"Doomed planet. Desperate scientists. Last hope. Kindly couple. Superman."Some adaptations take a complex character or situation and greatly simplify it, removing elements the producer believed to be unnecessary. This effect is more common when adapting from a long-running series, especially if it hasn't had a singular vision over the years. Compare Compressed Adaptation, which deals more along the lines of a direct adaptation and is about all the stuff that is cut out along the way to make this trope happen. Contrast with Pragmatic Adaptation: in a distillation, a complex story is simplified, without much substantive change. In a Pragmatic Adaptation, the story is changed with the shift in medium. Also, contrast Adaptation Expansion, which tacks on more content but retains the original source material. When a story element is removed but its effects aren't, that's Adaptation Explanation Extrication. This isn't about adaptations that are better than the original. This is about elements that are simplified or removed in order to make an adaptation shorter.
Examples (sorted by the format of the distilled adaptation):
- Live-Action TV
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Anime & Manga
- The 2122-page AKIRA manga was condensed into a 120-minute movie by ending it 3/5 of the way through (the manga itself was not completed at the time), eliminating subplots and fusing several scenes together.
- The Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind animated movie ends at around volume two of the seven-volume manga.
- The first season of the Ah! My Goddess anime essentially cuts out everything that's not relevant to Keiichi and Belldandy's romance, with the exception of the Lord of Terror arc, and in so doing, manages to develop the romance farther than the manga has ever gone in 24 episodes (with Urd and Skuld each getting a side story to round out the season). When it was picked up for a second season, by contrast, they simply did a Compressed Adaptation of several manga storylines put together in no particular order.
- The anime of Air Gear cuts quite a bit of content from the manga and adds some original scenes, changing the beginning of the series and streamlining the story a bit. However, they cut out a few side characters and get rid of quite a bit of some minor characters' characterization.
- The anime adaptation of the light novel series Aria the Scarlet Ammo removes quite a bit of the Gun Porn as well as the protagonist's First-Person Smartass tendencies; and his general inner thoughts. While the gun info wasn't really necessary the anime never gives a real reason why we should like the protagonist; it makes what was justifiable dislike for his situation seem like plain old angst. This is due to the character being the type convey his reasons in his thoughts rather than explaining his circumstances to other people; which the Anime never really displays properly.
- Astro Boy:
- While the first anime series generally had low production values (it was the first animated TV series produced in Japan, so it took them a while to get the hang of it) and the heavier themes of the manga were often toned down for mass consumption, a few of the stories adapted from the manga were much tighter than the originals. The 1980s anime had the same problems as the first, but added the character of Atlas (actually an amalgam of three different characters from the manga), a complex recurring villain who tied several episodes together into a single overriding story arc. Then came the 2003 series which, while still fairly episodic by modern anime standards, had a continuous storyline revolving around the struggles between humanity and robot-kind, tying together classic stories from the manga, greatly expanding the role of Astro's father, Dr. Tenma, and featured animation quality similar to that used in Tezuka Productions' acclaimed theatrical release Metropolis. In a non-animated example, the Sankei Newspaper comic strip version, originally a continuation of the story from the first anime, turned into a continuity reboot after Astro Time Travelled back to the (then) present, eventually died and then the time of his creation rolled around again. This version greatly expanded on Astro's backstory and his relationship with Dr. Tenma. And then there is the Ultimate Universe version created by Naoki Urasawa (of Monster fame) for his futuristic suspense-thriller manga Pluto. Then we have the 2009 animated movie by IMAGI but distributed for American audiences… definitely the farthest away from the original storyline, only keeping the key points from the Origin Story.
- The GBA game, Astro Boy: Omega Factor, takes almost every Osamu Tezuka character and weaves them into one giant, all-encompassing storyline. It manages to do justice to the man's entire career. And it plays well, to boot.
- Attack on Titan:
- In the manga, Annie became Eren's mentor, to which the two grew a mutual respect and admiration for each other. This is removed from the anime and causes Eren's hesitation to accept Annie as an enemy to come a little out of nowhere. The compilation film "Wings of Freedom" included more of Eren and Annie's interactions from the manga and the second season likewise followed suit.
- Forgone in the anime is Mikasa's inner monologue explaining Levi's ankle injury, so the seriousness of the injury is left a bit more vague.
- The anime version of Axis Powers Hetalia, while having a number of differences from the source material, does try to stay close to the manga.
- The original anime of Berserk. It mostly focuses on the Golden Age arc (with some of the Black Swordsman arc in the beginning) and for the most part, it follows the story fairly well despite being Lighter and Softer than its source. However, many characters important to the story are strangely absent in the anime version. Most notable are Puck and the Skull Knight.
- In the same vein as Black Butler was Steel Angel Kurumi, whose story went a completely different direction in the anime than the manga. Its direct continuation Encore and its sequels 2 and Zero stay with that same vein and the only thing brought over from the manga by that point where the main Angel trio's outfits used in 2.
- The Black Lagoon OVA "Roberta's Blood Trail" had the tough task of adapting a manga story arc ("El Baile De La Muerte") that most fans agree went on too long and suffered from poor pacing. For reference, the OVA lasts about as long as the Japan arc from the second season, but has to adapt twice as many chapters. The OVA compresses the narrative without cutting information, changes the order of scenes for dramatic emphasis. Significantly, the action scenes that took up so many manga volumes are shorter, more comprehensible, and more exciting when animated.
- The manga adaptation of Breath of Fire IV. This is a condensation of a 40- to 80-hour video game with a very large number of Fetch Quests, two largely separate plotlines that don't interweave until close to the end, and Multiple Endings into a five-volume (and around 175 pages per volume) manga series. Just getting things sorted into a linear storyline was impressive in and of itself; even more impressive, they managed to incorporate both the Good Ending and the Downer Ending into a linear plot.
- The Road to 2002 animated adaptation of Captain Tsubasa, the premise was to cover the first manga series up to the 3rd manga series (the titular Road to 2002), but in practice is merely a rushed retelling of the beginning of the manga series and altering the many sub-plots along the way to catch up with the later manga series; to wit: all romantic subplots from the manga were dropped, even the one involving the protagonist himself who would be married by the 2002 arc, some Love Interests for the guys were introduced, only to provide support as they never went anywhere, while other girls weren’t lucky enough to even exist in this adaptation. Removing the romance wouldn’t be so bad if originally it wasn’t one of the main forces keeping and inspiring the guys to continue playing soccer, but is, and by removing it several events had to be altered or to be downright ignored.
- Ceres, Celestial Legend was compressed from a 14 volume manga to a 24 episode anime, leaving out several chunks of the original manga. To make up for this, either entire expeditions of Aya's group to find the hagoromo in various cities and prefectures were left out, or if the details were a bit more important, they were fused together with other details.
- The manga adaptation of Code Geass Lelouch Of The Rebellion simplifies and compresses the series' main storyline in eight volumes and removes most of the less meaningful subplots or characters. It also removes the giant mechas and the action sequences that accompany them entirely, which was probably done because that works much better in animated format than it would on page.
- The live action films of Death Note keeps many of the best parts of the original story while changing several things, including giving Soichiro Yagami more prominence and letting him live in the end, giving a larger focus on the murder of Misa's family as a way of making her character seem less shallow, and most of all cutting the Mello and Near arc entirely and having L win personally instead.
- Dragon Ball Kai cut out a lot of the Filler and Inaction Sequences in the original Dragon Ball Z. Not only did this reduce the story from 291 episodes down to 167, but it was also far more faithful to the original manga than the 1989 TV series.
- Dragon Ball SD is a heavily abridged retelling of the original Dragon Ball. For example, Goku learns the Kamehameha the first time he meets Master Roshi (he uses it to blast Pilaf's mecha rather than Ox-King's mountain) and Chi-Chi joins the group when they're in the desert being chased by Yamcha.
- The Familiar of Zero's 1st season condenses the first few light novels into a fast-moving, lighthearted tsundere and magic series, removing some rather awkward scenes. The OVAs also define the characters well.
- This is what Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is compared to the manga it's based on. As an added bonus, it tweaks many minor things and event orders, which shakes things up and keeps it from being a precise retread of the manga, without disrupting the overall spirit and character of it.
- The film version of Leiji Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999 – not so much a compilation as a new adaptation of the original manga series – cuts out much of the unnecessary melodramatic elements of the original to focus on the core story-arc, while at the same time expanding on Tetsuro's quest to get revenge on Count Mecha.
- Mamoru Oshii turned 300-odd pages of the Ghost in the Shell manga into an 80-minute movie by selectively picking out only a handful of chapters out of the entire story (not even covering them in the order that they appear), changing some scenes, removing many of the characters and changing the personality of the characters who were left in. A good 5 minutes of the movie is just spent showing Scenery Porn while children sing a mystic chanting song. It serves no purpose at all. The 2nd movie comes off even more confusing because it was created using the exact same manner as the first, including the mystic chanting Scenery Porn.
- Anime Compilation Movies are like this. The Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy, especially the third installment, Encounters In Space is a particularly good example.
- One large example are the quartet of Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny movies. Destiny had a number of flaws, and while the movies didn't alter the storyline, they did do some editing to mitigate the worst of it: flashbacks were greatly reduced, a couple new scenes were added to clarify certain plot points, and Athrun was made the viewpoint character, rather than Shinn or Kira, which improved the story's flow somewhat.
- Another example is Memory of Eden, the AGE movie. It comes across as an Author's Saving Throw after the disastrous final run of AGE, and cuts out most of the story to focus exclusively on Asemu Asuno and Zeheart Gallette (which most fans thought was the best part of the show). This turns the story from a sprawling, shallow plot of a 75-year long war to a character-driven, personal story with the war as a backdrop, and goes a long way to justifying the actions Zeheart took at the end of the show, which seem to come out of nowhere in the series itself.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin has a more focused story, cutting out many trivial episodes from the original series. This is especially obvious during White Base's time on Earth. In the anime, the ship basically hops from place to place on a rather vague course, whereas in the manga the White Base makes a clear journey from Los Angeles (where they land and where Garma Zabi is based) to Brazil (where Jaburo is located). Yasuhiko also switches certain events around to fit the new story, such as Operation Odessa taking place after the White Base reaches Jaburo, and Amuro encountering his mother before the White Base crew defeat Garma Zabi in battle.
- Anime Compilation Movies are like this. The Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy, especially the third installment, Encounters In Space is a particularly good example.
- Hellsing Ultimate rearranges certain events and streamlines or expands others (particularly the fight scenes) in order to give it a more fast-paced and dramatic narrative flow. Most notably, the Major's "I Love War" speech is moved from the departure of the airships from Brazil to right before the assault on London.
- The iDOLM@STER anime combines story elements from all of the game routes, and Miki, Takane, and Hibiki are already part of 765 Pro from the start instead of eventually defecting from 961 Pro.
- Ikki Tousen: the first season was in line with the early volumes of the manga. Subsequent seasons and specials, however, went its own way, only taking some of the source material as inspiration. Other times, it ignored the source material completely and even created an original character or two; the tone of the series was also subject of some changes, as the anime doesn’t take itself too seriously and greatly exaggerates some relations between girls into something that could be a cast full of lesbians and bisexuals. In the manga, there is actually more women commenting and lusting after men than the inverse. Even Kan’u has expressed her idea on what a man of valor should be; the pacing of the manga is much slower as the setting takes itself more seriously and the violence is much more graphic.
- In the anime version of The Kindaichi Case Files this happens almost every time when the animators pick up a case from the Short Files series and try to fit it into one episode.
- The manga of The Mage Will Master Magic Efficiently in His Second Life notably changes or leaves out certain events of the web-novel, such as Zeff dealing with the bandits attacking a caravan, skipping straight into the formation of their guild. Likewise, the web-novel is much darker (such as Zeff killing bandits without a second thought), whereas in the manga it centers around the shounen elements.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie First, which took the first season, removed a lot of the less plot important bits (such as a huge chunk of the earlier episodes), cut out nearly all the secondary characters, made it more consistent with later seasons (The Staff and Cannon modes are now previously installed in Raising Heart, as opposed to being forms that Nanoha thought up), animated a lot of the more important All There in the Manual stuff (Like the full backstory of Fate), and showed the entire Start of Darkness of Precia as opposed to just hinting at it, turning her to a more fleshed out Tragic Villain.
- Mazinger Z: The anime removed many unnecessary characters (such as the Inspector Ankokuji, the Gamia and the twins Loru and Lori) and storylines and streamlined several stories (like the Lorelei story), trying to make the plot more cohesive and coherent.
- The live-action series of Ouran High School Host Club was this to and the anime that came before it, given how it's only 13 episodes long. It cuts about half of the material from the anime.
- Rebuild of Evangelion seemed to be going this route for the first movie, but the second movie introduced a number of changes to the storyline and the third goes completely Off the Rails and into brand-new territory. The manga also counts in this category, as it removes a lot of the anime's more superfluous scenes (as well as adding some of its own), streamlines angel battles, and removes a high quotient of Mind Screw scenes. However, some of the characters have their personalities and backgrounds altered, so there is some Adaptation Decay to it.
- Although adaptation Re:Zero considered a good example of the careful transport of light novel in anime format, the studio had to remove a lot of the scenes between Subaru and Rem, in order to simplify the romantic line and keep the main focus on the relationship of Subaru and Emilia, removing the most striking hints on protagonist polyamory. Thus, for example, has been removed the recognition of Subaru's declaration of love for Rem, thus removing the entire line of romantic relationship between Subaru and her to the level of subtext.
- The anime that uses the most from this trope has to be Rosario + Vampire. The anime skipped over many unimportant parts of the manga for its first season and almost completely abandoned the manga for its second season.
- Sgt. Frog:
- In the beginning of the manga, Fuyuki is a grade schooler in the 6th grade and Natsumi is a 8th grader. Shortly afterwards, he graduates and moves to another school for his 7th grade. In the anime, Fuyuki is already in 7th grade from the start.
- In the manga, Fuyuki has an occult club in grade school and has a lot of members. When he enters middle school, he joins a manga club to follow his mom, Aki's steps. Eventually, however, Fuyuki leaves the manga club and creates a new Occult Club alongside Momoka. However in the anime, Fuyuki already starts with an occult club, initially by himself before being quickly joined by Momoka.
- The anime of Strawberry 100%, OVA included, only adapted part of the manga and changed some elements.
- The anime adaptation of Sweet Blue Flowers concentrates mostly on the lead characters, with the relationship between Fumi and Yasuko taking central stage. This leads to it having more focus than the original manga, since Shimura loves to introduce loads of extraneous characters with their own back stories.
- The first To Love-Ru anime follows a completely different story line than the manga.
- The Trigun anime is significantly distilled from the original manga. For instance, the anime doesn't even feature Livio as a character, and many of the Gung Ho Guns only get a few minutes of screen time, or are replaced entirely. To be fair, though, the production of the anime began partway through the manga's lifetime, and since about three print issues can be squeezed into a single aired episode, it quickly outpaced the source material.
- In addition to the distillation, the anime is in many regards just different from the source manga. Some of the bonus gaiden stories appeared as filler material for the first few episodes, probably to give the manga a month or two to go on with storyline before beginning with the story itself. One can fairly easily see exactly where the divergence begins; most of the early story arcs are nearly identical in both media, even down to having the exact same lines, but around where Monev the Gale first appears, the two stores take somewhat different directions.
- Umineko: When They Cry:
- The anime suffered heavily from this with several scenes either rushed, changed or removed entirely. Normally this would be rather bad but in this case it was catastrophic since Umineko is a mystery that heavily relies on small hints and clues. This means that if they ever makes a second season the mystery will be unsolvable.
- The manga on the other hand, while not perfect, is much better at keeping the clues and the mood. It also had several clues not present in the novels.
- YuYu Hakusho condenses the events of the first two volumes, in which Yusuke helps out spirits in stories completely unrelated to the battles of the later manga, into five episodes, all centered around the essential events; 1)Yusuke dies, 2)Yusuke finds out what he has to do to come back to life, 3)Yusuke helps his old rival Kuwabara, 4)Yusuke sacrifices his work toward resurrection to save Keiko and as a result 5)comes back to life. It also condensed the ending into a single episode (cutting out a lot of pointless stuff including an out-of-nowhere fight with human terrorists), and actually showed Yusuke's fight with Yomi to its conclusion (when in the manga, it abruptly stops at the end of Chapter 169). Also, the original manga ending had a lengthy explanation about how evil demons were a Vocal Minority, humans had made them what they were, and Spirit World authorities had been brainwashing a lot of demons into committing crimes so that Spirit World could look good. This soiled the point of peace between humans and demons being established, as it made the demons look much too blameless. The anime cuts all this out, and both sides (humans and demons) are left much more even in terms of fault.
- The Punisher MAX is an example of distillation, although it's just a set of "hardboiled" crime stories with only Frank Castle (and an Ennis take on Castle's backstory) to make it "Punisher," which works very well. (In "The Slavers" though it works too well, especially when you see the Downer Ending.)
- The entire Ultimate Marvel line of comics did this for a while, but gradually started doing its own thing.
- All-Star Superman is an intended example for the Golden and Silver Age Superman, and it's widely regarded as doing a great job at it. Alan Moore's run on Supreme does the same thing (albeit with a Superman analogue).
- In Blast Corps, the eponymous team must gather a team of six elite scientists in order to create a controlled detonation for the runaway nuclear missile carrier. In the comic book adaptation (printed in Volumes 97 to 99 of Nintendo Power), they only needed one scientist.
- In Max Ride: First Flight, the plot of The Angel Experiment is greatly simplified, with many of the New York scenes (such as one where the Flock visits a fancy restaurant) excised completely.
- In White Sand, Kenton is apparently the only child, whereas the original novel mentions Praxton having several sons.
- In Total Drama Island, by Gilbert and Sullivan, the Total Drama episode summaries have enough detail to support the verse references and keep the plot coherent, but little more. The summaries rarely go two paragraphs without a verse reference.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Although the base game is the same, several plot elements of EquestriaBound are slightly altered from the original game, in order to keep this new game fresh. An early example is the police segment after the first dungeon being removed, and instead you head to the library to let Twilight tell you where the rest of the Elements are and let Applejack remove the rock blocking the way towards Southern Ponyville. First-time players familiar with EarthBound were expecting the original scene and were slightly surprised that nothing happened after leaving the dungeon. One of these changes requires you to head from the desert (fourth area) back to Northern Ponyville (first area), adding forced backtracking (this is before you get teleport magic).
- While King Sombra was a Generic Doomsday Villain in canon note , he was also a Crazy-Prepared No-Nonsense Nemesis (and even as an Almighty Idiot monster, he still invoked It Can Think). Many fanworks, however, seem to Flanderize the GDV part by devolving him into downright Stupid Evil.
Film — Animated
- Several of the DCAO movies does this whenever they adapt a story.
- Superman: Doomsday was both this and a Pragmatic Adaptation of The Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend and Reign of the Supermen storylines which, when combined, spanned over 60 issues of story. Granted, a lot of that was extraneous storyline for followers of the continuity, but they also managed to effectively compress two or three of the four fake Supermen into a single character and used the audience familiar Luthor as its creator in place of multiple entities that would have had to be introduced and made the conflict about stopping him as opposed to an alien invasion. It still managed to hit the important points of those series.
- Batman: Under the Red Hood: The animated version of the Batman arc "Under the Red Hood" removed almost all plot points not related to Jason Todd's Death/Resurrection to create a much tighter storyline. It also expanded the Joker's role and gave a much more movie-friendly reason for said resurrection.
- Superman/Batman: Public Enemies: Removed allot of characters that originally also appeared in the story, as well as giving Luthor a much more plausible reason for framing the duo and why Captain Atom hates them so much.
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox: Also removed several characters or had their role greatly reduced compared to the comic. It also restructured the story so that it focused much more on The Flash himself rather than the Flashpoint universe as a whole.
- The animated adaptation of The Last Unicorn is regarded as highly faithful to the text, even though significant parts of the book (such as the poetry and songs) are left out.
- Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings until the second half of The Two Towers is this incarnate. With the only changes from the book being the omission of Tom Bombadil, Glorfindel being replaced by Legolas (who was then replaced by Arwen in the Live-Action films), and the history of the ring with Sauron learning from the elves rather than the other way around. The Return of the King was also adapted to animation, by a completely different studio to Bashki's. The story is very disjointed as a result.
- The animated adaptation of Persepolis extends a few chapters, compresses and outright removes a few, and focuses a little more on the relationship of Marjane and her grandmother near the end. This is not a bad thing – it actually makes it a great companion piece to the book.
- Promotional materials regarding The LEGO Ninjago Movie, indicates it's based primarily upon the first three arcs in the series, where the main antagonist was Lord Garmadon, but the main cast includes Lloyd and Nya, both of whom, while still prominent in the franchise, didn't become ninja until seasons 2 and 5, respectively.
- Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie focuses mainly on capturing the tone and humor of the books in general rather than adapting one in particular. In practice, the movie combines the first four books, with the plot mainly a mix of "The Adventures Of" and "Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants" with a good splash of "Attack of the Talking Toilets" and a few scattered elements lifted from "Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds)".
- The Lego Batman Movie: Robin/Dick Grayson's origin is largely simplified to "an orphan adopted by Bruce Wayne", leaving out the Flying Graysons and the circus for the sake of focusing on the main plot.
Film — Live-Action
- The film versions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are quite faithful to the source, with some scenes merged together or removed. The finale of the first film, for example, removes Hermione's challenge of solving a logic puzzle, probably since solving a puzzle isn't exciting to watch. Hermione's moment to shine became the Devil's Snare, with Ron and Hermione's reactions being swapped (in the book, Hermione panicked and Ron had to tell her to get a grip, while it is the opposite in the film). The later films fall under Pragmatic Adaptation and Compressed Adaptation.
- Great Expectations: Eliminates much of the Narrative Filigree found in the Charles Dickens novel. The character of Orlick is eliminated completely, which requires that Pip's sister die of natural causes. The character of Mr. Wopsle is Demoted to Extra, which means that the movie does not include Pip and Herbert going to Mr. Wopsle's terrible production of Hamlet. Other characters eliminated from the narrative include Wemmick's girlfriend and Herbert's girlfriend.
- Classic moments, images and arcs from 40+ years of Spider-Man stories are squashed down to their best bits to fuel the Spider-Man Trilogy, though the 60s and early 70s are clearly the main inspiration.
- The Last of the Mohicans is an extremely distilled version of a very long and rather complicated novel. Omitted portions include redundant portions where the women are captured and quickly freed, a deranged white man at the Huron camp, a shooting contest, and Natty Bumpo disguised as a bear.
- The Lord of the Rings is often considered easier to follow in movie format as opposed to the written version, since many of the plot's more complex nuances were omitted from the films, leaving only the core of the story. On the other hand, there have been loud grumblings from fans of the books about some of the things that were left out as well as some changes that didn't make any sense.
- Goldfinger cuts a long and complex golf game scene into a short bit. More importantly, in the novel, Goldfinger truly does plan to steal all the gold from Fort Knox. The screenwriters have Bond openly talk of how that's physically impossible and then the twist of Goldfinger instead using a bomb to make the gold unusable, which is far more plausible.
- The Towering Inferno was based on two books, The Glass Inferno by Scortia and Robinson and The Tower by Stern, because studio executives correctly realized that the market would not have supported two simultaneous films about buildings going up in flames. There is enough material left out to make at least another whole story.
- The 1980 Flash Gordon film cut out the extraneous parts of the original comic book and adventure serial, making for a better adventure movie. It also cut out racism against black people, but oddly enough, not Asians, although even that was done so over-the-top it had to be tongue-in-cheek, which, apparently, makes it okay.
- The film adaptation of the graphic novel Road to Perdition merges all the anonymous hitmen sent after the protagonists into a single character.
- The film adaptation of Peter Benchley's novel Jaws stripped away most of the book's land-bound subplots and condensed the climactic shark-hunt to a single voyage.
- Layer Cake definitely comes across as a distillation of the novel, being much more tightly plotted, and notably, when the author of the novel, J.J. Connoley, attempted writing a screen play, it was several hundred pages long, and thus he wisely left this task to Mathew Vaughn.
- The film version of The Godfather eliminates about two thirds of Mario Puzo's novel to concentrate solely on the core story of Michael Corleone, dropping most of the Johnny Fontane plot and all of the Lucy Mancini storyline (Lucy Mancini, Sonny's mistress has a tiny non-speaking part in the movie). The result is a much more fast-paced and interesting work. The sections regarding Vito Corleone's rise to power were relegated (and fleshed out in The Godfather II).
- The original Conan the Barbarian stories were somewhat unsuited to adaptation to film, and the original script for Conan the Barbarian (1982) featured lots of huge fight scenes that would have been expensive to shoot. John Milius took both as inspirations for writing the movie, preserving some of the feel of Robert E. Howard's world without the unfortunate tropes.
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe films in general.
- Multiple reviewers of the film adaptation of Iron Man had claimed this, saying the film to be a distillation of everything that makes Iron Man intriguing: all the Jerk with a Heart of Gold and The Alcoholic tendencies, with none of the changes that have happened over time. Notably, Pepper Potts and Jim Rhodes were rarely part of Tony's inner circle at the same time in the comics.
- The Avengers draws heavily from not only the mainstream Avengers comics, but The Ultimates as well. Loki is still used as the reason behind the team's formation, but a number of elements (such as Hawkeye and Black Widow being black-ops agents and founding members of the team) come from the Ultimate universe.
- Iron Man 3 combines elements of the "Extremis" arc by Warren Ellis, the "Sentient Armor" arc by Joe Quesada, the Mandarin's origin story, more plot points from the "Armor Wars" arc, "The Five Nightmares" arc with Ezekiel Stane, and the Civil War story.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier is based off a storyline from Ed Brubaker's run, but Captain America sports his Secret Avengers costume, while The Falcon looks like his Ultimate incarnation. The storyline also has elements of the "S.H.I.E.L.D. Gone Bad" storylines Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Secret Warriors.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron incorporates Ultron and The Vision's intro story (Avengers #54–58), Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch leaving a terrorist organization to join the Avengers (Avengers #16), the Sentient Armor story-line in which Iron Man created an AI suit that went insane and tried to kill him (Iron Man vol.3 #26–30), Ultron using multiple bodies (Ultron Unlimited), and the name of the Crisis Crossover Age of Ultron.
- The plot of Black Panther (2018) is largely drawn from Don McGregor's "Panther's Rage" arc from The '70s (Killmonger igniting a violent insurrection in Wakanda, which leads to a duel with T'Challa atop Warrior Falls), but also has story elements and major characters taken from from Christopher Priest (Nakia and Okoye) and Reginald Hudlin's (Shuri) respective runs. Some of the visuals (namely the new Black Panther suit) were also taken from the very recent run by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze.
- Avengers: Infinity War is an adaptation of The Thanos Quest and The Infinity Gauntlet, but takes elements from Infinity as well in order to make Thanos' plot tied more closely to Earth.
- The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 both take elements from the classic comics and the Ultimate Spider-Man series. The perfect example is the Rhino; He's a Russian gangster like his classic depiction, but pilots a Mini-Mecha/Powered Armor like his Ultimate counterpart.
- X-Men Film Series:
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine adapts several plots from the comic in Broad Strokes, referencing parts of Wolverine: Origin, Wolverine's relationship with Silverfox, involvement in Team X, Barry Windsor-Smith's Weapon X, and Deadpool being part of Weapon X.
- Logan is a loose adaptation of Old Man Logan in part due to rights issues with other Marvel characters. Additionally, it changes the deaths of the X-Men from being Mysterio tricking Wolverine into killing them to Xavier accidentally killing them with his powers during a seizure. It also adapts elements of Death of Wolverine, including Wolverine's healing factor shutting down and ultimately Wolverine dying. The modified crops Transigen created to kill mutants is a more grounded version of the depowering of mutants in House of M. Elements of Innocence Lost were also included, including X-23 and her origins.
- The Name of the Rose also stripped away all of the description of dreams, historical lessons and other scenes not directly related to the main plot.
- Left Behind (2000), the first film in the Cloud Ten Pictures adaptation series, makes the opening attack less of a non-event (by condensing the amount of time between it and the Rapture), plays up the mystery in the first half, puts Buck in a position where he has a lot more influence over the nation, and streamlines the book's rather ping-pong opening sequence. That said, it's still not well-liked.
- A History of Violence: The original graphic novel featured a finger in a jar on a boss' necklace, an overly-devoted wife who immediately had no problem with her husband's previous life, and a brother being kept alive while having parts of him cut off. Cronenberg's take on the story removed the more "comic-book-y" aspects of the graphic novel, while adding more depth to the characters, and replacing the Happily Ever After ending with a more Bittersweet Ending.
- The film version of The Cider House Rules is a considerable distillation of the original novel by John Irving—who also wrote the screenplay of The Film of the Book.
- In Mildred Pierce, the early part of the film follows the book fairly closely, but once Mildred opens her restaurant, things go in completely different directions. Among other things, the novel contains no murder. Instead it follows Veda as she builds up a singing career, largely by sleeping her way to the top.
- Silent Hill is this applied to the plotline of the first game. The intricate not-quite-occult-not-quite-pagan mythos was replaced with a heavily simplified pseudo-Christian substitute, the protagonist is functionally a mix of the heroes from the first three games (Radha Mitchell looks like an older Heather from 3), the "all that matters is the person I love" mentality of Harry and James, and the diabolical force running the whole show were tremendously simplified, but no less evil for it.
- The 2009 Star Trek movie took decades of backstory culled from the show's various series and distilled it to fit with the Origin Story of the alternate Enterprise crew.
- The 1994 film of The Shadow. As there were two separate versions of the character running at the same time, the film instead chose to combine the most well-known elements of both—namely the radio Shadow's identity and abilities, combined with the magazine Shadow's network and attire. Several characters were removed entirely. The character of Margo Lane was retained, but instead of simply being The Watson, she was given psychic abilities of her own in order to explain why The Shadow keeps her around.
- The Secret of Moonacre, the movie based on The Little White Horse, also mixes the two concepts. Gabor Csupo took the book's characters, and went off and did his own thing. To be fair, however, the original book really doesn't lend itself that well to a cinematic adaptation.
- Wanted had the plot revolve around a secret organization of high-profile assassins. Main character Wesley Gibson/The Killer was in fact an assassin in the comic, but the Fraternity was a shadowy cabal of comicbook-style supervillains, who are presently in control of the entire planet after having killed all the superheroes and then altered the very fabric of reality in 1986. Its membership is in possession of superscience, alien technologies, and magical powers, and partakes in atrocities on a regular basis. The comic's writer Mark Millar was actually pretty happy with the transition result.
- The novel of Get Shorty features a handful of scenes written from the perspective of characters who work in the movie industry who view the scenes as though they are scenes in a script. The film takes those scenes and shoots them to pitch-perfection. The rest of the movie was mildly altered, but John Travolta stood in the way of any substantial Executive Meddling.
- Jurassic Park. Many side plots from the book were written out and several characters were combined and their fates change. However, some scenes in the book that were left out of earlier movies in the series appeared in later movies.
- The Dark Knight Saga combines and rearranges elements from many famous Batman storylines over the course of three films. Batman Begins fuses Batman: Year One with elements of The Long Halloween, while The Dark Knight blends The Killing Joke with a few other aspects of The Long Halloween, and The Dark Knight Rises goes for a three-in-one by combining Batman: The Dark Knight Returns with elements of both Batman: No Man's Land and Knightfall.
- The film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy merges two minor characters, Jerry Westerby and Sam Collins, into one. It works well enough for the film, but could be problematic should the studio decide to adapt the rest of the Quest for Karla trilogy, since both Westerby and Collins become major characters (the protagonist and one of the main antagonists, respectively) in the second installment, The Honorable Schoolboy.
- Despite quite a few things being removed for time and expenses, the film version of Holes is still regarded as faithful to the original book. Louis Sachar had a big hand in the adaptation.
- The Hunger Games:
- The Hunger Games shortens how long the actual games take, and a few scenes/flashbacks are cut due not being a first-person narrative (on the other hand, others from outside the protagonist's scope are added).
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1:
- While Katniss spends rather more time being sedated and going in and out of the hospital ward in the book, the movie only shows two instances of this.
- Katniss' constant hiding away is only shown twice.
- Though Coin thanks her people for "interrupting their schedules" during one of her speeches, the District 13 wrist schedules don't appear.note
- Katniss' prep team never made it to 13 in the film.
- Strangely, Katniss' request to be allowed to kill Snow personally doesn't make it into the film.
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2:
- Peeta healing from his brainwashing is almost natural in the film, while in the book it is a long, difficult process and requires medical treatment.
- In the book, in order to go to the Capitol, Katniss has to participate in combat training before she is cleared to go. This section is omitted in the film. Instead, she just sneaks aboard a ship carrying supplies to the Capitol, after which District 13 plays along. Star Squad 451 is still the same though.
- The section in the Capitol, from the moment Boggs steps on a mine is a bit compressed. Like the part where they enter a house and Katniss shoots an Capitol civilian and another where the streets turn into a chasm are omitted.
- After the climax, Katniss is supposed to be under treatment by a doctor. Moreover, she and Peeta were creating a book dedicated to all the victims of the war and previous games. This is not included in the film.
- The V for Vendetta adaptation is understandably forced to make a great deal of simplification (in addition to changing a few themes), including combining Creedy and Finch into one character and turning the tortured leader Adam Susan into the faceless foe Adam Sutler.
- Surprisingly, Chuck Palahniuk himself, after viewing the adaptation of his already-cult novel Fight Club by David Fincher, said the movie worked more efficiently than the book, was more tightly structured and handled the finale better. Then again, this is David Fincher we're talking about. An example of true distillation: considering the complex task of even beginning to dramatize the disjointed Palanick's writing, Fincher used an astonishing array of temporal, visual, point-of-view and narration devices to cram a good deal of the original material into the film. One of the DVD commentaries features Pahlaniuk and the screenwriter discussing the adaptation. It's a two hour lesson in how to do this well.
- The Incredible Shrinking Man: While this film adaptation of the book largely reflects many aspects of the plot, there are a couple plot points not included. The first one was that Scott had a daughter. The second was when Scott encountered a group of boys who recognize him as that shrinking man, they express the desire to remove his pants to see if EVERY part of him had shrunk
- Watchmen combined the two Ozymandias plots of getting Dr. Manhattan off Earth by framing him for causing cancer in people and thus removing him from the picture in time for the second plot, the fake alien attack on Earth. Instead he was framed for causing the cancers, resulting in public anger that drove him away, and then framed for striking back in response.
- DC Extended Universe:
- Man of Steel puts its own spin on elements from Superman: The Movie, Superman II, Smallville, and modern (usually Post-Crisis) Superman comics such as The Man of Steel, Superman: Birthright, Superman: Last Son, Superman: Secret Origin, All-Star Superman, Superman: Earth One, and Superman: Secret Identity.
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice blends both Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman.
- Suicide Squad (2016) not only has elements of the 1980s stories, but elements of the New 52 like Harley Quinn being on the Squad and drawing on Joker for its version of the Joker including having Jonny Frost working for him.
- Wonder Woman (2017) combine the original Wonder Woman origin story (Diana getting involved in a World War, though in this case, World War I), her post-Crisis origin (Ares being the Big Bad), her motivation in Justice League (the contest to send an Amazon out is Adapted Out and Diana instead goes "Screw my mother's edict, I'm helping," then proceeds to steal some weapons and armor to help Steve), and her New 52 origin of being Zeus's daughter.
- Justice League (2017) is based on the New 52 origin for the League (an invasion by Apokolips forces the League to form, Cyborg as a founding member), the backstory of Earth 2 (said invasion led by Steppenwolf rather than Darkseid himself) and The Return of Superman.
- Topher Grace's Star Wars Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back takes the prequel trilogy and distills them down into a single movie that more efficiently tells Anakin Skywalker's Protagonist Journey to Villain.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), April is a reporter like in the 1987 cartoon. She also knew the turtles and Splinter before they mutated, like in the IDW comics. The Shredder is also far more imposing, like his Super Shredder form in Turtles II, and wears an armored suit like in the 2003 cartoon.
- Rurouni Kenshin and its sequels mix together a lot of different bits from various story arcs from the manga. The movies also tone down most of the characters' abilities so they are not quite so fantastical.
- The Fugitive takes the essence of the four-season, 120-episode The Fugitive (Kimble trying to clear his name by seeking out the one-armed man who killed his wife and doing good deeds along the way, Gerard doggedly pursuing Kimble but gradually becoming convinced of his innocence and good character) and makes a taut, fast-paced 130-minute thriller out of it.
- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre leaves out considerable amounts of backstory, as well as the chapter-long morality tales recounted by various characters.
- The Secret Garden (1993) takes every event from the first half or so of the book (taking place over months) and jams them all together to take place in a matter of days or weeks, removing some character depth and growth in the process. Of course, this being a film, the time line is a bit fuzzy.
- Q's search for Margo in the pseudodivisions and the suicide subplot were ultimately cut from the film adaptation of Paper Towns.
- Interstellar: TARS has less dialogue in the novelization, and several of his funny lines and scenes with Cooper are cut or shortened, making CASE's comment about TARS being the much more talkative one almost into an Informed Attribute.
- Judge Dredd: Elements from a bunch of different arcs are mashed together, including The Return of Rico (Dredd's corrupt twin brother Rico returns from a prison colony to get revenge), The Day the Law Died (an insane and tyrannical senior Judge seizes power), The Cursed Earth (Dredd traverses the bombed out territory outside the city), The Judge Child Quest (Dredd encounters the Angel family), and Oz (Dredd thwarts a plot to conquer the city with an army of clones), greatly condensing their stories.
- The film adaptations of the Divergent series actually cut out a chunk of information from the novels to focus more on others.
- Tris' friendship with other Dauntless members not named Christina, Will, and Al are sacrificed so the films could focus more on her budding romance with Four. It is also why when Uriah meets Tris in the Candor headquarters in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, he has to introduce himself first (in the novels he is one of her best friends since the first book).
- The insurgency against Erudite at the end of Insurgent had the entire Dauntless faction (plus a few from other factions) actually collaborate in the plot, whilst in The Divergent Series: Insurgent this is simplified so that only Tris, Four, Caleb, Peter, and Jeanine figure much.
- The first act of Evil Dead 2 is a retelling of the first movie, but cuts out a lot of the tedium and filler, as well as removes Ash's and Linda's two friends from continuity.
- WarCraft, while following mostly the plot of the first game, gives orcs heroic qualities that only appeared in the second game. They also name the entire world Azeroth and the human kingdom Stormwind, which comes from World of Warcraft - in the original game, human kingdom was Azeroth and Stormwind was the capital.
- The Hunt for Red October is reduced quite a lot from the book to movie. An entire separate plot about another missing Soviet sub sent to find the Red October is completely excised, the Americans learn much easier that she is defecting, there is no standoff escalation with the Soviet fleet, and the final movie sequence added the Konovalov to the defection of the Red October crew, which was a set of events 50 pages apart in the book. The participation of the British is also entirely removed.
- Punisher: War Zone crafted a story that used both characters from the mainstream books and The Punisher MAX as it has Jigsaw as its Big Bad (though the Heavy, the villain of the Max arc, "Girls in White Dresses", which was released a few months before the movie, was revealed to be the MAX version of the character), yet the movie shows him interacting with Gaitano Cesare (Jennifer Cesare's grandfather) as the movie makes Cesare Jigsaw's uncle; he's shipping in something for the Bulats; and Pittsy and Ink, (Those Two Bad Guys for Nicolas Cavella) and Maginty are shown working for Jigsaw. Likewise the movie also shows Martin Soap working with Paul Budiansky.
- Perfect Pie:
- Marie's parental issues are just her alcoholic and abusive mother, instead of also having her negligent father involved.
- Marie is an outcast mainly due to her poverty, with the difficulties from her being Catholic largely absent and her backstory of having recently moved back home from the States removed entirely.
- The details of Francesca's three husbands and why she divorced them are largely skipped over.
- Marie's time as a runaway isn't brought up.
- Many additional details from The Passion of the Christ not in the Gospels themselves were taken from Catholic tradition and literature (Emmerich). For instance, Jesus having bloody face wiped by a Jewish woman and meeting his mother Mary on the way is straight from the Catholic "Way of the Cross" (Via Crucis'') also known as the "Stations of the Cross". Meanwhile, Judas's encounter with a bunch of bullying demons is derived from Emmerich's writings.
- In the Nicholas Sparks novel Safe Haven, the heroine Katie spends months planning her escape from her abusive husband, making sure to consider every factor—-money, location, time, etc., then spends several weeks on the run before settling in Southport, North Carolina. This is eliminated in the movie, where she flees from him impulsively following yet another argument and immediately heads to Southport.
- His method of finding her is changed also. In the book, he himself spends several weeks trying to track her down, giving up after she manages to elude him again, only finding her via an unfortunate coincidence. In the, he makes up "Wanted" posters with her name. This fails, but he discovers where she is via coincidence too.
- William Goldman's The Princess Bride claims to be "the good parts version" of an earlier novel by Simon Morgenstern, turning what was a digression-laden, politics-heavy slog into a fun action-adventure story. In fact, Morgenstern and his unabridged novel are entirely fictitious. This setup allows Goldman to lampoon such authors as Victor Hugo and his ilk. The film distills the story even further, into its purest essence.
- Thomas Malory, in Le Morte d'Arthur distilled an enormous mass of wildly contradictory Arthurian legends into a book that is often regarded as the definitive Arthur story.
- T.H. White's The Once and Future King is a distillation (and paraphrase) of Le Morte D'Arthur. The reader is actually directed to read Mallory's version to find out the specifics of certain jousts, etc. Tom himself makes an appearance in the final pages, directed by an ancient Arthur to run away from the final battle so that he can record the Arthur's history.
- Subverted by The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, a book by Neil Gaiman. In the introduction, the author claims it's an attempt to take various elements of various retellings of a certain preexisting Japanese myth, and bring them together in a logical, complete way. It apparently works as the thing turns out great, and the illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano are beautiful to boot... as it turns out, the preexisting myth didn't so much exist at all, which is standard for Neil Gaiman.
- Over time, DC Comics has released various novels over its various popular events and as such, even they have had certain events removed. For instance, The Death and Life of Superman keeps most of the events of Doomsday, Funeral For A Friend and Reign of the Supermen, but removes a number of events, mostly because it was written while Reign was still being worked on. Among the events removed were more involvement with the rest of the DC heroes outside of the required appearance of the Justice League and brief appearances by Wonder Woman and Batman, and it condenses a number of side story events and, for some odd reason, removes Green Lantern Hal Jordan (and replaces his fight with Mongul that leaves the villain unconscious) despite Coast City still biting it. On the other hand, it expands other events, including the eulogy for Superman delivered by Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, for example, and adds more eulogies delivered by world leaders, including even Pope John Paul II (who was still alive at the time of the book's release)!
- The Land of Stories makes it so that the Prince Charmings of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White are all brothers.
- Black Widowers:
- "Truth to Tell": In-Universe, Halsted is adapting The Iliad into limericks, one book at a time. The first book goes as follows:
Agamemnon, the top-ranking Greek,
To Achilles in anger did speak.
They argued a lot,
Then Achilles grew hot,
And went stamping away in a pique.
- "Go, Little Book!": In-Universe, Halsted is adapting The Iliad into limericks, one book at a time. The second book goes as follows:
Agamemnon's dream strategy slips,
The morale of his troops quickly dips.
First Thersites complains,
But Odysseus restrains,
And we next have the Cat'log of Ships.
- "Early Sunday Morning": In-Universe, Halsted is adapting The Iliad into limericks, one book at a time. The third book goes as follows:
Menelaus, though not very mighty,
Was stronger than Paris, the flighty.
Menelaus did well in
The duel over Helen,
But was foiled by divine Aphrodite.
- "Truth to Tell": In-Universe, Halsted is adapting The Iliad into limericks, one book at a time. The first book goes as follows:
- Wendy Cope's "The Waste Land: Five Limericks", each of which is one section of The Waste Land.
- The eponymous hero of The Flash (1990) was an amalgamation of the Silver Age and Post-Crisis Flashes in the comics. While his secret identity was that of Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, some aspects of the character (like his relationship with scientist Dr. Tina McGee and his need to eat insane amounts of food to maintain his powers) were incorporated from the character of the later Flash, Wally West.
- The miniseries version of Hogfather and The Colour of Magic managed to retain most of the good material from the original novel, though it was apparently hard to follow for those who hadn't read the books, as it assumed you already knew most of the backstory. In this case, the distillation is probably because Terry Prachett was heavily involved in both productions, even having cameo appearances in the last scenes of Hogfather and the first of Colour.
- One specific example: They based the Patrician on his later appearances (including Wuffles), instead of his eventually rather contradictory appearance in the actual early books. The "Machiavellian Vampire Flamingo" Vetinari was introduced approximately at the same time as the name "Vetinari".
- The J-Drama form of Boys over Flowers managed to compress thirty-six volumes of manga written over a period of eleven years into a much smoother story, combining characters and editing plot arcs as necessary.
- The Nobuta Wo Produce J-drama was based on a book whose title character was an overweight, unattractive boy, and the main character was a cold-hearted Jerkass who only wanted to produce Nobuta because he was bored. In the drama, Nobuta was a lovable Woobie girl who wasn't even capable of smiling properly, Shuji was misguided and selfish rather than a cold jerk, and the character of Akira was introduced. The resulting drama had an ending that was not saddening as the book, had beautiful cinematography, and mind-blowing plot and characterization.
- The US game show Minute to Win It spun off versions in Australia and the Netherlands version, both of which manage to cram twice as much gameplay into the same hour (which also fixes the numerous pacing problems of the original) by gutting out all the Padding, Filler, reminding the viewers of what just happened three minutes earlier, and Commercial Break Cliffhangers.
- The Incredible Hulk: A very loose adaptation of the Marvel Comics character. The comics' supporting characters and villains are left out and only once during the series did the Hulk battle another superhuman character. Also, for the majority of the series, the only sci-fi or fantasy elements were the Hulk himself. With the exception of two TV movies, the rest of the Marvel Universe wasn't even referenced and the name Hulk was rarely used onscreen to refer to Banner's alter ego. The format for the show was a loose adaptation of Les Misérables with David Banner as Jean Valjean and Jack McGee as Inspector Javert. Comparisons to the Kung Fu TV series are also common with Banner as Kwai Chang Caine as is Richard Kimble of The Fugitive. The show focused on character drama instead of deliberate superhero-style adventure.
- The Vampire Diaries: Bonnie in the TV series is a combination of the book version of Bonnie and Meredith; Meredith's traits are folded into Bonnie and bitchy Caroline takes Meredith's place in the trio.
- The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries cuts most of The Hardy Boys book series' supporting cast. The Hardys' mother, Laura, is dead, and the boys live with their widowed father and Aunt Gertrude, and the only friends from the books that show up are Callie Shaw and Chet Morton — and Chet, only in two episodes. In second season, the series is distilled even more, with even Aunt Gertrude and Callie getting cut.
- Oobi stars bare hand puppets who speak in simplified sentences. It's known for and often defined by its simplicity, but the Iranian adaptation of it (Dasdasi) managed to be even simpler by getting rid of every supporting character and focusing solely on the main family of puppets.
- Smallville takes several cues from the Silver Age (friendship with Lex, Clark having a sort of heroic career while in high school, supporting cast getting powers every other week) as well as Post-Crisis (Clark playing football, Clark getting his powers on the on-set of puberty) and the films (Several Mythology Gags).
- Les Revenants (Rebound as titled in English) is based on a 2004 zombie movie that had a lot more people resurrecting. In the series, there are only five "Revenants", mostly to get a better assessment of their predicament. The movie also didn't provide any explanation for these unexpected resurrections, which the series plans to do eventually.
- The 1981 television adaptation of The Day of the Triffids crammed a whole novel into six 50-minute episodes by the simple expedient of cutting all the Padding, and was frankly the better for it.
- The Magicians: In the first book of the trilogy that the show is based on, the entrance exam had a long section devoted to it. Here it's compressed to just showing us that the writing on the exam paper frequently alters, and Quentin passes while Julia doesn't.
- Parodied with the in 5 seconds YouTube videos, which cut down the targeted film to its most important points. The quality varies somewhat widely from video to video though. This may represent an inadvertent Deconstruction, as some basic biology knowledge will tell you that it is unhealthy to remove all the fat from the body.
- Also on YouTube, "X...in 30 seconds and re-enacted by bunnies!"
- MS Paint Masterpieces, a retelling of the Mega Man (Classic) mythos does a very good job at telling the story of the games, as well as compositing the Gameboy games and Wonderswan games into a coherent whole.
- Some of The Abridged Series out there can do this, not just successfully (or unsuccessfully) turning the story into a comedy but also greatly simplifying the story.
- Tales of the Arabian Nights has the player go through seven missions ("Tales") based on the Arabian Nights (as well as its associated works), with varying levels of liberties and faithfulness.
- Data East Pinball's Tales from the Crypt combines elements of both the original EC Comics' title and the subsequent HBO television anthology series.
- When Edna Ferber's Show Boat was made into the famous Broadway musical in 1927, it wasn't common at all for such long and convoluted novels to be made into musicals. The result still ran very long for a Broadway show, and so has been subjected to various levels of this in all revivals (and in the 1936 movie, the only faithful film version).
- The play Auntie Mame is this for Patrick Dennis's pseudo-autobiographical novel. To quote Patrick Dennis:
"Not every episode of my book is in the play. To get them all in - not that every one would be worth dramatizing - would require passing out box luncheons, blankets, and tooth brushes to a rough-and-ready audience of slavish theatre-goers weaned on Eugene O'Neill and the Ring Series. But an astonishing number of the episodes in the book are in the play; enough so that the casual reader is convinced that every word of the novel has been translated to the stage. If that isn't catching the 'spirit' of a book, I don't know what is."
- Victor Hugo's original Les Misérables novel contained, among other tangents, a lengthy retelling of the Battle of Waterloo. Many critics agree that you can skip this section of the book and miss nothing. The extremely popular musical adaptation removed such elements and focused on the core story and characters. Sadly, it also lost a lot of Character Development and a bit of the plot.
- A double example: British playwright Christopher Bond took the most exciting elements of the Sweeney Todd myth (the razors, the chair, the pies) and added plot elements from The Revenger's Tragedy and The Count of Monte Cristo (as well as excellent dialogue) to create a first-rate melodrama with real character motivation. Then, Stephen Sondheim took Bond's play, fixed the weakest plot moments and set the whole thing to music to create Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a first-rate musical tragedy.
- Herman Wouk distilled his novel The Caine Mutiny into the play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. A made-for-TV version of this play directed by Robert Altman appeared in 1988, but the more famous 1954 film version is a very different distillation of the novel.
- The musical version of Wicked departs so greatly from the book that it almost goes beyond this trope and into In-Name-Only. Justified however, in that it would be nearly impossible to get away with putting a great deal of the content from the book directly into musical format, so the massive re-working of the story was necessary. About the only things the musical and the book have in common are the general plot idea and characters.
- Midnight Channel The Musical: A given, considering how long the game itself is. Notable changes include removing combat, eliminating Social Links, and skipping over Mitsuo's dungeon as well as most of the comedic segments.
- The "Dark Rides" at Disney Theme Parks that adapt movies in the Disney Animated Canon take the parts of the movies that recreate the feel and emotions of the movie while generally squeezing the plot into a few rooms. Occasionally they'll throw in some extra stuff, such as making "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" Darker and Edgier than the animated feature that inspired it. The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure takes the approach of focusing entirely on the film's songs, though coming at the cost of Ursula gaining mostly Offstage Villainy.
- This occurs on The Great Movie Ride, as it simplifies scenes from both Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz, drastically cutting down dialogue or even re-assigning some of the dialogue to a different character.
- The first version of the former Ghostbusters Spooktacular show at Universal Studios Florida was essentially a recreation of the climax of the film it was based on, though just done within a span of 10 minutes and with a few extra dangers thrown in.
- Mortal Kombat 9: The story mode is the plot of the first three games condensed into one, while cutting the fat away. While there are changes (some quite major) because of the Timey-Wimey Ball, most of the stuff that happened in the old games still happens in this one.
- Arcade game manufacturer Global VR lived on this trope by making arcade games that are distillations of Electronic Arts games. Examples include Madden NFL, EA Sports PGA Tour Golf, EA Sports NASCAR Racing, and three Need for Speed games: Hot Pursuit 2- which was rechristened "Need for Speed GT"- plus NFS Underground and NFS Carbon as well. They've also done distillations of UBI Soft games as well- witness Paradise Lost, a rail shooter based on Far Cry and Blazing Angels.
No... you can't play this game at home.
- They also make unique arcade games, too. Witness Aliens Extinction, a rail shooter based on a popular movie license, Puck Off, a shuffleboard game with a Getting Crap Past the Radar - type name, and Justice League Heroes United a beat-em-up with popular DC Comics characters. The flyer lampshades Global VR's distillation-filled past:
- Super Robot Wars:
- The first game will take the plots of the various series it crosses over, cuts out the filler and leaves only the important plots, all while mixing it up like they took the plots and put them in a blender. It's less cutting out and more with everything happening at the same time things go much faster, though not everything happens as you would expect with everything interacting.
- Super Robot Wars Z deserves special mention because the less important plot points and events were put back in the Special Disk expansion. The main game was so crowded not everything would fit.
- Super Robot Wars V is unusual in its means of dealing with the plot of Rebuild of Evangelion: previous titles have only had a single Angel per stage that they appear on, usually mixing the Angel attack with an attack by some other enemy force to provide cannon fodder. V instead has most Evangelion-related stages feature at least two different Angels spawning in rapid succession, or even at the exact same time as one another. It eventually becomes plot-relevant: the Downer Ending of the second movie is averted because the Ninth and Tenth Angels manifest in the same battle, and this changes Shinji's actions considerably.
- Warhammer 40,000 is an extremely large storyverse, with hundreds of novels, graphic novels, rulebooks, and other sources of backstory, some of which Retcon older works. For the PC, they distilled this all down into the excellent Dawn of War series of Real-Time Strategy games, which manage to capture the gritty feel of the game perfectly.
- Blast Works is, at its core, a port of the freeware PC Shoot 'em Up Tumiki Fighters. The main focus of it is the extra-extensive editor, which lets you design many things such as the player ship, background objects, bullet patterns, enemies, and levels. Making this feature even better is the ability to upload and download such creations via the game's official website.
- DJ MAX Portable, a PSP version of the DJ MAX Online series, found itself becoming its own subseries; while the online versions died off (though a new version, DJ MAX Trilogy, is slated for release this month), the Portable series spawned 4 additional titles, one of which is the first American release in a line of previously-South Korea-only titles, and said Korea-exclusive titles have Japanese- and English-language options, which shows that Pentavision recognizes its international fanbase (and probably didn't have enough funds to make non-Korean releases until recently).
- When Sega developed Fantasy Zone II DX (the System 16 version of Fantasy Zone II), they took the multi-screen concept of the original and simplified it into a dual world concept.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is an overly simplified version of and at some points directly contradictory to its source material, Vampire: The Masquerade. But in most cases it is pretty clear that its differences are for the better, since a video game that is completely faithful to its tabletop origins will have some obvious issues. The main problem is that the Word of God states the video game's story is canon, which presents some setting issues as that means some characters (especially Caine) would have had to be in two places at once.
- It is never really established how far back from the end of the oWoD storyline the end of the game is, even a few days would give the characters ample travel time.
- The Darkness trimmed down the first couple of story arcs from the comic, altered several characters, removed the supervillains, got rid of that stupid looking armor, and gave Mike Patton the voice of the titular Darkness. The result is a damn good revenge story loosely connected to the comic canon, but doing a far better job of making the player feel for Jackie in a way the comic was never able to. When the game hits you emotionally, it hurts. The enemies trying to beat you is another matter entirely... Nintendo Hard it isn't. Then again, being billed as a horror story where you play the monster, it fits the premise for Jackie to be hard to kill while in Darkness mode. Caught in the light, he dies easy.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is known for taking the storyline of Marvel Comics' Civil War Crisis Crossover, and keeping the interesting central ideas while jettisoning a lot of the padding that made the original so difficult to read. It also has the advantage of picking a side. Neither one, since the conflict between pro- and anti-registration is seen as petty and pointless once bigger events start happening.
- Marvel Super Heroes is based loosely off of The Infinity Gauntlet, boiling down the main premise to fit within an Excuse Plot for a fighting game: Thanos plans to wipe out life in the universe with the Infinity Gems, and Marvel's pantheon of heroes (plus a couple of villains) must stop him.
- The Xbox port of Doom 3 had a few levels cut short or removed, particularly the filler segments such as the outdoor area in the second level.
- Although it too had some features removed due to hardware and control limitations, the PSX adaptation of Quake II stayed truer to the PC original than the N64's Pragmatic Adaptation, while adding some new interesting areas and enemies, such as a Vore-like arachnid enemy.
- The games in the Batman: Arkham Series have essentially taken the different forms of media that Batman and his world have appeared in, selected the best bits from each one, glued them together, filed the edges down and then cast the player as Batman. It's generally considered one of the key reasons the games have been so successful.
- The arcade version of G.I. Joe sets the game around the time of the DiC series of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (the show's overall third and fourth seasons). However the Joes, and with the exception of Metal-Head, all the Cobra bosses came from the Sunbow series (the first two seasons). This is especially notable, when encountering the game's first bosses, Tomax and Xamot, who didn't even appear in the DiC series.
- Betrayal at Krondor is treated this way. The novelisation cuts away some of the less plot-relevant or dramatically-appropriate side quests, such as the Quest for Ale. In the Author's Note on the novel, he even talks about his regret that he had to cut out his favorite side-quests.
- Fist of the North Star is widely regarded as doing a fantastic job taking the entire first half of the manga (everything up to the Time Skip) and presenting it in 15 chapters plus side chapters, telling the story in a concise but complete way. The sequel game does the same, but covers even more of the story just as well. Both games also avert the lingering Unfortunate Implications surrounding Mamiya by Xenafying her enough for her to pull her weight helping storm the stronghold her allies were going after anyway, instead of being The Load.
- Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron are considered some of the best licensed Transformers video games, hands down, even among the notoriously complaint-happy Transformers fandom. It condenses important parts of the popular Marvel and Marvel UK comics, the original animated cartoons, the more modern comics (especially those done by IDW, while tactfully ignoring Dreamwave's canon), and the previously well received Transformers: Prelude to Energon third person shooter, and comes out on the other side as an intricately detailed and generally fun game that is also Internal Homage-laden enough to satisfy fans of the original Generation One series. It also doesn't hurt that the games are a direct prequel to the also well-received Transformers Prime mentioned below, existing in the same continuity.
- A frequent criticism of Homestuck is that, due to the story's Writing by the Seat of Your Pants nature, it takes way too long for the heroes to actually start moving the plot, instead forcing us to watch them fiddling about with their inventories and typing rude things to each other online. Hiveswap wastes absolutely no time establishing two two human characters, intrusions of eyeless monsters, house destruction, puzzle solving, and even manages to get us to Alternia to meet a troll and rescue him before the end of the first act, basically squishing the Stations Of The Canon of five or six whole acts into about two hours of gameplay.
- Girl Genius is the story of Agatha Heterodyne, as told rather "creatively" by Professors Phil & Kaja Foglio of Transylvania Polygnostic University's Almost Certainly True History department, reconstructed from various historical documents.
- Abridged Series do this by their very nature. For example, Dragon Ball Z Abridged reached the introduction of Androids 17 and 18 (which took 134 episodes in the original series) in only 38 episodes (while episode lengths vary between around 10 and 15 minutes.), mainly because the Garlic Jr. Filler Arc was cut down to one episode (Garlic Jr. meets Mr. Popo).
- Cartoons based of The DCU are ALL ABOUT this trope.
Batman: "In a world without Batman, there could be no Joker. No loose screws. No lost marbles. No bats in your belfry. In this world, you are perfectly sane."
- The DC Animated Universe, from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited, was generally of this kind.
- A more specific example would be the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns segment of the episode "Legends of the Dark Knight", which perfectly encapsulates Miller's style and the tone of the book in five minutes of animation.
- Another one is the Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything" based on Alan Moore's story of the same name. It kept the spirit of the story while at the same time removed the dark elements present in Superman's dream which made Superman breaking out of the Lotus-Eater Machine even more of a Tear Jerker. Even better, it is the ONLY adaptation of his work that Alan Moore actually likes.
- Similarly, the Robin from Teen Titans is essentially an amalgam of Dick Grayson (Robin I) and the better aspects of Jason Todd (Robin II, who doesn't exist in the DC Animated Universe, along with the costume and general look of Tim Drake (Robin III). Cyborg and Raven were also a bit more interesting in the cartoon. Both had far less Wangst, and Raven also had powers that were actually useful in combat (in the comic, she became nothing but The Empath and was often the first one taken out by bad guys despite her considerable power in her earliest appearances).
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a Lighter and Softer take on the greater DC Universe outside of the "Big Three," and gets the core personalities of the characters it features down pat while improving some others. Aquaman is a Large Ham Boisterous Bruiser in the show, unlike the comics, but it fits better with the tone. The show's also packed aplenty with Mythology Gags ranging from references to the long-forgotten Golden Age and Silver Age Batman stories to (occasionally) the relatively recent Infinite Crisis and 52. It's essentially the "good parts version" of the entire DC Universe but is still accessible to non-readers of the comics. The show is also more respectful to characters who pass the torch. In the comics, Blue Beetle Ted Kord is shot through the head by a villain after refusing to give in; in B&B, he dies stopping a missile attack on America. Likewise, Ray Palmer had a Heroic B.S.O.D. after his wife went nuts and became a murderous villain, handing the Atom mantle to Ryan Choi, who was later killed. In this series, Palmer handed the mantle without the tragedy and retired to South America, while Choi had a 10-Minute Retirement.
- Another example is the Emperor Joker storyline. B:TBaTB very loosely took a 2000 Superman story arc of a Mad God-Emperor resembling The Joker and made it the Caped Crusader's own story in 2010. In the comics, the story opens up In Medias Res, with Superman waking up in Arkham Asylum and breaking out of there, only to discover a World Gone Mad. He later discovers that Mr. Mxyzptlk had been scammed into giving 99.99% of his powers to the Joker, turning him into a god-like Reality Warper who twists the world in his own way; eats up everyone in China; kills Lex Luthor, Batman, and everyone associated with the latter (except Supes, of course) repeatedly day after day, all in graphic and bloody ways, leaving the Dark Knight traumatized; later removes Batman's mouth so he can't speak; turns Harley Quinn into a constellation; literally steals Supes' heart; and brings up Apocalypse How Class X-4 by blowing up the entire universe near the end; Superman eventually defeats him by asking him if he would try to take the Dark Knight out of existence, only for the Clown Prince of Crime to realize he can't; Joker's powers are surrendered to Mxy and the universe is eventually restored. In this cartoon series, Bat-Mite replaces Mxy; the reason that Bat-Mite gives the Joker all of his powers is by accident, as he was only trying to help Batman out in the fight; the Clown Prince of Crime destroys the universe during his Villain Song, right in the middle (rather than the end) of the episode, and recreates his Villain World of playing cards; he keeps his henchmen, Harley Quinn, Bat-Mite and Joker-Mite alive while repeatedly killing Batman (in less graphic and more comedic ways) and bringing him back to life for hours instead of days; the worn-out Batman begs the villain not to take away his sanity; the Joker renders Harley mute instead of turning her into a constellation and goes on a journey to the center of Batman's mind to try to toss away his files (instead of ripping out Supes' heart); and it all culminates in the Dark Knight (rather than the Man of Steel) showing the Joker an Alternate Universe in which Batman doesn't exist, resulting in Joker's Villainous Breakdown, allowing Bat-Mite to get his powers back and restore the universe in seconds.
- The prior Batman show, The Batman, also managed to get some of this trope in. The show's treatment of Hugo Strange, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, and especially Clayface are among some of the most well-regarded things in the show due to boiling them down to their most basic natures and then adding elements that made them stronger characters.
- Young Justice manages to do this, using older characters like Dick Grayson as well as more recent ones like Miss Martian. The show also gives modernized redesigns to some of the campier DC characters. Like The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice also uses numerous shout-outs and mythology gags, as well as a few nods to the 90's comic book of the same name.
- Legion of Super-Heroes brought several outdated costumes and looks and made them sleeker and more futuristic. For example, Bouncing Boy newly sports spiky hair and goggles and his limbs disappear when he bounces, which looks a lot less ridiculous. Also, the comics explained Superboy being in LOSH despite Post-Crisis Supes not having been Superboy as a teenager by way of a complicated explanation involving parallel universes that aren't really parallel universes since there aren't parallel universes anymore. Oooookay. The series? Teen Clark was a civilian when he was taken to the future, and only wears the spandex while there.
- The DC Animated Universe, from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited, was generally of this kind.
- The Spectacular Spider Man drew heavily from the original spider-man comics of the Silver Age stories that were written by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (the show brought in characters, plot elements, premise, story lines, etc) with a similar balance of action, drama, and comedy as well as a high school setting. However, it also tends to utilized a number of material from all eras of the comic's run and other sources such as the more recent Ultimate Spider-Man comics and the popular live-action Spider-Man Trilogy, making a cartoon that is recognizable to both older and younger fans.
- The 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon did make one notable improvement. The comics by Eastman and Laird, and most subsequent adaptations, depict Splinter as a rat who learned ninjutsu by copying the movements his human master made while training, before mutating and gaining human characteristics. In the 1980s cartoon, the human master himself is mutated by gaining rat characteristics, and retains all his ninja knowledge, which he then passes on to the Turtles. This improvement is kept in the 2012 cartoon.
- The 2003 cartoon also distilled the Mirage series while adding its own twists and variety.
- So far, the 2012 cartoon has been a distillation of the entire Ninja Turtles franchise. Scenes, character traits, whole characters, and whole episodes have been taken from previous series and given a fresh coat of paint. To name a few examples, we have:
- From multiple continuities: the Rat King, note and the flight to the farmhouse note
- From the 80s cartoon: the turtles' obsession with pizza, note the Kraang, note Irma, note Mutagen Man, note fly-mutant Baxter Stockman, note Bebop and Rocksteady, note Muckman and Joe Eyeball, note and Mondo Gecko note
- From the 90s movies: Tokka and Rahzar, note Raph holding vigil over the unconscious Leo while at the farmhouse, note and Casey and Donnie working on a car while trading alphabetized insults
- From the 80s Toy Line: a toy-only character called Pizza Face note
- From the 2003 cartoon: Mikey's innate talent, note Mikey's pet cat, note the Purple Dragons gang, and the Earth Protection Force
- G.I. Joe: Renegades is a rather successful attempt at this, blending elements from the original comic book, 80s cartoon, and Rise of Cobra movie tossed into a blender with The A-Team.
- Reviews of Transformers Prime commonly state that this show takes many of the good points of the films (intense action scenes and realistic robot designs) while following thematics that were established by Beast Wars or Transformers Animated.
- Thunder Cats 2011 has show runner, Michael Jelenic articulating this as his general aim for the series. Also, series composer Kevin Kliesch worked under a demand to rearrange and truncate the original's Theme Tune from two minutes to ten seconds while retaining its signature elements.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! drew on not only the classic Silver Age stories, but a number of the modern elements and bits of The Ultimates as well.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic does this with the previous generations of My Little Pony cartoons, combining fantasy and adventure elements of the original G1 cartoons with the Slice of Life style of Tales, and most of the main cast are re-imagined G3 characters such as Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity. The result was extremely successful, to say the least.
- The book adaptation of the Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks spinoff has a different ending to one of the scenes made into a short. In the short, DJ Pon-3 puts in earphones after Principal Celestia takes them away. In the book, Celestia takes them away because there's a fire drill.
- VeggieTales has the episode The Penniless Princess, which is their adaptation of A Little Princess. Unlike many of their episodes based on other source material, it's a straight-up adaptation, staying rather faithful to the source material, but they do simplify the story a lot by cutting out characters, combining scenes, and making the message more obvious.
- The first season of the 90's The Moomins series combined selected contents from both Tove Jansson's novels and her comics into a single episodic narrative while merging characters and events, simplifying and streamlining The 'Verse and adding some original contents into the mix. The result is something of a more consistent middle ground between the mood of the comic and the various moods of the novels.
- Wolverine and the X-Men drew from many of the elements of the X-Men lore, particularly from both of the original (mainly through elements like the formation of the X-Men, the members of the original X-Men team that was founded by Professor Xavier had consisted of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast without fur, Angel and Iceman, etc) and modern (mainly through elements like most of the character designs, the disbanding of the X-Men, Genosha, etc) versions of the X-Men that are from the mainstream Marvel Universe as well as from the Ultimate (mainly through elements like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver being raised by Magneto, Both Magneto and Quicksilver leading the Brotherhood of Mutants, Toad's design, Wolverine being taller, the event of a fleet of Sentinels being sent to Genosha to attack Magneto and the mutants living there, etc) version of the X-Men.
- The series had also uses elements that were from the films series (mainly through elements like the use of the movie version of Warren Worthington II, the designs of Cereboro and the Xavier institute, the Father-Daughter relationship that was between Wolverine and Rogue, the fact that the voices of many of the characters such as Professor Xavier and Magneto appear to be inspired by the voices of the actors and actresses that portray the characters in the film series, etc).
- Spawn has a refined, more coherent plotline, more sympathetic characters, and viciously batters the Animation Age Ghetto.
- When the Tintin comic books were adapted into an animated series by Nelvana in the 90s, many stories were streamlined or simplified with plot details either altered or dropped, e.g. Cigars of the Pharaoh showing Tintin already acquainted with Detectives Thompson and Thomson whereas they met for the first time ever in the comic. A full list can be found here.