When the long-delayed World War Z movie was released, everyone (including myself) was shocked that it wasn’t the worst movie ever. That’s not to say it’s a great, or even good, movie, but it was definitely salvaged with extensive reshoots and a new ending. Though, anyone who has read the fantastic book of the same name, by Max Brooks, was more than a little confused why the movie was even called World War Z. The book follows a series of interviews that take place 10 years after the initial zombie outbreak and combines dozens of short stories that explain the outbreak, battle and outcome of the zombie threat. The movie, on the other hand, stars a lifeless Brad Pitt as a UN “specialist” who globe-trots and ends up finding an antidote to prevent zombie attacks. Oh, and his name is Gerry. Because who doesn’t love a hero named Gerry. After the author saw the movie, he said the movie shares two similarities with the book: The title and one character who appears in the movie for 3 minutes.
So, what other books have been adapted to film but they cut out nearly everything from the book? Most of these movies share a title of a better book, but little else
5 – The Cat in the Hat
It’s really best to not mention this movie. While The Love Guru may have put the nail in the coffin for our tolerance of Mike Myers, it was The Cat in the Hat that showed us a creepy obese and fluffy Myers as Dr. Seuss’s most iconic character, The Cat in the Hat. The book tells a story of a brother and sister who have nothing to do on a rainy day. The Cat arrives and causes mayhem with Thing 1 and Thing 2. He manages to clean up his mess just before their mom comes home.
The movie keeps elements of the plot but adds 80 minutes of fluff to the mix. The live-action of The Grinch (with Jim Carrey) did the same thing. It tried to add to the fun of the story, but both movies came off as creepy more than anything. After seeing The Cat in the Hat, Theodore Geisel’s (Seuss) widow wouldn’t allow any more Seuss live-action movies.
4 – I am Legend
The original book written by Richard Matheson has been adapted into 3 major films: The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man and I am Legend. In the Will Smith movie, the vampiric-zombies are created by a virus originally intended to cure cancer. We follow Smith as he is the last man in New York and hides himself in his armored house with his trusty dog. He works on a cure for the infected and, in the end sacrifices himself to save people he met so they can get the news of the cure to survivors living in a compound.
In the book, Robert Neville is immune to the vampiric infection, which was caused by the aftermath a chemical war. From the beginning, the vampires know where he lives and cannot enter his house because it’s armored in garlic, crosses and all that good stuff. Neville does find a stray dog in the book but it only survives for a week. When he finds a possible female survivor, he soon realizes that she is infected and she wants justice for all the harm he’s caused the infected vampires. Turns out, that the infected have become semi-civilized and they all fear/hate Neville. Before he is about to be executed by the infected, he takes a pill knowing that it will kill him. So yeah, it’s definitely dark, but at least there’s not CG zombie-vamps.
3 – The Lost World
We all know The Lost World movie as the one where things started to go wrong. It’s very similar to Pirates 2 and Matrix Reloaded in its mediocrity. The movie follows Dr Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and a group of dinosaur hunters from inGen sent back to retrieve actual dinosaurs and bring them back to the states for a US theme park. Sadly, the only thing I can remember from this movie is that wretched gymnastics scene and a T-Rex rampaging through San Diego.
The novel follows Malcolm as well, but he plays a very small role. Instead of inGen (the same company from the first movie) trying to capture dinosaurs, the antagonists are from the competing company whose mission is to steal eggs. Basically the only scene the movie takes from the book is the attack of the two T-Rex’s on the camper. The book ends with the characters escaping from a chameleon-like dinosaur. The book and movie of The Lost World do have something in common. Neither are as good as their former iterations.
2 – I, Robot
Will Smith shows up for a second time on this list. Impressive. In I, Robot he plays Del Spooner (really?), a robot-hating cop investigating an apparent murder of a human roboticist by one of his robots. But robots have 3 rules they must follow, a major one being that they cannot harm humans. The movie throws this out the window as robots can be programmed to void those rules and apparently Spooner is part robot himself. So he hates himself?
The book, written by Isaac Asimov, is a fantastic collection of short stories linked together by the 3 rules of robotics. The only link between the book and the movie are three characters mentioned in passing. There is no intense action and robot battles in the book. Instead, it’s an actual science fiction book that requires you to think. Beyond the 3 characters, there is no reason for the movie to be called I, Robot.
1 – The Bourne series
I’ve never really seen the draw of the Bourne movies. Sure, the first one was new and felt original when it first came out. But then we saw carbon copy sequels in Supremacy and Ultimatum. I refuse to believe that they didn’t just copy and paste the script and force sequels and add more headache-inducing car chases or fight scenes to mix it up. To sum up the series, Jason Bourne is an assassin piecing his memory together after an accident. He meets a German woman named Marie, and they try to survive as assassins chase them down. Marie dies early in the second movie and he fights back against Treadstone. This continues through the rest of the series.
Robert Ludlum’s books are far different. Yes, you still have a Treadstone agent who suffers from amnesia, but the villains are completely different. The over-arching villain of the books is Carlos the Jackal. He and Bourne are
nemesises nemesi numa numa nemesis’. Instead of Conklin getting killed in the end of the first movie, Bourne saves him and they work together. Also, Marie is French-Canadian and she and David Webb get married and have two children. So, she never dies. Well, I’m sure she dies of old age but you get the picture. While the “Identity” movie/book share some aspects, the sequels are nothing like the books of the same title. It’s like the producers thought, “Hey, people have liked it so far…” And people did. Personally, I got tired of seeing Bourne be hounded down constantly and haunted by Treadstone demons of the past. In the book, he is able to live a normal life as an Asian studies professor at a Maine University. Okay, that sounds a little boring.
Let’s not get started on why the Bourne Legacy was made.