As a fan of a great book, video game or TV show, it's often joy-turned-dread when you hear that your beloved franchise will soon be turned into a movie. Initially your mind begins to tick through all the potential actors who would suit all your favorite characters, then you progress to thinking about how some of the more fantastical aspects of the franchise might translate to screen, but then finally your heart sinks when you realize that there is a possibility, perhaps even a strong possibility that the movie will screw it all up.
Fortunately most adaptations are very faithful, or failing being faithful, are at least quality standalone films in their own right, unfortunately there are also always exceptions. Check out these 9 films that can be classified as bad adaptations of their original source material:
1. The Golden Compass
As a kid I loved Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy books and was totally excited to hear that one of the books, Northern Lights was being turned into a film. However, after suffering years and years of delays the film that we finally got, The Golden Compass, failed to live up to what we had expected, landing an average score of 51 on Metacritic, and just 42% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Although the film itself undoubtedly has faults, we can't place all of the disappointing outcome on the script, director or actors - weirdly the Catholic church also played a significant part. After being subjected to attacks from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights who called the film "atheism for kids," and Fox New's Bill O'Reilly, New Line Cinema ordered significant edits of the film in post-production.
2. Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is the 13-book series following orphans Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire as they tried to escape the evil Count Olaf. While the film version was hotly anticipated, the resulting movie, which sandwiched the first three books into one, left some fans of the series with a bad taste in their mouth.
Financially and critically the film was actually well received, however due to changes at Paramount combined with the lead actors aging out of their roles, plans for sequels were delayed and ultimately it seems unlikely they will happen.
3. World War Z
Based on the best-selling book by Max Brooks, World War Z was a film that had a lot of promise, especially considering the popularity of the zombie genre in recent years. Unfortunately for fans of the book, and for viewers who had high hopes of the film, even without having read the book, the film fell short of what it could have been, deviating wildly from the book, ending on a weird anti-climax and also using poor and outdated CGI.
Despite the faults of the films it was still a commercial success and a sequel film has been scheduled for June 9th, 2017.
First conceived by Christopher Paolini when he was just 15-years-old, Eragon was much beloved when it was released in 2003. Unfortunately in 2006 the film version of the story, directed by first-time director Stefen Fangmeier, was released and torn to pieces by critics.
Ridiculed for being "mind-bogglingly derivative" and "lifeless" it managed a score of just 38 out of 100 on Metacritic, and earned the honor of being the 10th worst reviewed film of 2006 on Rotten Tomatoes, with a measly score of 16%. While there are three other books in the Eragon tetralogy, unfortunately it seems like they will never get their own films after this atrocious first effort.
5. The Last Airbender
The Internet is still seething with anger over the treatment of the beloved animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender in the M. Night Shyamalan directed live-action film adaptation The Last Airbender. While the TV series was widely acclaimed and won many awards, the film's inconsistencies, acting, writing and casting meant that the movie was a painful watch.
The film was so bad that it 'won' five Golden Raspberry Awards in 2010, and is considered one of the worst films ever made. With a Metacritic score of 20, an IMDb score of 4.3/10 and a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 6%, it's plain to see that it's not just a few disgruntled fans unhappy, the film was just all-around bad.
6. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Based on the successful video game franchise, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time tried to bring the success of the games to the silver screen, but didn't quite hit the mark. The film used the same title as a game from the franchise, as well as elements from other games, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to push it into success. Prince of Persia was criticized for forgoing substance and character development in lieu of visual effects and wow-factor.
With mixed reviews from critics (earning 50 on Metacritic and 36% on Rotten Tomatoes) as well as failing at the box office, the movie wasn't the film to break the streak of bad video game movies that some had hoped, though to its credit did become the highest-grossing film based on a video game.
7. The Hobbit trilogy
As not only a New Zealander, but someone who was an extra in the first Hobbit film it's with a heavy heart I add these films to the list. While there's no doubt that the films are blockbusters and commercial successes, they also were heavily criticized. While the book version of the Hobbit were obviously written for children, the Peter Jackson-directed films sought to turn a relatively short book into an epic trilogy over 7 hours long from start to finish.
Not only did the Hobbit films seek to make a much longer than necessary trio of films, but they were also criticized for the amount of CGI used in the films, especially compared to director Peter Jackson's previous work in The Lord of the Rings Franchise which used a lot of practical effects to achieve its look.
8. Dragonball: Evolution
Much like The Last Airbender, Dragonball: Evolution was also based on a highly successful animated show, and also much like Airbender it too ended up a massive failure. Upon release in 2009 (after seven years in development), the film almost universally received negative reviews from viewers and critics for being "completely lacking in visual, narrative or stylistic coherence" as well as having "cheap-looking visual effects and poorly staged and edited action sequences."
With a Metacritic score of 45 and Rotten Tomatoes score of just 14%, there's no confusing Dragonball: Evolution for a masterpiece, much to the disappointment of many fans who were extremely excited to see a live-action version of Dragonball Z.
9. Green Lantern
As hard as DC tried, they just couldn't do it with Green Lantern. Despite having a stellar cast including Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Tim Robbins, as well as talented director Martin Campbell, the film was heavily criticized for being overly produced with way too much CGI, as well as having a generally thin plot.
The film managed a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a fail mark of 39 on Metacritic, but fortunately it didn't tarnish Reynolds' chance at playing a superhero. The 38-year-old recently donned the lycra again, this time switching teams to Marvel to play the Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool.