Skip to main content

50 Worst Movie Adaptations

The Golden Compass (2007)

The Adaptation: About A Boy director Chris Weitz is given the reins to this expensive gamble from Warner Bros, as they attempt to birth a new fantasy franchise using Philip Pullman’s stellar trilogy.

What They Got Most Wrong:
Gone are the allegories and religious undertones, instead we get a hodgepodge of action sequences. No wonder it sank like a brick.

Animal Farm (1954)

The Adaptation: A distinctly Disney-looking adaptation of George Orwell’s influential 1945 page-turner, which played out Stalin’s regime in a farmyard.

What They Got Most Wrong:
That tacked-on happy ending, which entirely ruins Orwell’s intended message.

Daredevil (2003)

The Adaptation: The blind superhero jumps from the Marvel pages onto the big screen courtesy of writer/director Mark Steven Johnson. Since then, he’s made, uh, Ghost Rider and When In Rome . Oh dear…

What They Got Most Wrong: Doing nothing to make Daredevil stand out from the comic book movie crowd.

The Great Gatsby (1974)

The Adaptation: Transferring F. Scott Fitzgerald’s glitzy classic to the big screen, with Mia Farrow in the role of Daisy Buchanan.

What They Got Most Wrong: Worst, though, is Robert Redford as Gatsby – he’s far to amiable to even partially resemble the original character.

The Beach (2000)

The Adaptation: Danny Boyle’s reworking of Alex Garland’s debut novel, with Leonardo DiCaprio as back-packer Richard.

What They Got Most Wrong: The videogame sequence is pure book butchery at its worst.

The Dukes Of Hazzard (2005)

The Adaptation: According to super-critic Roger Ebert, a “lame-brained, outdated wheeze” of a movie, that attempts to bring the ‘70s TV series screeching into modern day. Burt Reynolds, what were you thinking?

What They Got Most Wrong: Giving Jessica Simpson an opportunity to act in a feature film – and then letting her make the tie-in music video.

Memoirs Of A Geisha (2005)

The Adaptation: Chicago director Rob Marshall takes on Arthur Golden’s tome about Nitta Sayuri’s transformation from fishing-village nobody to celebrated geisha.

What They Got Most Wrong: Everything’s glammed up to ridiculous levels, as Marshall shepherds in super-sexy kimonos and some fancy choreography. Geishas probably wish they were like this.

Land Of The Lost (2009)

The Adaptation: Will Ferrell and Anna Friel attempt to update the ‘70s TV series by injecting a little nutty humour into the premise of a family getting trapped in an alternate universe.

What They Got Most Wrong:
Making it to begin with.

Pokemon 3 (2000)

The Adaptation: Another round of gibbering Japanese animated 'fun', as Ash and his friends continue their search for the best little pocket monsters. Or something.

What They Got Most Wrong: The animation; it’s absolutely dire. Like, our kids could draw better.

The Cat In The Hat (2003)

The Adaptation: Based on Dr Seuss’ 1957 book, and featuring Mike Myers in cat make-up - and a very big hat.

What They Got Most Wrong: Foregoing Dr Seuss’ witticisms in favour of broad, criminally unfunny slapstick. Yeah, it’s for kids, but there’s a limit.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.