When it comes to movie adaptations of books, 100% faithful isn’t always a good thing, nor is unfaithful necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes a slavishly faithful transfer from a book results in a cinematic mess, whereas a film that only uses the source material as a leaping-off point can generate something fun or fascinating it its own right. Consider Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, which ended up satirizing many of the themes and concepts Robert Heinlein addressed with a straight face in his 1959 novel. As a result, Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers is by no means a faithful adaptation of Heinlein’s, but it is undeniably entertaining in its own right.
In honor of Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers having just celebrated an anniversary, we decided to look back at some of our favorite unfaithful science fiction book adaptations that nevertheless turned out just fine.