* This list is made up of movies that I like at least a little – the “worst” adaptations are movies that messed with the books they’re based on a bit too much; so, the “worst” movies aren’t movies that I don’t like, they’re just ones that don’t compare well to the much-different books. Oh, and there are eleven instead of ten – despite having a lot of trouble coming up with 10 in the first place, I somehow managed to have 11. Oh well…
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
As the first movie in the series, much like the book it’s based on it seems extra-magical. It’s the first introduction to this amazing new world and it manages to follow the book fairly well (it does help that the first book is the shortest book). Whenever I reread the first book, I’m always surprised to see how many lines and scenes remain the same. Sure, it’s often a good thing to take creative liberties, but as the first movie, I appreciate the fact that it’s so similar.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 & 2 (2010/2011)
This is another Harry Potter adaptation that managed to remain more faithful to the books, although this was due to being split into two parts rather than a shorter book. There are still plenty of changes, but I appreciated the fact that so many thing got to remain in the movie because there was so much more time. I’ve had trouble rewatching the movies (I’m pretty sure I haven’t rewatched the last movie at all yet) because I’m not ready to be reminded that it’s really over again, but I was quite happy with the ending when I saw it in the theaters.
3. Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
I haven’t actually read the book this movie is based on yet, but since the author also wrote the screenplay and directed the movie, I have a feeling that it’s pretty faithful, and in the spots where it isn’t, it’s for the best of the movie. I really enjoyed this movie when I saw it last year and, for once, it makes me nervous to read the book.
4. The Hunger Games (2012)
I read The Hunger Games only a few months before the movie came out and then saw the movie about half a year later (so, during fall, when Hunger Games mania had died down slightly). The movie seemed to do a pretty good job of remaining faithful – sure, there were some differences, including a more ambiguous ending, if I remember correctly, but as a more-recent and more-casual fan, I think the movie was a good adaptation.
5. Ella Enchanted (2004)
I really loved Ella Enchanted when I read it back when I was little, and when I heard they were making a movie about it, I was still young enough that I didn’t realize that movies often change things when adapting books to movies. Therefore, I was quite shocked when I saw the movie and saw that they changed about 75% of the book. I ended up enjoying the movie if I separated it from the book in my mind, but it’s definitely not a good adaptation of the book in terms of being close to the original.
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
I enjoy all the Harry Potter movies, but this one rubs me the wrong way because there seemed to be a lot more changes than with the other movies. For example, this movie added the unnecessary destruction of the amazing Burrow and took out the Hogwarts Battle at the end, which all just seems pointless.
7. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
I’m a huge mythology fan, so I was happy to discover Percy Jackson back in middle school. I read all the books in the series and didn’t even care when they messed with original myths (which is often a big issue for me with books that take and twist myths). My sister and I were both excited about the movie, even though they bumped up the ages of the characters (to make romance a bigger part of the story earlier on); really, the only thing that bugged me prior to the movie coming out was the fact that the actress who played Annabeth didn’t bother to dye her hair blond. Then I saw the movie and… well, it’s quite silly and hormonal and such; not bad, but certainly not the greatest it could be. I’m hoping that the sequel, which comes out this year, improves (it helps that Annabeth will now have blond (with roots, but you can’t win everything) hair!).
8. Aquamarine (2006)
I think the movie is quite cute and fun, but only if you separate it from the book. The book was much different; I can’t remember how so right now, but I read it a few years before the movie came out and really enjoyed it, and was surprised by how different the movie was.
9. The Princess Diaries (2001)
I still like watching The Princess Diaries movie (the second not quite as much), but I know that the author apparently wasn’t a fan of how much it changed her book (at least, I’m pretty sure I’ve read that a few times). I’m pretty sure I saw the movie before trying the book, and one thing that really surprised me when reading the book was the fact that Mia’s dad wasn’t dead. Definitely a big change…
10. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
I love the book series and I love the adaptation, but I wasn’t quite sure where to categorize it because the movie didn’t always do a great job of keeping things similar to the books. There is a reason for this, though – the movie crammed the first three books into the one movie, so most of the main events are in the movie, but some are switched around and things are changed a bit as a result. So, I think it works well, and I really wish that they had made a sequel, but some people might be annoyed with how much the movie crammed into it.
11. The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
Like A Series of Unfortunate Events, this movie did a pretty good job of remaining faithful to the books, at least for me, but they crammed all five books into one movie, which means a lot got cut out in order to fit everything in. I wish the movie had at least been split into two separate movies – maybe if this came out now, they would have, with the huge slew of YA final books getting cut into two parts for movies (yay for Harry Potter, less so for Twilight, which sounded like it didn’t have much of a plot for one movie let alone two, but I haven’t read the book or seen the movies, so I can’t say for sure).