Books are often adapted for the big screen to expand their audiences further. This is a great way to make stories accessible for those who cannot read them, or who simply do not want to. It is significant because some stories are important, and they should be heard by as many people as possible. However, books are more detailed than a two hour long film. Therefore, adapting a beloved book into a film can be challenging. While some film adaptations succeed, others fail. Here are 20 bad adaptations of book to film.


Eragon is based on the first installment of ‘The Inheritance Cycle’ by Christopher Paolini. Stefen Fangmeier’s film ‘Eragon’ follows young Eragon’s journey from unknown farm boy to becoming the realm’s last defense against a powerful villain after he discovers a rare dragon egg.  After the release, many critics felt a disconnection between the book and the film. The adaptation lacked creativity and vision. The plot of the film was completely altered. The magic of the world within the books was completely lost in the film. So Eragon is counted as one of the bad adaptations of book to film.

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower film by Nikolaj Arcel is another bad adaptations of book to film. It is based on a sweeping book series by Stephen King. The book collection of novels of fantasy and horror. The film follows a boy, who is haunted by the visions of a dark tower from a parallel reality. He soon teams up with the tower’s disillusioned guardian to stop an evil warlock known as the Man in Black who plans to use the boy to destroy the tower and open the gates of Hell. The film tried to fit information of 8 books into a single film, because of which the plot and message of the film was lost.

Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy film by Mark Waters is based on the first book of a six book series by the same name by the author Richelle Mead. The film follows Rose Hathaway who is a Dhampir, half human-half vampire, a guardian of the Moroi.  Mortal vampires living discreetly and peacefully with the humans. Rose is called upon to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi.


Jumper film is based on the science-fiction novel by Steven Gould, Doug Liman’s “Jumper”. The book takes place in a world where people can teleport at will using telekinetic abilities. However, in the film when young teleporter David played by Hayden Christensen, gains attention from Roland played by Samuel L. Jackson, his opponent seeks to eliminate him. The film has a few fun visuals, but it is hard-to-watch. The film is disappointing because of the inexplicable plot turns that keep mounting until the end. Hence Jumper fell in the list of bad adaptations of book to film.

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones is based on Cassandra Clare’s popular book series. However the film made was yet another example of bad adaptations of book to film. In 2013, a film adaptation starring Lily Collins was made, directed by Harald Zwart. “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” is about Clary, a young woman who realizes that she is from a long line of demon-slaying ancestors with angel blood in their veins, after her mother disappears. In the film the plot was replaced with a boring, forgettable story that focuses too much on the drama and glamour rather than the story and its mysterious mythology.

The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter is a classic novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne that explores the severity of adultery and the public shaming that comes with it. The story is filled with emotion, pain, guilt, and revenge. Roland Joffé’s 1995 adaptation of “The Scarlet Letter” of the novel does very little to live up to the Hawthorne’s thrilling story. The film is an overstuffed, over-sexualized romance story.

The Girl On The Train

The Girl on the Train is a book by Paula Hawkins. The book follows the story of an alcoholic woman who observes a couple from the window of her train on her daily commute. As every day passes she builds a dark obsession with what she thinks is a ‘perfect’ life.  One day when she witnesses something terrible happen from her train, she inserts herself in their lives, and the latter the following police investigation. The film adaptation by Tate Taylor and starring Emily Blunt makes a few key changes such as changing how the characters are involved or setting the story in New York instead of London as in the book. These changes create some plot holes and make the film less compelling compared to the book.

Percy Jackson And The Lightening Thief

Percy Jackson is a book series by Rick Riordan that blends teen adventure with classic Greek mythology. The books follow the trials and tribulations of Percy, who discovers he is a demi-god, the son of Poseidon, God of the sea. The film released in 2010 makes many changes from the books. The cast of characters are aged around four years older, some of the secondary characters stray far from their original personalities. The engaging nature of the book is lost in the film. The film was a flop at the box office.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a beautifully novel, that is interpreted as a cautionary tale of the American dream, against the backdrop of the roaring 1920s. The novel is narrated by an outsider Nick Carraway. Baz Luhrman’s film adaptation in 2013 is visually stunning and has great actors and famed soundtrack, bit it still doesn’t capture the darker layers of the novel. The film doesn’t capture how heartbreaking Gatsby’s end is.

The Time Traveler’s

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a book by Audrey Niffenegger. The story details on the lives and relationship of Clare and Henry over different time periods, complicated by Henry’s illness which causes him to travel through time uncontrollably. The book explores their own relationship and those around them, along with universal themes of love, loss and free will. The film adaptation omits their backstory, and rushes through the romance and therefore, the central love story feels forced. Other changes in the film include, key characters are also downplayed, or even eliminated and the ending is also changed.

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass is a young fantasy novel by Phillip Pullman. The film adaptation by Chris Weitz combines an oversimplified, over-explained and watered down version of the book in hopes of appealing the audience. The Golden Compass trilogy books reveal things to the readers throughout the story, on the other hand the film simply explains them and doing so takes away much of the intrigue. Even though the action scenes in the film are amazing, the film loses depth and character.

The Giver

The Giver is book by Lois Lowry’s 1993. It is a young adult novel that is set in a dystopian world and centers on twelve-year-old Jonas. Jonas lives in an ideal but a colorless life in world of conformity and contentment until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory. He begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his community. While the novel is moving and emotional, the film on the other hand feels hollow and appears boring. This made it a bad adaptations of book to film.


Twilight is the first chapter in the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. It is a collection of books that follows the human-vampire love story between Bella and Edward, along with many other relationships. The film adaptation of the book is cringe-worthy hat makes the story somehow appear more comedic than serious cinema. The remaining installments of the series are the same way. The film received poor critical response. Fans of the book found the portrayals of their beloved characters to be shallow and misguided, making the film itself and the rest of the series a failure.

Paper Towns

Paper Towns is a young adult novel by John Green about life and love in the high school years . However the film missed the mark of the book. The film adaptation of Paper Towns was not able to represent the magic and charm of the book. It took all the deep and serious parts out and turned it into a cheerful road-trip movie. The film appears like just another silly teen movie. So Paper Towns came in the list of bad adaptations of book to film.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak’s is an exceptional war novel. The 2013 adaptation of The Book Thief is an ambitious but it unfortunately fails to translate the heart of the story to the screen. The book contains ideas that are too big to present to any audience. It is the story Liesel Meminger who is an orphan and sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, where they must pretend to agree with the Nazi regime for their own safety. When the Hubermanns take in a Jewish fugitive, all their lives are put in danger, but Liesel finds ways to expand her imagination and worldview by stealing books. In the book the story is narrated from Death’s point of view, that does not come across in the same way onscreen.

A Walk To Remember

A Walk Remember is a romantic drama by Nicholas Sparks. There have been countless Nicholas Sparks novels adapted into movies with varying degrees of success. The most famous Nicholas Sparks adaptation is easily The Notebook, which is an extremely popular romantic drama film. ‘A Walk To Remember’ film and book are similar, the story centers around the love story between high school student Landon Carter portrayed by Shane West and shy preacher’s daughter Jamie Sullivan portrayed by Mandy Moore, and the obstacles they overcome at a young age as their relationship is complicated by other factors. While some fans enjoyed this film, it did not receive good reviews compared to other Sparks’ movie adaptations. Many critics called the film over-sentimental.

Divergent Series: Allegiant

Divergent series is a young adult science-fiction novels by Veronica Roth. The first installment of the film adaptation started out strong and it did quite well at the box office. However, the special effects of the film somehow appear to get worse with each installment, an effect that is aggravated by their increasing familiarity in each film. The last film Allegiant was received so poorly that its second part was completely abandoned.

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle is a novel for young readers.The story follows a girl on an intergalactic search for her missing father. The book follows the themes of love and the constant fight between good and evil. Just like other films in the list A Wrinkle In Time film also neglected important pieces that are mentioned in the novel. It feels like the film prioritizes over the material’s endearing qualities.

The Hobbit Series

The Hobbits is a fantasy novel by J. R.R Tolkein.The book is a perfect balance of action and comprehensive descriptions that makes the story entertaining. Warner Brothers split the 310-page novel into a three-part trilogy. This forced the relatively simple original plot to be complicated with additional characters and plot lines. The over-the-top CGI, the addition of unnecessary characters, and the fact that they made it into three films all contributed to its failure.

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner is a dystopian young adult novel by James Dashner. The issue with film adaptation is that it strays far from the original book. Once again, the core details of the book and part of the plot were cut out and character development were also changed without helping the plot. It cannot be possible for every detail of a book to make it into the film, but even the most important things such as the maze itself, and how the two main characters interact with one another were changed and were nothing like they were in the book.

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