Year in Review: Best and Worst Movie Adaptations

2017 has spoiled viewers with a slew of impressive movies and dramas. It’s becoming a nearly-impossible feat to distinguish which are worth bingeing on, and which should be left in the deepest, darkest recesses of the movie black hole, never to be seen again. This is even more so for adaptations, because who has the time to sit through 150 minutes’ worth of sacrilegious garbage, when you already know the story? So, here’s a list of the best and worst adaptations of 2017.

Best of:

Koe no Katachi / Silent Voice

While romance is implied throughout the film, Koe no Katachi primarily explores the struggles of a bully in his path to redemption, amid spectacular animation, breathtaking landscapes and outstanding scores which build up to a realistically intense and heartfelt climax that will leave you on the brink of—or, more realistically, flooded with—tears.

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures is a semi-autobiography that follows three black women who worked in NASA in the early 1960s and the difficulties they face in fighting for their rights and ambitions; its many different storylines weaved together seamlessly into a feel-good tale of courage and appreciation that history would have otherwise forgotten.

In This Corner of the World

Peer into a sombre world of war through the lens of a coming-of-age story that, despite being constantly challenged throughout the film, is tinted with unwavering innocence and naivete. Its poetic and visually stunning animation flawlessly details the interplay of a young woman’s strength, optimism and distress as she struggles through a multitude of heart-wrenching terrors evoked by war.

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why explores heavy themes of suicide, mental illness and bullying with a compelling premise and impeccable cast. While the drama may have spurred audiences’ irritation towards Hannah in justifying her suicide over seemingly trivial reasons, keep in mind that it is precisely our inability to fully fathom her inner turmoil that makes suicide all the more an unpardonable solution to our struggles.

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner draws you into the dark and dangerous lives of those living under the rule of Islamic fundamentalists. The movie does not subscribe to a fairy-tale narrative and may be distressing at times. However, like its rich but unadorned animation, beauty can be found in every frame to inspire in us the power of stories to bring hope and courage.

Worst of:

Fifty Shades Darker

The chemistry between Anastasia and Grey is about as explosive as watching helium and argon react. Its non-existent plot, cringe-worthy performances, awkward sense of humour and utter disregard to the motivations behind any of the characters’ actions make Fifty Shades Darker the quintessential movie you wouldn’t want to be caught dead watching.

Death Note (2017 Netflix movie)

This is a prime example of why you shouldn’t mess with perfection. The movie seemed to have been presented as an action thriller rather than psychological mystery so any deviation from the original source material will not be viewed too harshly. However, turning Light into a needy, vengeful and romance-obsessed teen, and L, an overwrought maniac, is so much of a desecration to the original title that any bad directing and dialogue are momentarily spared from ridicule.

The Circle

Despite an outstanding cast and intriguing dystopian future narrative that would make for a great fiction, its characters seem to function like NPCs with no motivation, intention or minds of their own. Any episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror would probably give a greater commentary on technology’s implications on social media and privacy than the shallow demonstration that this entire movie offers.

The Dark Tower

Someone must have noticed that cramming 8 books, or 3,000 pages, into a single 95-minute movie could not possibly go down well. What emerged felt more like an extended trailer which you will promptly forget within a minute, with characters spiralling off-tangent from their original source material, asinine dialogue and comical violence to cater to a PG-13 audience.

Ghost in the Shell

While the CGI is stunning, and its cinematography praiseworthy for perfectly recreating the dark, dystopian atmosphere of the anime, the 2017 live-action adaptation failed to flesh out any semblance of its original source material’s philosophical, complex and mature aspects, opting instead to repackage itself as a generic action blockbuster.

by Jessica Tan