The 25 worst movie adaptations from ‘The Da Vinci Code’ to ‘The Great Gatsby’

IIt makes sense for Hollywood to look to words for inspiration when making new films. But the sad truth is that people are overly reliant on using existing material to find the next big franchise or capitalize on the success of a bestseller. That’s fair enough — these adaptations always promise big box office hits, thanks to readers of this book just coming to see how the film translates certain parts to the screen.

While there are solid examples of successful big screen adaptations — Lord of the Ringswandering Harry Potter Movie, lost lover – There are likely to be more botched jobs. There’s nothing more disappointing than seeing the movie version of your favorite book and realizing that the director misjudged the spirit of the novel or that two actors were cast in the wrong roles and didn’t have any chemistry.

Below, we rank 25 books that should have been put on hold and never made movies.

Dune (1984)

dune Turning a book into a two-hour action movie is never easy – and David Lynch’s attempts seem to prove it should be left alone. The director’s adaptation is an absurd and complex disaster that wastes a delightfully eccentric cast. This is the only Lynch film that has been publicly denied by the director.a version from arrive Director Dennis Villeneuve, starring Timothy Chalamet and Zendaya, received better reviews from critics.

Vanity’s Campfire (1990)

the success of the best-selling novel the bonfire of vanity, Warner Bros. bought the film rights from Tom Wolfe for a staggering $750,000. Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith both (wrongly) starred in the lead roles after director Brian DePalma’s first choice rejected him. The filmmaker himself struggled to spin through many of the 1990 production blocks, as reports of mounting troubles on set were witnessed and documented in Julie Salmon’s follow-up book, Devil’s Candy.

Billy Bathgate (1991)

1991 gangster movie Billy BathgateThe movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman does an injustice to EL Doctorow’s beloved 1989 novel.With the efforts of Oscar-winning Kramer vs. Kramer director Robert Benton and a script by Tom Stoppard, the film has what it takes to become Godfather, Scarface, and good guyInstead, it’s an empty adaptation, largely because without a central character’s narrative, all the magic is lost — a big part of the novel’s success.

The Scarlet Letter (1995)

scarlet letter (1995) is often rated as one of the worst adaptations of all time, and for good reason. Described by D.H. Lawrence as “the consummate work of the American imagination”, it was transformed by Hollywood and bore the brunt of ridicule after its box-office fiasco. Director Roland Joffé is so far off the pages of Nathaniel Hawthorne that what should be a riveting romance turns into an extremely one-off erotica.

Earth Battlefield (2000)

John Travolta in Battlefield Earth

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john travolta in battlefield on earth

(The Movie Store/Shutterstock)

To be fair, very few can put L Ron Hubbard’s alleged Scientology-inspired Earth Battlefield (2000) into something decent. This epic of John Travolta’s dreadlocks has since gained fame on “The Worst Movie Ever Made,” effectively ending Travolta’s mainstream film career, even after Barry Payne. Pere’s film destroyed it before it even started.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)

Louis de Bernier Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was one of the greatest literary achievements of the 1990s, but the 2001 film version – from the same British company notting hill – Lost all traces of the heart and soul of the novel. The dialogue is disastrous, and stars Nicolas Cage (Captain Corelli) and Penelope Cruz (Pelagia) lack any chemistry. It may look beautiful, but this adaptation is simply wrong.

Time Machine (2002)

The Beauty of HG Wells’ 1895 Science Fiction Time Machine Get lost in all the CGI in this bland 2002 adaptation directed by Wells’ great-grandson Simon. Except for the copper time-travel contraption at the heart of the story, all features, including Guy Pearce’s main performance, are made of wood.

Dreamcatcher (2003)

There are as many disappointing Stephen King adaptations as successful ones, but dream Catcher at the bottom of the list. The talent is there (Damian Lewis! Morgan Freeman! Timothy Olyphant!), but the end product is never associated with anything decent. The film’s late turn into monster movie territory is simply terrifying.

Eternal Love (2004)

Before taking on the role of 007, Daniel Craig starred in the film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel about people whose lives become tangled after witnessing a fatal accident. While Craig’s Joe, a college lecturer, and Rhys Ifans’ Jed — who is fascinated by him — are convincing, the film barely has time for character development and suffers from it.

Perfect Fishing (2005)

Nick Hornby’s adaptation doesn’t need to be set in the UK (starring John Cusack high fidelity, If you like that stuff, it’s classic stuff after all), but they do need to translate the critical, infuriating male neuroses of his novels. perfect catch is a 2005 American adaptation of Hornby’s fever tone, Released ten years after Colin Firth starred in his own British adaptation, and transformed the source material into a more one-off and uninteresting big city romantic comedy. Compared to Hornby’s novel, Drew Barrymore plays a “girlfriend” character, which is great, but watching her use the sharp and unattractive Jimmy Fallon (rare in his One of the stand-up roles) in Attempt and Source Chemistry is harrowing.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)


The Da Vinci Code Is the highest level of bed bugs. its sequel, Angels and Demons (2009) and Hellfire (2016) is also a terrible movie, but Dan Brown’s original adaptation was rated the worst because if it hadn’t been so successful, no other movie would have existed.

Dragon (2006)

20th Century Fox apparently wants Dragon Be their answer to Harry Potter, but bad reviews put a stop to the plan. Dragon It’s the worst kind of fantasy adaptation – all the fantastic vibrancy of the source material is lost when translated to the big screen.

Running with Scissors (2006)

Augustine Burroughs run with scissors Has been walking a tightrope between manic farce and adolescent horror stories. Ryan Murphy’s adaptation, released in 2006, crumbled under such an assignment. You can see why Murphy, in his feature film debut, was drawn to a story of neurotic family dysfunction and sexual arousal, as they have been the subject of many of his TV shows (Glee, American Horror Story, ETC). But despite the best efforts of an all-star cast that includes Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood and Brian Cox, this adaptation has It’s a pitch miss at the end. No wonder this sank without a trace.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’

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“The Time Traveler’s Wife”


Where did this disastrous movie come from?Audrey Niffinger time traveler’s wife It’s beautifully written and convincing, but there’s nothing convincing about its adaptation. The producers thought casting two Hollywood stars was a good idea, but Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana had zero chemistry.

Cloud Atlas (2012)

Cloud Atlas (2012) was by no means a disaster, but the twisty plotlines, sketchy pacing, and often questionable acting (Hanks was never so sly) took a toll on David Mitchell’s sprawling, inventive novel. Still, it’s a delightful Wachowski romp, in which Hugh Grant is a cannibal tribe, so it does.

The Hobbit (2012-2014)

‘s fans Hobbit I didn’t expect this short, sweet novel, set in such a familiar and beloved world, to be screwed up Lord of the Rings Master Peter Jackson – but that’s exactly what happened. While the Hobbit film trilogy was a box-office success, they were slammed by critics for making the book material too thin. third trip, Battle of the Five Armiesis the worst of all three.

Book Thief (2013)

A moving dark story based on the film book thief, Follows a young girl in Nazi Germany with a different tone than the first scene. Glossy photography and overly sentimental cans of sheet music, its grim themes and performances border on satire. It doesn’t help that all the English conversation is with a German accent.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in the 2013 film adaptation of ‘The Great Gatsby’

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Kelly Mulligan in the 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby

(Warner Bros)

not adapted Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous work managed to capture the excess, glamour and underlying vulgarity of the Roaring Twenties. Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 version is entertaining and arguably the most revealing of the (outstanding) Leonardo DiCaprio’s Gatsby insecurities. The flashy production, however, robs Fitzgerald of all of the nuanced storytelling.

The Giver (2014)

Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein has fingerprints all over this messy adaptation of a teenage novel giver (2014), which attempts to blend a sincere, thoughtful fable with a Twilight-style love story backed by fresh action Hungry Games A cameo with Taylor Swift. However, by trying to appeal to every teen at the same time, giver Ignore its charming dystopian premise and leave its eccentric cast (which includes Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes) pretty much nothing can be done.

Kill Your Friends (2015)

Johnny Wen kill your friend A bubbly, debauched exploration of the lives of cocaine-sniffing record label agents. It’s gone in the blink of an eye, can’t speak to its adaptability. Released in 2015, the film works very hard to identify what Niven has accomplished so smoothly and showcase it – and the result is embarrassing, as the neat Nicholas Hoult fails to convince the sociopath Steven Stefox.

The Girl on the Train (2016)

The Girl on the Train – Trailer 2

Though it’s forever in the shadow of Gillian Flynn’s clever horror The girl who disappeared, the girl on the train Undeniably, this is a fast-paced novel. But the American film adaptation completely let it down. The 2016 film, starring Emily Blunt, is tacky and lacks nuance — and criminally takes the story away from its original gritty London setting, pushing characters down for no apparent reason. in the suburbs of New York.

I am before you (2016)

‘I am angry to be unwittingly associated with the story’

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‘I’m pissed that I was inadvertently associated with this story’

Adapted in 2016 I am before youThe film starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin has been brutally slammed by critics for emotional manipulation. Its poor acting and questionable premise don’t help either. Clark’s performance as Claflin’s quadriplegic paid partner in particular has been criticized as offensive exaggeration.

Dark Tower (2017)

Although not of the same caliber as the flop dream Catcher, Dark Tower A great example of a botched attempt to adapt one of Stephen King’s finest works. With Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey starring, hero and villain characters caught up in a doomed feud that should have soared — but a rush job like Nicola Asel’s 2017 film Can’t handle such a huge work.

At Chelsea Beach (2017)

Despite Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle’s stellar performances, this adaptation of Ian McEwan’s at chelsea beach Overwhelmed by the pompous script and clumsy old age makeup. The finished product is a far cry from Ronan’s previous McEwan adaptation, the Oscar-winning drama Atonement (2007).

This article was originally published in December 2019

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