Fixed Adaptation

(permanent link) added: 2012-01-11 15:28:38 sponsor: Generality (last reply: 2014-02-21 12:24:40)

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Sometimes an adaptation has to make alterations, either to the plot or some characterisation, due to something which is unpalatable or would ring falsely to the target audience. Problems in the original work which need to be fixed might include critical research failure by the author, advances in science since it came out, different social mores across time or region, or just inconsistencies in the work that need to be ironed out.

The change in question could be a tiny detail in the middle of the film, which might easily go unremarked, or something so significant the ending is vastly different.

In fanworks, the same issue might be addressed in a Fix Fic. Compare Pragmatic Adaptation, in which changes are made because of differences in the medium itself, Adaptation Distillation, in which the plot is changed because of time constraints, and Race Lift. Contrast Adaptation Induced Plot Hole.


  • The original James Bond novel Goldfinger is about an attempt to rob Fort Knox. The makers of the film realised this was utterly unfeasible, due to the sheer amounts of gold within, and had Bond smugly inform Goldfinger of this flaw, to which he responded that, in this version, his plan was not to take the gold, but to nuke it, thus making his own gold much more valuable.
  • The Da Vinci Code had Robert Langdon as a Grail believer, categorically agreeing with Sir Leigh Teabing's rather historically dubious account of the bloodline of Jesus Christ. A number of critics and historians expressed considerable doubt about the probability of the novel's claims, and Langdon in the film is a far more moderate character, skeptical about many of Teabing's beliefs, pointing at holes in the theory, and ultimately serving as a neutral point between Teabing's fanaticism and Sophie's skepticism. Ultimately, however, the wild tale proves completely true.
  • The movie Fantastic Voyage contained a plot hole: the shrunken submarine was destroyed, and therefore didn't return to normal size inside the patient (which would kill him)—but destroying isn't disintegration; enlarging debris would be as bad a problem as an enlarging submarine. When Isaac Asimov novelized it, he had a blood cell engulf the debris so that it could be taken out of the patient safely.
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow becomes King of the Emerald City after the Wizard departs. The sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz, introduces the idea that there was a royal family who ruled the Emerald City before the Wizard took over, and when the Scarecrow is deposed by General Jinjur's army, Glinda refuses to help restore him to the throne because he has no more right to it than Jinjur has — even though she approved of him taking the throne at the end of the previous book. In the animated series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which adapts both books, Glinda explains that when she approved of the Scarecrow becoming King she thought the royal family had died out, and only since then had learned that the rightful heir had been hidden away but was still alive.
  • The Trope Namer for Voodoo Shark is, at least, an attempted example. The novelization for Jaws: The Revenge tried to justify the shark's unrealistic actions in the movie by adding a voodoo curse into the story.
  • For The Lord of the Rings films, among many changes of varying types, the filmmakers modernised many aspects of the characters' speech (mainly to avoid Have a Gay Old Time) and de-emphasised the class difference between Frodo and the other hobbits, feeling that the dynamic of him as a minor noble with Sam as his servant would be distasteful to a modern audience.
    • After the Twin Towers terrorism attack, scenes were removed which would have portrayed the films' villains (especially the human ones such as the Haradrim) more sympathetically, and pointed out the flaws in the good guys (such as the Rohirrim's hunting of the hill men). The film had been geared to portray matters in a somewhat morally ambiguous light, as in the book, but after the incident it was decided that people would rather have a more black and white morality contrast. As a response, the films were accused of glorifying war.
    • Although the filmmakers have not specifically addressed the subject, the removal of Saruman's change of attire from white to rainbow clothing was probably done to avoid Unfortunate Implications due to current associations of rainbows.
  • The film adaptations of The Hobbit have had numerous plot changes, many for the sake of padding, others to seal plot holes within the book. Most notably, in the book the dwarves' plan to have one burglar sneak into Erebor and steal Smaug's entire horde of gold was implausible, so in the film they were specifically after the Arkenstone, which would have given Thorin the authority to rally the Dwarves to take back the kingdom.
  • The film version of Gone with the Wind tones down the racism of the original book, which was thought to be uncommercial even in that time period. And by modern standards, the movie is still overflowing with Unfortunate Implications.
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