Why are the books different from the movies?
I was reading through a previous article about A Zombie movie that was being made that was based off of a book, and it got me thinking about all the other adaptations out there and the successes that they have found. What books have been able to make the successful transition from paper to the silver screen?
Let’s start with one that I found to be a surprise. Forest Gump. That’s right, our favorite idiot started his journey in a book written by Winston Groom, and continued on for a sequel book as well. The paperback Gump, however, is a much different man than the Tom Hanks adaptation that we have all grown to love. In the paperback version, Gump has been a wrestler, a pig farmer, a chemist, a stoner, an alcoholic, an explorer, and even an astronaut. His fortune was made but in the book version, it was lost and Gump took to the streets, wandering from place to place. His mother raised his son, and he was a terrible father. Quite a different man from our film version of the lovable goon with the magic running shoes….
How about Lord of the Rings? We all know this was adapted from the novels that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote decades ago, but what was missing? Peter Jackson did an amazing job of bringing these characters to life, but there were some things that he did leave out. One thing I remember is from the Two Towers, the second film, two of the Hobbits, Pippin and Merry, are lost in the woods. They stumble across a stream, and proceed to drink from the stream. Over the course of the remaining books, they started to grow taller and taller, and by the time they returned back to the Shire, they were the tallest hobbits there.
One part of the story that I would have like to have seen is something left out from the end of the final book, The Return of the King. Once the Hobbits return from their quest, they come home to find that someone has taken over the shire and making people’s lives hell. They find out that it is Saruman and they must get him out of their town. That took up like 2 chapters! Also, after the Elves, Frodo, Gandalf, and Bilbo leave on the boat, Sam does continue the book, and finally finished. But, from his short time with the Ring, he does feel the draw of power and the hollow feeling that Frodo felt worse and worse as time went on. After many years, when the time was right, Sam ventured to the Pier, and there waiting for him was the ship that took his friends long ago, and Gandalf and Frodo were waiting for him to join them in the land of elves. Sounds cheesy, but it would have been an interesting way to end things.
A set of books that got the short end of the stick was the Eragon series. I haven’t personally read it, but I hear nothing but good things. Originally a 3 book series, another book is being released this year due to its immense popularity. Some of us saw the movie, and realistically was one of the worst movies ever. Bad plot line that had nothing to do with the book, bad acting, and a horrible overall adaptation. Such a letdown for fans of the series.
A few others that I liked and read before seeing the movie include American Psycho, Harry Potter, Dune, Star Ship Troopers, The Post Man, and many more. All of them had some differences to the original text. What do you think? Any others that you can think of that were different then what we first read in the novel?