Book To Movie: Worth the Watch?

If you know me, you know my favorite things to do are read a good book or watch the newest movie. It’s no surprise that in recent years there has been a huge boom of book-to-movie adaptations. It seems like the best of both worlds, but sometimes things can go horribly wrong on the big screen. I have done the research and compiled a list of which titles I think reached the stars and ones that fell a little short.

Warning: Spoilers may be ahead.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I feel like this one had to be first, simply because of how well-known it is. The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen through her journey in the Capitol of Panem and District 12. Readers can see her amazing character progression as she goes through her first Hunger Games and how she deals with the unwanted attention from President Snow. The Young Adult trilogy was split into four movies and earned over $694.4 million at the box office. Many would think that the sequel, Catching Fire, would turn into a dumpster fire, but each movie release was met with even more enthusiasm. I can personally say that I watched Mockingjay Pt. 2 in theaters four times.

With Suzanne Collins’ recent release Of Songbirds and Snakes in 2020, we can expect to see another hit movie hit the big screens in the next few years. Watchers will be able to witness President Snow’s boyhood and rise to power.

Worth the watch: five/five

Worth the read: five/five

2. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

In the hype around the movie release of If I Stay, I feel like Before I Fall did not get the attention that it deserved. Samantha Kingston had everything she could ever want: looks, popularity and the perfect boyfriend. When Valentine’s Day comes around, she is shocked to find out she is reliving the same day over and over again. Samantha is left to figure out the mystery surrounding her death and remind herself of everything she is losing. While the movie obviously could not include every detail of her seven repeating days, I was not disappointed when it was released. The script and plot moves were beautifully written and easy to follow along. Earning almost $20 million at the Box Office, I would definitely recommend it.

Worth the watch: four/five

Worth the read: four/five

3. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

books on bookstore shelf Photo by Alfons Morales from Unsplash

I do not know what went wrong but something did in the making of this movie. I am an avid Clare fan. Around 19 of her books are on my bookshelf. The Mortal Instruments centers on Clary Fray’s introduction to the Shadow World and finding out that she is destined to hunt monsters and demons. That said, both the City of Bones movie and Shadowhunter’s TV show are things I never want to watch again. The fact that Clary’s hair is brown instead of her signature red in the movie immediately threw me off and I honestly could not get past it. The CW channel’s Shadowhunter’s series took so many creative liberties that I’m not sure the writers even read the books. I highly recommend the books but would advise you not to watch the shows beforehand.

Worth the watch: two/five

Worth the read: five/five

4. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This book is a heart-wrencher. My best friend and I both read it around the same time and it was a life-changer. All the Bright Places was one of the first books that I read that tried to destigmatize mental illness and the powerful effects it can have on the person suffering from it. It follows Violet and Finch’s journey after they meet at the top of the bell tower at school when they both consider jumping off. Netflix recently picked up the film rights and the movie was released in early 2020. The book had been so powerful to me so I watched the movie opening night. Sadly, it seemed to lose the spark that had made it great and missed the mark it was going for. Very important details were left out, Finch and Violet did not meet at the bell tower in the movie for some reason and it lacked the emotion that the book was able to portray. I would still recommend it, but I think the book is a must-read before sitting down for the film.

Worth the watch: three/five

Worth the read: five/five

5. Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

This one had to be included because of the recent announcement by Rick Riordan that he would be working hands-on in the process of a new Disney+ adaptation of Percy Jackson. We all know that the two movies released in the early 2010's left much to be desired, but I’m holding on to a lot of hope that we get redemption with the new show. As Percy and the other characters start the books at only 12 years old, the casting for the movies makes little to no sense (like how Annabeth is supposed to be blonde). The movies left out important character development that left Percy and his friends feeling very two-dimensional. Rick has promised his fans that he would keep the script as close to the books as he could. That said, I think Logan Lerman was still an amazing Percy and should have some part in the show. While the books are more meant for middle schoolers, they are some of my favorite comfort books and I highly suggest reading them.

Worth the watch: two/five

Worth the read: four/five

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