I was sitting around, trying to figure out what to do for a list this month, and C suggested bad movies. (We were talking about the new City of Bones TV show, Shadowhunters, and how we have high hopes that it’ll be better than the movie.) In the spirit of goodness (and this Tshirt, which, yes, I do own) I give you a dozen books that you should read rather than wasting your time on the movie. (For the record: I always try to read the book first, when I can. But that’s just me.)
In the category of Don’t Even Bother With the Movie:
Twilight – I know: we’re all over the vampires. But, given a choice between reading the books and watching the movies (I never even bothered with the last three), I’d take the books, hands down. At the very least, you can skip the annoying parts.
The Lightning Thief – When the author disses the movies you know it can’t be good. But, aside from the book, this doesn’t even hold up as a movie. Don’t bother. Especially since the book is SO good.
Inkheart – The movie isn’t terrible. I mean, Brendan Frasier is really eminently watchable. But, it’s not good either. It’s just kind of… Meh. Like everyone phoned in their performances and they were hoping to get a movie as fascinating as the book was.
The Three Musketeers – Orlando Bloom is the best thing in the most recent movie. Seriously. It’s not even remotely the book, which is really quite good.
The Hobbit – I loved Lord of the Rings, all three movies and all 12 hours of it. But, after slogging through the FIRST of three movies for this charming little book, I bailed. (That said, the TV movie from 1977 is quite good.)
The movie is okay, but it has Nothing To Do With the Book:
Ella Enchanted – It’s actually a charming movie. I love the music (always have), and there are parts of it that I think are great. But, aside from the title, the character names, and the curse on the main character, it’s not the book. Which is just as charming and fun on its own.
The Great Gatsby – It’s a gorgeous movie. Lush and beautiful. But that’s all it is. It missed the point of Gatsby, of what Fitzgerald was trying to say. If you don’t think about that, it’s a good movie, but I’d rather read the book.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy– the opening minutes of this were brilliant and I had high hopes for the movie, but it kind of just petered out. Alan Rickman as Marvin is brilliant, however.
Tuck Everlasting – C insisted that this one be on the list. She adored the book, and the movie is NOTHING like the book. Except for the premise, there’s really nothing in common with Babbitt’s powerful book.
I know I’m going off the trailer here, which can be misleading. (Bridge to Terabithia anyone?) But, the trailer for these books scared me so much, I haven’t seen the movie. And unless someone convinces me otherwise, I probably won’t.
The Dark is Rising – I really didn’t think this book would translate well onto the screen, and if the trailer’s correct, it proves me right.
Ender’s Game – Yeah, there are some big blockbuster-y moments in the book, but the movie missed out (or at least the trailer implied this) on the reflective nature of this book, of the underlying themes of brutality and the means we’ll go as humans to reach the ends we want. I know I may be wrong, but I haven’t had the desire to find out.
The True Meaning of Smekday – This is the one I’m most conflicted about. I want to see Home because of a person of color, girl main character. And because it does look charming. But, I can tell that it’s not the book. I don’t object to that, I just haven’t worked up the courage to see the movie yet.
As a side note, they really shouldn’t make any picture book into a full-length movie. There isn’t a single one (Where the Wild Things Are, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Cat in the Hat, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) that’s any good.
What are some of your worst (and best) movies from books?
3 thoughts on “12 Books You Should Read Instead of Seeing the Movie”
Well I agree with most of these, except The Hobbit movies. I loved them, and though go deeper into the LOTR world. Oh well, to each their own as they say.
What about The Polar Express? I think it's a picture book that made a good movie with the same spirit, but in general — yes. Alexander was good too, but not the book
Worst for me is definitely The Count of Monte Cristo. If anyone is going to do Dumas as a film it should be in BBC miniseries form.
I love the How to Train Your Dragon movies. They are not at all like the books but I actually like them better.