Best and Worst Adaptations

Best and Worst Adaptations

Adaptations have been dominating the box office recently. Here are my votes for the three best and worst of the past year.


All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) – Edward Berger

The 2022 film, All Quiet on the Western Front is a mixed bag in terms of proper adaptations. The first one (1930) sticks closely to the book and the second one (1979) mainly copies and remakes the 1930 one with updated visuals and colored film. The latest film, however, takes liberties with the story as it exaggerated a lot of the goings on, which greatly improves the dull, by-the-numbers feel of the previous film. This German-language version shows the indoctrination of the German soldiers for the Kaiser that influences the way they think compared to the dissolution of the Allies who wanted to end the war.

D&D: Honor Among Thieves (2023) – Jonathan Goldstein

A main component that is essential to an adaptation of long-standing franchise is if it is capable of bringing its core fanbase onboard to accept the new medium while preserving its integrity. DND: Honor Among Thieves serves its dedicated fanbase. The gags hit, especially the callbacks to the rug and name gags from the aughts movies. The core of the game, with the fighting, specialized skills, and tactical planning according to shifting circumstances adds a great campy feel to its simple plot lines. The flashbacks are done better than in most other films and although the nostalgia can be sappy, it still gives you all the feels .

Pinocchio (2022) – Guillermo Del Toro

Novelty is a key when adapting works that have previously been adapted. Pinocchio reorientates its original story, already retold twice by Disney, and now by cineaste Guillermo Del Toro. The painstaking work it took to make the stop-motion animation and get the scaling just right with various live-action puppeteering is phenomenal. It’s a miraculous sight to behold in terms of innovative storytelling and with a twist on the central plot as dictated by “Sebastion J. Cricket” (Ewen McGregor). The central themes are embedded in a discussion about the ethics of war and the question of what can have a soul.


Velma (2022) – Charlie Grandy

Velma is one of those unfaithful adaptations of a previously beloved show. The jokes fall flat because they try to be current but are really just cringe. Any of MTV’s photoshop animation of Hannah Barbara cartoons stays more true to the source material than this, feeling like it was taken from a script meant to be a different series but last-minute used the IP for brand-awareness. Unlike Total Drama Island, Velma is going to kill brand nostalgia and not make people want to go back and watch the old series although they should because they’re classics.

Super Mario Brothers (2023) – Aaron Horvath

The worst adaptational medium has been video game adaptations. A problem with these is that they must find a way to adapt a non-linear story with shallow character-arcs. This is the case with the titular character of “Mario” in the new Super Mario Bros movie. With a star-studded A-lister cast the voice acting is an interesting draw, although more based on celebrity appeal than actual fit to the content. The movie is lazy and unprovocative, feeling like a shot for shot remake of the video game, but being the first fully-animated Mario flick it clearly still manages to settle into its pacing and is targeted towards kids.

Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) – David Yates

Secrets of Dumbledore is the first film in the “Fantastic Beast” anthology to diminish J.K Rowling’s screenwriting credits. This is because her original screenplay ended up not being the working script for the movie. By not following the original scripts, this film falls short of expectations and has effectively ended the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise. As the product of board rooms rather than the singular vision of a dynamic, if controversial, artist, the film loses vitality and its audience connection.

Marcos Paiva is passionate about film and has been testing out film editing and software and photography angles as well as relying on social media to provide an artistic outlet. His favorite genre is buddy action flicks and he still has high hopes for 2023