Most book-lovers poo-poo any film or television adaptation of their favourite books. It is objectively often true that adaptions are a much lesser version of the books, due to various factors. But I’m not here to take about the pros and cons of adapting books - I want to talk about terrible adaptions that stray so far from the original inspiration that they almost shouldn’t share the same name.
Most of the time these become terrible shadows of the book that flop and destroy a beautiful story. Sometimes though, some very special times, these film artists take something beautiful and turn it into something else, equally but completely differently beautiful or at least, interesting!
So below is my completely subjective list of films and TV series that took an idea and make something else out of it. This is in no particular order, except that which occured to me (except How to Train Your Dragon which is my favourite). Often the bare bones of the original idea are still there and recognisable (Howl’s Moving Castle) and other times I didn’t even realise I had read the book it had travelled so far from the original’s feeling, story and intention (True Blood).
Of course, some of these you may or may not agree with (World War Z anyone?) but I still thought there was something valid to the adaptation… even if it bore no resemblance to the original material.
How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Jumanji (both of the movies)
Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
True Blood by Charline Harris
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
World War Z by Max Brooks