Making a movie is no easy feat and when the movie is an adaptation of a popular book, the pressure really starts to rise. Many filmmakers have struggled to find the perfect balance between staying faithful to the text and retelling the tale within a reasonable time frame. After all, it’s difficult to cram an entire novel into two hours, but on the other hand, nobody wants to sit through an eight-hour epic either. This is where things can get a little lost in translation. Here are a few examples of movies that were completely different from the books they were based on.
It will take an entire novel to compare the differences between the Harry Potter books and films so we are just going to stick to the basics here. Albus Dumbledore, the all-knowing wizard is introduced to us as a kind, level headed character we all grew to love. However, in the books, Dumbledore has quite a feisty temper, which seems more fitting for a headmaster. Another key element that got bumped from the screen was the origins of the Marauder’s Map, which sets up the back story for important characters such as Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew and Harry’s dad. Many other details were dropped from the films including characters like Winky the elf and Peeves the Poltergeist. We also got to miss out on a few Quidditch matches and Voldemort’s scary looking red eyes.
Any Stephen King fan will tell you that this movie strayed far from the original text, even King himself openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the adaption. There are distinct differences between the literary masterpiece and the movie, particularly when it comes to the characters and the final plot twist. In the novel, the main protagonist’s name is John Daniel Torrance but was changed in the onscreen adaption to Jack Torrance. Wendy Torrance, who is described as blonde beauty in the text was revised into an offbeat brunette for the film. Some of the most iconic lines like “Here’s Johnny!” and “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” don’t appear anywhere in the original text either. The ending of the book also underwent some drastic changes. In the novel, Dick manages to save both Wendy and Danny, but in the movie, Dick doesn’t get so lucky after a clash with Jack.
My Sister’s Keeper
Tissue sales must’ve gone up when this movie was released because it was a real tear-jerker. The movie hit all the right heartstrings, but that’s not to say novel enthusiasts didn’t notice that the entire ending was changed. The story follows Kate and her sister Anna, who was born purely as a donor for Kate. In both the book and movie, Kate urges Anna to file for emancipation, which she wins in both versions. However, this is where the story starts to stray from the original text. In the book, Anna is involved in a terrible accident, which ends up saving Kate’s life. In the movie, Kate refuses to go ahead with the transplant and eventually succumbs to her afflictions.
These movies may have not stayed true to the original text, but they did manage to bring most of the magic from the book to our screens. The thought and creativity behind these adaptations certainly paid off.