Books Adapted for Films in which Changes were made to story and characters that you actually liked

BAYLOR

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When when tv and film producers , directors and writers, take a book and make changes to story and ior characters. Sometimes those changes don't work out and you end up with not very good film. But on occasion change isn't always a bad thing either . Which films adaptations do you thin made changes in story and character that worked outfitter then what the worker came up with ?
 

Randy M.

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Goldfinger -- the plot to irradiate the gold in Fort Knox seems more plausible than stealing the gold. (It's been years since I read the book, so apologies if I'm misremembering the plot.)

Psycho -- the book is entertaining on its own terms, but Hitchcock and his writer, Jim Stefano, improved the novel by changing Norman from a dislikable slob into a character almost Jimmy Stewart-like, wearing his high school jacket, and quietly polite. It added an element of pitch-black satire (I think paralleling Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt) on the American obsession with motherhood and parent/child relations, also voyeurism ... see below ...

Rear Window -- another Hitchcock, with the actual Jimmy Stewart making for a likable, relatable, enjoyable Peeping Tom. It's been far too long since I read the Cornell Woolrich novella that this is based on, but I don't recall him filling out the characters being spied on like the movie does. And again Hitchcock and his writer add an element of comedy to the adapted story, this time satirizing our complicity in the voyeurism and by extension the voyeurism of watching movies/TV.


Randy M.
 

Toby Frost

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I realise this is going to sound like vile heresy to some, but I think the Peter Jackson films of Lord of the Rings made some decent changes. Taking out the songs, Tom Bombardil and the scouring of the Shire made them a much better-shaped experience for people who aren't necessarily fans of the whole experience.

I thought that the use of Dr Manhattan in the film version of Watchmen was neater than that in the original comic book.

Quite a lot of the time, filmmakers run together similar characters into one new composite. The BBC did this when they adapted Gormenghast, but I'm sure there are plenty of others. Given that the requirements of the screen are different to those of the page, this seems reasonable to me provided that it's done fairly well.
 

Robert Zwilling

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One thing I have come to appreciate about movies/TV changing characters/plots is that sometimes the book or movie can be read/seen without one "spoiling" the suspense/plot of the other. I don't know if it is intentional or not but when it works it works good.
 

BAYLOR

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The Time Machine by H G Wells. Though it's good book . I like the changes that George Pal made to the film, he gave the film more dimension. In particular, I liked the fact that the The Time Traveler freed the Eloi from the Morlocks and Weena got to live. This alone was diced improvement over HG Wells otherwise bleak ending . George Pal gave far happier ending but still did justice to Wells's novel . The 2002 film with Guy Pierce followed similar trajectory as the 1960. film, I liked the addition fhe computer Vox Librarian character played by Orlando Jone and live Jeremy Irons as the leader of the Morlocks though had given the character more screen time then they did.
 

Vince W

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Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle. I enjoyed the films, the original ones, quite a little bit. I couldn't finish the book.
 

BAYLOR

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Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle. I enjoyed the films, the original ones, quite a little bit. I couldn't finish the book.
I liked the 1968 film and its ever demising sequels , The more recent remakes and sequels , though interesting and well made are somehow lacking .

Ive read the book, and liked it . Its basically a satire . Interestingly the 2001( which I rally don't care for ) film did an interesting variation of Boulle's ending.:) In Boulle's novel , The Astronaut Nova and their young son ,come back to earth and discover that the apes taken it over and we find out that the people narrating story are in fact apes traveling in outer space .. In all honesty though , Boulle's ending doesn't quite work.:)
 
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Nozzle Velocity

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Goldfinger -- the plot to irradiate the gold in Fort Knox seems more plausible than stealing the gold. (It's been years since I read the book, so apologies if I'm misremembering the plot.)
No, you've got it exactly. I always thought it was funny that the film has Bond explaining to Goldfinger why Fleming's plot wouldn't work.
 

Anthoney

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I'm going to do some TV shows.

Altered Carbon. This is my most controversial pick. I watched the Netflix series and decided to read the book. The series makes a few changes because of copy right issues. Even so I like the Raven Hotel better than the Jimi Hendrix. Envoys made more sense. Their special powers were handled much better.

The next two are from YA books. The Vampire Diaries TV show was so much better than the books. It might be the strongest example of a show being better than the book that I know of. It wins in every way until it's finale. One of the worst finales ever.

The 100. The book wasn't bad but it doesn't hold up to the TV show. The 100 actually became a real Sci-Fi (futuristic Post Apocalypse) TV show worth watching.
 

Margaret Note Spelling

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I've always considered that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as a movie, benefited from the alterations made. Not that it made the story better per se, simply that the book's plot as it was would not have made a good movie plot, and some kind of change really was necessary to make the film work. Admittedly, they might have come up with something better than green mist as a main villain--but I don't think it ruined the story.

A change that audacious and sweeping, but not actually crippling, is pretty impressive.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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The Magicians on SyFy diverged quite radically from Lev Grossman's trilogy, ultimately building a distinct and significantly larger mythology and universe. I loved both the books and the first three seasons of the show, while realizing each is its own thing. The fourth season of the show, though, was terrible.

I liked P.T. Anderson's movie of Inherent Vice even better than Pynchon's novel. Joaquin Phoenix was amazing in bringing the lead character to life, as was Katherine Waterston, especially in that scene (if you've seen the movie, you know which one). I like the movie ending better than the book one.

Nicole Holofcener's film of Ted Thompson's The Land of Steady Habits (available on Netflix). Everybody in the movie is about ten years younger than their counterpart in the book, and I think that works much better. It's kind of strange in the book when people are shocked that the lead character took early retirement, though he's in his early 60s. (Not that much of a stretch, folks.) Now, early 50s, on the other hand... And his son, who just can't get his life together, works better as someone in his mid 20s rather than the book's 33.
 

dannymcg

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The Shining had a few differences, I remember sitting confused in the cinema when Jack Torrance killed chef Dick Hallorann, I was like "but they go to Florida with him".
Also the hotel was ok at the end, in the book it was destroyed when the boiler exploded.
 

Toby Frost

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The Shining is a good one, I think. The film takes out a lot of stuff from the books (I suspect that the animated topiary would have been nearly unfilmable back then) but keeps the central feel of the story. Removing the big explosion and killing Hallorann seems reasonable and makes the film neater and more tightly-plotted.

Something similar happens in the film Manhunter, from Thomas Harris' Red Dragon, where the final "but the killer wasn't really dead" bit is taken out.
 

Boneman

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Stardust. Started life as an illustrated novel, written by Neil Gaiman, which I never saw, so I may be being somewhat unfair. I did read the Hardback novel that came out later. The film was ten times better than the book. Matthew Vaughn directed and Jane Goldman (Jonathan Ross's wife) adapted the screenplay. Vaughn said he wanted to do Princess Bride with a Midnight Run overtone. The fact that some fabulous actors were in it, helped, I know.
 

Toby Frost

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That's interesting. I read a paperback without any pictures and, while it was ok, it didn't do very much for me.
 
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Droflet

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Jaws. One of the very few books that was not as good as the film. Major alterations made the film far superior to a very ordinary novel.
 

Foxbat

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Trainspotting. I thought the book was a disjointed mess but the film flowed in a much better way.
 

picklematrix

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Clockwork Orange was, I believe, improved. Kubrick made lots of changes, mostly quite minor but adding up to a quite different narrative.
The book is fine and well written of course, but the film is one of my all time favourites.
I think making George and Dim abusive, corrupt police officers rather than regular happy family men is a good example. I find it has sonething more interesting to say.
 

Stephen Palmer

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I'm going to agree with Toby, and mention something about the LOTR trilogy.
Film two is the weakest of the three, but that's more than made up for by the way Jackson dealt with the Aragorn/Arwen romance, which I think he did exceptionally well. There are hints and descriptions in the book appendices, but Jackson made something special out of very little.
 
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