“The book was better” seems to be a modern catch-phrase for us die hard book aficionados. Even so much so that film makers use the line in their movies almost as a self-deprecating joke about their own movies. But, the only reason it is so prevalent of a line is because it is very true. The Book usually is better. There are only the rare occasions that a movie transcends its literary inspiration.

Unfortunately most of the time, it is true…like in the case of the following movies:

220px-ScarletlettermovieposterThe Striptease Letter, I mean The Scarlet Letter (1995)

I am not a fan of The Scarlet Letter, in fact my high school paper on the book went into great detail on why I didn’t like the book. Lucky for me, my teacher had a sense of humor and since I had grasped the meaning of the story, I got an A. Nice, right? They also made the movie that year…and destroyed the hope of millions of teens getting an A on their Scarlet Letter papers. Because they screwed the pooch on this particular adaptation. So much so, that teen movies make a joke of it. Best line ever was in Easy “A”.

The Scarlet Letter starring Demi Moore should be a testament to all filmmakers: “loose adaptations” should be avoided at all cost. Especially when loose adaptation is also applied to “history.” There are some things you just can’t change, unless you are coming up with an alternate universe film. Not to mention, if the whole goal was to just put Demi Moore in a tub and have her boink Gary Oldman – well then make a porno. Don’t package it into a film based on an American Classic. Just saying.

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (2005)

I should have known they would screw up this particular scifi masterpiece – why did I even begin to hope? You can’t even begin to encompass the brilliance that is Douglas Adams and then to try to depict his creative future-scaping into a budgeted scifi film? Well they got a big FAIL In return. The great part of these novels is the tone, the dialogue, mixed with the off-the-wall scenes and the back and forth parrying of the characters. This is really hard to come across in a film, without looking a bit zany and just mixed-up. It turned out that they just force the movie adaptaption to be a slap-stick comedy and thought the lines would carry the whole thing. They thought wrong and it turned into a comedy that not a lot of people really got, paired with some really bad acting. And then they just straight-up got a lot of the plot wrong. Nice job. I mean that in a purely sarcastic and accusatory way, promise.

The Golden Compass (2007)

I don’t even know why they pretended this movie was based off of the book. The just chopped this thing up and pieced it back together how they saw fit. Again to showcase Nicole Kidman in slinky, over-blown fashion. They were hoping for the next Harry Potter and what they got was the next failed fantasy movie. Next time, try sticking with the book. There is a reason that the book is so popular.

bicentennialmanBicentennial Man (1999)

Do I even have to go into this one? Did you see it, does anyone even remember it? Half the people watching it probably didn’t even have a clue that it was “adapted” from a novella by the great Isaac Asimov. I know Robin William’s was going through a dramatic phase at the time, instead of his usual comedic luster…but really did they have to cast him as a robot? Adapted from a book that was supposed to ask the question “what makes us human?” Too deep of a question to be asked by the makers of Mrs. Doubtfire.

And Finally…

Gulliver Travels (2010)

Jack Black as Lemuel Gulliver NEED I SAY MORE?!

Parajunkee reviews books