Guest Post: Best and Worst Movie Adaptations
Guest Post: Sarah Robinson Hatch
Over the years, we’ve seen quite a number of YA book-to-movie adaptations, and it’s safe to say that some have been much better than others. Sometimes we’re too caught up in the excitement of their release to realise how terrible the movie actually was, but sometimes they’re worthy of all the hype and have successfully translated the story from the pages to the screen. So I’m going to share my top five best movie adaptations, and also my worst five!
- Harry Potter
You might argue that Harry Potter is more of a middle-grade series, but I’m adding it to my list because you could say that the later books are YA, and they’re too good not to have a place on this list. Harry Potter is a part of so many people’s childhood, and those movies are honestly so phenomenal. I was too young to read the books when they were coming out, but I started watching the movies when I was five and they were a big part of my love for magic and for fantasy, and the books and movies contain so many important messages about fear and bravery and love conquering hate. Not a month goes by where I don’t re-watch one of the Harry Potter movies.
- The Hunger Games
Undeniably, The Hunger Games franchise did the books justice. I remember falling in love with the novels and then going to see the movies and bawling my eyes out during the opening scenes. There’s nothing better than adoring a book and then seeing it play out on screen in front of you in a way that makes you relive all the feels you experienced when reading it. Probably my favourite of the four Hunger Games movies was Catching Fire, but they were all sensational. Now I’m desperate to binge them all!
- The Fault in Our Stars
Scoff all you want, but The Fault in Our Stars was an excellent adaptation of the book. I was one of those fangirls who took a whole tissue box to the cinema and stayed for twenty minutes after the credits had finished rolling because I was just curled up in the fetal position on the ground. I felt like it was really faithful to the narrative and stabbed me in the heart all over again. I actually saw that movie six times. Don’t judge me.
- The Book Thief
This book was one that many young adults and adults enjoyed, so I’m making it eligible for this list. I absolutely loved both the novel and the film, and I felt like it was one of the best movies I saw that year. It was moving and heart-wrenching, and simply everything I could hope for in a book-to-movie adaptation. I haven’t read anything else by Markus Zusak, but thinking back on how much I adored The Book Thief, I think I’ll have to check out some of his other stuff!
Again, Narnia is one of those series that is enjoyed by readers of all ages! I watched the movies first and then read the books, and I was absolutely obsessed with everything to do with that magical world beyond the wardrobe! It’s a while since I read the books so I don’t recall how faithful the movies were to the original narrative, but I thoroughly enjoyed them and felt as though they were another massive part of my childhood and something that cemented my love for fiction. And who doesn’t love a big cuddly, talking lion?
- Vampire Academy
Oh goodness. Where do I even begin with this train-wreck of a movie? This is one I was really excited to see because I absolutely loved the series, but it was worse than I thought possible. I’m not sure whether it was trying to be a satirical take on Mean Girls however with vampires, but it was awful. The jokes, the ‘drama’… everything about it makes me want to cringe. Unfortunately, I did get caught up in the hype and actually stuck the movie poster on my wall. I tried to take it down, but the paint has come off where I stuck it on and now it has to stay there for all of eternity! I’m just going to be in the corner crying about how they took my beautiful and pure memories of Dimitri and Rose away from me.
- City of Bones
Yes, this was another movie I was so excited to see! I think it’s fairly safe to say that I never want to see another adaptation of anything Shadowhunter related, after my bad experiences with the movie and the TV show. I think they just have to stop trying. The Shadowhunter universe is too complex to ever capture on screen, and I just think it’s time to give up. It’s never going to happen, as much as I wish the TV show could be a raging success. If they ever touch The Infernal Devices, I will pay Hollywood not to make it. Or to burn down the set. Or something.
What an absolute joke. Yes, the Divergent movie was just watchable, but Insurgent was awful, and Allegiant was so bad that even the filmmakers are sick of it. I’m not kidding. Maybe this is all just rumours, but I think they didn’t have the funding to put out the last instalment in cinemas, so they were planning on releasing it as a TV movie, and then some of the actors decided they simply wouldn’t do it. Isn’t that just tragic? I actually had to walk out of Allegiant Part I to get a coffee because it was so boring. They just changed so much until it didn’t make sense anymore. I’m glad they aren’t attempting to fix the dumpster fire they created.
- Percy Jackson
Remember that time filmmakers tried to salvage their first attempt at Percy Jackson by making another movie? I think all of us tried to block that from our memories. Their first attempt was honestly so terrible and while I didn’t hate it at the time, because I hadn’t read the books, now I realise just how much it deviated from the original narrative. Sometimes artistic freedom is warranted, but that’s not what most of the devoted fans are looking for in an adaptation. And you’d think that if a book was really popular, people liked it for the storyline? I don’t understand why some people (cough, filmmakers, cough) think their versions are better. Probably because they didn’t actually read the book and just skimmed the Wikipedia summary. That’s enough for the basis of a movie, right?
- Beautiful Creatures
Ugh, this movie is coming back to haunt me just thinking about it! The accents, the terrible acting, the way the plot didn’t actually make sense to anyone who hadn’t read the book. It was a mess. I’m thankful they didn’t try and make more of those movies and remind people just how awful the first one was. I did enjoy the books, but I can’t ever read them again without being reminded about how terrible the film was. Another one of the many joys in life the film industry has taken from me. Maybe they should think about hiring passionate YA lovers to consult when adapting these kind of books for screen? I’d be willing.
So enough of me being bitter about all the adaptations I wish were never made! There are so many exciting YA movie adaptations coming out soon, and it’s amazing that so many brilliant releases have been signed on for deals! What are some of your favourite and least favourite adaptations? Which ones are you looking forward to seeing? Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Sarah Robinson-Hatch is a student who, when not dwelling in fantasy worlds or outer space, resides in Melbourne.
Sarah has won a number of writing awards and hopes to one day have a novel published. Her favourite things to write about are teenagers saving the human race during world-ending cataclysms and death scenes, both of which probably freak her out more than any potential readers.
When she’s not writing, she can be found trying to wrangle fifteen novels onto a bookstore counter, thinking of how she can best make readers cry, or fangirling to the point of hyperventilating over fan-art, movie trailers and authors favouriting her Tweets.