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Four Unfaithful Sci-Fi Book Adaptations That Resulted In Great Sci-Fi Films

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StarshipWhen 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.

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Total Recall Plastic Surgery And Other Faux Sci-Fi Businesses

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total recallMost of our favorite characters in sci-fi have distinct jobs that are almost as important as the characters themselves. Dr. Peter Venkman was a Ghostbuster. Rick Grimes was a cop. Malcolm Reynolds was a badass ship captain. But there’s an entire labor industry embedded Hollywood films that you may have never noticed before. And design studio Invasione Creativa has scoured the cinematic landscape to create faux business cards. I don’t see any business cards for whoever would actually be selling these things though, as they’re definitely welcome to fill up my wallet since there’s no money in there to keep them company or anything.

Speaking of companies, I’m not quite sure that it’s the greatest idea for a successful plastic surgery practice to offer the world triple boob surgeries. As inspired by Total Recall, this strange end of the medical spectrum would be off-putting to some, but I bet a large enough client base would form that might keep them in business for a while, especially those of who were adolescent boys in 1990.

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Shaun Of The Dead, Total Recall, And More Represented In Nifty 8-Bit GIFs

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shaun of the dead 8 bit
Earlier this week, I blathered on about how much I love seeing films reduced to children’s book material, and now my second-favorite type of homage has made its way from someone’s brain to my eyes via the Internet. We’re talking about cinematic 8-bit GIFs today, and the Russian website Ugaga recently hosted a series of 16 different images and challenged people to guess what they were referencing, and sci-fi is represented quite well. (From there it went on to Reddit and other places, so while we aren’t sure if Ugaga is the first source, I don’t think anyone is going to come knocking on…hold on, I have to get the door.)

Anyway, whoever made these things deserves a big whomping pat on the back, and then a cattle prod to the neck to make sure they keep delivering. And then maybe we can get a whole squad of like-minded people together, and we can prod them into making actual 8-bit video games based on these movies, because that would probably be more amazing than the tie-in games that Nintendo actually had to offer. (Man, this prod feels really comfortable in my hands.) I believe we all remember playing Hudson Hawk for five minutes before smashing it to pieces with a copy of The Return of Bruno.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Kills Everyone And Everything In This Supercut

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I suppose it stands to reason that anyone who portrays Adolf Hitler or Pol Pot on film will technically have the highest character kill count, but no one can deny that Arnold Schwarzenegger is high on the list of cinematic causes of death. There’s no real math that went into this estimation, but any actor who gets hired onto a Schwarzenegger movie is facing something around a 65% risk that his character is going to get killed in a most satisfactory fashion. By sword, gun, or being thrown through a door, a death at Ah-nold’s hands is still worthy of respect, since nothing and no one can survive if Arnold decides they need killing. As such, the above supercut video from Internet comedy group Auralnauts is a massive undertaking of hilariously excessive brutality. If Hercules had researched and gathered the information necessary to write 12 different encyclopedias instead of taking on the 12 great Feats of legend, that would be a water droplet on the leaf of a tree in the forest of effort that Auralnauts put into creating this video.

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Philip K. Dick: A Tribute To The Man Behind Blade Runner, Total Recall, And More

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DickFeatPhilip K. Dick would have turned 85 this past Monday. So let’s listen to his favorite writing music and honor the man who wrote some damn fine science fiction.

PKD’s works such as A Scanner Darkly and “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (which became Total Recall) have been translated to screen, and his best known work is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was published in 1968 and then, nearly 15 years later, made into a little movie you might have heard of called Blade Runner. The book and movie give PKD a venue for pondering the same questions that occupied Alan Turing, about an artificial intelligence’s ability to think and pass for human. Turing’s test involved conversational skills — if a human could converse with a machine and not know it was a machine, the machine passed the Turing Test (a current version of this test is conducted in the annual Loebner Prize competition). While PKD remained interested in machine capability, he thought Turing was a bit short-sighted, since it focused solely on intelligence. Dick believed that a true test of humanness involved emotion and empathy, rather than sheer smarts, so he reimagined a Turing Test that gauged those qualities — Electric Sheep’s Voigt-Kampff test.

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The Matrix, Donnie Darko, And More Get Classy With Fake Criterion Covers

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CriterionIf you’re not a die-hard cinephile, you might know know what “the Criterion Collection” is. The high-end Blu-ray and DVD publisher releases “important classic and contemporary films.” A quick survey of their new and coming soon listings include titles like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, and Richard Linklater’s Slacker. Being a high-falutin’ line as they are, they don’t have nearly as many science fiction films represented as they should. Artist Peter Stults decided to remedy that.

Okay, so he can’t actually make Criterion give fancy-schmancy new releases to flicks like The Matrix and Starship Troopers…but he can ape the visual style of Criterion’s cover art to show what those hypothetical Blu-rays might look like. For instance, check out this classy image that could adorn a Donnie Darko Criterion version. Like many Criterion releases, it’s evocative and symbolic, latching on to important visual elements from the film, in this case the pages from Roberta Sparrow’s The Philosophy of Time Travel.

DonnieDarko