(Breaking my just stated rule.)
I agree with Sealemon. Movies and books are different genres, with different abilities and different needs. Books are able to convey much more depth because they are a longer format, and have an easier time going into things like memories, personalities, mental impressions, descriptions of motivations, etc. Movies have difficulty touching on the things books can easily address because of the limitations of the format, as well as time constraints. Thus good books don’t get full coverage and good treatment, because a movie just can’t convey what a book can. Not to say movies are bad, they are just different.
Often, a movie takes a concept or idea but then blends it to fit the format. That’s not good or bad, just what has to happen.
Some people like movies better, others books. I’ve tried to get over the expectation of the movie and the book being the same. I think the last time that happened was when I read ET, a novelization of the movie direct from the screenplay.
I liked the movie “Starship Troopers”, despite the fact that is diverged from the book. Of course you must realize there is NO way to do justice to Heinlein on screen. The book is full of philosophy as much as any action. Plus there were some moderate adaptations to modernize it - PC it a bit. Not to fault Heinlein at all, but is writings are the product of an earlier time. It’s copyrighted in 1959. I love Heinlein. I reread the book after seeing the movie to refresh my memory. Yes it was different, but the movie wasn’t bad because of that. I was a little disappointed they chose not to use the mechanized armor, since that was part of the interesting detail of the book, but I adapted.
Actually, I was impressed by the treatment of “Robert Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters”. I thought it was a pretty good adaptation, given the constraints of a movie.
If you want to talk about divergences between books and movies, pretty much any John Grisham movie comes to mind. Okay, I haven’t seen the latest ones, but “The Firm”, “The Pelican Brief”, and “The Client” come to mind. In each case the story is basically the same and plot follows along until 2/3 of the way through, the movie takes some detour from the book and goes in a different direction. In all of the above, both treatments work, but it makes the resolutions different, alterring the story.
One that the change did bother me was “Patriot Games”, because the difference in the endings between the novel and movie affected the moral of the story. In the movie, the terrorist is killed in an exciting fight on a speeding boat that crashes and explodes. It is played for the action adventure theme and visual gratification. But in the book, Jack Ryan doesn’t even get into a boat fight. They chase the terrorist through the foggy night, and catch him trying to escape. There is a brief moment where Ryan considers killing him anyway, but comes to grips with himself and doesn’t, and they arrest him. The change alters the whole character of the story.
Another book that fit the story well was “The Abyss”, but that was done on purpose, writing the screenplay and the novel simultaneously, just inserting some extra depth in the novel.
I don’t think that “Pitch Black” is based on Nightfall. Nightfall is Asimov’s story about a planet that never sees darkness because of multiple suns, and it deals with the reactions of the people and the breakdown in society because of a very rare eclipse. All of the problems are created by the people who do not understand what is happening. “Pitch Black” is a story about a planet with multiple suns, and a race of creatures that live underground. A group of space travelers crash on the planet at the inconvenient 22 yr cycle of the eclipse, that unleashes the hoards of monsters loose on the surface to devour everything, and they struggle to survive and escape. It is a completely different story with different elements and different plot, with only a passing similarity in the use of the one plot device of the perpetual daylight and eclipse. That does not make them the same, any more than NYPD Blue is the same as Cop Rock. Sure, they’re both about police stations, but that’s pretty much the only similarity. I don’t know about Lucretia’s reference, but it’s not based on Nightfall.