I have to say, I am worried about the film adaptation of The Help. I saw the trailer early this week, and I actually gasped out loud at various scenes as my mind was flooded with the memory of that amazing book. It has been over a year since I devoured that entire novel in just one sitting. I thought it was a masterpiece. And I am worried. Because even though I find Emma Stone pretty much the most delightful thing since Zooey Deschanel, I worry for what can happen during the migration from page to screen. Sometimes it just gets lost in translation. Sometimes the casting is bad, sometimes the movie takes too many leaps or makes too many changes, and sometimes, well, sometimes things just work better in print. Some books are not meant to be movies. I am slightly fearful of seeing Water for Elephants for the same exact reason.
I’m nervous that these books are destined to follow in the footsteps of the books/movies below. These are very worst of the books that just did not translate well at all…
1. The Scarlet Letter. Wow. This movie. Gary Oldman as Arthur Dimmesdale? Good. Demi Moore as Hester Prynne? WHAT IN THE SAM HELL was the thought process behind that? And why did they try to make the movie so sexy? And what is up with the happy ending? Happy? Seriously?
2. The DaVinci Code. So, this wasn’t my most favorite book of all time, but it certainly was a page-turner, and you would think that simply by the fast-paced, keeping-you-on-your-toes way it was written, it would translate easily into a movie. Only, it didn’t, because it was slllllllllooooow and the only thing memorable in the movie was Tom Hanks’ horrifying hair.
3. The Time Traveler’s Wife. Oh this was a true disappointed to me. The movie version focused too much on the actual time travel – that didn’t quite translate well enough – and didn’t build the beauty that was the love story. While reading the cook, I was completely emotionally invested in Claire and Henry’s story, yet while watching the movie, I didn’t feel how deep and true their connection was. I didn’t feel it at all. Also, in the book, the timeline jumping and skipping around somehow felt slightly more linear than in the movie, which just seemed very jumpy and disconnected.
4. Love in the Time of Cholera. This was, by far, one of my most favorite books of all time. The love story in this book is just exquisite. The movie, however, didn’t even touch on about half of the book, which disappointed me, especially because some of my favorite scenes and pieces of dialogue were left on the cutting room floor. And instead of being beautiful like the book was, the movie seemed a little bit more Javier Bardem nudey Latin soap opera than love story. Shame.
5. Fever Pitch. Okay. What? As a book, this worked so ridiculously well. The movie version, however, moved the story from England to Boston and changed the entire sport to baseball and focused way way way too much on the romance, which was with, gulp, Drew Barrymore. This movie did not work at all for me. I am loathe to even call it an adaptation, because it’s barely recognizable.
Now there are some that do work, and they are worth mentioning. The Princess Bride, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Gone With the Wind, The Virgin Suicides, Silence of the Lambs, Fight Club, Mystic River, To Kill a Mockingbird.
What about you??? Any books that totally just didn’t work as movies for you? Any books that did?
Ali Martell, is the managing editor of Canada’s Premier Parenting Site, The Yummy Mummy Club. She is also a writer, an ellipticizer, a mother, a wife, a lion-tamer, a diet coke quitter, a juggler, a getter-of-drinks. She is Canada’s Emma Pillsbury and her three children tell her that she is a DOF (destroyer of fun). She is learning to use her camera better and love her thighs more. You can read more from Ali on her blog, Cheaper Than Therapy.