I recently finished the book Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. I know it came out back in 2008 and I’m a little late to the game but I’ve always wanted to read it, somehow it had gone by me and then recently – there it was on the shelves and stacks again so I thought why not give it a try. Very good book, which is not surprising because right there on the cover it will tell you that NPR in the U.S. has rated it one of the “100 Best Thrillers of all time.” But then I found out that the reason it is suddenly available again is because it has been made into a movie, and with a good cast, too. Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace. Who wouldn’t want to watch a Russian-set thriller with a cast like that and a very popular book? Turns out, a lot of people wouldn’t want to watch it. When I went online I found out the movie had already come and gone in movie theatres, it had dismal reviews – I mean really awful – and died a short, painful death at theatres months ago.
What a disappointment, I thought. It should have been a great movie, it had all the makings of one. It got me thinking, though, about other great books that have been made into awful movies. Unfortunately, the list is far too long. It can be a tricky thing to adapt a popular and well-loved book for a wider audience and the translation doesn’t always get pulled off. So in our discussions here at work about the issue, we compiled a partial list of the good and the bad when it comes to movie adaptations.
Let’s start with The Bad.
- One Day
- Child 44
- Eat Pray Love
- The Great Gatsby (some waffling here because I actually liked the movie)
- The Bonfire of the Vanities
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Producer Chad vehemently disagrees on this one)
- The Grinch
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Snow Falling on Cedars
That, as I said, is just a partial list. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.
How about some of The Good?
- The Godfather (obviously brilliant)
- Gone Girl (surprisingly good)
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (both the Swedish and Hollywood version are excellent)
- The Devil Wears Prada
- Bridget Jones’ Diary (I will watch that anytime, anywhere)
- The Colour Purple