Book-to-Movie Adaptations: the Good, the Bad, and the Unpopular Opinions

While booklovers get hyped when their favorite books get turned into movies/TV shows, most will swear that “the book is always better than the movie”. And in many cases, this is true. There are lots of amazing books that have been made into crappy movies. I’ve had my fair share of disappointments. However, some fellow bibliophiles might accuse me of blasphemy for saying: I actually like some movie adaptations better than the books.

*Gasps all around*

In all seriousness, it’s all a matter of preference. Some people won’t agree with the movies/books that I enjoyed, and I won’t agree with some of theirs. That’s just that. People have their opinions, and I have mine. This is simply a collection of several book-to-movie adaptations and my thoughts on each of them.

1.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This is a less controversial adaptation among book lovers, so I thought it best to start with this. The Hunger Games took the world by storm and was quickly adapted into what I believe is one of the better interpretations I’ll be talking about here. Many will agree that this series was successful, swooping in in the wake of Twilight’s final installment. These movies skyrocketed Jennifer Lawrence’s popularity as a person and an actress. I found that the movies were accurate enough and that the casting was well done. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Josh Hutcherson, but I believe he played the part of Peeta Mellark well.

My one complaint was the splitting up of Mockingjay into two parts. Even though it ended up turning out okay, I still think the two could have been easily condensed into one, seeing as this was the installment that had the least amount of action.

I give this adaptation a 4/5 stars. Definitely good, but not better than the books.


2.) Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Ah, I’ve had many a conversation about this particular series and the movies that followed. Generally, most can agree that this was a horrible adaptation. The movies didn’t really stay true to the books as far as accuracy or casting. And don’t get me wrong, I love Logan Lerman. I love Alexandra Daddario. In fact, 95% of the cast were, like, A+ actors and actresses that I really enjoy. But, Lerman is not Percy, and Daddario is not Annabeth. I mean, come on; her hair’s not even blonde. Get with the program, producers!

So yeah, this movie sucks as an adaptation. However, it’s quite entertaining, and because I like the actors so much, I really enjoy the movies. And I’ll watch the movies on occasion because I choose to think of the books and the movies as separate entities. As long as I don’t compare them, they’re both very enjoyable on their own.

3/5 stars, and definitely not as good as the books.

3.) Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein

There’s a good chance this section might get me murdered.

Let me start this off by saying I think that Tolkein is a very impressive author, and I admire him a great deal. He created an immersive, unique world and I am amazed by his skill and imagination. Which makes what I’m about to say very tough.

I just don’t like his books. 

I love the world and the characters and the different creatures and species he has created. But every time I try to pick up one of the books, I swear I start snoring. The series is just not for me. He manages to make the fight scenes bore me, and I just can’t get through his books without nodding off.

To all the hardcore LOTR fans out there, I’m truly sorry. It’s simply easier for me to remain engaged to the story when it’s in movie format, and that’s why I give the adaptation 4/5 stars and why I prefer the movies to the books.


4.) Paper Towns by John Green

This may come as a surprise, but I actually quite liked the movie. This adaptation didn’t do as well as The Fault in Our Stars as far as the critics are concerned, but I enjoyed the heck out of it. It was funny and sweet, and it still had the same emotional impact that the book had on me, but with a much better ending.

(Spoiler in next paragraph.) That was my main complaint about the book, that I just hated the end. Up until that point, I enjoyed the characters and really loved the lesson that the story had to teach us, but I was torn up about the ending. When Quentin found Margo, she reacted horribly and I hated the way she treated him for it. He thought he had been doing a good, noble thing, and she made him feel bad. Their story just doesn’t wrap up good enough for me and I felt so dissatisfied. Yet in the movie, Margo was so much calmer and it made it easier on Q and easier for him to understand, and things were tied up so much nicer by the end. I wasn’t left with a yucky feeling when the credits rolled like I had when I had closed the book.

For these reasons, I liked the Paper Towns movie better than the book and I would give the adaptation 4.5/5 stars.


5.) Divergent by Veronica Roth

This one could go either way with the YA crowd. Some thought this was a good adaptation, and some did not. I am one of those that did.

At the time, Divergent was such an important story for me. I loved Tris Prior with all that was in me. She was everything that I thought a heroine should be and seeing her in action in the Divergent film? It was amazing.

Divergent still holds a special place in my heart regardless of the small problems that I find with it today. Certain scenes from that movie still make me cry to this day, particularly when Tris runs with the Dauntless and jumps onto the train after the Choosing. I always watch it and think, “This is when Beatrice becomes Tris. This is when she’s born”. It moves me so deeply.

So maybe Divergent didn’t have the best special effects or dialogue; I got to watch a selfless girl from Abnegation become brave, and that’s why I love this movie. Still not better than the book, but I give it a 4/5 stars.

PS – don’t even talk to me about Insurgent and Allegiant. Those movies were train wrecks and I want them to burn.


I know there are many, many other adaptations that I didn’t include in this post, but I plan on posting a sequel in the near future. Let me know what you think of my observations, whether you agree or disagree with them. If you have suggestion for the follow-up post, let me know!

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