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Final Say: What makes an adaptation bad?

Final Say: What makes an adaptation bad?

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Diane Dykes

Diane Dykes

Why do some of the movies based on books end up being terrible? Especially ones that were read by younger audiences.

When it first came out, I liked the movie "Eragon." It wasn't good but it wasn't terrible. When I read the book, I realized just how bad the movie was. Most of it stems from the lore behind the world and how the main character Eragon fits into it, and the movie lacked that. 

Then there are the books I read before watching the movie. “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” is an example of this. The first movie started out fine, and it did a pretty good job of following the book. It wasn’t as good as the books, not by a long shot. It may be personal bias because the Percy Jackson books turned me into a book worm. 

Instead of following what was the climax of the First Percy Jackson book, where the three heroes are in the underworld and meet the king of the Titans, the film did the most stereotypical thing: It makes Hades the bad guy because he's the king of the underworld, thus he is the root of most problems in Mythology and not Zeus. Very good, Hollywood. One of the best decisions you can make when adapting mythology.

They cut off the first book, changing the climax for the film. 

For what? To make Hades the big bad guy in the first film, because that’s what movies do. We've seen that in everything from Disney’s "Hercules" to the remake of "Clash of the Titans." Even though the mythology it's based on says otherwise. 

Then again, most books-to-film adaptations end up being that way. They leave out so much of the world to either make it simpler or to slip under the three-hour mark. That means adaptations can miss out on a lot of the world building. 

Sometimes it turns into a brand new story and sometimes it’s a mess that gives a headache to the audience as it tries to figure out what is happening.

Now, I have not seen "Artemis Fowl," now playing on Disney+. I have no intention of seeing this movie because if I do, I would probably be as mad about it as the first "Percy Jackson" movie.

“Artemis Fowl,” from what I hear, is the newest edition of a good book turned into a terrible movie. 

Watching the trailers, it almost looked more like… well, a spy movie for kids. It didn't look like the world from the "Artemis Fowl" series. 

The movie seemed to move away from the fact that Artemis is a criminal mastermind. He, essentially, is a villain, an evil genius who felt like he was going to take over the world.

He was the complete opposite of most young adult protagonists. He wasn’t a hero. Artemis’s sole goal was to pretty much gain power, mostly for his family, and he found a way to do that through some supernatural circumstances -- getting gold from Fairies.

The trailers do the exact opposite and make Artemis look like another Percy Jackson or Harry Potter. Movie Artemis appeared weary and confused about this new reality that he wasn't used to. It not only causes the story to change but changes who Artemis is -- and can take away what fans like about him.

I can understand why a movie doesn't follow a book. There is only so much that can be put in a movie. It doesn't mean a movie is bad for cutting out parts of books, as long as it's not needed.

It’s the unnecessary changes in movies that makes an adaptation bad. especially if it's something that adds nothing to the original story.

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