30 day book challenge – day 4 – Book turned into a movie and completely desecrated.

I recently wrote a post about book to film/TV adaptations, which you can find here.  I think the more I love the book, the less I like the film adaptation and so there are quite a few I could choose.  I hated The Time Traveller’s Wife the first time I saw it – to me the book is a work of art, it is so beautifully and carefully written.  The film version lost all of that beauty for me and was just another weepy romance.  There is Bridget Jones’ Diary – the books are so funny, I wouldn’t have changed a thing if I was adapting them, but the films were only quite loosely based on the books and so they were very different.  If I had never read Bridget Jones then I would have loved the films, but they changed too much for me.

However, the clear winner for me has to be Northern Lights, aka The Golden Compass.


I looked forward to this film coming out with such anticipation, because if it was even a fraction of what I imagined in my head when reading the book, it would be extraordinary.  Needless to say I was bitterly disappointed when it eventually came out.  That was in 2007.  I watched it again this year to see if I was being too harsh.  I wasn’t.  I can now say that it is the worst book to film adaptation that I have ever seen.

I know this is a matter of opinion, but the casting of the characters was just not right for me.  The only one who came close to how I pictured them was Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel.  The daemons were badly animated, and even more badly explained.  If I hadn’t read the books first, I don’t think I would have understood what a daemon is.  There is one scene in which an orderly picks up Lyra’s daemon, Pan.  In the book, this is wonderfully described – my skin was crawling with the absolute violation of the act.  It is these subtle things that were completely lost in translation in the film.

My biggest gripe with the film was the ending.  I don’t want to spoil the plot of the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet (and if you haven’t yet, then please do – you will be hooked!), but there is an incident at the end which drives Lyra’s actions throughout the next two books.  Without this happening, Lyra doesn’t make sense.  The stories are dark and the films completely shies away from some of the darkness, which ruins the story.


Posted on September 1, 2013, in Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have to agree, I found the Golden Compass very disappointing – the boos were amazing! I quite enjoyed time traveler’s wife though. What about BEST adaptation(s)? Of Mice and Men? The Harry Potter series? Wizard of Oz?

    • blankpagesandbooks1

      I haven’t ever read or seen Of Mice and Men, but it is definitely on my to read list! I really enjoyed the last two Harry Potter films adapting book 7, but I wasn’t a big fan of the earlier ones. One of the best adaptations for me was Les Miserables – it took all of the best bits of the story and cut out all of the padding of the book. I say that without having seen the West End show though, and fans of the show may have a completely different opinion on the movie adaptation.

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