The Best (blank) movie not written/scripted by (blank)

Strange Days, I am convinced, is the best cyberpunk movie William Gibson never made. I’ve watched all of the movies based on William Gibson’s work, even the spectacularly bad “New Rose Hotel,” and NONE of them captures the feel of Gibson’s cyberpunk novels like “Strange Days” does. (Particularly, “Johnny Mnemonic.”) The feel of street hustlers peddling new tech and interacting with the cops and megacorporations was ALL OVER Strange Days.

I don’t know what James Cameron, who directed, conceived and scripted Strange Days, had to say about the matter, but I am CONVINCED that Cameron read some William Gibson and thought, “I can DEFINITELY bring this to the screen, and THIS time I’ll cover my tracks a lot better than I did with Terminator.”

I’m NOT accusing Cameron of plagiarizing Gibson … I don’t know of any story Gibson wrote that has a plot that’s all that much like Strange Days. I DO think he read some of Gibson’s work, and managed to trasmit the feel of the stories to his story, quite powerfully. Plus, Gibson would have come up with stronger, less cliched plot elements than Cameron did.

It’s very similar to Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. They did not directly plagiarize Tim Powers’ “On Stranger Tides” (though the plot of the first movie in the series DOES have much in common with “On Stranger Tides”) but I am CONVINCED that whoever made that movie read “On Stranger Tides” and realized that if he could capture Powers’ vision of life in a Caribbean filled with magic, he’d have a HELL of a movie. (And he was right.)

So what other movies are there out there that were clearly inspired by other works (not just books, necessarily) and captured their “feel” so well that the represent the author’s works as well as or better than movies that were ACTUALLY based on the author’s works?

I’m not asking for actual plagiarism, like Disney did with the Lion King, and I hope this thread doesn’t turn into “was it plagiarism?” What I’m hoping for, is a list of movies that will be helpful for “I sure did enjoy Book/Comic/etc. X, but the movies based on Book X are such crap and don’t capture the feel of the original. I sure wish something else out there that really captured his work.” And feel free to elaborate on why/why not the work in question captured the original.

Another example: “Deathstalker” is the best Gor movie not based on John Norman’s works.

“Planet Terror” is the best movie John Carpenter hasn’t made since “In the Mouth of Madness”

The second half of Movie Movie is the best Busby Berkeley movie where Busby Berkeley wasn’t involved.

Nit: Kathryn Bigelow directed Strange Days.

I thought American Hustle was a pretty good Martin Scorcese movie, and judging from some of the reviews I’ve read, so do quite a few other folks.

Inception, IMO, was a better treatment of the general themes in Philip K. Dick’s writings than most of the movies actually based on one of his stories.

I always thought Quatermass and the Pit was the best HP Lovecraft story to not actually feature any elements of Lovecraft’s mythos.

*Charade *was the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made.

This may be the original of that phrase.

They Live is the best Philip K. Dick movie not based on the works of Philip K. Dick.

When Harry Met Sally is the best Woody Allen movie not written by, directed by, or featuring Woody Allen.

Evil Captor, here is my theory about the origin of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides in post #35 of this thread:

But you posted in that thread, so perhaps you’ve already read it. In addition to what I said there, let me note that Disney bought LucasArts after the time of that thread. Perhaps that was part of the deal.

Actually, it’s widely believed that the original “inspiration” for Pirates of the Caribbean was the computer game Monkey Island.

eta: I just went back and read Wendell Wagner’s theory that Monkey Island was “inspired” by Powers’ book. So Disney was inadvertently ripping off something that was already a ripoff. It’s plausible.

I feel that City of Lost Children and Mystery Men are the two best Terry Gilliam movies that Terry Gilliam didn’t actually make.

Chinatown, a very Chandleresque story, is vastly better than any of the films actually based on Raymond Chandler’s work.

Submarine is the best Wes Anderson movie Wes Anderson never made.

I don’t see Quatermass and the Pit/Five Million Years to Earth as Lovecraftian at all.

To me, the best Lovecraft movie that didn’t actually use Lovecraft was the first Hellboy picture. It’s also the only Lovecraft movie with the good CGI effects you need to pull it off.(And I Include the Lovecraft Society’s flicks, good as they are, in that assessment)

*Riddick *(the recent one) was the best adaptation of a Robert E. Howard story.

I can see it as a John Carpenter movie, but when I thought about it, it lacked the powerful, simple musical score that propels a lot of his movies and drives up the tension. The Thing would be the best example, the score is really strong there, but most of his movies have that, and the lack of it makes it not-so-Carpenter-ish. But in terms of story and theme, I agree, and in terms of “plucky herione” the weather lady in the Fog is a reasonable analogue to McGowan’s Cherry Delight (though she did lack a machine gun leg, which now EVERY horror movie heroine should be REQUIRED BY LAW to have).

I will have to check that out.

It did have that sense of ancient horror awakened and impending doom for all humanity to it. There was that same theme of making unwittingly awakening a monstrous evil, so I think it’s reasonable to assume the scriptwriter was influenced by Lovecraft. Good call.

Haven’t seen American Hustle so, don’t know. The bits and pieces I’ve heard about it don’t make me think “Scorsese” but that’s prolly about the trailers, not the movie.

Inception, IMO, was a better treatment of the general themes in Philip K. Dick’s writings than most of the movies actually based on one of his stories.

Good call, films like “Total Recall” and “Blade Runner” don’t really work the real real vs. fake real the way Dick did … to their benefit. I’m no fan of Dick’s writings. I have not read any of his books, and I have TRIED to read several. They just plain bored me. There are so many MUCH BETTER science fiction writers that Hollywood could have fallen in love with … sigh.

Sorry – it doesn’t feel at al Lovecraftian to me. Nigel Kneale’s three 1950s BBC Quatermass serials all seems to involve really grotesque and slimy aliens possessing and taking over human beings in one way or another (and it wasn’t limited to him – The Trollenberg Terror/The Crawling Eye presented the same scenario). But the background was scienmce fiction/aliens, not Elder Gods/mystical stuff. even when they invoke the dreams and myths of Hobbs End, it’s the result of the Martian/Computer Spaceship attempting to communicate rather than the mystical dreams og Cthulhu in Rlyeh.

You can draw parallels, but the intention and mood seem completely different to me.

Well Powers claimed that “On Stranger Tides” was inspired by taking Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride – but only AFTER he’d been paid off for “Pirates of the Caribbean 4: We Got Us A Franchise!” So these inspirational claims must be taken with a grain of salt. If you’ve read the book and seen the movie, the similarities are STRIKING. I’ve never played the video game.

Possible spoiler in my response, for anyone who hasn’t seen Hellboy yet, and really, you should:

I was under the impressions that were “coming through” the portal were definitely Lovecraftian menaces, specifically that Cthulhu’s tentacles were what was oozing through the gate near the end.

Though I’ll grant you it didn’t HAVE to be a Lovecraftian creature, Hellboy seems to have his own mythos.