Recently, it seems to be largely young adult books being made into movies (there are exceptions, of course, but the majority have been). Since I’ve been reading a lot of YA in the past few years I decided to share the ones I’ve both seen and read, and my opinions on them.
I still remember my kid sobbing on my shoulder after she finished Allegiant. And being told I “had” to read the series. So I did. I will say, even if I hadn’t already known how the last book would end, I would have known how the last book would end, simply based on the author’s choice of POV in book three. Dead giveaway (pun intended). I still think there were some problems with the plot of the series, but it was still pretty good. So, we went to the movies. Divergent was quite well done. It held to the meat of the plot, the casting was solid and overall I really enjoyed it. Then came the train wreck that was Insurgent. WHO wrote that screenplay? Did they even read the book? The entire movie focused on having a divergent open “the box”… a box that didn’t exist in the book. And the focus of the book wasn’t on that anyway (by “that” I mean the secret inside the box). What a mess. I can’t comment on the Allegiant movie, because I haven’t seen it, and have no desire to. Of course, it was only part one, and to the best of my knowledge, they haven’t/aren’t filming part two due to an utter lack of interest on the part of movie goers. And that should be a lesson to film makers everywhere.
2. Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay
Now this movie series was incredibly well done. And the fact it was running at the same time as the previous one may have affected both. These screenplay writers actually, yanno, followed the story instead of going off on weird tangents just for special effects. Yeah, I missed Madge and some of the other minor characters who just disappeared when they did the movies, but the kept to the meat of the story. The big plot points didn’t disappear (though I was surprised Peeta didn’t lose his leg in the movie. Since he got a prosthetic, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, money/effects-wish, but whatever) and the casting was solid (except maybe Haymitch…don’t get me wrong, I loved Woody Harrelson, but in The Hunger Games Haymitch was described as a fat, old man). All in all, one of the better done adaptations I’ve seen.
3. The Maze Runner/The Scorch Trials/The Death Cure
I’ll be honest. When I saw the first movie, I hadn’t read the books. We mainly went because the kid was a Dylan O’Brien fan (“Teen Wolf”) and it looked interesting. After I saw the movie, I really felt like I was missing stuff, so I got the book (at the time, it was free on Nook, go me). The movie was largely faithful to the book, and I looked forward to seeing the second movie, but decided I’d finish reading the series first.
I will say this … the books were kind of boring. Not because of the story, I think, but because of the writing. In fact, my kid ended up not finishing the series because she was bored to tears. This figures into my opinions on the movies. We went to The Scorch Trials and … it was virtually nothing like the book. Yeah, there were some plot points that were the same, but it definitely veered off pretty sharply. However, it really didn’t bother me and I think in some ways the movie was stronger. That does mean that I’m not entirely certain what The Death Cure will be like because they omitted/changed some pretty important things in the second movie so there are some pretty important things from book three that won’t work in movie three. And I have to think that the reason people don’t seem to care about that (like they did for the Divergent series) is because the books just weren’t that great, so there wasn’t this avid/rabid following. It matters.
4. Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief
I saw this movie before I read the book, and enjoyed it. The kid did not and grumbled the entire time. SO much was changed for the movie, not the least of which was the main character’s age. In the book he was significantly younger, which really impacted things. He was just a kid in the book, NOT a teenager, and that really did make a huge difference. Plus, the movie focused on finding the pearls, which was only part of the book. So, while the movie was entertaining for me, the kids who read the book apparently found it less so. They did one more movie based on the series, but it pretty much flopped (even though, in this case they held a little closer to the book).
Don’t mess with rabid fans. They can make or break you.
5. I Am Number Four
I read this book first. I didn’t even know they’d made a movie based on it until the kid told me. I kept seeing the series at Barnes and Noble and was intrigued enough to pick it up. I honestly was kind of bored by the book and had zero desire to read the rest of the series. I do think the movie did a pretty good job holding true to the story, and honestly, if they’d made more movies I would have seen them. I am actually relatively interested in knowing how the rest of the story pans out, but not enough so to muddle through the books.
In this case, I’d have to say the movie was better.
6. City of Bones
I saw this before I read any of the books. The kid was (is) a HUGE fan of this series (and all related series by the author). She reads, rereads, obsesses over, talks about the characters and the stories to any and all who will listen. So we sat down and watched.
I hated the movie. I hated the hero–he came across as creepy and stalkerish and I couldn’t understand why the heroine had anything to do with him. The story was disjointed, I felt like I was missing really important parts (as it turns out, I was) and overall they did a horrible job. The books are actually pretty dang amazing. The author’s world-building is fan-freaking-tastic. The series (all of them) are really a “must read” if you like paranormal YA. Just … skip the movie.
They currently have a TV series running (Shadowhunters) based on the books. I haven’t watched but a little in passing. When the series was announced, the author made it very clear she was going to be changing things up so readers wouldn’t necessarily know what was going to happen. My kid watched it for awhile, and then was frustrated and annoyed by the changes. She makes noises about going back to it now and then, but hasn’t yet.
7. The Giver
Another movie that I didn’t even realize WAS a book before I saw it. Truthfully, I haven’t read the entire book, even now, because it bored me. Also truthfully, I thought the movie was pretty dull, too (and I hated the ending). So, maybe it followed the book to a “T”, I have no idea. There were a lot of very deep ideas that I think didn’t translate well to film, too, which matters.
I’m looking forward to more book-to-movie movies this year, including The Death Cure (this Friday!), A Wrinkle in Time and others.
What about you? Movies from books you loved? Hated? Do tell!