Fans of a certain sci-fi novel have huge expectations when someone decides to make it into a movie. If the movie fails to live up to their expectations, it’ll be in for some heavy criticism. On the other hand, it can be greatly rewarding for the makers if it meets the readers’ expectations. So, the film adaptations of books are, in a way, double-edged swords.
Despite the risks, Hollywood continues to make film adaptations of science fiction books. One big reason is that they get a great story. Besides this, they also benefit from an established fanbase and characters. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best science fiction film adaptations of books:
Based on Mary Shelley’s 19th-century book, this movie is one of the most successful science fiction films. It tells the tale of a scientist who creates living beings from dead body parts. He ends up accidentally creating a monster, which looks rather innocent. There were many differences between the movie and the book.
Nevertheless, the film was instrumental in raising the story to its highest potential while remaining true to the source. In the following years, many directors came up with its sequels, remakes, and spin-offs.
2. Jurassic Park
Steven Spielberg was on a record-breaking spree worldwide with the release of this movie. It’s quite surprising to know that he chose the book version even while it was written. The writer, Michael Crichton, had originally conceived this book as a screenplay.
It came to the attention of Spielberg who then made the book into a film. Thus, he gave birth to one of the greatest Hollywood blockbusters. With this film, he also showed the world that he was among the greatest directors of all time.
3. Planet of the Apes
A group of astronauts end up crash-landing on a planet. They realize that its rulers are sentient apes and humans are their slaves. As the movie progresses, it delves into several issues, such as civil rights, race, and nuclear war. This science fiction movie was based on the 1963 French novel, La Planete des Singes.
The screenplay for this film was initially written by the great American screenwriter, Rod Serling. Planet of the Apes had two Academy Award nominations. One was for best costume design and the other was for the best original score.
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
This is one of the brilliant masterpieces in the world of science fiction films. Interestingly, the book was out after the film’s release. Arthur C Clarke had based the film and the book on his short story titled The Sentinel.
The film follows a group of astronauts who are trying to get to the source of the black monoliths. These mysterious monoliths have played their role in the evolution of humanity. The director and Clarke were immensely successful in presenting a fascinating odyssey into the unknown.
The movie was praised for tackling several themes, such as artificial intelligence, alien life, existentialism, and technology. In fact, the visual effects of this film appear so advanced that you’ll not believe it’s from 1968.
5. Blade Runner
One of the all-time great films in the science fiction genre, Blade Runner has a massive cult following. This Ridley Scott film was based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. In the film, a cop named Rick Deckard goes on a mission to hunt down a fugitive group.
This group is of androids seeking to expand their lifespan. Upon its release, the film had received mixed reviews. It soon gained a significant number of cult following owing to its futuristic visuals and complex themes.
6. The Thing
Just like the 1993 movie Body Snatchers, this film portrays the Cold War paranoia quite effectively. The Thing was a reboot of The Thing From Another World. Its story is based on John W. Campbell’s book Who Goes There? published in 1938. The John Carpenter film is about a research team discovering a shape-shifting alien.
Fear turns the researchers against each other. They fear that anyone of them could potentially be the enemy. What’s really terrifying in the film is the dangerous effects of bringing an alien to life.
7. Children of Men
Alfonso Cuaron directed this dystopian science fiction thriller, which was an adaptation of a novel by P.D. James. It depicts a world where humanity is facing extinction due to war and infertility. Under these circumstances, a man is on a mission to bring a pregnant refugee to safety. She is the only hope for the existence of humans on the planet.
This chaotic and emotional film deals with the sense of an impending doom in modern times. It also deals with themes of xenophobia, depression, and immigration. This makes Children of Men much more relevant considering the current state of our world.
8. A Clockwork Orange
Yet another splendid film by Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange is based on the novel of the same name. The film is set in a futuristic London with a young man spending nights committing violent acts. It ran into a controversy upon its release. The film shows violence, murder, and rape to tune of Ludwig van Beethoven. It became a cult classic and had four Academy Award nominations.
9. The Martian
Matt Damon plays the role of astronaut Mark Watney in this modern classic. He is stranded on Mars after being presumed dead following a dust storm. This film is based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name. With this film, director Ridley Scott was successful in bringing Mark Watney’s exciting story to life.
Once you begin watching this film, you’ll be so engrossed that you’d not want to move until the end. It won’t come as a surprise that the movie had several award nominations. Matt Damon won a Golden Globe for the Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
This is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel and mainly covers the book’s first half. It had a premiere at te Venice International Film Festival in 2021. Following the premiere, it had an international release on the 15th of September, 2021. The story is set in the far future. It is about Paul Atreides, who belongs to the noble House Atreides.
He finds himself in a war for an inhospitable and deadly planet, Arrakis. The planet is the only source of a high-value substance, which heightens the user’s vitality and consciousness.