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Dinsdale
08-31-2001, 11:24 AM
Jim Harrison was mentioned in another thread, and up through the grey matter bubbled a recollection of the movie Wolf, a travesty of a film ostensibly inspired by JH's book of the same name.

What is your vote for the movie that bears the least resemblance to the book on which it was supposedly based?

Zaphod Beeblebrox
08-31-2001, 11:33 AM
I don't know about "the least resemblance," but as soon as I read the title of this thread, the name Dune jumped to my mind. Although it doesn't necessarily take too many liberties, it does omit about 90% of the story. It felt as though they had taken the first 10 pages, and the last 10 pages, and made a movie out of it.

Similarly, The Name of the Rose is a far cry from Eco's book, but at least it was mildly entertaining. I hated the movie version of Dune.

Enderw24
08-31-2001, 11:36 AM
Forest Gump. And thank God for that. IMO, the movie was great and the book was abysmal.

The only thing the two seem to have in common is the character's names and they both sort of dealt with the Vietnam War and shrimp. Other than that, there really is no comparison.

Gravity
08-31-2001, 11:51 AM
Oh, oh, me, me! I know, I know!

It's The Crow! The people who worked on the movie gave it a depth and pathos that was entirely lacking in the original, IMO. The movie is much better and more cohesive.

lucie
08-31-2001, 12:04 PM
All versions of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", although I will give Disney kudos for fine casting and a killer Nautilus design.

Legomancer
08-31-2001, 12:11 PM
Wasn't 'Instinct' supposedly based on 'Ishmael'? My sister got me to read 'Ishmael' and I can't see any resemblance between it and the commercials I saw for 'Instinct'.

The movie 'The Iron Giant' is VERY different from the book, which I haven't read. Though I'll say that I love the movie and every time I've considered getting the book I flipped through it and it didn't seem that interesting.

Podkayne
08-31-2001, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by Gravity
Oh, oh, me, me! I know, I know!

It's The Crow! The people who worked on the movie gave it a depth and pathos that was entirely lacking in the original, IMO. The movie is much better and more cohesive.

Like making a major character out of a cop whose only role in the book was to puke his guts out in the gutter? :)

Brandon Lee was perfectly cast, and the movie, while upholding the major themes of the book, added a great deal to the story. The Crow is one of the only examples, in my mind, of a movie that was signifcantly better than the source material. As for the loathesome goody-goody TV series, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, the less said the better.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, whether you think of Starship Troopers was a clever satire or not, it made no sense without the powered armor. Let's take on a superior alien force on their home turf with Vietnam-era military hardware and no air support! Yeah! That'll work!

Now, just to make a tidy contrast to the Crow, I'll recommend Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, which is a cgi cartoon, has the beginnings of powered-suit technology, and is not half bad.

c_goat
08-31-2001, 12:36 PM
Well this isn't the LEAST resemblance, but I just read Starship Troopers. The movie (IMO) was loosely based on the book.

*** SPOILERS ***

The only things similar:

1) The names. John Rico, Carmen Ibanez, Sgt. Zim, Mr. Dubois, a few others.

2) There are bugs. Though they're completely different, except that they resemble arachnids.

3) A few events. Attack on Klendathu where the M.I. is severely whipped. Rico in Boot Camp (though it's totally different). Destruction of Buenos Aries (though only Rico's Mom is killed in the book). Capture of Brain bug by Sgt. Zim (Under Rico's command as 3rd Lieutenant in the book).

Theres a whole bunch of things that happen in the book that are totally different in the movie. Pick it up if you're interested. The book is only like 250 pages, I read through it in two days.

Katisha
08-31-2001, 12:40 PM
It's fitting that someone named Dinsdale started this thread, since the Demi Moore Scarlet Letter is certainly an obvious candidate! (I think the credits actually said "freely adapted from the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne." Freely and crappily...)

The most recent version of The Man in the Iron Mask (i.e. the one with Leo DiCaprio) wasn't much like the original, either, apart from the characters' names (plus the ending has a very unusual take on French history).

Atreyu
08-31-2001, 12:50 PM
Dune has already been discussed so I will move on to others.

The movie Simon Birch versus the excellent novel A Prayer for Owen Meany

I read somewhere that because of the extensive changes made, they even changed the main character's name, which in turn became the new title of the movie. The changes were so radical that it doesn't even say in the credits "Based on the Novel by...", but IIRC it just said "Inspired by the Novel...".

What a disappointment that movie was. They had access to one of the greatest stories I've ever read, and they botched their chance to bring it to the silver screen. They absolutely sanitized the story. Cowards.

Another candidate for voting is the book Memoirs of an Invisible Man by H.F. Saint and the movie version of the same name. Great book, but the movie made so many compromises, especially the ending, that I had nothing but contempt for it when it was over. Even the Jenkins character was markedly different. In the book he was just some guy doing his job. In the movie, played by Sam Neill, Jenkins was turned into a sneering jerk.

Annie-Xmas
08-31-2001, 12:59 PM
Originally posted by Atreyu
Another candidate for voting is the book Memoirs of an Invisible Man by H.F. Saint and the movie version of the same name. Great book, but the movie made so many compromises, especially the ending, that I had nothing but contempt for it when it was over. Even the Jenkins character was markedly different. In the book he was just some guy doing his job. In the movie, played by Sam Neill, Jenkins was turned into a sneering jerk. [/B]

I was going to vote for Memoirs of An Invisible Man too. The book was astonishingly good, and the movie with Chevy Chase was awful. It was not the book.

If you saw the ridiculous movie, try reading the book by H.P. Saint.

yabob
08-31-2001, 01:03 PM
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

These are books that shouldn't have been made into movies because they are unfilmable. OFOtCN is told from inside the cheif's head. Introspective works like that don't translate to a visual medium. ECGtB is Tom Robbins, a novelist who is to be appreciated mostly for his linguistic hijinks and his philisophical observations as omniscient third person narrator (or SECOND person, talking directly to his character. In "Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas", he did it for the whole damn book). Whether you are in the camp that claims Tom Robbins holds the key to the universe, or the camp that claims he spouts a lot of hippy / new-age claptrap, you simply can't film it.

I deliberately avoided seeing it, but I suspect "Starship Troopers" falls into this category. Without the musings on the concepts of duty and the nature of society that go on inside Heinlein's protaganist's head, we are left with simply a galactic shoot 'em up.

Dune

We can come up with a LOT in this category. Books or series that are too bloody long for the screen. They keep making hash out of a lot of works because Hollywood seems unable to accept that, while there is no fixed ratio, a movie is more roughly equivalent to a novella or short novel than an epic. John Ford once commented on this, claiming that movies should be made from short stories and expanded. As an example, the Bogart version of "The Big Sleep" follows the Chandler novel so exactly that you can follow along in the book while watching the movie (try it sometime - big sections of dialogue are lifted verbatim to the screen). The Chandler book is a shortish novel, as mystery writing typically was in Chandler's day.

Damnation Alley

Another category. Should have made a GREAT movie, if they'd have just stuck to visualizing what Zelazny wrote. But they had turn a post-apocalyptic story about the last surviving Hell's Angel into a story about a character who was at least 60 percent boy scout. The character was written much closer to Kurt Russell's character in "Escape From New York". He probably would have been a better choice than Jan-Michael Vincent, although I'm willing to accept that Vincent could have played Hell Tanner well with a good script.

MsWhich
08-31-2001, 01:06 PM
I'd just like to say that if you can get your hands on a copy of the Dune miniseries that recently aired on the Sci-Fi Channel, it is definitely worth watching. Much better than the theatrical movie, in my opinion. It was much closer to the book, incorporated way more of the plot, and was just in general a well-acted, well-thought-out film. I was able to rent it from the local video store.

As for the OP, I nominate Lawnmower Man, which shares nothing but a title with Stephen King's (not-so-good, in my opinion) short story.

Cervaise
08-31-2001, 01:16 PM
MsWhatsIt beat me to The Lawnmower Man by ten minutes.

:mad:

PookahMacPhellimey
08-31-2001, 01:43 PM
THe one that annoys me most is the Disney version of The Little Mermaid. Why did they have to diverge from the original story to give it a happy ending. Oh, yeah, I know to make more $$$.
I read the original story as a child and thought it was beautiful. I still do. Changing the ending was a crime in my eyes.

magdalene
08-31-2001, 01:43 PM
I try to see movies made from books before I read the book (if I haven't read it already) so that I can try to judge each on its own merits. My criteria for liking movies based on books is whether they do an interesting job of telling the story, cast the characters well, and make me want to read the book (again, if I've already read it).

I don't expect films to reproduce the book exactly - it's impossible to do in the time allotted, and sometimes just leads to bad filmmaking. You have to change a story a great deal sometimes to transform it from printed page, descriptions, and internal monologues of characters into a dramatic production.

That said, I think the English Patient did a fabulous job of pulling the soul out of the book and putting it on screen, but I wish Kip had had a larger role in the film instead of being relegated to "interestingly ethnic love interest." I understand why it didn't work in the film.

I, Claudius is another example - the book is entirely a first person description of events, and the filmmakers did a wonderful job of creating dialogue and characters out of the somewhat dry narrative.

Freudian Slit
08-31-2001, 01:50 PM
"The Lost World"

The only thing the movie had in common with it was the trailer scene and even that was different. Yeah, a few scenes from JP were used in the movie of "Lost World" but still.

Differences:

InGen does not fly in in the book, and there's no big corporation vs. the little guy theme. (Which was kind of cool actually.)

Way more science in the book.

No characters of Levine or Thorne in the movie and Eddie Carr and Sarah Harding are both really different. Plus no Nick Van Owen in the book.

Two computer savvy kids in the book, and in book, Kelly is neither black nor Ian's daughter.

Trailer scene- Sarah ends up saving Ian, in movie she nearly falls to her death.

At the end of the book, they all leave, end of movie the T-Rex ends up on a mad rampage throughout San Diego. :) (Possibly the biggest difference.)

ruadh
08-31-2001, 01:58 PM
Fever Pitch. The book, by Nick Hornby, is a memoir of his lifetime support for Arsenal FC. It's completely (AFAIK) nonfiction, just a collection of memories, and absolutely wonderful reading for football fans (even if you fucking hate Arsenal, as I do).

The film on the other hand is a light comedy-romance about an Arsenal fanatic and the (initially) football-hating woman he falls in love with. To say it was even loosely based on the book would be an overstatement.

astorian
08-31-2001, 04:25 PM
I loved Ridley Scott's film "Blade Runner," and after seeing it, I read Philip Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", the novel it was based on.

The book was great, too- but the book and the film had very little in common, apart from the hero's name.

Darwin's Finch
08-31-2001, 04:50 PM
As an addendum to Zoggie's post, Jurassic Park was a major letdown for me. I read the book, I figured it would make an excellent movie. The movie, while featuring the same characters (well, the same names, anyway), completely changed everything. The roles of the two kids were reversed; Hammond was made out to be a nice guy; Malcolm lives; Gennaro doesn't, Muldoon doesn't (at least, I think he lived in the book...it's been a while); Grant and Sattler have a relationship, and so on. It went from being a scary tale of genetic research gone awry to a not-even-remotely scary tale of people being chased around by dinosaurs.

As for JP2, I'm actually glad it was different from the book - the book sucked. The movie sucked a bit too, but at least it was a different kind of suck.

Sealemon88
08-31-2001, 05:23 PM
Well, late as usual, and I see someone already mentioned Starship Troopers...OK, how about Lawnmower Man? Shit.

Fine, I nominate The Running Man. From plot to tone, the movie was not very simular to the book.

CalMeacham
08-31-2001, 08:06 PM
All versions of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", although I will give Disney kudos for fine casting and a killer Nautilus design.


Actually, they lifted a lot of the screen story from another erne book, the on whose title is translated as The Weapon of Destruction. his also served as the basis for a Czech film, released in the US under the title The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. It's interesting to compare the two.


Others have mentioned some candidates for this clumn I would have.

When they started out, the James Bond movies were relatively faithful. They started departing when Fleming died. The very next film afterwards was You Only Live Twice. The screenplay was by Fleming friend (and fantasy writer) Roald Dahl, and has no resemblance to the book at all, except for Tiger Tanaa and his Magic Subway Car. The next film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, was almost dad-on the book, but after hat none of the bond films bore an resemblance to the books until For Your Eyes Only,wihch was adapted from the story of that name, the story "Risico", and a tuch from "Live and Let Die". The next film, Octopussy, tried to borrow from "Octopussy" and "Property of a Lady",but its heart wasn't in it. The Living Daylights took little from the story of that name, but no other Bond film has tried to be faithful to the Book. So the "unfaithful" Bonds are:


You Only Live Twice
Damonds are Forever[/B (even though they released the novel as a tie-in)
[B]Live and Let Die
The Spy Who Loved Me (actually, Fleming forbade them from filming the novel before he died)
Moonraker
Octopussy
The Living Daylights

astorian
08-31-2001, 10:49 PM
On the subject of James Bond... interestingly, in many respects, Timothy Dalton's "License to Kill" was much closer to Ian Fleming's novel "Live and Let Die" than the ROger Moore movie "Live and Let Die" was.

Crunchy Frog
08-31-2001, 11:02 PM
This far and no mention of Strange Brew (http://us.imdb.com/Title?0086373)?

Let's see, how are things different? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are now named Bob and Doug Mackenzie and they are the leads. Elsinore Castle is now a brewery. Uncle Claude still usurps power, but is mostly the lackey of Brewmeister Smith - I have no idea who he's supposed to be from the original. Hamlet is now a female lead named Pam.

There's also the whole hockey-themed stuff which wasn't in Mr. Shakespeare's work at all.

:D

Kamino Neko
08-31-2001, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by Podkayne
The Crow is one of the only examples, in my mind, of a movie that was signifcantly better than the source material.

That makes a grand total of 2 out of about a dozen people I know (including myself) who are familiar with both versions who don't think the movie DESTROYED the GN.

Brandon Lee WAS well cast, and did a VERY good job, but the movie removed all the emotion from the book - the muder being random and particularly brutal gave it a lot more effect than the almost incidental 'business' it was in the movie.

Also making the kid older (and much more self-sufficient) ruins her scene.

Sir Rhosis
08-31-2001, 11:48 PM
The lead character in the novel "Starship Troopers" is named Juan Rico, not John. His teacher from the book (Dubois, I believe) is combined in the movie with that of his platoon leader, Raczek. Carmencita Ibanez was the character in the book, IIRC, though he may have called her Carmen. Is "cita" a name suffix adding some meaning to a name, anyone?

And Cal, actually the opening sequences of the film "The Living Daylights" are very faithful, but time compressed, to the short story, even including Bond's tagline to the effect "I scared the living daylights out of her." Here the short story ended, but the movie kept going.

To those not into Bond, in the short story, Bond and another agent have a young celloist (or similar instrument) under surveillence in Berlin, knowing she is really a sniper out to kill someone or another. Over the course of a couple weeks, Bond becomes infatuated with her, and when she prepares to shoot her victim, Bond shoots her rifle out of her hands instead of killing her as he was ordered to do. He ends by explaining to the other agent that she'll never try that again as his shot may have broken her wrist (or maybe he shot her in the hand, can't recall), as well as scaring the living dayights out of her.

The movie compresses this to a day or two (perhaps just one, I don't recall), but the events play out pretty much as in the story. Bond becomes infatuated, shoots her rifle out of her hands, and offers the same "living daylights" tag.

Wasn't there a third story used in "For Your Eyes Only"? I seem to remember a short story about motorcycle couriers being killed off, or something like that, that got mixed into a stew with a couple other shorts for one of the later Moore films.

Sir Rhosis

Crunchy Frog
08-31-2001, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by Sir Rhosis
Is "cita" a name suffix adding some meaning to a name, anyone? I'm not sure about "cita" but "-ito" for the masculine usage and "-ita" for feminine, is the same in Spanish as "-y" in English.

Mike for example may be called Mikey, as Miguel may be called Miguelito.

betenoir
08-31-2001, 11:58 PM
Originally posted by astorian
I loved Ridley Scott's film "Blade Runner," and after seeing it, I read Philip Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", the novel it was based on.

The book was great, too- but the book and the film had very little in common, apart from the hero's name.


From what I hear (I still haven't come across a copy of the story, dammit) "Total Recall" isn't much like "We Can Remember it For You Wholesale". Not surprising, it's hard to imagine Arnold as the protagonist in a Phillip K. Dick story. (And what's with Hollywood always fucking with Dick's much much cooler titles?)


I've got one- "Naked Lunch". Ok, there's one you could argue is unfilmable. But if you're going to do it, taking out all the elements of social satire and substituing biography is not a good solution. They should have just dropped the pretense that they were filming the book and called it "William Burroughs".



Oh yeah, and let me second "The Scarlet Letter" just because what they did to it was so very vile.

nightshadea
09-01-2001, 12:28 AM
The godfather ... the movie is only 60 percent of the book
althouhg some could argue that the missing passages dont have anything to do with the book

The johnny fontaine story explains how the family gets in the movie business and vegas in the book johnny wins the academy award and gets his singing voice back

The story of how mike colorene gets his version of luca brasi who in the movie is the cop that shoots barzini in the car is woefully skipped over

now in the first book it explains how vito became don it that part of part 2? ive never got to see it all

another movie that left out is the terminator 2 movie the first and last scenes in the book would of made more sense of the movie ie john connor sends his father back to warn his mother that the second one is coming right before the resistance takes out sky net permantly

and the last scene is where sarah as a old woman is standing on judgment day at the playground she dreams about and nothing happens and says mission accomplished

one last one in the original back to the future book it explains when marty wore his radiation suit woke up his father and told him to take his mother out saying he was darth vader

in the movie all you see is si him slipping on the head phones and waking him up

Derleth
09-01-2001, 12:36 AM
I know Starship Troopers has been done, but I'm a Heinlein junkie, and I still wanna weigh in here.

:D

MAJOR SPOILERS (Read the novel. Forget the movie (and you will once you get into the book, trust me) and read the novel.)

In the novel ...

the suits make sense. They have everything from nonlethal gimmicks like grenades that announce they are time bombs to lethal weapons like grenades that are tactical nuclear bombs. The suits themselves are essentially an extra layer of muscle with armor, weapons, and a jump jet strapped on. To paraphrase the novel, you don't 'pilot' a suit, you just wear it. That's their advantage.
we have a good reason for not just nuking the bug planets: Bugs and humans like the same kinds of planets, so ruining bug worlds would limit our colonization opportunities. In fact, fighting for the future of the human race is a main theme of the novel.
the scene where the boot camp soldier gets his hand knifed to the wall does not happen, because the novel explained why soldiers would learn archaic methods of fighting. In essence, the novel said there are no dangerous weapons, just dangerous people. And a soldier had better be able to take out a guard armed with everything up to and including tactical nukes (see above) with whatever is on hand.
the bugs look completely different. They are actually arachnids (spider-like things), not just big beetles like in the movie. It's a stylistic point, but those errors get on my nerves.
the politics of Earth almost make sense. Heinlein was not a fascist. He was a Libertarian, as The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (and, to a much lesser extent, Podkayne of Mars) show, but he loved experimenting with off-the-wall political ideas. And he did so intelligently. His society in Starship Troopers is based on the military, with corporal punishment given out to people young and old. In fact, parents are punished alongside their delinquent offenders. This gives the novel's Earth a completely different feel from the Naziesque Earth of the movie. I don't think anything can justify fascism, but Heinlein created a political thought experiment that comes close.

Finally, the novel is amazingly well-written, intelligent, enthralling piece of fiction, whereas the movie is a piece of crap.

And if anyone makes a bad version of Stranger in a Strange Land, I will personally give them a new appreciation of unarmed combat (i.e., combat after they have lost their arms). ;)

tavalla
09-01-2001, 03:27 AM
Damn, my two biggies (Dune and Lawnmower Man) are gone already.

How about Clear and Present Danger? They turned John Clarke into a paid assassin and lost three quarters of the plot.

mbh
09-01-2001, 01:28 PM
Logan's Run. They took the skeleton of the premise and the names of the main characters, and then changed everything else.

Fretful Porpentine
09-01-2001, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by Crunchy Frog
Originally posted by Sir Rhosis
Is "cita" a name suffix adding some meaning to a name, anyone? I'm not sure about "cita" but "-ito" for the masculine usage and "-ita" for feminine, is the same in Spanish as "-y" in English.

Mike for example may be called Mikey, as Miguel may be called Miguelito.
Some Spanish words form diminutives by taking -ito or -ita, and some take -cito or -cita. (I'm sure there's a rule, but it escapes me at the moment.)

elfkin477
09-01-2001, 02:47 PM
What? No mention of The Shining??

I am a purist when it comes to adaptations, so I thought that it was frightening how little Stanley Kubrick's so-called masterpiece had to do with the novel. The biggest flaw being that Jack's Jack is full-on nuts from the beginning, instead of subtly and slowly decenting into madness, that alone destroys the plot of the novel. Though I'm well aware that I'm in the minority, I vastly prefer the mini-series that came out in 1997. It was true to the bookand I love it. I'm not saying that Kubrick's movie wasn't good or scary, but it wasn't The Shining by Stephen King either.

Bless the Child, on the other hand....not even redeemed by the "good if you don't care about the book" factor.

Poirot
09-01-2001, 02:58 PM
My favorite in this category is Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask).

The segments with Gene Wilder as a sheep-lover who drinks Woolite, and Woody Allen as a nervous spermazoon, are clasics of comedy.

Freudian Slit
09-01-2001, 03:07 PM
Thought of another one. The Shining, as directed by Stanley Kubrick. It's great and all, I loved it, but the movie cannot hold a candle to the book. The similiarties are it's about a guy going crazy and there are some other moments taken from the book, but the essence is missing, as well as 70-80% of the plot. :) Sometimes you just gotta stick with the original master.

Ah damnit, I just realized someone else thought of it too! Well, I don't care, I'm not deleting my post.

The same thing happened with The Running Man, though I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned that one, but the fact that they cheer him on the movie is horrible. The book is so depressing because practically no one is rooting for him- at least not the "audience." I don't know how the movie ends, but, well....I don't really care.

Man, it's hard to make a decent movie out of a Stephen King book.

Crunchy Frog
09-01-2001, 04:35 PM
Originally posted by nightshadea
now in the first book it explains how vito became don it that part of part 2? ive never got to see it all Part II does explain how Vito came into power.

And Terminator, Terminator 2, and Back to the Future were based on books?

Green Eyed Stranger
09-01-2001, 05:42 PM
I have to pipe in with Disney's Tarzan. I hadn't really wanted to see this movie, but it was at the dollar theater, so my wife and I went to see it.

The first half or so was unbearable, only superficially related to Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes. After that though, it went to hell pretty quickly. I wanted to claw my eyeballs out.

GES

clairobscur
09-01-2001, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by astorian
I loved Ridley Scott's film "Blade Runner," and after seeing it, I read Philip Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", the novel it was based on.

The book was great, too- but the book and the film had very little in common, apart from the hero's name.

I used to love K. Dick books, so I've read the book before seeing the movie. Indeed, they have very few in common. But IMO, it's one case where the movie is vastly superior to the book.

clairobscur
09-01-2001, 06:11 PM
Originally posted by betenoir

From what I hear (I still haven't come across a copy of the story, dammit) "Total Recall" isn't much like "We Can Remember it For You Wholesale". Not surprising, it's hard to imagine Arnold as the protagonist in a Phillip K. Dick story. (And what's with Hollywood always fucking with Dick's much much cooler titles?)
B]

Indeed, apart from the premise (the guy thinks he actually went to Mars), the movie is another story entirely. The short story is...well, very short, and mainly sarcastic. A weird thing is that there's in the movie a scene which is really similar to the usual Dick plots (when a doctor tell to Schwartzeneger that actually he isn't on Mars but still dreaming while they're are attempting to reanimate him....Dick's characters are quite always unsure about the reality of the world they live in), and doesn't appear in the short story. I was really surprised to discover that it wasn't Dick's idea.

CalMeacham
09-01-2001, 07:45 PM
And Cal, actually the opening sequences of the film "The Living Daylights" are very faithful, but time compressed, to the short story, even including Bond's tagline to the effect "I scared the living daylights out of her." Here the short story ended, but the movie kept going.



Yeah, I know there's a superficial similarity, but in the short story the sniper is a serious KGB sniper. In the movie she's the defector's girlfriend, set up. They tried to work the story in, bt, as in Octopussy, I don't think it really worked. (Incientally, have the story o a Durkin-Hays audio cassette, and it's great.)

Lemur866
09-01-2001, 09:23 PM
Anything by Jack London is always totally changed for the film. White Fang and Call of the Wild were supposed to be the stories of DOGS, you stupid movie people! Not humans. Yes, there are humans in the books, but they exist only in relation to the dogs.

It makes no sense. I mean, everybody likes dogs, and they like movies about dogs. Doesn't a movie about a dog make sense? Why can't this be done? Why even bother making a movie with the name "White Fang" or "Call of the Wild" if bears no relation to those books?

nightshadea
09-02-2001, 12:20 AM
heh there was supposed to be a lne there about the books based on the movies made more sense than the actual film

although i dont know if they were in the original script and just cut out or added later

has there even been a movie that was better than the book ?

i thought the ending to the film version of the firm was better than the book

tavalla
09-02-2001, 01:07 AM
Originally posted by Zoggie
Man, it's hard to make a decent movie out of a Stephen King book.

Going OT here, but whatthehell...Shawshank Redemption was pretty good, as was Stand By Me; Cat's Eye was only let down by the final segment in the arc and was otherwise pretty respectable; The Dead Zone came up on film okay. But yeah, the vast majority are ordinary, to say the least.

BigGiantHead
09-02-2001, 02:02 AM
Originally posted by Zoggie
Man, it's hard to make a decent movie out of a Stephen King book. Originally posted by tavalla
Going OT here, but whatthehell...Shawshank Redemption was pretty good, as was Stand By Me; Cat's Eye was only let down by the final segment in the arc and was otherwise pretty respectable; The Dead Zone came up on film okay. But yeah, the vast majority are ordinary, to say the least. Along this same line - for my money at any rate - Christine the movie was actually superior to the book. Carpenter's direction and the effects team provided a much better vision of a self-healing car than King's description. Okay, I know it was mainly just film being shown in reverse, but it worked a hell of a lot better than some teenage kid pushing a 50's model car with four flats around a junkyard by himself. Puh-leeze.

I saw the movie first, and when reading the book I discovered the climactic action scene involved, what, a cement truck (?) rather than a bulldozer, I was less than impressed. I mean, how cool was that, the tires on that car still screeching away at the pavement while the tracks on the 'dozer are climbing halfway over the damn thing? That car scared me, King's book did not.

- Dave

lesa
09-02-2001, 06:47 AM
Okay, I'm looking into the future with my amazing psychic powers, and predicting that The Minority Report by Steven Spielberg will be nothing like the Philip K. Dick story.

Movies adapted from Dick's stories are so different from the originals that you end up with two camps, people who love the movies and hate the stories, and people who love the stories and hate the movies. I have a friend who worships Bladerunner. I keep urging him to read the book, just so I can see his confusion and horror.

"Wait, the book really talks about electric sheep? And what is all this about owls? And what on earth is the ending about?"

Of course, I've never seen the movie, so maybe it does spend a lot of time discussing how much the main character wants an owl. Or, maybe not.

Exit To Eden is a pretty funny example of a book and movie that have nothing to do with each other. Anne Rice herself describes the book as pornography. So lets make the movie in to a comedy! Yeah, that'll work!

Kid_Gilligan
09-02-2001, 07:13 AM
Who Censored Roger Rabbit.

Like many mentioned above, a few of the main characters are the same, and that's about it.

The interesting thing is that a movie faithful to the book would never have been as good, and a novelization of the film would have been silly.

Both stories worked best in their own artform, but, would not have worked as well in the other's.


Now we should have a category for films that were too faithful. My vote would be Hotel New Hampshire based on the book by John Irving. Whoever wrote the screenplay was incapable of editing anything out whatsoever. It was like watching a filmed synopsis instead of a coherent story.

RealityChuck
09-02-2001, 08:55 AM
The clearest example is, as usual, overlooked (note: they did make movies before 1980, you know).

Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)" The only thing he kept from the book was the title. The book was a nonfiction discussion of sexual matters in Q&A format; the movie was a series of humorous skits on sexual themes. The title of each skit may have corresponded to questions in the book, but that would have been the greatest extent of what was taken.

Drastic
09-02-2001, 10:22 AM
The clearest example is, as usual, overlooked (note: they did make movies before 1980, you know).

Well in this case, I think the lack of it being overlooked got overlooked, which is its own kind of usual. Poirot mentioned it.

"The Omega Man" was allegedly based on Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, but pretty much dropped the whole vampire thing, and tacked on a Christ allegory to the ending that simply wasn't there in the novel.

HubZilla
09-05-2001, 07:37 AM
What about "The Firm"?

The movie and book both have the Harvard-educated uber-lawyer. But the book ends with McDeere escaping to a Caribbean island, basically saying "I didn't want to be a lawyer anyways".

I like the movie's ending better, where he was still able to be a lawyer.

Superdude
09-05-2001, 08:11 AM
What about Anne Rice's Exit to Eden? In the book, Dan Ackroyd and Rosie O'Donnell do not exist, there is NO plot involving jewel smuggling, or anything like it. They were added for comic effect in the movie, behind Garry Marshall's abysmal directing. The book focuses on Dana Delaney's Lisa and Paul Mercutio's Eliot, which were both minor characters in the movie.

Pixellent
09-05-2001, 02:51 PM
Originally posted by Derleth
Finally, the novel is amazingly well-written, intelligent, enthralling piece of fiction, whereas the movie is a piece of crap

Don't sugar-coat it, Derleth... how did you like the movie?:)

Okay, look. I have both read Heinlein's novel and seen Verhoeven's movie, and I'm a big fan of both, each for different reasons.

I understand the reaction of most sf fans to the film, but I think any attempt to do a one-to-one, perfectly faithful adaptation of the novel would have been a disaster. (I know, I know, you already think the movie's a disaster. Quiet, I'm pontificating here.) According to the film's screenwriter, Ed Neumeier, his original draft was, in fact, just that --an extremely faithful adaptation that reproduced the novel as accurately as humanly possible.

And it didn't work. It just sat there. And the reason it just sat there is that nothing happens in the novel, people. It's not a narrative, it's a sociopolitical tract with incidents in it. The book spends its time either lecturing us on the workings of a fascist utopia, lecturing us on the tactics of battle, or just plain lecturing us, with long pauses wherein we get to see lots of bugs getting stomped by cool futuristic weapons.

Now, mind you,I'm not saying there's anything wrong with any of that. So that you cannot mistake my meaning, allow me to put it in boldface: I like the novel version of Starship Troopers. I just don't think it's a movie, and if I'd been the filmmakers, I'd have thrown away the first draft of the screenplay too.

(Oh, and all the complaining about the power suits? Sorry, but I couldn't care less. The power suits are cool, the power suits are neat, they probably make all kinds of sense tactically, and they don't add a single thing to the story other than those factors. In a movie, in other words, the only use they have is as a cool special effect. They don't affect the story or the characters at all, one way or the other.)

I was about to go on with all the things I really like about the film version, but I realize there's not much point. It's not going to make anyone who hates the movie like it , and people who already like it don't need my opinion.:)

Sofa King
09-05-2001, 03:08 PM
I doubt anyone can touch this:

Rebel Without a Cause was a non-fictional work by a college professor about hypnotizing adolescent criminals. The book was optioned for the title alone.

Podkayne
09-05-2001, 03:48 PM
Originally posted by Pixellent
(Oh, and all the complaining about the power suits? Sorry, but I couldn't care less. The power suits are cool, the power suits are neat, they probably make all kinds of sense tactically, and they don't add a single thing to the story other than those factors. In a movie, in other words, the only use they have is as a cool special effect. They don't affect the story or the characters at all, one way or the other.)


The book, with suits: "We are a cadre of highly-trained and well-equipped professionals who know our mission, and know our hardware. Watch us kill bugs. Many, many, many bugs--albeit with a reasonable number of casualties on our side."

The movie, without suits: "AAAARRGGHHHHH!!! HOLY SHIT! BUGS! BUGS! BUGS EVERYWHERE! BUGS RIPPING US APART! AHHH! BLOOD! GUTS! BUGS! Let me fire my automatic rifle! Crap! I only killed one bug! THERE ARE STILL BUGS EVERYWHERE! WE DON'T STAND A CHANCE! AAAAAHHHHHHH! RUN! RUN! FIRE WITH ALMOST NO EFFECT INTO THE UNENDING WAVE OF BUGS! WATCH US GET RIPPED APART! AAAAHAHHHHHH!!! WHY DID OUR SUPERIORS PUT US IN THIS OBVIOUSLY UNWINNABLE SITUATION? IS THIS SOME SORT OF COMMENT ON VIETNAM AND THE ULTIMATE FUTILITY OF WAR? IS THIS HOW WE INNOCENTS PAY THE PRICE FOR OUR SOCIETY'S PRO-MILITARY BELEIFS? AHHHHH!! MORE BUGS! BUGS EVERYWHERE! WATCH US GET RIPPED APART SOME MORE!!!"

Hey, if you liked the end product with no suits, great. Thematically, the movie and the book were direct opposites, and Verhoeven changed signficant elements of the book to get his points across. The suits are the least of it, honestly.

You're probably right that the suits would have made no difference to Verhoeven's movie, though--he'd just toughen up the bugs and so they'd slice through the suits like tin cans, and the brass would continue to send their under-equipped troops in inadequate numbers against a numerically and individually superior enemy. *shrug* Perhaps it's best that there weren't any suits, after all.

But I'm not bitter. . . no . . . ;)

Pixellent
09-05-2001, 04:03 PM
Originally posted by Podkayne
Hey, if you liked the end product with no suits, great. Thematically, the movie and the book were direct opposites, and Verhoeven changed signficant elements of the book to get his points across. The suits are the least of it, honestly.)

All of your points are well-taken; more importantly, they're funny, which I respect even more than a well-turned argument. :)

I'd be the last person to argue that Verhoeven preserved the essential themes of the story. Funnily enough, I think that was a shrewd decision. The trouble with Troopers as a novel-- when viewed in light of the demands of a movie, and only then -- is that its themes demand thought, reflection, argument and explanation: all things that R.A.H. had plenty of time to give us, and which no movie ever does.

I also think a lot of it has to do with Verhoeven's own background: he's a child of WWII, grew up in Holland and witnessed bombings and violent death first-hand, so I doubt he has much sympathy with Heinlein's views of war, however defensible. In someone else's hands, the film would probably not have been such a broadly satirical sendup of military thinking nor, in fact, would it have been a self-reflexive sendup of the very kind of movie it was being sold as.

All this certainly makes for a major perversion, if you will, of everything in the novel, but it makes for a hell of an entertaining film, by my lights -- and in an odd kind of way, it still, somehow, manages to preserve something of the book's original spirit. To me, at least. And in film adaptations, getting the spirit right is far more important than getting the details right.

Podkayne
09-05-2001, 04:22 PM
I'm happy to agree to disagree, Pix. I didn't the movie, but it's hard for me to tell how much of that is because of the movie's inherent suckiness (;) if any), and how much because it was a major diappointment to me.

When I first saw some previews of Starship Troopers, I was annoyed that there didn't seem to be any suits, but I was really excited because they were obviously leaving some of the heavy political stuff in! Wow! For this, I thought, I could live with no suits!

I was terribly disappointed to see that Heinlein's ideas were preserved (insomuch as they were) only to be parodied. But then I thought, well, what do you expect from a Hollywood action flick? Throughtful discussion of non-mainstream political ideas? *snort* It should have been obvious from the start that it would be impossible to make a movie that really reflected the book--too controversial. If such ideas are to be presented to a general audience, they must be ridiculed. Not that I'm saying they're great ideas, just that they might merit a moment's thought rather than sneering derision. But when I realized that the director is European, the anti-war sentiments and fascism parallels made a lot more sense to me as well. There were elements of the parody that I thought were rather deft, but all in all, I wish that he'd chosen to make Forever War into a movie, instead. :)

Pixellent
09-05-2001, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by Podkayne
I'm happy to agree to disagree, Pix.
It should have been obvious from the start that it would be impossible to make a movie that really reflected the book--too controversial.

I also am happy to agree to disagree. :)

You know the thing about Troopers I find most ironic? After Heinlein's novel came out, there was a firestorm of controversy, fueled by those who had not bothered to read the book carefully -- or, as usually happens, who simply filtered the book through their own prejudices -- and branded R.A.H. a fascist, a Nazi and a warmonger.

Then, decades later, comes Verhoeven's film, clearly an acid satire of every basic tenet of the novel, clearly an antiwar film -- and, once again, all the mainstream critics took the picture at pure face value and accused Verhoeven of glorifying war. (There's a moment on the Starship Troopers DVD, during the commentary track, when Verhoeven comments, "Vhen ve put our characters in Gestapo uniforms, please understand dat ve are saying dey are bad!")

Cervaise
09-05-2001, 04:49 PM
Podkayne: Forever War could make a fabulous movie, but they'd have to change it around some. Movies have to rise to a climax, and a series of episodes doesn't really work for a movie story (particularly if there's a pinhead development executive in charge who adheres strictly to Hollywood's Conventional Wisdom that a story has to have three and only three major arc sequences). But if it were adapted intelligently, then yeah, it could be amazing.

And re this:I also think a lot of it has to do with Verhoeven's own background: he's a child of WWII, grew up in Holland and witnessed bombings and violent death first-hand, so I doubt he has much sympathy with Heinlein's views of war, however defensible. In someone else's hands, the film would probably not have been such a broadly satirical sendup of military thinking nor, in fact, would it have been a self-reflexive sendup of the very kind of movie it was being sold as.I think I'm in love. :)

Seriously, this is exactly my take on the movie (and on Verhoeven's career in general; Hollow Man and Showgirls, I believe, are stupid on purpose). However, I've tried to argue this before, and have made no headway. (Podkayne, above, says fine, but I still disagree.)

I guess I just wanted to put up my hand as somebody who totally and completely agrees with that interpretation of the movie -- that Verhoeven is so derisive of Heinlein's neo-fascism that he made the movie to mock Heinlein instead of to honor him -- so you wouldn't feel so lonely.

Here's another movie adaptation that diverges significantly from the book: Never Cry Wolf. Farley Mowat's non-fiction first-person yarn-spinning gets turned into a thinly-fictionalized, borderline-impressionistic film. But this, I think, is a case where the original book wouldn't have worked as intended on screen, and the filmmakers had to change everything around (inventing the third act, with Brian Dennehy's pilot returning, from whole cloth) in order to convey the book's deeper message about ecological spiritualism.

Pixellent
09-05-2001, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by Cervaise
Seriously, this is exactly my take on the movie (and on Verhoeven's career in general; Hollow Man and Showgirls, I believe, are stupid on purpose). However, I've tried to argue this before, and have made no headway. (Podkayne, above, says fine, but I still disagree.)

I guess I just wanted to put up my hand as somebody who totally and completely agrees with that interpretation of the movie -- that Verhoeven is so derisive of Heinlein's neo-fascism that he made the movie to mock Heinlein instead of to honor him -- so you wouldn't feel so lonely.

Cervaise, I'm touched. :) I am,however, used to being the Lone Ranger with regard to the movies I love and hate. Ask me about what it's like to be one of only three people on the planet, not counting the filmmakers, to adore Unbreakable. (Then again, it's possible you already know the feeling. Dare I make that four people?)

I have to say that I'm personally pretty derisive of ol' Admiral Bob's neo-fascism too, while recognizing the soundness of his argument as far as it goes; and I think not only Verhoeven, but everyone connected with the movie, must have reacted pretty much the same way, that the only way to present that world in any kind of fashion that honored the novel at all was to make fun of it -- there needed to be that wink at the audience that told them, "don't worry, we know, we know" -- and even then, almost nobody got it.

Wumpus
09-05-2001, 05:23 PM
I agree with those who say that Verhoven's take on the miltary in Starship Troopers is satiric.

Of course, that doesn't mean it's a good movie. It's just a below-average Hollywood effects picture with a paper-thin layer of satire added on top. I'm sure the only reason the satire was added was so that Verhoeven could say, "But I was being ironic!" when the reviewers accused him of being a hack.

I've got news for you, Paul: just because it's satire doesn't mean it's any good. Perhaps it's true that Showgirls is an ironic commentary on Douglas Sirk movies of the 1950s. That doesn't mean that it isn't a steaming pile of unmitigated crap as well.

Anyway -- rant over, back to the subject at hand. Despite superficial similarities, the movie version of THE GRINCH managed to totally reverse the meaning of the book. The Whos became shallow, greedy conformists and the Grinch became a sadly misunderstood fellow.

No doubt the brainiacs who thought this up believed it was a devilishly satirical "re-imagining" of the story, but all they did is turn one of literature's best-loved misanthropes into yet another mopey teenager with a skin condition.

Apparently, similar horrors were perpetrated in the movie version of STUART LITTLE, but I managed to miss that one.

Pixellent
09-05-2001, 05:35 PM
Just to continue the trend of getting us off Starship Troopers (which, by the way, I still contend is sheer brilliance and anyone who doesn't like it has a brainpan full of day-old ricotta cheese, no offense, and anyway that's just my opinion, I could be wrong...:))

Where was I? Oh, yeah:

Here's one example of a novel that was greatly improved by the transfer to screen: D.F. Jones' science-fiction novel, Colossus, is a very good idea surrounded by pages and pages of drab writing and tiresome characters, plus lots of unnecessary futuristic-society nonsense...

Then there's Colossus: The Forbin Project, which jettisons most of the near-future background and most of the characters; takes the very good central idea of a scientist who invents a supercomputer to eliminate war, only to watch it become the merciless ruler of Earth; and turns it into THE single best science fiction film of the 1970s.

CalMeacham
09-05-2001, 07:39 PM
All his talk about Heinlein's Starship Troopers and no one mentions The Puppet Masters? or Destination Moon . For that mater, although they are grea classic sf movies, The Thing (first ersion) and The Day the Earth Stood Still took such extreme liberties with their source material that it's hard to call each the same story as the original.

Sofa King
09-05-2001, 07:52 PM
If I remember rightly, The Forever War originally started as a short story, then at the encouragement of Ben Bova it was turned into a novella entitled "Hero," and finally Haldemann blew it up into a novel. The novella might actually be the place to look if one were to create a script.

lurkernomore
09-06-2001, 10:28 AM
I must vote for Starship Troopers as the worst adaptation, and lean toward Derleth's august entry for specifics. I think Verhoeven should've been placed standing outside the Forever War stasis dome for that movie, aka Buenos Aires 90210 in Space. Pull the suits, change the hero's hometown, nationality, add women to the army for shower scenes, kill his dad and let Doogie Howser(Carl?) live...

Then again, didn't he refuse to read it, as it may interfere with his creativity?

I believe Sofa is right, Forever War started out a short story, but didn't some other movie start out as The Sentinel, a short story?? They did a decent job with 2001, even if Kubrick did play a little...

Pixellent
09-06-2001, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by lurkernomore
I believe Sofa is right, Forever War started out a short story, but didn't some other movie start out as The Sentinel, a short story?? They did a decent job with 2001, even if Kubrick did play a little...

The Forever War was originally published as a series of short stories, but it's not as if Joe Haldeman took the stories and turned them into a novel; he submitted portions of the novel for publication as standalone pieces while he was writing it.

Incidentally, the book did make it to at least one visual adaptation: The Forever War was optioned by Chicago public television, to be produced as a four-part miniseries. Haldeman wrote the teleplay and Stuart Gordon, of the Organic Theatre Company, was to direct. The project was dropped, but Gordon and Haldeman went on to produce the final segment of the miniseries as a stage play, which the Organic put on for a six-week period in the early 80s.

Zebra
09-06-2001, 11:44 AM
After seeing one of my favorite films Field of Dreams I read the book it was based on because after all [snotty voice]'the book is better.'[/sv] Well Shoeless Joe Jackson Come to Iowa is not better. The book has useless characters and meandering plot and no real resolution.


On the subject of Philip K Dick

I don't think any movie would be very much like the source material. Unlike some writers (King for one) his stories don't read like film treatments and much of the action either takes place in imaginary worlds or in someones head or both.