The Failure of Film

Despite many popular book series being massive hits on print, they have faced criticism once being adapted into film. Spoilers ahead for “Percy Jackson,” “The School for Good and Evil,” and “Shadow and Bone.”

The film industry has a history of ruining beloved series.


The film industry has a history of ruining beloved series.

Claire Satiroff, Columnist

Book-to-movie adaptations have a history of continuously failing to bring the book to life. Though directors are often shamed, this can happen for numerous reasons. Things such as going off the original plot, pacing, and bad casting all contribute to these catastrophes. 

Notorious books such as “Percy Jackon,” “The School for Good and Evil,” and “Shadow and Bone” have become childhood classics, yet have failed once hitting theaters. The “Percy Jackson” movie series, according to Unilad, was rejected by the author, Rick Riordan, who wrote the books. Nevertheless, they were adapted into films, leaving many fans disappointed. Even the star of the movies, Logan Lerman who plays Percy, voiced his opinion that the movies were unsatisfactory compared to the books, according to Screen Rant. Part of this was because of the major age swap in the adaptation. Percy being a young teenager, about 12 or 13, in the books was an important plot point in order to convey his naivety. It also points out the fact that he is this young boy being forced into extremely dangerous situations, once more contributing to the underlying issue of the gods’ cruelty. Yet, the film adaptation made Percy a young adult at around 17 and did this with many other major characters, such as Annabeth. This then led to the ruin of the slow burn of Percy and Annabeth’s relationship as they immediately developed feelings for each other in the films whereas in the books they were friends first, making the relationship appear pointless. Additionally, the films portray Percy as a flat character with no struggles. Not only is Luke immediately shown to have been the bad guy all along instead of winning Percy’s trust beforehand, but Percy almost immediately masters his powers and is stripped of a lot of his sass. Furthermore, the casting for Annabeth was poor. Annabeth is well known as being blonde, and though the actress could have worn a wig, they made her a brunette, ruining the original vision that many fans had in their minds. 

This was not the only book that failed as an adaption; “The School for Good and Evil” is another book series that became popular with pre-teens. It was recently adapted in a movie where the entire plot and moral were completely lost. The book showcased how beauty is not everything, and that the true good in someone lies in their heart and not in their looks. It proved that not all relationships had to be about guys and that friendship is just as important as romance. The movie threw away any aspects of this to be seen and morphed it into a cheesy film about a prince, Tedros, falling in love, even though it was supposed to be centered around the main characters, Sophie and Agatha. Additionally, Agatha is described as having greasy hair, crooked teeth, and being unsettlingly pale. Yet, she is played by Sophia Wylie, a model. The film adaptation tore apart what was a previously incredibly well-written book. The book set the movie up for success, yet it was torn down and stepped on. 

Another book-to-film adaptation that failed was the “Shadow and Bone” series. The “Shadow and Bone” show combined the “Shadow and Bone” series along with the “Six of Crows” series. This led to many problems as they were set in completely different time periods. The entirety of the plot was rewritten with only some similarities. It was, essentially, the same characters and the same universe but poorly written and with the entire plot changed. This ruined the appeal that many fans had originally flocked to. It also sucked out much of the emotion from the books. In the books, the characters have love interests that are portrayed beautifully, yet in the show the relationships are basic and boring. Additionally, The Wildcat Tribune states that Netflix writers were under pressure to save the series after it saw a downfall in viewership and therefore put in as many major plot points as possible in a small amount of time. Though this was meant to attract viewers to the constant action, the books were also about the familial relationships of the Crows and of Alina and Mal. This made the pacing be incredibly off and ruined a huge part of the books. 

Overall, changing the plot and poor pacing have proven to ruin the originality of the books. This leads to many fans being upset as they expect the film to match up to the books standards, but this is rarely the case. Directors and writers seem to have the idea that the more they change, the more viewers they will obtain. Yet, all they have done is ruin perfectly good series and destroy the magic.