13 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Bad Adaptations

  1. Timeline, by Michael Crichton (pretty much all of his books were butchered, except maybe Jurassic Park). In the book, the whole time travel conflict hinges on copy errors as people are copied through time and space. That’s why you can only time travel so many times, because eventually you’re so full of errors that you die. Well, in the movie, they changed the time travel device to a wormhole. No copy errors (even though they showed the copy errors in the hook). So now it’s this weird plot with a guy stranded in the past for no reason, even though in the book, he was too full of errors to make it back. Same thing for what they did to Sphere. Great book, nonsense movie.

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  2. There is more than a few bad adaptations of Stephen King novels and short stories. For me, the worst was Cujo. I felt so sorry for that poor dog. When the viewer identifies with the monster, you’re in trouble. Dishonorable Mention: Dreamcatcher. The eye brows.

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  3. The special case of “The Sum of All Fears” by Tom Clancy. OK, most of Clancy’s movie adaptations were of the ‘as long as the check clears I don’t care what is on the screen’ variety.

    Sum of All Fears as a book had Palestinian terrorists. After the Oklahoma City bombing, the terrorists became home grown. Then 9/11 happened and a third re-write. And a mess on the screen.

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  4. Spoiler alert . . .

    The Swedish language adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was so disappointing. I think the only thing it did better than the American version with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, was to spend some time with the backstory. (The American version passed over it lightly.)

    In fact, the swedes did not respect the work of Stieg Larsson. They made their movie as a two-night television special rather than as a theatrical-release motion picture. In my opinion, the American version was so much better. (A man I know, an American, keeps insisting the Swedish version is superior because, he says, European film is superior to American movies, always. I simply give him Mork’s laugh in response: ar ar ar ar ar.)

    Berätta inte för svenskarna att deras film är skit.

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  5. As a HUGE Louise Penny fan, I was absolutely horrified by STILL LIFE: A THREE PINES MYSTERY, starring the talented Nathaniel Parker. Even a seasoned actor and a talented cast couldn’t save the stinker of a script. You’ll note that Penny hasn’t authorized that production company to do any more. Hello, Masterpiece/PBS, are you listening?!

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  6. I really liked Gillian Flynn’s novel, Dark Places. The main character was interesting and quirky and the plot suspenseful and complex. However, the movie was dreadful, with a stripped down plot and a weakened main character (played by Charlize Theron), who was far too pretty and monotone-voiced.

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  7. I’ll give you a hint. There were at least four movie adaptations of this book. Here’s a quote from the book: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” — The _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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      • I confess that I’ve only seen snippets of that version on YouTube, but I’ve heard that Ladd’s performance was the best part! I’ve seen the Redford version, the Stephens version, and the DiCaprio version. I guess I should order the DVD of the Ladd version.

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  8. Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders. It was not even close to the book! The book had Poirot working with his sidekick, Hastings, who is the narrator. The movie doesn’t even mention him and there are other things but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. If you haven’t read the book, it is much, much better. I must admit that I much prefer David Suchet as Poirot, but that is another issue.

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