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I'm not just saying this as a disgruntled fan of the books (which I am). My son, who has never read the books, called it one of the stupidest things he’d ever seen, and he was in the demographic it was marketed to.
It's not so much that it’s a terrible adaptation, since they changed so much that it's not really an adaptation at all: it's just a terrible movie. Christopher Eccleston and Ian McShane are just phoning in their performances, but they still manage to be better than Alexander Ludwig’s completely wooden portrayal of Will Stanton. They took the character of Will, who in the books is a thoughtful and wise for his years eleven-year-old, and turned him into a whiny fourteen-year-old who isn't just a Hormone-Addled Teenager – he’s an outright Jerk Ass who is almost impossible to root for. The so-called plot twist at the end is one of the dumbest, laziest pieces of writing I’ve run across in anything, ever.
I'm not surprised it was a box-office disaster. The film managed to alienate the books' fanbase before it even came out, thanks to the attitude of the writers and director in interviews, but they didn't even make a movie that could stand well as its own creation. By removing everything that made the books unique, they left a poorly-acted, poorly-paced, poorly-written Cliché Storm. The only good thing I can say about it is that at least the scenery is beautiful.
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