Movies Based On Philip K. Dick’s Novels
Philip K. Dick is one of my favourite authors; I enjoy his writing a great deal – although some of his imagined futures are definitely beyond dystopian. I have read and re-read all of his books. I have listened to quite a few in audio book format and, needless to say, I have watched a number of movies which were inspired by Dick’s writing.
I find it fascinating that so much of Dick’s work has been transferred onto the silver screen – and equally interesting that the majority of the movies based on Dick’s writing have no more than a loose relationship to the original writing.
The most famous example must be Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”, which is (loosely in my opinion) based on Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”. “Total Recall” and “Minority Report” will also be instantly recognizable to even the most infrequent movie goer.
Here’s a partial list of movies which have been inspired by Dick’s work. I think that there may be one or two others – and Blade Runner has been remade.
- Blade Runner
- Total Recall
- A Scanner Darkly
- Minority Report
- The Adjustment Bureau
I think it would be almost redundant to say that I enjoyed “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” more than “Blade Runner”. As someone who enjoys reading, I have very rarely seen a film that I thought was better than the book. That’s just the way it is, I love reading, therefore I like books better than movies – QED.
However, I can say that I enjoyed both the book and the movie immensely – but for different reasons. The book and the movie are very different animals. The main plot, tough, hard bitten bounty hunter, Rick Decker, hunts androids in post apocalyptic San Francisco, is still there in the movie, but many of the sub-plots found in the book are omitted.
Which is not to say that it isn’t a great movie – it is. One of the best in fact, it’s just very, very different to the book.
As a matter of fact, director Ridley Scott has been quoted as saying that he had never read Dick’s novel at the time the movie was made (maybe he has now). That may or may not be true, but it is certainly believable.
On the other hand, Philip K. Dick, speaking on the environment created by Scott for the movie, declared that it was “exactly as how I’d imagined it!”.
In summary, the movie is great and the book is great. However, if you think that you are familiar with “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” because you have seen “Blade Runner”, you’re not. It would be well worth your while to get yourself a copy and read it.
In a similar vein, the movie “Minority Report”, starring Tom Cruise is very different to the short story which inspired it. Once again, it’s a good movie, if not in the “Blade Runner” category perhaps, but it’s markedly different to Dick’s original vision.
It’s actually easier to see why this one altered though, Cruise is much younger than the original protagonist in Dick’s story. There’s a lot more action in the movie version, also for obvious reasons I think.
In short, movies and books are different – and movies based on Philp K. Dick’s works are usually very different to the original source. Philip K. Dick is always worth a read – and if your acquaintance with his work is based on movies, you may be pleasantly surprised at the added depth which you will find.