Have you ever finished a book and sat there quietly, merely thinking about the world of possibilities ahead? Maybe after reading Moby Dick you figure, “What if, instead of a whale, Moby Dick was a dragon? That sounds so cool!” and later realized exactly how that could very easily backfire.
There are great ideas, and there are great adaptations out there. Some are to be taken with more of a lighter perspective than others, and while they are not what the author may have originally expected for their story, one never regrets watching the more unheard-of adaptations. Without further ado, here are five such examples.
1. Tales of Little Women (1987)
Let us travel back to 1987 in order to discover an animated Japanese television series (rather loosely) based on Louise May Alcott’s Little Women. Now, for all those who have yet to read or even hear about Little Women, a quick summary: the story takes place during the Civil War in the United States, and the focus is the daily lives and struggles of the March family, which consists of four sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy from oldest to youngest) and a very kindhearted mother. With their father fighting in the war, and the economy tilting, the March family doesn’t do too well socially-speaking due to their lack of money, but as they grow older they find happiness and bittersweet moments in the small things.
So, with Tales of Little Women, we are talking about 48 episodes with new side characters and a new plot focusing much more on the Civil War than on the March family itself. The makers of the show took quite the creative license, in other words. While that is neither particularly positive or negative, it is still interesting to see what their take on the story is. I saw the first couple of episodes, and I think I will stick with the original Japanese translation with English subtitles.
2. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (2010)
Steampunk, a giant octopus, dinosaurs, dragons, secret brothers, and the assassination of Queen Victoria.
While those ideas seem to be a part of an odd dream one has after a very strange type of night, they are the plot of a Sherlock Holmes $1,000,000-priced adaptation. I do wonder what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would’ve said about this adaptation.
The dialogue is both quick and witty despite the inexplicably sepia disposition throughout the whole film. Frankly, watching a much-younger Holmes and a much-older Watson solve this specific mystery is one heck of a hilariously unique experience.
3. Naked Lunch (1991)
Adapted from a William S. Burroughs novel of the same name, one can’t quite say this is too far from the original. It is said the non-linear, downright bizarre plot of Naked Lunch came to life through a heroin-induced state of delusional creativity on Burroughs’ behalf. Well, we can imagine how that turned out.*points below to the photo*
While I personally have yet to read the novel or see the film adaptation, it is interesting to note how this book was received among the masses due to its heavily obscene nature. It went through an obscenity trial during the 60’s and was later banned in Boston and Los Angeles, so one is bound to be slightly curious.
4. Sparkhouse (2002)
The gender-swapped, BBC mini-series based on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. In this case, the female version of Heathcliff (named Carol) is the fiery, rebellious daughter of an abusive farmer, while the male version of Catherine (named Andrew) belongs to a posh family and is on his way to a bright, successful future in Manchester University. Both parental figures disapprove of their children’s choice in romantic partners.
A few moments seem forced, there is the unfair death of a dog involved (which was pretty messed up), and a few overall slightly, “What the heck?” sort of moments. But the actress playing Carol is fantastic, even if the character is slightly unstable in every way.
5. Age of the Dragons (2011)
Hm. There are more dragons in this list than I originally anticipated.
Although it was considered a flop (budget of $5 million, box office of $1 million), we should all take a moment to genuinely applaud the undeniable originality behind this adaptation of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Instead of having a normal ship, for instance, Age of Dragons has an armored land boat the crew uses to hunt for dragons. Ahab searches for a white dragon, which is slightly more menacing than a white whale, if you ask me.
There are film adaptations of just about anything, from McDonald’s to a Rubik’s Cube. What are some adaptations you’d love to see, even if it is only for a few great laughs instead of taking it too seriously?
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Featured image via Pixabay