How movies based on books don’t always come out accurately.
Movies based on books tend to fall into one of two categories: they’re either great, or they’re awful. A select few manage to pull off the former, while most fall into the latter category.
Take I Am Legend, for example. I started thinking about this when I had an argument with a friend, who thought that the movie was much better than the book. I did like the movie, but…let’s just look at how many things they got wrong:
- The main character in the novel is not African American, even being described as “a blonde haired, blue eyed man” towards the beginning of the book.
- In the book, Neville is a relatively uneducated man, as opposed to Will Smith’s portrayal of a certified virologist. He is also an alcoholic, who drinks for hours during the night when he is constantly taunted by gatherings of vampires outside his house, including women who try to sexually entice him.
- Neville does not focus on finding a cure in the book-it becomes more of a way to pass time. He dedicates himself to killing vampires living close to him, and staying alive as long as he can.
- In the movie, Neville needs to get home before dark so that he can “lock-down” the heavily fortified house to safely survive the night, and also so that the “Darkseekers” don’t follow him and discover where he lives. In the novel, the vampires know where Neville lives, but can’t come too close to his house because of his effective use of garlic, rather than military fortifications.
- There are no pure-human survivors besides Neville. The book describes a group of people infected with the virus, but slowing its effects using a combination of medication and blood.
- In the novel, Anna is actually a woman named Ruth, a survivor who is infected with the virus. She is sent to spy on Neville by others like herself.
- The novel takes place in Los Angeles, while the film takes place in New York City.
- The meaning of the title is changed dramatically in the film. While the film presents it as Neville becoming a legend, a potentially religious figure among the remaining humans for sacrificing his life to allow Anna to escape with the cure, the novel has a much darker meaning. He is captured at the end of the novel, realizing that he truly is the last man on Earth. The vampires, who have become quite intelligent, have formed their own society and are getting ready to execute Neville. ‘I am legend’ refers to the fear that the vampires have of the vampire-hunting Neville. Neville, by killing off so many of them, had become a legend among their race, much like Dracula is to humans.
- Neville never actually owns a dog. In the novel, he finds a stray, and takes weeks to convince it that he is harmless. The dog dies soon after Neville finally brings it into his home.
- In the film, the vampirism is caused by a mutated virus, while in the novel, it is a bacterium.
- In the film, the monsters are all pretty much the same; primitive, unintelligent, and monstrous. The novel presents two different kinds. There are the ones who are truly dead, only moving because of the bacteria that controls their corpses. Then there are the live humans who got the bacteria into their blood (dust-storms were largely attributed to the spread of the bacteria), and are primitive but still have intelligence to a certain degree. However, the live ones will eventually die from the bacteria. But even that changes in the novel when the bacteria mutates, and the live vampires can actually live with the bacteria.
- In the book, Neville’s wife and daughter die from the bacteria. Later, his wife comes back in order to drink Neville’s blood.
…and since I liked the book so much, it made it hard to enjoy the movie. The Lord of the Rings trilogy does this to some extent, but I was expecting it to be different, so I was prepared.
The other example I have in mind is the Bourne trilogy. As a stand-alone movie trilogy, it’s great. When compared to the books said trilogy is suppoedly based on, it’s junk. Nevermind the little mistakes; the movies removed the entire main plot of the books! Yes, the movies were epic in their own right, but it was almost hard to watch them because of how different they were from the books I had already read.