With the final installment of the Hunger Games releasing this weekend, I thought it would be good to go over a few of the worst films that were composed from books. The Hunger Games have been a breath of fresh air compared to some of the books on this list. Now, this is not meant to attack the book. If you remember earlier this year, I said the excuse “It wasn’t in the book” is not a valid excuse for me. Yeah, they may be trashing your favorite series (The tragedy of the The Last Airbender still haunts my dreams), but I’m judging these purely by their merits as a film. Here we go..
By Kenneth Shipp
Alice in Wonderland / Charlie and Chocolate Factory
Johnny Depp can’t catch a break. These two films stick out like a sore thumb from the rest of Depp’s filmography. Alice didn’t capture the magic like the original animated classic did. The CGI is fine, but it’s a bit overused in both of these films. While the newest Charlie got the title correct, that’s about all they did right. The Oompa Loompa’s were creepier than the Gene Wilder version which should have been impossible, but apparently not. Not to mention that the usual Depp charm came off a bit hollow in both of these performances
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I tried to go back and re-watch the entire series recently and this one stuck out as the weakest. As a hardcore Potter fan for years, I didn’t want to admit my secret thoughts towards it, but this is the post to let all of that fly. The first two Potter films suffer from trying to fit in way too much from the books and they feel way too heavy. If you have never read the books, you are not going to enjoy watching this film. It’s great that they payed homage to the fans, but it makes you forget what the heck your viewing sometimes. I shouldn’t get toward the end of a film and forget key plot points because it’s dragged on that long. This one clocked in at 2 hours 41 minutes; when you log that much screen time, the script has to be tighter. Prisoners of Azkaban would fix this issue as would the following installments, but that’s no excuse for the error.
The Twilight Series
This is a pretty easy entry. I mean it’s so easy, I feel bad for even including it on this list. There probably hasn’t ever been a book to film series that has garnered the ill will of so many people like this one has, and that’s including it’s fans! While buzz was at a fever pitch with the first two films, any energy was pretty much dead by the third film, even if there were still enough people clinging onto a 3rd, 4th or 5th film miracle to materialize….and it didn’t. It has probably stained Robert Pattinson’s career irreparably even though he’s a superb actor.
This one is sad because while I really despise the Twilight films and the books, the Divergent series isn’t a terrible book saga. The films however are very sub-par and seem to be making enough money to limp along securing every actor in those films a steady paycheck. It’s very sad honestly; if done right this series could have rivaled or even beaten Hunger Games. But it’s destined to a $2 dollar DVD bin retirement in the next few years. Perhaps the next installment could change all of that, but it is highly unlikely.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
People forget that before Spielberg blew us away with the visual effects and craftsmanship in the first Jurassic, Michael Crichton had written a pretty solid book. And even his follow up book was solid. The film however, fails to match it in several areas. And just when you think the film is actually wrapping up, we get a T-Rex attack in San Francisco…At least we got a film full of Goldblum, but actually it might have been better if he wasn’t the main character. It forced him to be in the forefront too much when his lines in the first film worked better coming or working off of someone else.
The Chronicles of Narnia series
Remember why I don’t like Chamber of Secrets? Yeah, it’s for the same reasons except they never got out of the rut. With such excellent source material from one of my favorite writers, C.S. Lewis, this should have been a slam dunk. But it never gets that far and we have a hard time connecting to characters who should have enamored us. These movies suffered from CGI overload as well and didn’t have the visual direction that favored similar films, like the the Potter series. I’m still waiting on a Magician’s Nephew adaptation…and I’ll probably still be waiting 70 years from now as well.
The Hobbit Trilogy
This is the most egregious entry on the entire list and deserves to be number 1 even though I didn’t number it. If I had, I would have kicked 2 of the films off this list and put all 3 of these at the top. There was never enough material in the book to cover two films, let alone do 3. The amount of superfluous scenes that were added into the series, not to mention the very forced Dwarf/Elf love story, bloated this trilogy to uncomfortable levels. Visually, it lacked the expertise and care that were given to the LOTR trilogy. And then, we were treated to scenes like this one…
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