10 Movie Adaptations That Completely Ignored The Book
If you read these books, and then saw the movie, you probably thought, “…what?”
Let’s face it–by and large, movie adaptations of books aren’t going to be as good as the source material. In books, the special effects department is supplied by the reader’s brain. In the real world, fx are incredibly expensive and dependent on the technology available when the movie comes out. With a book, an author can take hours and hours to tell a story to the audience. A movie needs to be done in two (or six, but only if you’re dealing with the LOTR fandom). In short, stories change depending on the medium in which they’re told, and I understand that. I really do. (In fact, I wrote an article not long ago in books I think wold make great movies.)
That being said, sometimes I wish movie studios would look at a book and say, “That’s a cool idea. Let’s play off that.” Not title their movie the same thing, not trick people into thinking, “Hey, I liked the book. The movie will be a cool, real-life version of what went on inside my head,” because that doesn’t happen. What happens is film executives, at best, change things like character names, their roles, maybe tweak the ending a bit, that sort of thing, and at worst, create something has almost nothing in common with the original work besides the name.
Here are ten movies that bear little resemblance to their source material.
Ah “Eragon”…The big one. This movie came out in 2006, and I remember going to see it very clearly. My cousin went with me, and she hadn’t read the book, something I was glad of by the time the movie ended. (She couldn’t understand the magnitude of what that film studio did to the concept of “film adaptation.”) “Eragon” the book is about a young man who finds a dragon egg, gets trained by a magical old man and learns that he must defeat an evil wizard-type guy who rules his world. (There’s also elves and orc-like creatures.) It’s essentially the story of “Star Wars” in the setting of “Lord of the Rings” plus a heavy flavor of “Dragonriders of Pern.”
As derivative as the book was, however, I enjoyed it. Paolini comes up with some cool stuff in his novel, and his Ra’zac make for neat monstrous antagonists. Unfortunately, no one told the scriptwriters how important the Ra’zac are when they wrote the film version of the book, because the Ra’zac get killed in a rather disappointing battle scene.
Since those beasties play a significant role in the later books, it’d be like if Darth Vader got killed in the first (or fourth) “Star Wars” film. Add in wooden acting, large chunks of missing story that explain Eragon and Saphira’s relationship, the fact that Durza the shade can apparently summon a giant smoke-dragon for no reason (and never uses it before the end), completely ignoring Eragon’s cousin–who is a major character in his own right–and a whole host of other ridiculous things, and it’s easy to see why “Eragon” makes my list of terrible movie adaptations. (Any film of a book that prevents further films from being made…yeah, not good.)
2) “The Lawnmower Man“
Technically, Stephen King’s “The Lawnmower Man” isn’t a book, but a short story. That being said, when the author of a story sues the producers of a movie because their film of same title “bore no meaningful resemblance” to his original work, how could I not include it on this list? I’m assuming you’ve watched the trailer above, so we have to take into account that the effects probably looked pretty awesome back in 1992, and really, I think that’d be a neat movie to watch. It’s sort of like “Flowers for Algernon” meets “Carrie” with a dash of “Tron,” don’t you think? Here’s the thing. King’s original story is actually pretty simple.
A man named Harold hires somebody to mow his lawn, finding a guy through the phonebook. When the guy comes, Harold sees the lawnmower trimming the lawn by itself, and the guy he hired is crawling along behind it, naked, and eating the grass. As one would be in this situation, the sight freaks out Harold, so much so that he faints. When he wakes up, the lawnmower man explains that anyone who doesn’t like what he’s doing gets sacrificed. Harold assures him everything’s all right, but then tries calling the police. The lawnmower man interrupts, chases Harold down with his lawnmower and then kills him.
Now, that doesn’t sound anything like a mentally disabled guy who gets enhanced intelligence, psychic powers and a psychopathic mentality from a virtual reality machine, does it?