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Weekly Geeks – Worst Movie Adaptation




The weekly assignment for Weekly Geeks:

Worst movie adaptations: The recent release of Watchmen based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore got me thinking about what I thought were the worst movie adaptations of books. What book or books did a director or directors completely ruin in the adaptation(s) that you wish you could “un-see,” and why in your opinion, what made it or them so bad in contrast to the book or books?

The Golden Compass was one of the worst film adaptations of a book I have seen. Entertainment Weekly agree with me, and voted it the most disappointing movie adpatation of all time. I loved the book; it’s rich, original plot was packed with great characters, vivid descriptions and thought provoking topics, making it one of my favourite novels of all time.

The film failed to come anywhere close to my expectations. It was so short, that it felt as though everything was being crammed in as quickly as possible. Many of the most interesting religious aspects of the book were not included, or glossed over really quickly. I’m not sure how anyone who has not read the book would have have managed to follow the plot, but I urge you to read the book, and ignore the film.


I’m not sure that it counts, as I haven’t actually seen the film, but I can’t imagine how they managed to make a screen version of Blindness, which I read recently. The reviews seem to indicate that they haven’t. The unique feature of this excellent, but scary book, is that the characters have been affected by an epidemic of blindness, and so cannot see a thing. This leads everything in the book to be described through the other five senses, making the reader effectively blind too. Showing the action on camera will ruin this main feature of the book, diliuting the intensity of its message. Many of the scenes were powerful and disturbing, and I find it hard to imagine how they could have been sensitively shot. If you have read the book, and seen the movie, then I’d love to know your opinion of them.


The Cat in the Hat has to be the worst movie adaptation of a book for me. The book is a delightful, rhyming children’s story about a mischievous cat who entertains a young boy and girl with ever more daring and messy games. My children love listening to it again and again, so we were really looking forward to watching the film together over Christmas. My boys lost interest in it very quickly. The film is too slow, wih nothing remotely funny happening for half an hour. The action, when it does occur, is so spread out that I found myself clock-watching the majority of the time. None of the magic of the book is present, there is no rhyming, and the cat come across as annoying, rather than endearing.

The Cat in the Hat is my most disappointing movie adaptation. What’s yours?

17 replies on “Weekly Geeks – Worst Movie Adaptation”

Cat in the Hat avoided as it was one of my childhood favourites and I dont need that messed with frankly! Golden Compass was indeed rubbish, very very rubbish. Hmm what else… am trying to think of ones I havent liked and no particular one springs to mind. I find all books that become films arent as good as the book… though some come incredibly close. Oh you have got me thinking!!!!

Well, two of the three books you mentioned I haven’t read and all three of the movies. Of course, you’re not winning me over to go see the movies. Of course, I’ve read Cat in the Hat, but had no interest in the movie at all and now you’ve confirmed that. Thanks. 🙂

As for mine, I disliked the adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath. I write about it briefly over at my blog.

Oh how could I have possibly forgot about Cat in the Hat. I think it’s probably one of those things I just blocked out. I haven’t read the other two yet but I didn’t like Golden Compass so I don’t think I’ll bother with the book. But I do have Blindness waiting to be read, I’ve resisted the movie so far.

thatsthebook – please don’t avoid the book, just because you didn’t enjoy the Golden Compass – the book is amazing, and is in another league to the screen version.

I have to agree with you about The Golden Compass – the movie was VERY disappointing (even with the gorgeous Daniel Craig!) – the book is brilliant though.

Oh, The Cat in the Hat was just horrible. I went to see it with my son as a “date night” with him, and we both walked away dispirited. I purposefully did NOT see Golden Compass, based on EW attitude. I trust them. The kids wanted to, but I held out.

There are many movies that did not do the book justice. I just can’t seem to conjure them up right now. Except…I read “Hannibal Rising” and was mildly entertained. I am a horror fan, and “Silence of the Lambs” is by far one of my favorite movies and books. The movie for “Hannibal Rising” was deplorable. I couldn’t even finish it.

We love the book, but I never even considered watching the film. Wasn’t that the one with that gigantic cat looking like Puss ‘n boots? I didn’t thnk it could be any good, and what you just said confirmed my suspicions.

I wasn’t expecting The Cat in the Hat to be amazing, but I did think that my children would enjoy it. If a childrens film can’t even do that then it must be poor!

Karen – I think Daniel Craig (as lovely as he is!) might have been another part of the problem – I didn’t imagine the character to be anything like Daniel – perhaps it’s just me, but I pictured him as brown haired, a bit older and a bit less clean cut. Daniel Craig, just didn’t seem the right person to cast in the part.

Thank you mentioning The Golden Compass. I was so disappointed with that movie on so many levels and you’ve listed the major ones. My husband hadn’t read the book and he missed a lot of what the story was all about. If they were to afraid to tackle the major issues, then they shouldn’t have made the movie in the first place.

thank goodness i learned long ago to run far far away from movies with people in fat suits and/or animal makeup.

I’d forgotten about The Golden Compass. The actress who played Lyra was great and i have to admit that when i read the book i did picture Sam Elliot as Lee Scoresby. But so much was cut and changed that it was a bit too different.

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