I’d have to nominate “First Blood” (Rambo I), in the book a psychotic drifter who’s killed at the end.
Also, an outstanding Golden Age SF short story “The Cold Equations”, which morally justified the killing of an innocent young girl to save thousands (because of the inarguable laws of physics and fuel consumption), was turned into a wacky governemtal conspiracy movie so the girl could live. The whole point of the story was destroyed.
Joyce Carol Oates’ entertaining Foxfire was turned into an dreadful pseudo-uber grrrl teen-flick, updated to the 90s (the book took place in the 50s) with the requisite crappy all-female rock band soundtrack (where was Le Tigre when you needed them?). The only asset of this crapfest was seeing a (comparitively) curvy Angelina Jolie peel off her t-shirt.
Grok and astro picked the two I’d’ve chosen first.
I’d also like throw in a TV nominee, with the animated adaptation of the children’s book Bunnicula, which among other things made (now I’m going to spoil things here)
…the title character, a little cute bunny rabbit, into a true vampire rabbit that was capable of telekinesis. Picked up a couple of marauding wolves and put them into vegetable juicing vats for safekeeping. Not a bit of it happened in the book, where the little bunny was just a hungry little thing that could only suck the juice out of veggies because it couldn’t quite handle solid food.
made my little pre-teen mind unhappy, let me tell you.
I was going to mention Starship Troopers but I don’t want to make Grok hurl. So I’ll add two other science fiction stories, Robert Silverberg’s Amanda and the Alien and George R.R. Martin’s Sandkings, that were totally deformed on film because neither original had a likable lead character. And how could Hollywood producers make a movie without a hero to root for?
If I didn’t know that the movie the Running Man was based on the Richard Bachman (Steven King) book, I never would have guessed. In all fairness, I think the movie was better than the book. Maybe it’s good butchery?
It was written by John W. Campbell(sp?), the guy the SF award is named for. It’s about a rescue mission with a stowaway. It was written in the 30’s, I think, and I’ve seen it in more than one collection of short stories. It’s pretty brief, I’m sure less than 50 pages, though I haven’t read it since college. But it made a HUGE impression on me at the time.
The Prince of Tides. I absolutely loved the book, so I figured that the movie might be good too. I was very, very wrong. Watching Barbra Streisand’s butchering of a truly great story was almost unbearable.
Well, I was going to mention the profoundly disappointing Simon Birch, but I see that I’ve been beaten to it. BTW, Montfort, A Prayer for Owen Meany was published in 1989, so it isn’t one of the best books of the 90s. I do believe however that it will come to be regarded as one of the best American books of the 20th century.
To throw in a book title that hasn’t been mentioned yet, I’ll nominate Memoirs of an Invisible Man, based on the novel of the same name by H.F. Saint.
The book is wonderful, detailed, and complex. The movie is a Chevy Chase/Daryl Hannah vehicle. In addition to utterly changing the ending, they changed the character of Jenkins (the “villain” of the story) radically.
I wanted to set fire to the movie screen when the ending played out. The only time I can think of being more angry at the last act of a movie was when I saw Pay It Forward, which was also based on a book. I haven’t read the book for that one, though, so I have no idea if the ending was changed from that one. I’m guessing “yes.”