Adaptations are a tricky business. 9 times out of 10, a bunch of fans will dislike them for changing too much or too little. It can be hard. But sometimes it’s not just the fans complaining. Sometimes it’s the original creators who hate the adaptations. They personally go online and complain about how their work was mangled. Sometimes these creators go so far as to sue to get their name taken off, to try to convince people not to see it or even go further than that- like go to the movie itself and protest with a megaphone. No, really, this has happened!
So let’s take a look as some adaptations that were extremely disliked by the original creators. Do you agree with any of these? Disagree? Say so in the comments!
Malibu Comics' Street Fighter Adaptation
Malibu Comics did an adaptation of Street Fighter that Capcom hated SO much they had it canceled after the the third issue. The comics made a lot of changes to the story, making Ryu and Chun-Li a couple and then having Ken Masters retire from fighting only to get killed and scalped in the second issue.
The Legend of Earthseas Adaptations
Ursula K. Le Guin has not had good luck with the adaptation of her Legends of Earthsea series. She was disappointed in the Studio Ghibli film made by Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro (this film also sadly disappointed the elder Miyazaki and he had a bit of a falling out with his son over it for a while). She outlined her problems with it in an essay, saying it was incoherent, the morals were too simplistic and the lack of diversity worried her. She did praise some elements of the movie, however.
Her dislike of the live-action Earthsea miniseries was much more pronounced. She was angry that when she tried to have input into the “radical changes” the project made to her work, she was sent notes production were already underway. She was especially angry when the director of the minseries wrongly stated what she intended in the books. She said “Earlier in the article, Robert Halmi is quoted as saying that Earthsea "has people who believe and people who do not believe." I can only admire Mr Halmi's imagination, but I wish he'd left mine alone.”
Any Adaptation of Alan Moore's Work
Alan Moore famously hates pretty much any adaptation of his work (which is exception of the Justice League cartoon’s version of his Superman story “For the Man Who Has Everything”). He asked for his name to be taken off the film version of V for Vendetta, galled when the film’s producer lied and said he was enthusiastic about the script. This, combined with his dislike of the film versions of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell, made him refuse to have his name associated with or get any compensation for any future adaptations of his work. (The production process of League was so bad that it also made both the director and actor Sean Connery retire).
Zack Snyder once commented that the only way Alan Moore would ever watch his movie version of Watchmen was if he accidentally put the DVD in for a few seconds. Alan Moore vehemently responded to this by saying “I’m never going to watch this f**king thing”.
The Fritz the Cat Animated Movie Adaptation
Fritz the Cat was an animated adaptation starring the character from Robert Crumb’s raunchy comics. Crumb disliked it so much, citing the film’s overt politics, that he actually killed off Fritz the Cat in response.
The Shining Movie Adaptation
Stephen King REALLY disliked the film adaptation of The Shining and made all the reasons very clear. He thought the movie was “cold” and thought Jack Nicholson’s performance made it too obvious the character was unhinged from the start. He also called the film’s version of Wendy one of the “most misogynistic” characters in film, saying she there to “scream and be stupid” and saying “that’s not the woman I wrote.” He felt the movie diverged too greatly from his work and didn’t like that Stanley Kubrick changed the setting, even if he did it for practical reasons.
The 1984 Children of the Corn Movie Adaptation
Stephen King also hated the 1984 Children of the Corn movie. He was asked to write a script for the movie, but the studio rejected his version to write a more standard horror film. He wanted to sue to get his name taken off the movie, but was misled that his version would be used for so long that by the time he knew the truth, it was too late.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Movie Adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
Roald Dahl REALLY hated the famous movie made from his book. A lot of his dislike probably stemmed from the fact he wrote the original script, but it was rewritten. He also wanted Spike Spencer to play Willy Wonka, which didn’t happen. His dislike ran so deep that he left in his will that the book’s sequel, Charlie and The Glass Elevator, could never be adapted. And so far it hasn’t been.
The Witches Movie Adaptation
Roald Dahl also hated the film version of his book The Witches. His biggest problem with it was it had a conventional happy ending, while the original ending of the book had some tragic undertones. He supposedly even stood outside a theatre showing the movie with megaphone and told people not to watch it.
The Mary Poppins Movie Adaptation
P.L. Travers, the author of the original Mary Poppins novel, hated Disney’s film adaptation so much she was bought to tears during the premiere. The movie telling the story, Saving Mr. Banks, depicts these as tears of happiness and relief over the movie, but in reality, the tears were a result of anger and disappointment.
“As chalk is to cheese, so is the film to the book. Tears ran down my cheeks because it was all so distorted. I was so shocked I felt that I would never write---let alone smile---again!" she said. She went and demanded Walt remove the animated sequences, to which he replied “Pamela, that ship has sailed.” According to her biographer, she did soften a bit on the film after seeing it again years later.
The Aeon Flux Movie Adaptation
Peter Chung, the creator of Aeon Flux, disliked the film adaptation and talked a lot about why on his blog. He called the movie a “travesty” and said is made him feel “helpless, humiliated and sad”. He feels the makers didn’t understand the source material and critiques that the movie was an “action vehicle” saying that it goes against the point of his work. “The only two episodes in which Aeon does much physical fighting are the shorts "Pilot" and "War" -- in which her violent actions are portrayed as preposterous and futile. Not heroic.”
The Percy Jackson Movie Adaptations
Rick Riordan disliked the film adaptations of his Percy Jackson books so much that when someone mentioned that a teacher was showing the movies in their classroom, he posted a mock form letter on his blog that kids could use to excuse themselves from having to see the movie.
Some choice quotes are “No group of students deserves to be subjected to that sort of mind-numbing punishment” and “Maybe the kids want to watch them on their own. Fine. Whatever. Personally, I would rather have my teeth pulled with no anesthesia, but to each his or her own”
The Tank Girl Movie Adaptation
Alan Martin, who created the original Tank Girl comics, disliked the film version so much that he declared “Tank Girl is dead” and refused to write the character for about a decade. He said of the movie, “Most adaptations are like breaking into a bank vault from a sewer. This was like doing it the other way around”.
Dragonball Evolution (Movie Adaptation of Dragon Ball)
Akira Toriyama, who wrote the original Dragon Ball manga, seemed to dislike the movie as much as most of the fans did.
He said, "At the time of the live-action Hollywood version, the script didn't really capture the world or the characteristics (of Dragon Ball). What's more, because I thought the content was bland and not so interesting, I cautioned them and gave them ideas for changes. Nevertheless, they had this odd confidence and didn't really comply with my suggestions. And just as I thought, the result was a movie I cannot call Dragon Ball."
The Last Airbender (Movie Adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Again, like their fans, Bryan Koniezko and Mike Dante DiMartino, the creators of the Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon, did not like the live-action film version, The Last Airbender. They told one of the show’s voice actors, Dante Basco, that he shouldn’t go see it.
In 2014, they called it a “catastrophe” and “the movie that shall not be named”. They wanted to take charge of the film but weren’t allowed and had a falling-out with Shymalan. They said their characters were “dragged through the mud”. They were happy that fans railed against the movie and felt they didn’t have to fight back against it because of that. In hindsight, they wish their names were not on the movie.