there was a made-for-TV movie version of A Ring of Endless Light, maybe my favorite L'Engle book, awhile ago, and it was terrible. It starred the girl who played Marissa on The OC, if that means anything to someone (pre-OC) as Vicky. It turned a really great story about young people coming to terms with mortality, and made it into 'let's save dolphins from drift nets!11'. God, it still makes me angry to remember it.
#89 - Huh, my post ended up empty of text... strange. What I had written was that if the "Howl's" film is inferior to the novel as tardis mentions, it must be an absolutely amazing book.
#93 - Yeah, the best thing that happened to the Harry Potter series was being produced by Brits and having a largely UK cast. Hollywood tends to cast Americans regardless of what is indicated in the source material and rewrites the narratives to conform to the cliched writing audiences are used to (I'm told Gary Oldman's character did not say "Get away from my grandson" before punching the villain in the face like in the "Order of the Phoenix" film though). I'm an American by the way. I'm a big fan of the old Avengers series and the film version was a resounding, if not unexpected catastrophe.
Twa-no, Sirius didn't say "Get away from my godson" in the book, though I did think it was a good line in the movie. What really irritated me about that movie was that they changed Sirius' last line to something completely out of character. bah.
#102- Army, as someone who has read the books then, do you generally find them decent adaptations? Not sure if the series was mentioned in this thread (after 100 or so posts I might be wrong though) and I've never read them so I can't compare.
#102 I thought they just threw away his last line - which was in character, and lovely. I'm terrified of how the next two will shape up, although generally I think the HP movies do the best they can, considering... (resists urge to list numerous grievances against the films)
103: I was horribly disappointed by the third and fourth movies. The third movies left out so much back story about Harry's father and his friends at Hogwarts that they could have left in. The fourth movie pretty much excluded any part of the story line that wasn't connected with the Triwizards Tournament, and also did some things with at least one character (the bad guy) I didn't see the point of.
104: Same here, on both of your points. Since Dobby was already cut out of movies 4 and 5, you just know he's not going to be in movie 7. $&%*$!!! I think the plot of book 6 is simple enough that they'll do a better job with it (or maybe I'm confused because I haven't reread it in a while), but movie 7 worries me the most.
#105 I heard Dobby IS coming back, and Kreacher is going to play a big role.
I also heard they're cutting the last book into two movies, which makes me enormously happy.
I liked the third movie for exactly two reasons: the scene between Snape and Sirius, and Lupin's existence.
The fourth movie had some good scenes - Moody's teaching is one of my favorites.
My biggest worry for the last two movies is that they'll cut/change Snape's storyline. They already altered his worst memory bit, and he's SO vital for the last two books. Also I keep wondering how they're going to film the last two books. They're so violent! They should just give up and make the last two movies R. I maintain that the moment Cedric died in book 4, the series ceased to be aimed at children.
And that's what we call a caffeine-fueled rant.
Thanks- interesting comments from those in the know. Having never read the books, I thought all of the movies were generally well done and entertaining but your points make sense. I couldn't figure out why Harry would mistake a stag for his father in one of the movies. A reader set me straight (like you mentioned- missing backstory) :)
No offense, but what's so wrong with music in a kids movie?? That's the way Disney intended it to be. Also, I do agree that it was much different than the original, but would you really want a 3-4 year old watching a movie where the main character dies? Sorry, I am just a huge Disney fan and I think he was an amazing storyteller, especially with taking old stories and making them his own.
I think what bothers me most about the upcoming HP movie is they have already said that they have added a scene that is not in the book at all. I don't mind when things are changed to help the flow of the movie but to add something that wasnt there in the first place just dosent sit right with me.
Personally I think Prince Caspian was awful. Having loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (from Walden Media) I was extremely excited about Prince Caspian. OH MY WORD! They could not have ruined it more. Sure, its an ok movie if its just a movie, but its based on a book, though in this case, LOOSELY based. So many things were needlessly changed I couldn't stand it.
Of recent movies I'd have to say that Spiderwick Chronicles was disappointing. Although the movie was good and we (my childen and I) enjoyed it, we didn't like how they tried to cram as much of the entire 5 book series into one movie. So much had to be left out - especially most off book 4 The Ironwood Tree Making a sequel or even a trilogy would have been better.
I felt uneasy when I saw The Tale of Despereaux was turned into a movie -- to be released this Nov or Dec. Even more uneasy when I saw the trailer, which does not seem to resemble the book in any way. Sigh. I'm sure my kids will want to see it. I'm just glad we read the book first.
I didn't like the movie version of Jumanji. I love reading the book to kids. It takes about 15 min. to read and kids loved it. The plot was expanded and twisted; yet kids liked it. It has kind of ruined the enjoyment of reading the story aloud though.
the Polar Express, yet another picture book turned into a movie and subsequently destroyed. There should be a law saying no one can make a picture book into a movie. There's not enough plot to make into a movie, and the expansions suck. Besides, there are more than enough novels out there to turn into movies w/o resorting to picture books.
The British television film version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The casting was ludicrous - the dear little girl chosen to play Lucy was absolutely un-Lucy-like in every possible way, and Aslan was played by a man dressed up in a (not very well sewn) lion costume. Blech.
Anything by Disney - they have the knack of destroying the real "feel" of the book and creating an adonyne scmaltzy alternative. I HATE the cartoon version of 'The Jungle Book' The old film with Sabu is much btter
This thread just got resurrected and I found it for the first time. While I agree with most of the comments thoroughly, I have to add one more children's book that has been destroyed by the movie or TV adaptations--Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess. From the Shirley Temple movie to the latest adaptation, they keep trying to make the whole point of the book go away by
changing the story so that her father didn't actually die after all!! One of the major points of major classics is that they portray situations that children need to learn to deal with in a figurative manner and in a way that draws the reader in. This book helps children deal with the issue of death of a parent, and to change that to wish fulfillment destroys the whole soul of the book!
And they did that with The Rats of NIMH too.
All these were awful:
The animated version of The Hobbit
A Series of Unfortunate Events (but loved the animated credits at the end)
Movie version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (love the animated version)
The worst though was Eragon, which appalled me so much I wouldn't even rate it with half a star. I felt really embarrassed for the author who wrote such an amazing book, which he began writing at the age of 15. An incredible accomplishment for someone so young only to have the movie version be so ghastly.
Can't believe the feedback on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Own the book, but haven't read it yet so am not sure in relation to the comparison between book and movie, but my sisters, parents and I used to be glued to the television screen every Christmas when it was on and knew (and still do) the songs all by heart. It was the first children's movie I wanted to add to my collection because of my love for it as a child. Even if the book ends up being very different, I'll always love the movie.
The Dark is Rising bears almost no resemblance to the book. They changed almost everything--from making Will an American, to adding a missing twin brother???? I had not read the book in about 20 years, and had to re-read it after watching the movie just to see if anything I remembered was in the movie. It wasn't. In fact, I re-read the entire series. Hope they don't mess with those.
I actually enjoyed watching Shrek even though there's hardly any resemblance to the picture book. At least I liked the first one--the others stunk. But then, I never really liked the book.
On the other hand I thought Holes was not a bad adaptation, better than I expected. And I like the Potter movies, even though large parts of some of the books are left out--but hey they are pretty lengthy books. Although I've never gotten over Peeves being left out completly left out.
Usually when I go to a movie I expect it to vary from the book; they are after all two different mediums. But they should at least bear SOME resemblance to the original story!
The new Cheaper By the Dozen has nothing to do with the book, except the title, and a bunch of kids. The original movie was much closer to the book. If Hollywood is going to make a movie that only uses the title of a book, they should just rename the movie! Steve Martin's movie was ok, it just wasn't Gilbreth's story at all. Of course, my personal theory is that there is no writing talent left in Hollywood, so that's why they give us what they do! Which of course explains why there is also so much ##$%%^ reality tv on television! Oh, sorry that's a rant!
Rant appreciated, exiled. I have ranted about the "Cheaper By the Dozen" abomination since it came out. They even made a movie tie-in paperback cover, which totally confused my students because, of course, the story inside had absolutely nothing to do with the cover illustration.
117- There is one version I have seen where the father *amazingly* actually does die...I think it is produced by Wonderworks, but I am not sure. It is quite long but very true to the book.
Just seen "The Secret Of Moonacre" which is based on "The Little White Horse" by Elizabeth Goudge. I use the term 'based' in the loosest possible sense. The only things the film had in common with the book were the names of characters. It was a dreadful adaptation, with all the whimsy and magic sucked out. READ THE BOOK.
>121 Yes, I saw that on TV in the 1980's on PBS but it was a pledge week and they eviscerated 10 minutes in the middle of the movie for a pledge break--I was so mad I cancelled my membership for two years!! I never knew the name of the producer, though. thanks for the name of Wonderworks. I found it on Amazon, along with a long string of customers begging for it on DVD.
>122 The Little White Horse was perhaps my very favorite book in junior high, and is still one of my favorite children's books. Looking at the movie description and trailer for "The Secret of Moonacre", it will only be bearable if we think of it as a completely different story. If then. Sounds like they murdered it as thoroughly as The Dark is Rising.
There are a few movies from kids books that I detest cause too much was changed . 1: Every Shirley Temple movie based on a book (eg) Heidi,A Little Princess" to name a few.
Matilda :I kinda like but I am mad that they Americanised it.
Wizard of Oz.
On the other hand some movies don't change anything and I hate them (eg) the BBC version of "Chronicles of Narnia the first three movies .maybe it was the acting and the actors and actresses most particularly the girl who played Lucy.
I guess it depends on who the director is.
Like someone said, Mary Poppins in the book and movie are completely different people. The thing is, I like both of them. ESPECIALLY the songs.
Ella Enchanted is one of my favorite books. They made a movie that turned out to be loosely based on the book. As a stand alone movie, Ella Enchanted is a good movie with a good cast. But if you loved the book and was excited to learn there was a movie being made and then seeing the movie you will be very disappointed.
The whole point of the book is Ella's struggle to lead a normal life. She can't do that because she has to do everything she is told. Even if the person doesn't mean it, she still has to do it. What if someone, in a fit of rage said, "Ella go kill yourself," she would have to do it. Or if someone horrible found out about the curse and made her do bad things. The movie made a joke out of it. They made it comical when it's horrible. Throughout the book she struggles to fight the curse. Her body knows if she doesn't do what she is told and she feels pain if she doesn't do it. And of course no matter how hard she fights she has to do it. The movie didn't show that.
So I would say, read the book, it's amazing. And sure, watch the movie. But don't expect the plot to be the same. Enjoy both as if they were completely separate things that happen to have the same title.
Inkheart the movie was horrible. I feel all the actors casted were very wrong and the acting stink.
Escape to Witch Mountain hands down. Wonderful book, terrible movie. The original Disney one anyway. Havent seen the new kind of remake yet.
I agree hoot was terrible, but i wasn't all that thrilled with the book. I also thought Ella Enchanted and Tuck Everlasting were terrible compared with the books.
I liked the first 3 Harry Potter movies well enough, but I think they've been going down hill. From the fourth book on, the books got a lot longer. As a result, more and more details are being left out of the films. The fifth one should have been a 2-parter. I'm glad the last one will be.
I agree with those who said the Harry Potter movies were bad. I read all of the books before attempting to watch one of the movies. I never watched a whole movie, and still refuse to. I may be weird, but I envisioned the characters so realistically that it was too hard to accept the visuals given to me by a movie.
I vaguely recall that the most clutzy re-interpretation-cum-Americanisation of "The Wind in the Willows" changed raffish English country gentleman (gentletoad?) Toad of Toad Hall into J. Thaddeus Toad....erk!
Was that a Disney effort?
Percy Jackson!! Great book good movie but if there hadn't been a book behind the movie it would have been great!
It will be interesting to see the Tintin movie this Christmas...
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe they did some pieces nicely but to put a classic like that into film kind of .... just, nothing will ever equal the book.
#135 I just ordered the Wind in the Willows on Disney classics this past summer... Horrible version for sure!
Same with Alice in Wonderland!
The Disney version of "Alice in Wonderland"....even Walt himself thought it was horrible.
Has no one mentioned Stuart Little yet? Even just the previews from the movie made me want to scrub my eyeballs. It's such a thoughtful book, and the movie? Eurgh.
Agreed, Marissa! I forgot all about that. And how do they think they can add a sequel when the movie is "based" on a classic??... Although I liked Charlotte's Web done many, many years ago.
LOL--they can add a sequel because the first movie bore almost no resemblance to the book, so they're not stepping on any toes.
Sigh. But yes, the 1973 animated Charlotte's Web did stick pretty well to the book, and Paul Lynde voicing Templeton was priceless.
I really dislike when they turn picture books into full length movies, shoe-horning in some stupid plot which has nothing to do with the book. When I was a kid they made short movies of picture books, just as they were, and that was fine.
There are plenty of chapter books out there which appeal to five-year-olds, there's no reason to turn lovely picture books into full-length movies.
I just read Mary Poppins and pretty sure Disney got that book WRONG!
On your Mary Poppins, was the Bad Tuesday chapter about animals from the four compas directions (revised) or people with stereotypical representations (1934)?
This topic reminds me that usually the book is better than the film but sometimes the film is better. Two examples of s better film, to me, are Princess Bride and Candleshoe. The plots are similar but the films have more charm to us.
I've been turning off the TV when commercials for the Lorax movie come on. It's such a shame. They keep saying happy birthday to Dr. Seuss and I keep wondering if they honestly think he'd appreciate their interpretation of his book.
I agree with tflowers. What was the point of that whole thing? Hugest disappoint of the year...or decade even.
And I have to disagree with mabith. Even though it doesn't glorify the book I thought it was a touching story for the modern child with the same effect for the new generation that The Lorax had for the past.
Hollywood knows they'll never be able to capture the "magic" that was Dr. Seuss but I thought the animation was beautiful and as creative as Theo Geisel was I think he'd appreciate the artistic adaptation of it.
But those are just my opinions :)
My feeling is more that kids would have enjoyed an animated version (of whatever length) that was true to the book.
Kids still love the Lorax. It's not like they're bored with the book or can't relate to it. It's had the same impact on my nieces and nephews that it had on my siblings and myself.
There's this idea that kids won't watch anything that isn't non-stop action and jokes, but that's just not true.
I've always loved the Wizard of Oz.
When my daughter was six, I bought and read the Wizard of Oz to her each night.
The book is so much more exciting than the movie could ever be (of course, the music makes up for some of the slack)
I was on the edge of the bed the whole time I was reading it to her. I even read ahead and finished it because I couldn't handle the suspense.
Hoot also, in my opinion lacked as a movie. I was disappointed after watching it.
I really disliked what they did to Mr. Popper's Penguins. Jim Carey was terribly cast and the whole issue with the parent's separation seemed totally unnecessary. My 6 year-old daughter and I had listened to the audio book before watching the movie and a good thing too. I would never have been interested in the book otherwise! I agree with previous posters regarding The Dark is Rising. I worry that people who are unfamiliar with the series will be turned off by the mediocrity of the film. The only bright spot was the actor who played Will.
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