The 5: Science Fiction Has Changed

This Week on the 5: Science Fiction Movies Different From Their Books

Science fiction can bring about some of the biggest box office and some of the biggest flops in Hollywood. The amount of original science fictions scripts getting made today are becoming smaller and smaller so script writers go to works that have fan bases already in place. In the rush to get something on screen a lot of the time the book the film is based on becomes lost. Below are five science fiction books that have little resemblance to their film counterparts.

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Starship Troopersx21.  Starship Troopers

Book Written by Robert Heinlein
Film directed by Paul Verhoeven

Besides humanity fighting giant bugs from another planet, Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers bares little resemblance to the Paul Verhoeven film. Word is Verhoeven was already making a space bug movie when the rights to Starship Troopers was acquired and he was forced to change the name and make it work. In the book, the bugs actually used guns, the troopers were in giant mechanized suits and Johnny Rico’s parents never die, he actually ends up fighting alongside his father in his unit.

The film can be seen as satire where Heinlein used the book to criticize comunism and promote his ideas that the United States too easily gave people the right to vote. Within the book, the only way to become a citizen was to serve in the military. This same theme was briefly mentioned in the film whereas it was a major plot point within the text.  The naked shower scene was added to the movie, no one is naked in the book.

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battlefield earth X22.  Battlefield Earth

Book by L. Ron Hubbard
Film directed by Roger Christian

Some people may not know this, but L Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer long before Scientology was founded. His magnum opus was the 1000 plus page Battlefield Earth. Noted Scientologist John Travolta was able to get the film version of the book made but there was one tiny problem. Only half of the book was shot in that first Battlefield Earth film. Granted, they ended where most of the action took place, since the last 500 pages of the book dealt with interstellar debt collectors who came to Earth to get theirs. It was for the best the film was never completed.

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i robotX23.  I, Robot

Story written by Isaac Asimov
Film directed by Alex Proyas

Isaac Asimov released a collection of short stories in 1950 which dealt with the themes of morality, robots and their interaction with humanity in the future. It is where the Three Laws of Robotics is first found. It was a profound work and is universally loved by fans of science fiction. The 2004 Will Smith film of the same name has nothing to do with anything the books were about. Nothing at all. Besides some character names and a reference to the Three Laws, the film has nothing to do with the book.

Yes, there are robots in the book, but there is a serious lack of any fight scenes or massive explosions. Will Smith might as well make a snuff film, option Asimov’s Foundation series, and slap that name on it.

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lawnmowermanx24.  Lawnmower Man

Story written by Stephen King
Film directed by Brett Leonard

Originally based off a Stephen King story, the movie was so far from the writing that King had his name taken off of it. Much like the case with Starship Troopers, Lawnmower man was originally called Cyber God until the rights to Lawnmower man were bought and the filmmakers had to mash the two together. The film differed so much that King doesn’t list it on his own website.

The original story has nothing to do with virtual reality at all, and the rest of the plot is totally off the rails. The source material dealt with a maniac greens keeper who kills his clients. He never develops telekinetic powers or increased mental ability.

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IAMLEGENDX25.  I Am Legend

Story written by Richard Matheson
Film directed by Francis Lawrence

Will Smith is great at bastardizing science fiction literature and he’s doing it at a good clip. They got the basics down in the film, Will Smith’s a doctor under siege by roving bands of zombies. Except in the book they’re more vampire like and have intelligence and can interact with him. The title plays no role in the movie itself besides being a reference to the book so people going to see it might have a vague idea of what they’re walking into. The zombie/vampires actually create a new society in the book, thus rendering the protagonist a “legend” of the old world. The infected creatures are the new norm. The movie wanted none of that and had the human survivors “win” by getting a cure for the virus.

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