A work may be an adaptation of previous media, but that does not mean it has the same tone or style. It will usually hit the same main plot points, but change dramatically the way the plot is presented, sometimes to the point of changing the genre
or changing position on a sliding scale such as the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism
. This may be the result of the production team experimenting with a different approach, having one or more people part of it that bring a signature style to the adaptation, or modern issues and values causing a shift.
to Darker and Edgier
and Lighter and Softer
. Sister Trope
to Tone Shift
Anime and Manga
- It is well-known that Hayao Miyazaki does not do adaptations, he simply uses the source material as a convenient jumping off point to tell his own story.
- Happens a ton with Superheroes, especially Batman. Thankfully, many superheroes have had many different genres positions on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism even in their own medium, which makes these easier to swallow.
- Cosmic Warriors is based on Sailor Moon, but strips Usagi of her fuku, wands and tiaras, instead giving her a battle suit and a lance to take on her enemies with. The villains have also been changed to create a darker retelling.
- Anything Tim Burton touches turns quirky. This doesn't really apply to movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland, on account of the source material's pre-existing quirkiness, but definitely applies to Batman (Returns), Sleepy Hollow, and Planet of the Apes.
- The Harry Potter movies had different inspirations in visual tone and what the directors emphasized. Goblet of Fire had several boarding school comedy pieces, some of which weren't in the book at all. Alfonso Cuarón gave a candy shop Day of the Dead touches and food, such as candy skulls.
- Speed Racer felt more like a live action anime movie.
- The Shining novel is unabashedly supernatural; the Stanley Kubrick film favors Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane.
- Blade Runner is based upon the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, but takes the exact opposite stance on its theme.
- Desert Heat is loosely adapted from Yojimbo and even gives it a cute Shout-Out near the end.
- Frozen is based off The Snow Queen... except the eponymous queen is a protagonist, isn't evil, doesn't kidnap children, and Kai and Gerda appear as adults and aren't the main characters. So really, not that much like The Snow Queen.
- Godzilla (1998) was, in theory, an American adaptation of the famous Japanese film series, but in reality it bears only a very slight resemblance to its namesake. Both versions feature a reptile that grows to enormous size because of atomic testing, but the similarities end there. Where the Japanese Godzilla is an ancient dinosaur that mutates into a slow, Nigh Invulnerable behemoth that is hostile towards humanity (at first), capable of releasing a deadly atomic beam from his mouth, and decidedly male, the American Godzilla is an iguana mutated into a hermaprhoditic Fragile Speedster that wants no conflict with humanity, only came ashore to lay eggs, and has no flashy abilities. Additionally, the original Godzilla was a metaphor for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as he was specifically mutated by American nuclear testing, while the American version pushes the blame to the French and lacks any kind of symbolic depth. The animated series which followed was much closer to the original Japanese monster.
- The modern American remake tells a markedly different story; by having the titular beast be an ancient creature, older than the earliest dinosaurs, the theme shifts from a direct allegory of nuclear destruction to primal, unstoppable forces of nature keeping the world in check, with the MUTO being the threat to humanity and Godzilla himself the inevitable response. The bombing of Hiroshima is mentioned, and gives context to Dr. Serizawa's concern over a nuclear strike (his father was killed in the blast), but the continuous American atomic testing in the Pacific, then current in 1954, is also quantified in-story — it was a cover for the Navy's repeated efforts to kill it. The plot and ending, in turn, reflect the modern conception of Godzilla and his Character Development into a heroic figure; rather than being killed and crumbling into dust before he can destroy again, he defeats his ancient enemies and walks triumphantly back into the ocean, with press outlets heralding him as the savior of the city.
- Most The War of the Worlds adaptations have been updated to a later time period and location than the original. The only thing most have in common are alien invaders with tripods and their defeat by our microorganisms:
- The original took place in 1900s England at the height of its power.
- The infamous 1938 radio version is set in what was then The Present Day.
- The 1950s version focused on scientists in Los Angeles.
- The 2005 film had an almost war documentary feel to it, focusing on an East Coast family trying to survive.
- The Lowlands of Scotland Series is based on the biblical story of Jacob, but it is very much a modern novel series, with all the setting details and character development and intricacies of plot that that implies.
- Battlestar Galactica (2003) is the original series turned Darker and Edgier.
- Kings takes the Biblical story of David and puts it in a modern political drama.
- Sherlock is Sherlock Holmes, in the present day, with Stale Beer Spy Fiction elements. Or, taken another way, as a mundane Superhero series, with a Batman, a Catwoman, a Joker, and special guest appearance by Lex Luthor.
- Elementary, despite having a similar premise, is Sherlock Holmes in the present day as a Cyberpunk Police Procedural.
- The 100 TV series keeps the basic premise and a few of the characters from the book, but takes them in its own direction, focusing less on the Lord of the Flies-esque situation and more on conflict between different civilizations on the Ground.
- This happens a lot to public domain works, since people can be reasonably expected to know the original or at least the gist of it, so instead of doing the same thing for the umpteenth time they make Hamlet IN SPACE!!
- William Shakespeare is one of the most frequent targets of this.
- Dinotrux takes the general idea of Dinosaurs and Construction Vehicles merged together from the Chris Gall book series, but goes in an entirely different direction with it, featuring more mechanical robotic character designs versus the organic ones seen in the illustrations of the books.