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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:
IWillWoooTheGhoulWillow · 19/10/2021 20:18

Any of the first three Bourne films. The books are rick and complex (while still being daft thrillers). The films are totally different and facile. By the fourth one they'd brought Eric Van Lustbader in to cash in on the title and I gave up on both book and film.

And there was a whole-family sulk that lasted at least a week over what they did to How To Train Your Dragon.

Itsbeen84yearss · 19/10/2021 20:20

The lovely bones. Film just lacked that subtlety the book had

TroysMammy · 19/10/2021 20:22

I'm glad Disney changed the end of Greyfriars Bobby because I sobbed my heart out reading it (on the toilet in Rhodes). I still sobbed my heart out with the film and he didn't die in the end.

Neonplant · 19/10/2021 20:24

We need to talk about Kevin. I felt that I going from a book to a film removed all of the nuance and subjectivity. I normally love Lynn Ramsey films.

Also could atlas. I adored the book one of my favourite. But the film didn't work anywhere near as well. When I first watched it I hated it but its grown on me and actually I don't think it's a bad film.

surreygirl1987 · 19/10/2021 20:24

The girl on the train
Confessions of a shopaholic
One Day (not terrible but it's my favourite book so I was disappointed by it)

BenjiMcSchmenzie · 19/10/2021 20:25

That dreadful BBC(?) adaptation of Birdsong - an amazingly evocative book - a few years ago, with Eddie bloody drippy Redmayne and Clemence Poesie who were both totally miscast (sorry, it might have been a series rather than a film but it was awful).

And Kenneth Branagh’s film of Murder on the Orient Express. Dear god. An absolute A-list cast and every one of them were wooden as hell, especially Branagh. I love Agatha Christie’s books. That film was horrendous.

GlumyGloomer · 19/10/2021 20:33

@IWillWoooTheGhoulWillow I saw the HTTYD movie before reading the books, so I spent the whole first book feeling slightly put out by the lack of Nightfuries. The series grew on me and I really like both versions now.
I feel similarly about Miyzaki's Howl's Moving Castle. If I'd read the book first I would probably have been disappointed by the film.

AliceMcK · 19/10/2021 20:42


The Beach. Loved the book, was so excited (at the time) for the film to come out. There was no need to have the romance between Leo and the girl. Loved the book so much I forget her name haha. But yeah, hated the film so much. I just don't think the essence was captured at all.

Another one who agrees with you, total let down.
longtompot · 19/10/2021 20:51

One Day

Cattenberg · 19/10/2021 20:54


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

I completely agree about Chocolat. The whole film felt watered down. Presumably they changed the character of the evil priest to avoid offending Christians in the US?
AliceMcK · 19/10/2021 20:55

I agree with Lovely Bones
Pay it Forward, I actually liked Kevin Spacey as an actor at the time but he was so not right for the movie. Was a total Hollywood cock up.
In her shoes
Stephen King in general. I have a rule now that if I watch anything based on a Stephen King book that I’ve enjoyed watching that I don’t read the book after so I’m not disappointed. I actually apply it to most movies/tv shows & books these days. If the movie or show is crap I don’t mind giving the book a go.
Agree on time travellers wife too.
I really like the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. I can handle the old Morgan freeman movies but absolutely hated the last one Alex Cross.
I’m sure there are many more…

WeAreTheWeirdosMister · 19/10/2021 21:00

I thought The Perks of Being a Wallflower didn't work as well as a film.

surreygirl1987 · 19/10/2021 21:02

Oh yes definitely His Dark Materials / The Northern Lights/ The Golden Compass

GlitchStitch · 19/10/2021 21:05

I Don't Know How She Does It-love this book, the film was a pile of crap.

Owlink · 19/10/2021 21:06

The Road. Massive book, tiny film. The boy was too old & capable.

BatshitCrazyWoman · 19/10/2021 21:11


I Capture the Castle. I hadn't even realised there was a film until I stumbled across it online a couple of months ago - felt so rushed as if it just clumsily bumped over the main events of the book. Really disappointing.

Not a film, but the new TV series of The Pursuit of Love - gave up after the first episode as it just felt all wrong.

I don't let my children watch the film of anything until we've read the book first, much to their annoyance. It's the only way to properly appreciate the book (or know if the film is really any good)!

I so agree about I Capture the Castle - I love that book so much, the film was a travesty.

Also agree with PPs about The Hobbit and LOTR - all dreadful.
LetsGoFlyAKiteee · 19/10/2021 21:35

As already said Lovely Bones..see what he was trying to do but no...didnt work. I like the book the film they tried to make a bit artsy somehow

Divergent series..not the most amazing books but interesting at the time. The films however..changed a lot! Missed out key characters. Changed even more and then split the last book in half and never finished the films. Didnt help last book wasn't that great..didnt need 2 films. Not that got that

lljkk · 19/10/2021 21:42

I could never bring myself to watch The Shipping news starring Kevin Spacey. Because he's not a giant fat ginger guy. The physicality of Quoyle is a huge part of the original plot and indeed humour. The film can't be the same story at all.

lljkk · 19/10/2021 21:43

ps: and should say, there's probably a shortage of gifted ginger huge right age actors who could play Quoyle, so maybe could never be filmed.

borogovia · 19/10/2021 21:43

Cloud Atlas I didn't like at first but ultimately I thought it worked.

The Hobbit I agree with everyone else who hated it. Small wonderful book and big stupid film.

borogovia · 19/10/2021 21:45

I'm loving this thread, crossing off the films I don't need to see!

tinyteepee · 19/10/2021 21:46

Agree with ‘PS I love you’ also a book by the same author ‘Love Rosie’ I hate what they did to the story to make the film

Zeev · 19/10/2021 21:49


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.

Practical Magic the film had that awful dancing around the table scene which took me right out
LetsGoFlyAKiteee · 19/10/2021 21:53

And the didn't need to be 3 long long long films. Just dragged out for no reason other then to make lots of money. Adding Legolas and the love story bit did nothing

Clandestin · 19/10/2021 21:54


ps: and should say, there's probably a shortage of gifted ginger huge right age actors who could play Quoyle, so maybe could never be filmed.

Brendan Gleeson could have done it. But then I think he’s a genius, and should be in everything.

@Kanaloa, I wouldn’t say it’s awful, and some of the casting is good — I liked Rose Byrne as Rose and Tara Fitzgerald as Topaz, and Henry Cavill had the right kind of slightly dopey-looking good looks as Stephen. But Simon and Neil were really miscast and not remotely credible as love objects for the girls, and even though I quite like Romola Garai in other things, I didn’t think she was quite right for Cassandra…? The whole thing felt a bit under-powered.
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