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Books that just didn't work as films......

155 replies

fifteenmillionmerits · 19/10/2021 01:45

The Hobbit was a book I loved as a child. When Jackson made the film, it just didn't do it justice IMO. Overused CGI, long dragging scenes...we gave up after the first hour and that was that.

OP posts:
Twasacceptableinthe80s · 19/10/2021 19:12

Agree with most of these. There is a little known book called A Simple Plan that I absolutely adored. It was a real unique thriller and, like The Girl on The Train, as soon as I put it down I thought “This has to be made into a film”. It was, unfortunately it was utterly dire and missed the entire psychological dilemmas that the book posed beautifully.

Also…The Hunger Games movies also skimmed over some of the more interesting relationships and scenes in the books iirc…

thisplaceisapigsty · 19/10/2021 19:14


The Goldfinch ? apparently the film is terrible, I love the book and I really want to watch the film but according to reviews it's awful

Yes, I love the book as well and was so looking forward to the film. It was interesting to see what they made of it and some of the casting was rather good, but it really didn't work as a film at all. Anyone who hadn't read the book would have been baffled by the film, I think.
LetHimHaveIt · 19/10/2021 19:14

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed 'Practical Magic' because I loves me a bit of Kidman and Bullock but it's nothing like Hoffman's book, which is a minor masterpiece.

I liked 'Atonement' and thought Knightley was good. I think she's quite an underrated actress.

thisplaceisapigsty · 19/10/2021 19:20

Also totally agree with pp about Girl on a Train - total disappointment that a book set in a very recognisable London where the train was dirty and crowded, was suddenly in a glamorous up market suburb and the train itself was often deserted! It made no sense that she could see what was happening from the train, either.

ApolloandDaphne · 19/10/2021 19:21

Gone Girl. Loved the book and hated the film.

Rotundpig · 19/10/2021 19:22

Agree with lots of these. Girl on a Train, Atonement, PS I love you, The Kite Runner, The Beach all sprang to mind initially. Also, The Lovely Bones and My sister's Keeper

SophyRivenhall · 19/10/2021 19:24

Me Before You-missed out one of the most important scenes in the book
Also The Great Gatsby (latest version) Carey Mulligan was miscast
Agree with Captain Corelli

dapsnotplimsolls · 19/10/2021 19:24


I can see why Stephen King hated the Kubrick film of The Shining. I appreciate it as a stand-alone film but it does completely miss SO much of the book

I love Stephen King books and think a lot of the film adaptions lose much of the great things about the books.

My first thought too when I saw the thread title. Misery is probably the best one.
80sMum · 19/10/2021 19:24

I agree with the PPs who were disappointed with The Girl on the Train and Captain Corelli's Mandolin. The GOTT being set in the USA just did not work. And CC'sM was just not the same story at all. Whoever wrote the screenplay didn't interpret the book in the same way that I did.

chilling19 · 19/10/2021 19:25

Stephen King - the only directors who should touch his books are Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, Shawshank), David Cronenburg (the Dead Zone), Tobe Hooper (Salem's Lot) and Rob Reiner (Stand by Me and Misery). The rest of the films are dire.

GlumyGloomer · 19/10/2021 19:28

Not exactly a book but anyone remember the Dragonball movie? Not only did they whitewash Goku but they gave him angst and self doubt, which is about as far removed from the original as you can get. I concluded that the movie had been written by someone whose familiarity with the source material went as far as skim reading the synopsis on Wikipedia Hmm

Agree Hobbit was a disappointment, mainly because they treated it as LOTR lite, when it's a totally different sort of story.

Also not forgiven Pirates of the Caribbean buying the rights to Tim Power's On Stranger Tides, and then chucking pretty much everything except the title. It would have made a great movie in its own right.

allthegoodusernameshavegone · 19/10/2021 19:29


The Goldfinch ? apparently the film is terrible, I love the book and I really want to watch the film but according to reviews it's awful

Me too, I’ve downloaded it ready to go but just can’t bring myself to watch it.
fallfallfall · 19/10/2021 19:30

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
that book really touched me the way no other book ever has...
the movie with nicole kidman as an asian woman was nauseating due to poor casting how could any director think that would work?

HuntingoftheSnark · 19/10/2021 19:35

A Passage to India. Loved the book, loathed the film.

Weepingwillows12 · 19/10/2021 19:42

Any of the Terry Pratchett's discworld TV/ movies. The books have so many written jokes you can't show in visual form. Same as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Helocariad · 19/10/2021 19:47

His Dark Materials- too big and lacking in depth

The Hobbit- agree with PP

Chocolat- I hated that they changed the evil priest by an evil mayor, it diminished the whole plot and was a cowardly way of avoiding religion

A Suitable Boy - ok tv series rather than book but some odd casting and changes to the plot of the book

borogovia · 19/10/2021 19:50

There's been a couple of films I've enjoyed, then I've read the book and realised they weren't so good at all.

One was A Single Man, with an unexpectedly great performance by Colin Firth. But when I read the book I realised how superficial everything else in it was.

Another was The Hours with Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. The book makes the film look like a soap opera.

Stroopwaffle5000 · 19/10/2021 19:51

I agree with The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and most of all My Sister's Keeper! Why change the ending??!!!

AllThingsServeTheBeam · 19/10/2021 20:04


Stephen King - the only directors who should touch his books are Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, Shawshank), David Cronenburg (the Dead Zone), Tobe Hooper (Salem's Lot) and Rob Reiner (Stand by Me and Misery). The rest of the films are dire.

I did enjoy the new ITs. But thought the original Stand and the remake were toss
Kanaloa · 19/10/2021 20:10

Mine have already been said!

I was going to say The Goldfinch - not sure why but there was just something missing from the film. Something didn’t match up. I would still love to see a Secret History movie though. It would probably be awful but I’d be delighted and I don’t know why The Goldfinch would be adapted first - Secret History seems much more film ready to me.

And then IT. Chapter one I thought hit the mark beautifully then chapter two seemed like a comedy version. Like if Scary Movie did IT. I do think though there’s some things that are difficult to adapt. Although the casting was insane, I was looking at the grownup Stan in the movie and thinking wtf is that the little boy from the first movie’s dad or something? They looked really similar.

Kanaloa · 19/10/2021 20:12

Also, lowering the tone a bit here since I like ya novels - I used to really like the City of Bones books, there was a series of 6. Then they came out with a television programme (Shadowhunters) that bears basically no resemblance to the source material. All the characters are older than they’re supposed to be and there are huge changes in personality as far as I could see. I only made it through the first series though.

TheDuchessOfDork · 19/10/2021 20:13


PS I love you.
The Secret Dreamworld of a shopaholic.

Or anything where they move it to be set in America really.

I was coming in to say the same!

Loved the books. Hated the films. The books were set in Ireland and England not America and that ruined them for me.

Isla Fisher as Becky was totally wrong too, as much as normally I like her!
SmallWaistFatFace · 19/10/2021 20:14

The Girl on the Train and Running with Scissors.

Kanaloa · 19/10/2021 20:14

Didn’t know there was a film of I Capture the Castle though. Special favourite of mine so I will be looking that up. Or possibly avoiding it if it’s rubbish!

SmallWaistFatFace · 19/10/2021 20:15

Also Darren Shan Cirque De Freak

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