Depending on who you are, just hearing the term “young adult movie adaptation” might make you cringe. While the genre has been around for decades, the films have really started to hit their stride in the last couple of years or so. While we have been blessed with films like The Hunger Games, Coraline, and the recently-released Shailene Woodley-starring The Fault In Our Stars , we've also seen many blunders. This is sometimes due to the filmmakers deviating too much from the book it’s based on, or sometimes due to a pronounced faithfulness to the books, not taking enough liberties. Hell, sometimes the movie just stinks and referring to the books at all is just pointless.
Today we are going to be counting down the worst of the worst. Spoiler alert for many of these entries as well as apologies if one of your favorite child-hood films are mentioned. With dozens of YA film adaptations set to be released or in the works – The Amulet of Samarkand, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Delirium, The Giver, The Graveyard Book, The Heist Society, The Maze Runner and countless others – we've surely not seen the worst the genre has to offer yet. Maybe we’ll do a revised version of this list next year. But in the meantime, this is the ten worst young adult movie adaptations.
10. Ella Enchanted (2004)
Loosely based on Gail Carson Levine’s 1997 novel of the same name, Ella Enchanted stars Anne Hathaway as Ella and Hugh Dancy as Prince Charmont. ” Placed under the spell of a blundering fairy, Ella has no choice but to go through life obeying each and every order – no matter what the consequences may be. When her father brings home a wicked new stepmother (Joanna Lumley) and two evil stepsisters, Olive (Jennifer Higham) and Hattie (Lucy Punch) , Ella must deal with their demanding ways, hopefully without giving away her secret!
While the movie seems to be loved by both adults and children, the film suffers simply due to the fact that it all feels so familiar. We don’t need a new spin on Cinderella, we want something new. It’s as if they threw Shrek, Robin Hood, and every Disney princess movie you can think of into a blender and out came this strange concoction of a film. Plus throw in too much singing and plenty of too-cool-for-school pop culture references and this is what you get. It’s great for young girls (admittedly the target audience) but does little else to satisfy anyone else. It’s style over substance and beat for beat what’d you expect it to be.
7. The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2 (2008)
Based upon the fourth novel in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is a sequel to the 2005 film. The original cast (Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively, America Ferrera, and Amber Tamblyn) all reprise their roles from the original film but this time around it took more than some magical pants passed back and forth to keep us interested. What had once seemed like a fresh alternative to the usual tween-girl movie frayed immediately.
Four years after discovering a magically fitting pair of jeans, best friends Tibby Tomko-Rollins (Tamblyn), Carmen Lowell (Ferrera), Lena Kaligaris (Bledel), and Bridget Vreeland (Lively) have returned in this bright, bubbly, and – for all intents and purposes – meaningless sequel. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with the performances, and the film is a good fit (pun totally intended) for its audience, but ultimately it drags way too much. It shouldn’t need to be reiterated but the film most certainly doesn’t live up to the original film, but that’s like saying A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child doesn’t live up to A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
6. Ender’s Game (2013)
Based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, the film follows a young boy named Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) who is recruited by the International Fleet in a bid to avert future attacks from an alien race called the Formics. We follow Ender as he is taken from Earth to train in Battle School with other gifted children and he quickly begins to impress his superiors and earns promotion after promotion.
The book actually won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, which is basically like the book version of an Oscar. And apparently Scott Card has said that he didn’t think that the book was adaptable, and boy was he correct. Overall, the film is shallow, with not nearly as much depth as its novel counterpart. Now, perhaps a mini-series could have more properly showcased all the themes of the novel, but instead the movie attempted to stuff a pile of bricks into one hefty bag. The directing isn’t inspired and feels rather like a director for hire type of situation. Worst of all, the film is simply trying their hardest to be the next Hunger Games, featuring children and oodles of violence. Can somebody explain why watching children in violent situations is a thing right now?
3. Inkheart (2008)
What if you had the power to bring a book to life, simply by reading it aloud? Sounds interesting. What if you had the opportunity to bring that book to the big-screen and have Brendan Fraser in the starring role? No, just no! Based on the Cornelia Funke novel of the same name, the film also stars Helen Mirren, Eliza Bennett, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, Andy Serkis, and Sienna Guillory.
The story follows Mortimer (Fraser), a guy who makes books literally come to life when he reads them. The only problem being that when a book comes to life something or someone from the book comes into our reality and something from our reality goes into the book. He reads a book called Inkheart and his wife gets sucked into it. 12 years later, he finally attempts to rescue her from the book. Now, think about this premise for a little bit – this movie should have been epic! Think about all the classic literary characters that could have come into the fold. Other then, little Red Riding Hood we don’t really see anything too inventive. It was surely meant to be a salute to the “magic” of reading as all the characters love books and often speak about their love of them. However, the film is ultimately incoherent, overly long, and snooze-inducing.
1. Eragon (2006)
Based on the novel of the same name by author Christopher Paolini, The film stars Edward Speleers in the title role, also starring; Jeremy Irons, Garrett Hedlund, Djimon Hounsou, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich, Joss Stone, Alun Armstrong, and the voice of Rachel Weisz as Saphira the dragon. Quite the impressive cast for a film as unimpressive and easily forgotten as this.
Eragon (Ed Speleers) is a 17 -year-old farm boy, in the small village of Carvahall in the fictional country of Alagaësia, who very much wants to be left alone but his nation is controlled by an evil king, Galbatorix (Malkovich) who, Vietnam style, drafts young men into his army. Everything is falling apart in his life when he comes across the MacGuffin of the story, a magical egg, which wont hatch until the right person finds it, Eragon of course is the right person and he discovers a dragon inside.
What follows, is a story that is dramatically undeveloped. All the characters of the film aren’t even characters, they are simply roles, such as; Hero, Dragon, Love Interest, Sidekick, Father Figure, Evil King, Mentor (sadly played by Jeremy Irons). It’s guaranteed that you will not care one bit about any of them. John Malkovich in his role as the king is nothing more than Malkovich being Malkovich. Overall, if you want to see a movie about a kid training a dragon, go watch How to Train Your Dragon 2 instead.
idts @ ella enchanted being on this list, that was anne's peak