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  • Other than being about twenty-somethings entering a program to go undercover in a high school, does 21 Jump Street have anything to do with the show of the same name? It might has well been called Never Been Kissed Goes Undercover. It's meant to be a Stealth Sequel, not an outright remake of the show. There's even dialogue at the beginning that makes it clear that the old 21 Jump Street program is being revived, they use the same old church as home base, and several original characters from the show make appearances.
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  • The opening credits to Adaptation. list it as based on Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief, to which it bears very little resemblance. But then, that was the point of the movie.
  • The Adventures of Don Juan really has little involvement of the Don Juan story as most people know it. Sure, he's a seductive guy with a servant named Leporello, but the story focuses on him helping the Queen of Spain rather than him throwing a banquet and getting dragged down to hell by a talking statue.
  • Æon Flux had nothing in common with the TV series except for three character names, a couple of prop designs, and that it involved an Action Girl. The creator of the TV show has been complaining ever since. Interestingly, the video game is actually a wonderfully faithful adaptation of the cartoon, despite being produced as a tie-in for the movie.
  • Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010):
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    • Despite being named for the shortened-version of the first book, the movie is actually a sequel of sorts. The Red Queen shares only her title with the chess piece from Through the Looking Glass, and is in every other respect based on the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. (Presumably so that the film could feature a "good" White Queen as well as an "evil" Red Queen - but there again they are nothing like the characters in the book, who are merely insane rather than good or evil.)
    • The sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, follows very much in the same vein as the first one did. The movie does briefly feature some characters from the original novel, such as the living chess pieces and Humpty Dumpty, but the main focus and plot centers around Alice travelling through time to look for the Hatter's family.
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  • The Alone in the Dark video game series is a rather atmospheric experience, usually residing within the territory of Survival Horror, but Alone in the Dark (2005) is just a hardcore action flick with a few horror elements stolen from various sources, with almost no story elements from the games. When Uwe Boll was handed a working script, his first comment was "There weren't enough car chases." Also, at no point are any of the characters ever alone in the dark. They are either with someone else at the time, or they are not in the dark.
  • The Amazing Spider Man 2:
    • The film features a version of Ashley Kafka with the only thing in common with the comic character being that they work as Ravencroft and the name, as the Kafka of the comics was a female psychologist who cared about her paitents, whereas the movie Kafka is a male Mad Scientist who tortures Electro For Science!.
    • Likewise, the only things that the Norman Osborn presented in the film has in common with his comic counterpart are his name and roles of being the head of Oscorp as well and father of Harry Osborn, with Decomposite Character being in play as Canon Foreigner Rajit Ratha from the first movie takes Osborn's usual role as a ruthless businessman and Norman's son Harry takes over Norman's other usual role as the original Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy's killer.
  • The classic Ray Bradbury short story, A Sound of Thunder and the film of the same title both involve time travellers accidentally altering the past while hunting a dinosaur — and that's literally it. The movie even kills the concept on which the book was based in the first five minutes. That's like Marty getting run over by a semi before he can hit 88 MPH in the first Back to the Future.
    • The best part is how, in the original story, the possible effects of the altered past are built up to be unspeakably disastrous during the course of the story. When the Time Safari does get back, however, everything is basically the same... and then they notice the wonky spelling... The story's ending was apparently too subtle for Hollywood, so we got a city overgrown with jungle (it doesn't even make sense in context) and crawling with killer baboon-things and sewer sharks. Oh, and there's also something about a catfish-man. Of course.
    • The worst part is the movie can't even keep its own mythology straight. In the original story, it was simple - changing something in the past changed the future. In the movie, changing the past causes time to change in six "waves", and the protagonists remember everything that happened before the change. At the end, when the timeline is set right, the changes happen instantly and nobody remembers what happened.
  • The film adaptation of the novel Avalon High. In the movie, the main character turns out to be the reincarnation of Arthur, rather than Elaine of Astolat/The Lady of the Lake, changing the entire plot completely. Similarly, Marco is Kay instead of Mordred, and a teacher turns out to actually be Mordred. With half of the characters swapped around, it definitely becomes a case of this trope.
  • Batman & Robin:
    • The new character Batgirl is considered by many fans to be this due to the liberties taken with her origin, changing her from Commissioner Gordon's daughter to Alfred's niece, and dropping any original characterization and backstory that her comic book counterpart had.
    • Bane from the same film, dropping the Wicked Cultured Genius Bruiser aspects of his comic book counterpart, leaving a Dumb Muscle Brute whose dialogue throughout the movie consists of mere grunts.
  • Battleship may well have a completely different title. The only real nods to the source are the alien canister bombs that embed themselves into ship decks before exploding much like the pegs from the board game and the (jarring) scene where they use buoys to map the sea into numbered squares they can fire at. (In all fairness, though, exactly how else are you supposed to adapt a completely plotless board game?)
  • Andre Norton's The Beast Master series tell the story of retired veteran Hosteen Storm, an American Indian in the far future who was recruited into an elite commando force, the titular Beast Masters, which were telepathically bonded to a team of genetically enhanced animals (a horse, tiger, pair of ferrets and hawk in Storm's case) to fight an interstellar war. With Earth destroyed on the way to a costly victory, he is discharged with honors to seek his fate and sort out his life on a distant colony world. It's been adapted to other media a number of times... In a manner of speaking:
  • Hype Williams, a hip hop video director, took a shot at directing a movie in 1998. The result was Belly. Now it may not have won any Oscars due to a mediocre plot, but the film became a cult classic with its distinctive narrative and visual style that Williams videos were known for. Eight years later, Millionaire Boyz Club was finished and ready to be released straight to DVD. This movie has no connection to Belly whatsoever. For reasons unknown to even the actors, the film was released as Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club. The original film featured heavy Music Video Syndrome (specifically videos Hype Williams directed), narration from the main character, themes of self destruction, knowledge of self, redemption, salvation, albeit done very sloppy in terms of writing, and dropped many anvils towards the end. This "sequel" had a completely different cast and director, none of the themes of the first film, and lacked the visual style and narrative that the first film was known for.
    • The title change may also have missed the point of the original. The title "Belly" was meant to mean "Belly of the Beast". The "Beast" supposedly meaning the evil of men, or in this case the evils of the ghetto (drugs, alcohol, violence, etc). The second film however was a cookie cutter "gangsta' flick" that glorified every tired cliche used in 'hood movies.
      • Ironically enough, a true sequel titled "Beast" was supposed to be released around the same time as Millionaire Boyz Club, and was meant to follow up on the two main characters since the last film. This was either scrapped or put on the shelf. The main cause was of course the many legal troubles of one of its main actors, DMX.
  • Hitchcock's suspense classic The Birds was inspired by a Daphne du Maurier short story of the same name. The only thing they have in common is that there are birds and they attack people.
  • The 1934 movie The Black Cat starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi has nothing to do with the Edgar Allan Poe story of that title.
    • "The Black Cat" got this a lot: see also the 1941 film The Black Cat starring Bela Lugosi with Basil Rathbone; Roger Corman's "The Black Cat" segment from his 1962 anthology Tales of Terror; 1972's awesomely-named Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key; Lucio Fulci's 1981 The Black Cat; and Dario Argento's "The Black Cat" segment from the 1990 anthology Two Evil Eyes. All of these at least bother to include a black cat at some point in the narrative; other than that, anything goes.
  • Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, the sequel to The Blair Witch Project, is actually about some dorks inspired by the previous (and acknowledged as fictional) film who try to find the witch for themselves. Mind Screwiness, naked breasts, and random owl "symbolism". It also has nothing whatsoever to do with anything called a "Book of Shadows".
    • There was supposed to be a more direct sequel that would have come out after Book of Shadows, but when Book of Shadows bombed, so died any hopes of the other sequel.
  • Blue Lagoon: The Awakening is supposedly a retelling of The Blue Lagoon. Yes, there is an island, and the two teenage castaways learn to survive and fall in love. But it's set in the modern day with two American high schoolers, who get stranded on the island after fleeing the Tobagoan police during a senior trip. They only live on the island for a few months before getting rescued, and in the meantime they have lots of casual sex knowing full well what it is that they're doing (and she doesn't even get pregnant).
  • The Bourne Series have nothing whatsoever to do with Ludlum's novels, aside from the name of the main character and his amnesia. They cut out the primary villain (since Carlos the Jackal is just a teensy bit in prison at the moment), changed the time to present day, completely changed the backstory behind Bourne's skills, changed the last name, nationality, profession (and, in the second film, lifespan) of his love interest... The movies are generally considered good, mind you (especially the first one). Just... expect to be disoriented if you read the books afterward.
  • Bratz is only really about the toy line in name only. However, there wasn't much to go on to begin with.
  • Cabin Fever: Patient Zero has nothing in common with the previous two films outside of having a virus. It's more like a combination of Outbreak and The Human Centipede.
  • The sequel The Curse of the Cat People has very little in common with the original Cat People, beyond featuring the same three main characters.
  • Captain Horatio Hornblower, R. N.: Comprising The Happy Return, Ship of the Line and Flying Colours, the film takes the bare plotline and ignores everything else. Several major elements and subplots are removed or replaced entirely and characterizations are radically changed.
    • Hornblower is now a standard Hollywood hero that makes grand speeches and gives compliments, in stark contrast to the brooding Byronic Hero who disdains "unnecessary words".
    • A subplot of the Lydia's surgeon being killed in action against the Natividad and Lady Barbara assuming his duties, before falling ill en route to England and Hornblower nursing her back to health is added.
    • El Supremo's subordinates, such as his personal aide and the captain(s) he puts in command of the Natividad are written out, and his crucifying of dissidents (which causes a brief skirmish between the Lydia's crew and El Supremo's soldiers) is not mentioned. El Supremo was later shown to Hornblower as a prisoner chained belowdecks on a Spanish lugger, whereas in the film he personally commands the Natividad and is killed in its destruction.
    • Maria attends a dinner with Lady Barbara and Admiral Leighton at beginning of Ship of the Line, but here dies offscreen while Hornblower was in the Pacific.
    • The East Indiamen convoy, which Hornblower must protect from two attacking privateers, is dropped (possibly because Hornblower illegally presses 120 crewmen).
    • Hornblower, in the book, absolutely wreaks havoc on French shipping and naval operations in the Mediterranean, taking numerous prizes. The Sutherland is explicitly Dutch built and painted with a sloppy Nelson Chequer, which Hornblower uses to perform numerous ruse de guerre, before attacking the four warships in the open sea, virtually destroying three and heavily damaging the fourth, to prevent them from slipping into a harbour defended by coastal artillery. The Sutherland is heavily damaged, captured and towed to shore to stop from sinking. In the movie, the Sutherland is French and (in the colourised version at least) is painted an ugly seafoam, Hornblower captures one brig before learning of the warships and attacks them in the harbour, mostly being attacked by shore battery before personally firing a cannon into the Sutherland's hull to bottle up the harbour and prevent her capture.
    • The Chateau de Graçay is removed entirely. They are quite vital to Flying Colours, as the Comte de Graçay houses Hornblower, Bush and Brown through the winter, helps them assemble a rowboat and has his maids fashion Dutch customs officers' uniforms to escape, whereas here they simply escape from the carriage and reach Nantes, then attack three Dutch officers for their uniforms. The character Marie, with whom Hornblower carries on an affair, is also removed.
    • Bush's foot is shot off by a cannonball at the end of Ship of the Line. Here his leg is hit with shrapnel and gets better during their escape.
    • The film contains several anachronisms such as drinking to the King's health (not permitted until the reign of King William IV in 1830) and referring to Sir Arthur Wellesley as the Duke of Wellington in 1808, when he was awarded that title in 1814, both of which the books make a point not to make.
    • A detailed analysis of changes can be found here. That said, the film is enjoyable on its own rights.
  • The Roger Corman production Carnosaur has absolutely nothing in common with the novel it's supposedly based on, aside from the fact there are dinosaurs in both of them, one of which is a Deinonychus. The novel is set in England and revolves around a reporter investigating the private zoo of an eccentric lord to find out he has recreated dinosaurs from fossils, which his crazed wife sets loose out of spite. The movie is set in the United States, and revolves around a security guard who discovers a Mad Scientist has created a virus that fatally impregnates human women with dinosaur fetuses and plans to release it so that the human race will be driven to extinction and dinosaurs will rule the Earth once more. The film was very obviously made just to be a cheap cash-in of Jurassic Park, which arguably has more similarities to the novel than the novel's own adaptation does.
  • Catwoman: Go read a Catwoman comic. Any Catwoman comic. Then compare it to the movie. Other than the main character being a cat-themed antiheroine who dresses in black leather and wields a whip, there's almost no resemblance. The closest this film gets to having anything in common with the source material is an off-hand comment about "other people who have had such abilities", and one of the photos on the table is Selina from Batman Returns.
  • Tony Richardson's The Charge of the Light Brigade is less a remake of the 1936 Errol Flynn film (or the Tennyson poem) than an adaptation of the nonfiction book The Reason Why, by Cecil Woodham-Smith. Richardson said that the studio renamed the movie in post-production, thinking Light Brigade a more commercial title.
  • Cheaper by the Dozen: The book is about the world's first efficiency expert and how he raises his twelve children, while the movie is about a husband trying to raise twelve kids while his wife is away on a business trip. Note that this only applies to the remakes. The original movies made in the 1950s and 1960s were much, much more faithful to the events in the books - which were actually loosely based on events in real life, reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie books.
  • City of Angels is a Foreign Remake of Wim Wenders' classic film Wings of Desire, but it bears very little similarity outside of the most basic premise.
  • The Hungarian movie Colonel Redl purports to be an adaptation of John Osborne's play A Patriot for Me. Aside from featuring Alfred Redl as the main character, and a prominent duel scene early in the film, they have nothing in common.
  • The Hustler is a reasonably close adaptation of the book of that name. They each have a sequel called The Color of Money, but the film and the novel have almost nothing in common.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) scarcely bears any relation to the books (and comics), besides some few elements like names and most notably Mako's narration at the start. Conan's character is fundamentally altered since he now grows up in slavery, becoming what he is all due to others (e.g. devoting his life to revenge against the warlord who left him an orphan, being educated in the arts and in swordsmanship by Eastern masters). The Conan of the books was always master of his own fate, Walking the Earth because he felt like it and absorbing knowledge as he went.
  • A Cry in the Wild is an adaptation of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, but the sequel, White Wolves: A Cry in the Wild II has no relation to the series other than having the same director.
  • Creepshow 3 is a much lambasted example, which is rather remarkable since like its namesakes it's a horror anthology movie. But unlike the other Creepshow movies it had no involvement from George Romero or Stephen King and, even more damning, had no homages to the EC horror comics of the past. Of course, it helps (or doesn't help) that Creepshow and Creepshow 2 are considered classics, while Creepshow 3 is as widely disliked as any work can be.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button only takes the basic premise and title from the F. Scott Fitzgerald story that it is based on. While the former is a good Magic Realism drama by itself, the latter is mostly a comic farce.
  • Roger Zelazny's 1969 Damnation Alley was set in a post-apocalyptic Nation of California in which the aftereffects of WWIII twenty years ago have spiraled way beyond nuclear winter to bring the entire Earth to the brink of death, including continuous several hundred mile an hour winds that continually roar by about 500 feet above the ground to produce a blanket of radioactive rubble and garbage mixed with the contents of a good part of the world's oceans (which regularly results in a shower of horribly mutated sea life raining down to feed the giant abominations that dominate the land) in the sky. The story follows a Sociopathic Hero (the last living Hell's Angel) who has been forced into a lone suicidal medicine delivery mission through the inland no-man's-land to the U.S. East Coast as the result of a murder conviction. The movie Damnation Alley was instead set in a toned down version of this two years after the fireworks, with the protagonist recast as a soldier at a missile base in the desert. After braving some drunken hillbillies and rubber cockroaches to investigate a mysterious radio signal, he and his squadmates discover a completely untouched haven and live Happily Ever After. The film was the more strongly favored of two "Sci-Fi" films being made by Fox at the time. The other film was Star Wars (1977); this one's budget was 1.54 times larger.
  • The only things The Dark Knight Trilogy's version of Gillian Loeb has in common in the character of the same name from Batman: Year One is that he's against Batman and preceding Jim Gordon as Police Commissionernote , as the movie character has more to do with Michael Akins, an officer who temporarily replaced Gordon as Commissioner: namely being a young, honest, African-American cop rather than the old Caucasian Corrupt Cop from the comics.
  • The "remake" Day of the Dead (2008) is nothing like the original except for being a zombie movie. Except for the setting, the monsters, the downbeat ending and the dying hero turning plot.
  • Death Sentence the film has a different story, focused on a Papa Wolf Vigilante Man going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, as opposed to the original novel, which was a sequel to the Death Wish novel. Author Brian Garfield has stated that despite the differences, the film still did get the novel's point across.
  • Most film versions of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde cut the twist ending and make Jekyll and Hyde the viewpoint characters, as the book was presented as a straight mystery with the twist that they're the same person only revealed at the end. Since the twist is so famous, adaptations tend to focus on the drama between Jekyll and Hyde, often making Jekyll more heroic and giving him a love interest or two to further enhance the tragedy. Utterson, the viewpoint character in the book, often has his role reduced, combined with Dr. Lanyon, or omitted entirely.
  • Philip K. Dick stories sometimes get this treatment, except they tend to change even the name.
    • Blade Runner took the title of one book (The Bladerunner by Alan E. Nourse) and slapped it on a movie made from a completely different story (Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). But except for the broad concept of a man hunting for renegade androids, and a few names, everything else differs from Dick's original. In fact, the whole dynamic is reversed: in the story, the androids are soulless villains, the threat of what humanity is becoming. In the film, the androids are tragic Byronic Heroes and the humans are callous slavemasters.
    • Minority Report only takes 4 or 5 characters and the concept of Precrime from the original short story of the same name. Differences include a setting relocation, adaptation expansions to characters, name changes, adding new characters and what not. The most significant gap, however, is the actions the protagonist takes towards the end in their respective stories.
    • Next is based on The Golden Man, and differs greatly from its source material even for a movie based on a Philip K Dick story: Both share the general idea of the government trying to capture a main character who has the ability to foresee the immediate impact of anything he does before he does it. However, the setting, the main character's background, personality, and appearance, and what the government wants with him are all changed beyond recognition: In the original story, it was a post-apocalyptic future, the main character was a golden-skinned, non-sapient mutant, and the government was trying to wipe out all mutants with superhuman powers. On the other hand, the film takes place in the present, where the main character is a perfectly normal-looking, sapient human, and the government wants him to use his abilities to help them stop a nuclear threat. Reportedly, the original script was much more faithful to the source material before some drastic rewrites kicked in.
    • The original Total Recall (1990) is very loosely based on a short story called "We Can Remember It For You, Wholesale.". Both the film and the story begin roughly the same, but there's a point in which they divert: just after the protagonist has his malfunctioning memory trip. Viewers of the movie will instantly recognize that point as the same one in which the movie has a sudden Mood Whiplash from classic sci-fi to pull-all-the-stops action movie, while the story turns into a spectacular Mind Rape.
    • Total Recall (2012) completely abandoned most of the Mind Screw elements, in a misguided attempt to ground it more in realism. Critical reaction to this wasn't exactly favorable.
  • Doom has very little in common with the game series it is supposedly based on other than the title. Both the games and the movie feature humans on Mars trying to repel a sudden outbreak of horrific monsters whose origins are initially unknown. The name of the Evil Corporation responsible for the outbreak is the same, but that's where the similarities end. When the origin of the monsters is eventually revealed, it is completely different than the games, being more akin to another video game series featuring similar monsters.
    • Even the monsters themselves (at least, the three types of them that actually appear in the movie) qualify for this trope. Though they do vaguely resemble their counterparts from the games as far as their physical appearances are concerned, the behaviour they display is noticeably different and they possess none of the signature abilities that their game counterparts have.
    • The original script was closer to the game, Doom 3 at least, but the idea of opening a gateway to Hell was not considered acceptable for a mainstream film, so it was hastily retconned to be genetic engineering gone wrong.
  • Dragonball Evolution has some elements in common with the original manga, such as the presence of Goku and a girl named Bulma who are in search of the seven Dragon Balls. But nearly everything else is heavily modified from the original canon. Goku went from a twelve-year old Chaste Wild Child to a sixteen-year old angsty high schooler who wants to get with a girl. He learns the Kamehameha too late, and is too serious to even be considered the same character. And Krillin, a highly important character in the original, was removed entirely (although Oolong and Puar may be understandable). Bulma and Mai go the other way and Took a Level in Badass. It was declared a Disowned Adaptation by Toriyama.
  • Dr. Dolittle, with Eddie Murphy, is named after a literary character named Doctor Dolittle who talks to animals — but beyond talking to animals itself, the two productions have essentially nothing in common with each other. The book is set in Britain sometime in the past, the movie is set in the USA of today. The main character got a Race Lift. And that's just the beginning.
  • Aside from a few throwaway lines and other minor elements — some of which don't actually match the game versions anyway (e.g. the beholders) — Dungeons & Dragons is nothing more than a generic (and not very good) fantasy movie with a famous brand name attached to it. The sequel Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God, a Syfy Channel Original Movie, sticks much closer to the original game content, right down to mentioning established gods, demons, spells, monsters, and even having Gary Gygax involved. Each character had a character sheet, and the actors can be seen reading the Third Edition Player's Handbook to better understand their characters.
  • Virtually every movie with Poe's name in the publicity has little or nothing to do with the author. Roger Corman took this to an extreme when he made The Haunted Palace; it's actually based on H. P. Lovecraft, but Corman thought Poe's name was more famous and thus would put more seats in seats. Today he'd probably do the opposite....
  • Ella Enchanted keeps the names of some characters and the premise of Ella being cursed with obedience, but otherwise bears little resemblance to the book.
  • Only the 1974 Emmanuelle bears any relation to the novel from which it derives its name, and even that movie deviates from the source material in several respects (in the original novel, for instance, Mario is an openly gay man.) The rest of the Emmanuelle movies were just attempts to cash in on the success of the original.
  • Woody Allen's film Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex ... But Were Afraid To Ask has absolutely nothing to do with the (ostensibly nonfiction) book of the same name.note 
  • This trope is present in Existo, the strangest installment in the Ernest P. Worrell canon. Existo was a mentally unstable stage magician played by Bruce Arntson in the Ernest movies and TV show. In The '90s when Ernest was relegated to straight-to-video releases, Existo got his own movie...sort of. Existo starred Bruce Arntson, but changed his character into an obsessively anti-establishmentary singer/songwriter and put him at the center of a morbid political satire set in Nashville.
  • David Cronenberg's version of The Fly (1986) has very little, apart from the basic premise, in common with the 50s movie with Vincent Price and even less to do with the original French science fiction story. Some consider this a good thing.
  • Unlike the previous live-action Fantastic Four films, Fant4Stic (especially with the premise of the film, the tone, the origin of the titular characters, the characters themselves, the main villain Doctor Doom, etc.) has virtually nothing in common with the source material that has almost always featured the Fantastic Four, who are traditionally portrayed with having a much more light-hearted, science-fantasy title in their own comic book series as well as the comics and other adaptations. Despite the fact that the film was supposed to use the Ultimate Marvel version of the comic book series (along with the characters) as a basis for the adaptation, the movie looked too different from that line to be considered a real adaptation (other than the nod to Reed and Ben working together as kids). There is also the fact that the crew (along with the director Josh Trank) previously said they weren't basing the movie on any of the comics-Ultimate Fantastic Four included.
  • Frankenstein (1931) has very little in common with Mary Shelley's novel except a few names and the concept of person made of corpse body parts being brought life.
  • Freaky Friday (2003): A girl named Anna and her mother who don't understand each other very well both switch bodies one Friday morning and get a better understanding of each other's lives and become closer, and...that's about all the movie has in common with the original film or the book. During the movie's release, people praised it for not directly rehashing its predecessor, which was already more than 20 years old. The lack of similarities didn't stop publishers of the book from slapping a photo of Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis on reprints' covers, though.
  • Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove is this, very much. The only thing it has in common with the original films is a whale named Willy. And even then, it's a different whale.
  • Fun with Dick and Jane: Like the famous beginning reader books, the main characters are named Dick and Jane... and that's it! The title is merely a cute bit of wordplay in this case, and not an indicator that it's supposed to be an adaptation of said books.
  • The 1998 Godzilla strays so far from the source material, many fans like to call it GINO (Godzilla In Name Only), and Toho went so far as to rename the beast "Zilla" because they believed that Emmerich managed to remove the 'God' from Godzilla. They even went so far as to incorporate him into their own Godzilla series as an antagonist in Godzilla: Final Wars (thus making it clear that he and Godzilla are two different characters), only to have the real Godzilla defeat him with two hits in an 11-second battle. Strangely enough, after that film, many fans who previously hated him now accept him as just another monster in Godzilla's Rogues Gallery. Curiously, the series that followed the movie was well received.
    • To whit: The actual plot of the film has nothing to do with the original 50s film it's supposedly a remake of other than the broad strokes of "monster attacks city," it's tonally gone from a fairly dark allegory for nuclear annihilation to an action-comedy where most of the damage winds up being done by the military, and Zilla himself went from an ancient killer beast with an atomic Breath Weapon who routinely shrugged off the entire JSDF's arsenal, to a mutant iguana with a bunch of babies who rip off Jurassic Park before he gets taken down by a few airplanes.
  • The Halloween series was originally intended to be something of a Goosebumps for adults, with new, unrelated stories released every year. After the first two films had concluded Michael Myers' story, Halloween III: Season of the Witch told a completely new and unrelated story about an insane Irish-American novelty maker and his scheme involving android mooks and planting tiny shards of Stonehenge into his company's Halloween masks in order to "sacrifice" millions of American children via a TV broadcast. The film's poor financial performance led to Michael's return.
  • The Korean film Hansel and Gretel (2007) borrows some concepts from the original tale but overall it's a completely different story.
  • The MacCallisters in Home Alone 4 have little to nothing to do with the MacCallisters from the first two movies. Similarly, the Wet Bandits are back (though they're never called that), but Harry has been replaced with Marv's wife. Also, instead of building his own traps, Kevin just relies on a technologically advanced smart home to thwart them.
  • House of the Dead has literally nothing to do with the video game other than having zombies, Stock Footage from the games (!), and a character at the end revealing himself to be named Curien, the name of a character from the games. Then again, that's to be expected of Uwe Boll.
  • The movie version of How To Eat Fried Worms has nothing in common with the book other than that the main characters gets stuck in a bet that involves having to consume earthworms. And even then, the film still gets it wrong by saying the lead character has to eat ten worms in one day, when in the book, he had to eat one worm a day for 15 days.
  • I Am Legend: The only thing the film and the book have in common is a disease that turns people into monsters. And even then they didn't get it quite right: the infected in the book are traditional vampires (which the book painstakingly comes up with scientific explanations for all their weaknesses: sunlight, aversion to mirrors and holy objects, garlic, staking) who are slow and stupid like zombies, while in the movie they are just hairless, pale cannibals like the monsters from The Descent. In the new movie it's a virus that was developed as a cure for cancer, but in the old book, it was a type of bacteria carried by dust storms. Also, a Caucasian-to-minority Race Lift for the main character, Robert Neville, who is nothing like the Neville of the book. While Neville loses his daughter and wife in the film, it's not because of them being infected. Neville's unique immunity is just something that he was born with, and there are plenty of others who are also immune. The setting was a suburb in a small town, while the movie takes places in a desolated New York city. There is no Ben Cortman character (unless you count the nameless infected leader, and even then he shares nothing in common with the Determinator neighbor-turned vampire character from the book). There are no scenes of the infected harassing Neville at home. There is no separate faction of intelligent, civilized vampires (maybe because they thought viewing audiences would be too dense to understand that concept). The woman that Neville meets does not turn out to be one of the intelligent vampires and betrays him. Of course, I Am Legend isn't The Film of the Book so much as a remake of The Omega Man, which is itself an In Name Only adaptation of the book I Am Legend... Except for the name, of course, and the film gives the meaning of the title an entirely different meaning. Robert Neville is a legend because he developed a cure, while in the book Neville is a legend because in a world inhabited entirely by vampires, the one normal human that hunts them is the monster. He walks in the daylight, he stalks them while they are sleeping and impales them to leave bloodless corpses behind. It makes him the "human Dracula" of this world. The original ending would've given it some connection with the book it was apparently based on, but that was changed too.
  • The 1951 film I Can Get It For You Wholesale has not much resemblance to the novel by Jerome Weidman aside from the Garment District setting, several character names and one or two plot points. Harry Bogen is Gender Flipped into Harriet Boyd (played by Susan Hayward), and the story is recast as a Lighter and Softer romantic seriocomedy with a focus on her playing hard-to-get with Teddy Sherman.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer was based on a book from the 1970s (yes, there was a book). The film and the book have almost nothing in common, besides the vaguely similar plot and some character names. They're not even the same genre—the movie is a typical slasher movie whereas the book is more of a psychological thriller. Lois Duncan, the writer of the book, was apparently pretty unhappy about this.
  • Classic Humphrey Bogart film noir In a Lonely Place shares its title and the characters' names with Dorothy B. Hughes' novel, and absolutely nothing else. One can see Dix Steele's (successful) attempt to adapt a trashy novel into a screenplay as a metaphor for adapting Hughes' book into a film.
  • I, Robot has several passing similarities to the namesake series (it does prominently feature robots being Three Laws-Compliant), but the actual storyline is nothing like the original. This is due the film never intending to be an adaptation in the first place—it was originally titled Hardwired, but the connection to Asimov's stories were mandated by the studio. However, that book was an anthology of nine separate stories in a common universe, mostly revolving around the central character Susan Calvin. The film features many of the concepts of that universe. The conceit of the film is that it's a loose prequel to those stories, a new tale in the overall series of stories whose blanket title is I, Robot.
    • However there is another story called I, Robot that pre-dates the Isaac Asimov version where a robot is blamed for the death of his creator. This was made into In Name Only episodes for both versions of The Outer Limits.
    • It does take inspiration from different Isaac Asimov stories, including one called "Robot Dreams". One of the Asimov short stories, "The Evitable Conflict", featured massive, central robot minds taking over the planet because they could run it better than us. While that story was more subtle (the robots took over without humans even knowing it, versus the Robot War of this film), VIKI's motivations are close to what Asimov wrote. Spooner himself bears resemblance to the protagonist of Asimov's Robot series, Elijah Baley, who is a New York detective who overcomes his distrust of robots when he is forced to work with a robot partner. The similarities end there, however.
      • "The Evitable Conflict" is one of the stories in "I, Robot" the short story collection, and there are in fact slight nods to it beyond those already listed. "Little Lost Robot", for example, involving a robot who is not impressioned with the entirety of the Three Laws, and is ordered by an irate technician to "get lost", is compressed into the factory scene alluded to under Mathematician's Answer below.
  • I Spy. The film has none of the wit or coolness of the original TV series. In fact, the director begged the studio not to use that as the title for the movie, but Executive Meddling won the day.
  • The Italian Job (2003) shared only the concept of a gold heist in Mini Coopers and a few names with The Italian Job (1969). Notably, the remake's Mini Cooper heist is set in LA instead of Italy. The remake's title refers to another heist shown at the beginning.
  • Given that only five of the James Bond films don't take at least the title from Ian Fleming's novels/short stories, it happened often.
  • The 2015 Jem and the Holograms film is this. There is a girl named Jem who leads a band called "The Holograms" (who are only given that name at the end of the movie) who are taken advantage of by a ruthless band manager named Erica Raymond (as opposed to the cartoon's Eric Raymond), there's a character named Synergy who's a Robot Buddy instead of a supercomputer, the Misfits appear in The Stinger, and that's about it. Nothing else follows the 80s animated series. The cameo of the creator of the animated series, Christy Marx, didn't even help.
  • Jingle All the Way 2, the 2014 Direct-to-Video sequel to Jingle All the Way, has absolutely no characters or actors in common with the original. Literally the only common thread is that both films are about a father trying to find a Cool Toy for their child.
  • Jonah Hex bears very little resemblance to the comic book, save for the scarred protagonist. The filmmakers added an inexplicable super power to temporarily resurrect the dead, which served no purpose, as he just uses this ability to pump the dead for information, something the hardcore western Hex of the comic would have accomplished simply by shooting the living in the kneecap.
  • Jumanji was vastly different than the book. Of course, the book, by Chris Van Allsburg, was a children's picture book and so would've made a movie that lasted around 4 minutes. But the whole plot of the movie revolving around Robin Williams' character and his love interest was made just for the movie.
  • Jumper shares the title, two character names, and the fact that the main character can jump with the book. Also the fact of the bank robbery itself, but none of the details of it. The book is a character study with a science fiction twist, the movie is a science fiction action flick. The author of the original book tries to remedy this with the third book in the Jumper series, "Griffin's Story," which is slightly closer to the movie than the first book in the series "Jumper".
  • Invoked in Jurassic Park by Ian Malcolm: "At some point, we will see some dinosaurs on this dinosaur tour, right?" Jurassic Park itself counts more as a Pragmatic Adaptation (and a fine one at that). It condenses a few characters, cuts down on the chaos-theory technobabble, and is all in all a well-liked film. The sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, on the other hand, bears very little resemblance to the book. Which is odd, since Michael Crichton specifically wrote the second book to closer resemble the first movie (revealing that Malcolm actually survived for instance).
  • Kemper: The Co-ed Killer has almost nothing to do with the killer it claims to be based on. A few other biopics of serial killers and other infamous criminals also count, especially any created by Ulli Lommel.
  • All that Key Largo has in common with the play it is supposedly based on is there being a couple of fugitive Seminoles falsely blamed for a murder. The characters of the play have completely different names and backstories. The play does not feature a gangster taking people hostage, and is not set during a hurricane or even in a hotel, though its Spanish Civil War background was out of date by the time the film was produced.
  • The Lawnmower Man has nothing to do with Stephen King's short story of the same name. They had the gall, originally, to call it Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man anyway, and he successfully sued to get his name taken out of the title. The short story is about a creepy satyr who mows lawns. The movie is about a mentally deficient gardener who has his brain transplanted into cyberspace and becomes a god of computers. The short story's climax — in which a man is chased down and killed by an animated lawnmower — is a scene in the film.
    • The film's sequel somehow manages to pull this off twice, since it has next to nothing to do with either the short story or the first film.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The Alan Moore comic won't remind you of the film, and vice versa.
  • Steven Spielberg's Lincoln was promoted (and even credited) as an adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin's nonfiction book Team of Rivals. A tie-in version of Team was even reprinted around the time of Lincoln's release. However, Team covers Lincoln's entire presidency, devoting only a few pages to the 13th Amendment and its ratification – the movie's entire focus. Somewhat justified, as Spielberg originally planned a miniseries adaptation of Team and later pared it down to the extant film.
  • Pedro Almodovar's movie Live Flesh was supposedly based on a novel of the same name by Ruth Rendell. Both featured a policeman crippled by a shot from a criminal who, when released from prison has an affair with the policeman's partner... and that's it.
  • The 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park. They didn't like the book, so they converted the Extreme Doormat protagonist to a Deadpan Snarker Plucky Girl, peppered with some "subtle" hints on slavery, and crowned the whole with a dose of Les Yay.
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much was a collection of detective short stories by G.K. Chesterton. Hitchcock had the right to adapt some of these stories and used that as justification for using the name (which he thought was too cool not to use).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man 3, the Big Bad is Aldrich Killian. In the comic arc the movie adapts, the character dies off very near the start and plays no active role in the order of events as a result. In this case, this was done intentionally in order to place a very crazy plot twist halfway through the movie; fans are still divided whether this was a good or bad thing.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: The film has nothing in common with the comic book story of the same name. Aside from featuring Ultron as the Big Bad, of course. They just went with the name because it sounded cool.
    • Ant-Man:
      • The female lead in Ant-Man is Hope Van Dyne, an obscure character from the MC2 continuity. Aside from sharing the same name and parentage, the two have nothing in common. The comic version of Hope is an evil villain named the Red Queen, while the movie version is completely heroic, and actually becomes the MCU version of The Wasp.
      • A more nuanced example is her father Hank Pym, a character from the Mainstream Marvel continuity who is the original and well-known Ant-Man and one of the founding members of the Avengers in the comics. While he does have a fair few things in common with his comic book counterpart (such as his name, science background as well as his mastery of Pym Particles, position as the first Ant-Man and being part of an early version of the Avengers initiative,, and former wife), there are numerous stark differences between the two in terms of personality and depiction. This may have something to do with the fact that the MCU version of Hank Pym is a Decomposite Character who has most of the crucial characteristics of the Comic!Hank Pym (such as being the Ant-Man that founded and was associated with the actual Avengers, the creator of Ultron, Yellowjacket, etc.) given to other characters.
    • Captain America: Civil War:
      • In the comics, Helmut Zemo is a costumed villain known as Baron Zemo. He's a wealthy German noble, is the son of one of Captain America's greatest foes, and wears a mask to hide his hideously disfigured face. In the movie his name and penchant for complex plans are just about the only things kept. Here, he's a soldier from the nation of Sokovia instead of a wealthy baron, his dad wasn't a supervillain, he's not deformed, he doesn't wear a mask or costume, and he has a rather sympathetic backstory involving the deaths of his wife and son.
      • Much like Age of Ultron, this film has nothing in common with the original Civil War story, other than the title, and the basic premise of heroes fighting each other, with the teams being lead by Iron Man and Captain America, because they don't agree about whether they should comply with the government. In fact, the climatic battles are only tangentally related to the Accords.
    • Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has absolutely nothing in common with her comic book counterpart. In the comics, she is a human of German and Vietnamese descent; her alien ties are...complicated to say the least, but the point is that her powers and origins are completely different from that of the movie, to the point that her creator, Steve Englehart, disapproved of the character since she's nothing like what he wrote.
    • Avengers: Endgame features a character named Morgan Stark. However, unlike the comics character, who is an adult male cousin of Tony's and an asshole, this Morgan is Tony and Pepper's adoring daughter.
  • The Mask: The original comic was more of a horror series involving the titular Mask turning people into Ax-Crazy murderers. The movie, then the animated series turned the character into a comical Super Hero, kept as the main character a guy who only lasts one issue in the comic, and used few elements from the comic. The show and the movie are actually better remembered than the comic, and the cartoon was rather well-received.
  • Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is radically different from The Scorch Trials, with only a few key elements and themes remaining. Wes Ball, the director, likened it to using the same ingredients to make a different recipe.
  • None of the sequels to Meatballs had anything to do with the original outside of being set in a camp. The second film was a Dolled-Up Installment shot under the name Space Kid while the third and fourth films threw out the concept of the relationships between the campers and the counselors in favor of ripping off the Porky's franchise.
  • Pioneering director Georges Méliès did this a bit:
    • Baron Munchausen's Dream features a baron, but he has no obvious similarities to the one The Munchausen is named after.
    • The Impossible Voyage, in French, has the same title as a play by Jules Verne (Voyage à travers l'Impossible, literally Journey Through the Impossible). And both works are about traveling crazy places, including into space and underwater, in ways that are highly reminiscent of Verne's books. That's where the similarities end, though.
    • The Mysterious Island has nothing to do with the book of that name; it's actually based loosely on The Odyssey.
    • Under the Seas is sometimes called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but it takes only two things from the book: the submarine and the fish. (No, seriously. The cutout fish Méliès made for the movie were closely based on the original book illustrations; The Other Wiki says so.)
  • Men in Black: The first five minutes of the first movie is a faithful reproduction of the first few pages of the first issue of the comic. After that, they have almost nothing in common.
  • Similarly to the page image, IGN once announced on April Fool's Day a Metroid movie... directed by Uwe Boll... produced by Troma... and set on Earth, with a plot similar to Half-Life.
  • Minotaur pushes this trope to its absolute limit: its based on Theseus' tale in Greek Mythology and it does share some common themes (the monster's conception, the Labyrinth, the demand of sacrifice and the princess helping our hero), but other than that, it doesn't share a lot in common with the source material, not even its names: for one, it doesn't have the same hero (he is named Theo instead of Theseus, and he is a sheep-herder rather than an Athenian prince), the titular monster is just a skinless, zombie-like bull rather than a man with a bull's head and he is worshiped as an idol by The Empire rather than being a divine punishment inflicted by Poseidon (which is nowhere to be seen or mentioned). Said empire is called Minos Empire instead of Crete, its ruler is Deucalion rather than Minos.
  • The Mission: Impossible movies borrowed some commonly used tropes from the original Mission: Impossible TV show, and then created an action thriller film series out of a show that was always focused on outthinking the villain, preferably without him even realizing that there was someone acting against him. Between that and the way the film treated the only character to appear in both show and film, the cast of the show disavowed the movies and at least one of them stormed out of the theater during the premiere.
  • The book Mr. Popper's Penguins is about a house-painter who unexpectedly winds up in the care of a penguin and eventually has a whole rookery that he tours the country with. The film based on the book gets as far as Mr. Popper getting the penguins and from that point veers off into a fairly generic plot unrelated to the book where Mr. Popper is a divorced dad trying to pull his family back together.
  • Mystery Men follows the concept of its comic, but created an entirely new cast and story line. The only character who is in both is Mr. Furious, who is an entirely different character in each.
  • The 1939 film version of Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase. About the only thing the film had in common with the book's plot was the word "staircase."
    • The Nancy Drew film series as a whole gets hit with this too. About all the films have in common is that they're mysteries, and star a girl detective named "Nancy Drew," who has a wealthy lawyer father named Carson. They also kept her boyfriend "Ned Nickerson," but renamed him "Ted" for some reason. However, they're much, much campier, and the Nancy presented in the film series isn't nearly as self-assertive, and takes advantage of many men, almost to manipulative levels. She's also a lot more whiny. In one scene, she literally squeals in fear at the sight of a frog.
  • The third movie in The Neverending Story series shares no plot at all with the book. The only element from the book it uses that wasn't in the first two movies is the Old Man of Wandering Mountain - and in a very different context.
    • As the Old Man of Wandering Mountain chronicles the story that is Fantasien, and the Childlike Empress is the collective imagination which allows the land she rules to exist, the two are never supposed to meet. The situation is akin to a mirror looking in a mirror, and can cause the end of the universe.
    • A person is only allowed to meet the Childlike Empress once, at least, until her name is changed again, and Bastian had already met her. note 
    • AURYN can only exist in Fantasia, as its power is Fantasien, the world of human fantasy. A person cannot make things from his imagination magically appear in the human world.
    • The Fantasians are not supposed to enter the human world, due to the fact that they are then no longer part of the imagination and become lies. That was part of the problem with the Nothing - the things it ate up were sent off to the human world, which was destroying both Fantasia and the human world.
  • Night at the Museum underwent drastic Adaptation Expansion, because the original book was very short.
  • The notorious killer rabbit movie Night of the Lepus provides one of the most egregious examples. The movie claims to be based on Russell Braddon's 1965 novel The Year of the Angry Rabbit. Braddon's novel is a science fiction satire where the Australian government, seeking ways to control an out-of-control rabbit population (a very real concern in that country), accidentally creates a new super weapon that makes Australia the world's only superpower. The killer rabbits only arrive in the final act as a Diabolus ex Machina that disrupts that country's dominance and restores the status quo. The movie not only changes the setting to the United States, but ignores literally everything about the original book except the killer rabbits, and turns a dark comedy into a straight horror movie...about giant killer rabbits.
  • The Russian Urban Fantasy movie based on the book Night Watch, itself titled Night Watch, was faithful to the book, except for the depth of the story, the ending and the fact that in the book Anton and Yegor are unrelated and Anton never went to that old witch. But the book is divided in three stories, and only the first was made into the movie Night Watch. The second movie, Day Watch was completely unrelated to the book of the same name: it was a completely new story with the beginning taken from the second story of the book Night Watch and some elements from the third one (namely, the magic chalk).
  • The film Pathfinder is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name. Other than having a Scandinavian main character and the same title, they are completely different films (the title even became Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior when Fox realized this).
  • The 2016 version of Pete's Dragon is this. The only characters in both versions are Pete and Elliot, completely removing all the songs and other characters and relocating the setting from Maine to the forest.
  • Creature is almost completely different from the book its based on. Several characters have the same names from the book, but there is no guarantee that they will have the same personality, race, or role. It has a completely different setting and backstory. Even the titular creature is completely different (the only similarities they have are that they are humanoid amphibious creatures, but one is a scientifically modified human with steal claws and teeth and one is a genetically engineered shark with human DNA.) While some scenes from the book survived for the adaptation (often heavily edited), they are spliced in all over the place and interspersed with completely made up subplots. To top it all off, it really doesn't even share the name. The original novel was called White Shark, but was renamed for The Movie. The original novel was retroactively renamed Peter Benchley's Creature. Although, that said, it wasn't really that bad of a movie....
  • Both film versions of Planet of the Apes share nothing in common with the novel that inspired them except the existence of a planet ruled by intelligent apes with humans as savage animals. Both movies... well, ape the Twist Ending of the novel the narrator returns to Earth after his voyage only to find that it too has been dominated by intelligent apes, though in significantly different ways. Oddly, the third movie in the series, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, is similar to that of the original novel (loosely), but with the roles of humans and apes reversed.
  • Somehow the book Please Don't Eat The Daisies, which was a collection of essays and articles, became a feature film starring Doris Day and David Niven.
  • Other than having protagonists with plant-themed names, and being about seductive women causing drama, the movies in the Poison Ivy series have practically nothing in common with the original 1992 film starring Drew Barrymore. The closest thing that the original has to an actual sequel is the third film, Poison Ivy: The New Seduction—which has a completely new cast of characters, and features Ivy's (heretofore unmentioned) sister, Violet, as the protagonist.
  • In Argentina, there's a pornographic film called Pollémon (roughly analogous to "Dickémon"), leading one to believe that it's a Pokémon porno spoof. The film's cover even advertises, "Vive las fascinantes aventuras de Pollachu!" ("Experience the fascinating adventures of Dickachu!") If you were expecting to see someone in a poorly-designed Pikachu costume, Team Rocket, or anything else having to do with Pokémon, well... let's just say you'll be PRETTY disappointed.
  • The 1960 film of Pollyanna has the title character, the Glad Game, something of the setup, and a few character names/traits in common with the book. The plot, much of the characterization, and some of the side plots are entirely different.
  • The Kevin Costner movie of David Brin's novel The Postman is barely recognizable. The scene where the main character discovers the postman's uniform is the only scene from the book to make it into the movie. Otherwise the main character and his motivation is completely different (in the book he's much less of an obvious white-hat), the love interest is completely different, the villain is completely different (in the book being a genetically-enhanced warrior, in the movie just a weird guy with a beard), there is a second 'hero' who doesn't appear at all in the movie and there is an interesting subplot about a super-powerful AI that is guiding a remote village of survivors back to civilization that isn't even mentioned in the film. The author is quite aware of the necessary changes for a movie adaption and is rather pleased with the result.
  • Priest is a rather unique and strikingly drawn manwha combining Religious Horror, Zombie Apocalypse and The Western, as Badass Preacher Ivan Isaacs treks across the American frontier battling a band of rebel angels. The movie...is about a bunch of priests fighting vampires in the far future. About the only thing the two have in common is a main character with a cross on his forehead. The only people who are happy about this are the ones who've never read the comic. The director made this change as he didn't want people saying that he was copying his previous film Legion.
  • The first The Princess Diaries film took the basic plotline of the books and the character names and did its own thing, probably because they got Julie Andrews to play the grandmother, but the sequel basically did its own thing entirely. The fact that Mia's mother married Mia's teacher and had a baby is the only thing the sequel took from the book series. In-universe, though, the movies exist within the books' continuity, with Mia lampshading how they changed so many things (good and bad) compared to her "real-life" adventures.
  • Prom Night (1980) spawned a series of sequels and a remake that have nothing do with the film, other than being horror movies set around a prom.
  • The sequel to Pure Country shares literally no characters or actors with the first film.
  • Queen of the Damned shared only the title and character names with the book. Important plot elements and characterizations were either changed or completely ignored. As a matter of fact, Warner Bros. made it no secret that the only reason the movie was made was because the rights to the book were about to expire. When book author Anne Rice offered to pen the screenplay for free, the studio flat-out refused, preferring to make a low-budget cash-in as quickly as possible.
  • The plot of the 2012 film The Raven has nothing to do with the Edgar Allan Poe poem "The Raven", even though Poe is the main character (unsurprisingly, as an adaptation of the poem would not fill a feature film).
  • The Resident Evil movies got the look of the games down for the most part. Too bad they threw out the plot, characterization, atmosphere, and everything else that earned the game series its following. The movies should have been called "The Amazing Alice's Kung-Fu Adventures in Zombie MatrixLand." It would have made much more sense as a title and pissed off far fewer Resident Evil fans. Both the films and the games each have a good-sized fanbase, but the overlap between them is smaller than one might expect, due to the films' radical departure from and numerous liberities taken with the source material.
  • The Running Man film and novel are both set in a dystopian world and center on a television show where a man is hunted. Beyond that, they have nothing to do with each other. In fact, the film adaptation has far more in common with an earlier Robert Sheckley short story entitled "The Seventh Victim", but presumably, Sheckley's relatively-obscure name wouldn't sell as many tickets as the Stephen King pseudonym. "Based on the novel by Richard Bachman" is placed in the opening credits, and copies of the novel featured Arnold Schwarzenegger's face on the cover, advertising the film.
  • The Saint (1997): Val Kilmer plays a character with the same name as the classic character created by Leslie Charteris, but Kilmer's character is an angsty, semi-OCD, nonentity. And That's Terrible. The character is specifically said to have been inspired by Charteris's stories, which are Recursive Canon within the movie.
  • The film Saint Sinner had nothing to do with the Clive Barker comic book series.
  • Neil Gaiman used to tell a story about receiving a prospective script for a Sandman movie. Near the beginning, he read a scene in which the title character is attacked by soldiers while declaring "Puny humans! Your weapons have no effect on Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams!" Gaiman then put the script down and refused to read another word.
  • Rafael Sabatini's novel The Sea Hawk was a tale of an English gentleman framed for murder by his fiancée's brother, getting shanghaied to the Mediterranean, and converting to Islam that he might become a pirate and wreak vengeance on the people that threw him away. The Errol Flynn movie The Sea Hawk is a tale of an English privateer and his affair with Queen Elizabeth, with a bit of background about the Spanish Armada.
  • Some films snag the title of a self-help book that is selling well at the moment.
    • The Natalie Wood romantic comedy Sex and the Single Girl, though it references the original Helen Gurley Brown bestseller and its author, has nothing to do with the original, which was a self-help book.
    • Rebel Without a Cause was named after a book by a psychiatrist. Otherwise, it has nothing to do with it.
    • He's Just Not That Into You is basically just an ensemble romantic comedy with the same name as the relationship advice book.
    • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was named after a mock-self help book that directed women on the behaviors guaranteed to turn off the man they've been seeing.
  • Some nonfiction books are turned into fictional stories with the same themes and subject matter.
    • Fast Food Nation is a fictional story that conveys the original book's argument that fast food is bad for your health and America!
    • The Men Who Stare at Goats is a fictional story about the paranormal CIA department discussed in the book.
    • What To Expect When You're Expecting is a fictional story about pregnant ladies based on a pregnancy guide.
    • Mean Girls is a fictional story about the destructive effects of high school cliques on girls based on a self-help book, Queen Bees and Wannabes.
  • There have been many modern day film adaptations of Shakespeare plays which may or may not retain the original play's title. These films typically follow roughly the same plot as the original play, but have next to nothing in common with it beyond that. They are usually set in the modern day United States as opposed to the historical settings of the original plays, and in many cases the names of the characters are adapted to modern equivalents if not outright changed.
  • This was common with movie versions of Broadway musicals produced in the 1930s, 1940s, and sometimes in the 1950s:
    • The 1956 film version of Anything Goes bears next to no resemblance to the musical it's based on. Aside from five songs (sung in completely different contexts) and the fact that there's a boat (going from France to New York, where the original show was going the other direction), they might as well have called it something like Road to Broadway and not stepped on anyone's toes.
    • The 1949 film Red, Hot and Blue shares its title with a Cole Porter musical and absolutely nothing else.
    • The 1936 movie version of Rose-Marie resembles the original musical play in score only. They share a number of songs and a few Leitmotifs, but the plots have almost nothing in common other than both having a title character trying to protect a wanted man from a determined Mountie. Between the versions, these three characters all have different names (the "Rose-Marie" of the 1936 movie is a pseudonym), and the relations between them are very different: in the musical play, the wanted man is Rose-Marie's lover, not her brother as in the movie.
    • Broadway Rhythm was nominally an adaptation of Very Warm For May; though the show had been a flop on Broadway, its writers, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, were hired to write Movie Bonus Songs. However, the film producers ended up throwing out almost everything from Very Warm For May aside from its Breakaway Pop Hit, "All The Things You Are."
    • The 1952 film version of The Belle of New York replaced all the songs, and most of the plot as well. However, the original musical dates back to 1897 and has not lasted well in popularity.
    • The Band Wagon is actually a Jukebox Musical that borrowed several songs from the 1931 Broadway revue The Band Wagon. The revue, of course, had no plot, but that hadn't stopped 20th Century-Fox into adapting it into the 1949 movie Dancing in the Dark. Fred Astaire had starred in the revue The Band Wagon with his sister Adele (who went on from this production to retire from the stage), but performed none of the same numbers in the movie; this total aversion of Role Reprisal was likely deliberate.
    • Funny Face has a completely different plot from a 1927 Broadway musical which had a few of the same songs and Fred Astaire.
    • The 1938 film version of Sweethearts adapted a romantic operetta into a backstage musical about a romantic operetta. Taking the Victor Herbert songs and attributing them to fictional songwriters, the movie's Show Within a Show has an unclear plot which cannot be reconciled with that of the original show.
  • The movie adaptation of The Dark Is Rising, which in its primary market didn't even keep the name, being re-titled The Seeker. One reviewer joked that "They only changed one thing in the plot - everything", and it's not far wrong. The Stanton family, who in the books are warm, caring and British, are now dysfunctional and American; Will is changed from a thoughtful, wise-for-his-age eleven-year-old to a whiny, fourteen-year-old, hormone-addled jerkass who's more interested in stealing his brother's girlfriend than completing his quest for the Signs, and all the Arthurian mythology is hacked out and replaced with Christian allegory. The director himself bragged about how unfaithful it was, admitting that he didn't really care for fantasy works anyway.
  • The 2006 version of The Shaggy Dog has completely different characters from the 1959 film, and a different mechanism for transformation (genetic engineering versus a magical ring). Essentially everything is different except for the part where a person is turned into a shaggy dog.
  • Shin Kamen Rider, a Darker and Edgier Continuity Reboot of the Kamen Rider franchise. Note that the title itself makes no sense, as the protagonist doesn't wear a mask and never rides his motorcycle while transformed. There's a reason the film has been so heavily disowned by the fandom.
  • Some of the adaptations starring Shirley Temple were this. The 1938 film based on Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm had the same basic premise, but it essentially isn't the same banana as Kate Douglas Wiggin's 1903 original. Both depictions of Rebecca were equally talented, but Shirley!Rebecca was portrayed as a little girl participating in a radio show.
  • A Shot in the Dark is allegedly based on a stage play by Harry Kurnitz (itself based on a play by Marcel Achard), but all it really has is the plot, a deceased chauffeur named Miguel and a couple named Benjamin and Dominique. In fact, it was supposed to be almost exactly like the stage play — until Blake Edwards suggested that Peter Sellers play Inspector Clouseau.
  • The fourth and fifth entries in the Silent Night, Deadly Night series are unrelated to the previous three movies, which features Ax-Crazy siblings of Santa imposters. The fourth film is almost unrelated to Christmas and involves some kind of ancient Egyptian witch cult and the fifth has evil toys connected to an enigmatic toymaker by the name of Joe Petto. The films have homages to the original three though, with scenes of them being briefly shown on televisions and the villains dressing up as Santa at least once.
  • Snowpiercer is based off of a French graphic novel named Le Transperceneige. Very, VERY loosely - the only thing it has in common are the setting and the name of the train it takes place on.
  • The comic book The Spirit is about a Badass Normal with no powers, who is a Celibate Hero that gets nervous around women and wears an ugly, off the rack blue and white suit. The movie The Spirit is about a revived dead guy with a Healing Factor, who is a Handsome Lech in a stylish, tailored, black-on-black suit. And his enemy, the Octopus, is an intimidating and powerful gangster obsessed with not letting anyone see his face. In the film, he's a lower-tier scientist with ambitions of godhood who is incredibly vain and showoffy about his good looks. It's like they were trying to do the exact opposite of the comics. The irony? Will Eisner gave the rights to Michael Uslan, the producer, on the understanding that Uslan wouldn't give the project to anyone who 'didn't get it'. There were further ironies in the fact that Frank Miller was a big fan of Eisner, one of Eisner's friends, and showed himself to be capable of understanding the concept of The Spirit as indicated by his Daredevil work.
  • Stage Door, the play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, had so little in common with Stage Door, the movie nominally adapted from it, that Kaufman joked that the movie might as well have changed its title to Screen Door. The movie's vast changes in characterization, plot and dialogue (barely any of the play's lines were retained) were for the better.
  • Starship Troopers, which was really more of a Take That! against the original book than an adaptation. The producers didn't even buy the rights to the original until after the script was written. Verhoeven didn't even read more than a chapter or two into the book, by his own admission.
  • The film version of Steel cuts all Superman references apart from the title character wearing a Superman tattoo...which is unintentional, since Shaquille O'Neal, who plays the title character, already had it.
  • The Stuart Little movies. The books were set in the late 1940s, Stuart was born from a human mother rather than adopted, and only the boat race in the first movie bears any resemblance to the events of the book.
  • If Kevin Smith is to be believed, Jon Peters' Superman Lives, a movie that was never made, would have had Superman's iconic outfit be replaced by an all black one (as Peters felt the original suit was "too faggy"), Superman wouldn't fly, and he'd fight a Giant Spider. It would have also given Lex a pet named "Chewie", as well as making Brainiac fight polar bears. All true, folks. Fortunately, Kevin Smith tried to make a script that worked the changes in while still throwing in the traditional Superman feel, but Superman Lives was never made to this day.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of The 39 Steps is considered to be this by John Buchan's family due to how far it deviated from the source material after Hannay goes on the run; that said, they still regarded it as an entertaining film in its own right.
  • The Super Mario Bros. movie is infamous for this. Beyond the broadest characterization (Mario and Luigi are human good guys, King Koopa is an inhuman bad guy) the dark and gritty sci-fi dystopian universe comedy film is basically unrecognizable from the light-hearted, cartoony, fantasy-based, child-centric source material, even after conceding that the games (and comics and animated series) didn't exactly establish the deepest universe to begin with.
  • Neither the 1993 nor the 2011 versions of The Three Musketeers were at all like the book. In particular, the 2011 film had zeppelins in 1630s France.
  • To Have and Have Not, the film, has very little to do with To Have And Have Not, the Ernest Hemingway novel. This may have something to do with the fact that director Howard Hawks, though a Hemingway admirer in general, hated the book.
  • The 1990 film, Troll 2 is not related to the 1986 B-movie Troll in any way but name. It's also about goblins, not trolls. Amusingly, there are two films that claim to be the sequel to Troll 2, both directed by Joe D'Amato: Crawlers: Troll 3, which is about killer tree roots, and Troll 3: The Sword of Power (AKA Quest For The Mighty Sword), which uses some of the goblin costumes from Troll 2, but is actually one of the sequels to Ator. Ultimately the Troll "series" immediately became a dumping ground for whatever genre of horror film came along.
    • Troll 2 was part of a trend of Italian in-name-only B-movie sequels in the 1980s and 1990s. There were such instances of an Alien 2 and a Terminator 2 long before such films existed. Low-budget Threatening Shark film Cruel Jaws was promoted as the fifth Jaws film. There was even a sequel to Dawn of the Dead (1978) (titled Zombi in Italy) that spawned a franchise of its own. Why the producers of these films' "predecessors" never filed lawsuits is unknown. These "sequels" were later retitled for overseas release, but Troll 2 is the only instance of such title being retained worldwide.
  • The Underdog movie uses some of the names from the cartoon. Everything else is different. For one thing, the world of the cartoons was populated almost entirely by funny animals. The film takes place in the real world with the eponymous character and several others as talking animals.
  • The Walking with Dinosaurs 3D movie doesn't follow the documentary format of the original series, opting instead for telling a coherent story with highly anthropomorphised, talking (or rather, "thinking aloud") dinosaurs. The serious, scientific tone is replaced with slapstick, Toilet Humour and Black and White Morality. Most of the original creators were not involved with the movie's production. It's seemingly more of a combination of March of the Dinosaurs, Dinosaur Revolution, and Disney's Dinosaur with bits of The Land Before Time. However, the background dinosaur extras do behave like real animals, at least.
  • Wanted takes out almost all of the the original comics story and background. The premise in its most broad strokes stays the same: the main character is a cuckolded loser who is brought into a World of Badass by a love interest due to his long-lost and supposedly deceased father. Beyond that, the story and setting are completely different.
  • The 2005 movie adaptation of The War of the Worlds features Earth being attacked by hostile aliens in three-legged "tripod" machines. After all the human military's attempted counterattacks are ineffective, the aliens are ultimately defeated by illness due to their immune systems not being able to cope with Earth's bacteria. Beyond that, it has nothing in common with H. G. Wells's original novel. Most notably, the movie is set in the United States in the early 21st century instead of the novel's late 19th century England and the aliens are never stated to be Martians in the movie as they are in the novel.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit bears very little resemblance to its original source, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?. Only five characters, the premise of human beings and cartoon charactersnote  co-existing, and the murder plot are there.
  • Wild Geese II features no actors (or even characters!) from the original, and also is in a different genre.
  • Wild Wild West. The original show was a merging of The Western with the Spy Drama. It didn't really have much Steam Punk elements, just some technology that would have been high-tech for the time period. The movie ran with Steam Punk and the specific James Bond-style "save the world" spy escapades. The show didn't have anything like the Spider Tank or the magnetic collars, which makes it a very stark contrast going between the two. According to Cracked, the premise of the Wild Wild West movie is based on a Batman: The Animated Series episode that originally starred the above-mentioned Jonah Hex. It isn't exactly known how it became a Wild Wild West story. The above clip linked about Kevin Smith working on the unreleased Superman movie has him mentioning that the same guy that wanted all the weird changes worked on the script for Wild Wild West, and he got the giant spider he was so adamant about.
  • The movie adaptation of Andzej Sapkowski's Witcher books had little if any resemblance to the source material and many fans have decided to simply deny its existence. The later video games are much more faithful.
  • The 1939 film version of The Women is very faithful to Clare Boothe's play. The 2008 remake is basically Sex and the City with a different cast and no visible men.
  • The 1925 film version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz features a completely different plot from the novel, incorporating a few elements from later Oz books that do not apply to the characters in the first book. Dorothy is not a farm girl from Kansas but a kidnapped princess of Oz, and is also a young woman instead of a young girl. The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion are not characters but the disguises of three farmhands. The Tin Man and Uncle Henry are villains in this version. The Wicked Witch of the West does not appear at all and the villain is Prime Minister Krewl (based on King Krewl) instead. It ends with Dorothy marrying a prince.
  • Before its release, the movie adaptation of World War Z was shaping up to be this. Word of God confirmed it. As Honest Trailers put it, "Get ready for the big screen adaptation of the best-selling novel that's got everything you loved about... the title. And nothing else." Later on in the video, they show a scrolling list of all the book's awesome moments that were left out of the film.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men: The Last Stand is rather notorious for this. Due to Loads and Loads of Characters and the special effects limitations of the time, the film features tons of comic book mutants who look nothing like their counterparts and possess vastly different (and usually cheaper) powers. Writer Zak Penn has even said that a lot of names were changed up and switched as production went on. Among other examples, we have:
      • Callisto's not scarred or one-eyed (In fact, she's quite gorgeous), she has a mix of Caliban's and Quicksilver's powers and not her own hypersensitivity.
      • Kid Omega is actually Quill. The writers even state so in the DVD Commentary.
      • Leech. The movie ditches his defining trait of not passing for normal and not being able to do anything about it because most mutant powers don't work on him. Also, his powers no longer temporarily nullify whoever he touches, he has an area of effect that fully humanizes whoever enters it. Granted, it serves as a better justification for using him as a source for The Cure, as using the original comic book plot would have left no screen time for the Phoenix plotline.
      • Psylocke lacks a British accent, has no telepathy or psi-blades, is a villain rather than an X-Man, and doesn't display any martial arts or ninja skills. According to Penn, the character wasn't even referred to as Psylocke in the script, while actress Meiling Melançon has said there were discussions about having her character be Kwannon instead.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine is fairly notorious for it too, with many of the featured mutants having little (or nothing) to do with its comic book counterparts:
      • Emma Frost. The only attributes that she has in common with her comics counterpart is that she's blonde and can turn her skin into a diamond-like form. First Class would ignore her appearance in this story and present its own version of Emma as much closer to her comics counterpart. Then again, she's called "Emma", but the surname is never said. However, in one of the character TV spots, they clearly use Frost as her surname.
      • Agent Zero. Not only do they use his New Weapon X callsign instead of his Weapon X one (Maverick), he somehow has Agent X's powers as well. Neither his powers as Maverick (kinetic energy absorption and redirection), nor his powers as Agent Zero (corrosive skin secretions designed to defeat Healing Factor abilities) make an actual appearance. Oh, and he's no longer East German. The filmmakers apparently made him North Korean to put a more modern spin on his communist origins...which still doesn't make sense as a justification since the movie is a period piece set during the Cold War, when East Germany was still a communist country.
      • Bolt. Or Bradley, for those who missed him because he's long-dead in the comics. He's not only not called by his callsign, he's also no longer the kid Maverick teaches in the use of his powers after retiring - he's now Maverick's comrade-in-arms. Who, instead of lightning-flinging powers, has electric-appliance-powering-and-controlling powers.
      • Deadpool retains his sarcastic sense of humor, Motor Mouth and katanas... and even those fall by the wayside by the time of the main events of the movie. While he does undergo a procedure to give him a copy of Wolverine's Healing Factor that leaves his body horrifically scarred just like in the comics, he's also saddled with Cyclops' optic blasts, Wraith's teleportation (he uses a device in the comics) and a pair of Blades Below the Shoulders. Just to add insult to injury, his mouth is sewn shut.
      • In the comics, Blob's fat body was a part of his mutation, with the super strength more of a Required Secondary Power. In fact it's the fat that made him virtually resistant to any weapons.
    • X-Men: First Class has nothing to do with the comic book of the same name and features entirely different origins for many of the characters. Despite this, the movie was very well-received by critics and was a hit at the box office.
      • For one thing, nearly everyone is time-displaced. Characters like Darwin, Angel Salvadore and Azazel didn't appear until the 2000's and were absolutely not part of the X-Men's founding class. Mystique, Havok and Banshee weren't, either.
      • Havok is Cyclops's younger brother in the comics. In the films, he's at least a decade older and there's not even a hint that they're related.
      • Banshee isn't Irish in the film, despite it being one of his defining character traits in the comics.
      • Moira McTaggart, a Scottish geneticist in the comics, is now an American secret agent. This even goes against the films' continuity.
      • A notable aspect is the complete reinvention of one character in particular, Azazel. Azazel in the comics is an immortal mutant/demon warlord who was banished to another dimension because he looked and acted like the devil and got many women pregnant to have an army of children to free him...somehow. In the film, he's a Russian Knife Nut who looks like the devil but other than killing a few people, doesn't act like it. He instead appears more like his son, Nightcrawler, only red and evil. This is not a bad thing, and as he originally was so despised, the film gave the character a well welcomed overhaul.
    • Most of The Wolverine's characters are based from Frank Miller's Wolverine series; with a lot of them taken liberties to in terms of role.
      • The comics' Kenuichio Harada is THE Silver Samurai, Shingen's arrogant illegitimate son and a mutant seeking to rule the Yashida clan for himself. He despises the "gaijin" and the Yashidas—especially his half-sister Mariko. In the film, most of his personality reflected on Shingen while Harada is relegated to the Yashidas' bodyguard, Mariko's ex-fiance and not even the actual Silver Samurai. His closest reference to the comics is his affiliation with Viper.
      • Viper, aka Madame Hydra, is a high-ranking member of HYDRA (and eventually leader) who is a human with superb martial arts skills and knowledge with poisons. Much like Juggernaut before her, the film depicts her as a mutant scientist with snake-like attributes who mainly works for herself. Confusingly, Fox was still allowed to use her, even though she's much more tied to Nick Fury and SHIELD. Strangely enough, it's the Silver Samurai who is one of HYDRA's leaders during the events of X-Men: The Official Game.
  • Yes-Man is a fictional story using only the central premise of Danny Wallace's non-fiction book.
  • The only thing Peter Rabbit seems to have in common with the original book series is that the characters share the same names and looks as their original counterparts from the books. Other than that, there's no other resemblance between the movie and the books.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a book that exists within the Harry Potter universe. It is a textbook about magical creatures. A real world version was published. The film isn't based on the book, but its main character is the fictional author of the book in-universe.
  • Death Note (2017) keeps the names of characters and a story about a notebook that kills people whose names are written into it. The characters and story are quite different from the manga or anime, however. In particular, Light is neither a genius nor particularly villainous.
  • The only thing the Knight Rider 2010 made-for-TV film has in common with the 1980s Knight Rider TV series is a talking automated car, which only becomes that when Hannah's Prism, which is used as a data storage device, is installed into Jake McQueen's combat vehicle to use as its AI. Otherwise, it's mostly just a Mad Max-style reimagining of the concept itself taking place in a dystopian future.

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