Rick Riordan and Turning a Book into a Movie

percy jackson If are more then a casual fan of this blog then you know that I am a huge Rick Riordan fan.  I know he writes for kids but I find his writing to be so clever and charming.  He has introduced to stories and myths that I didn’t know before or had forgotten.  He has widen his universe to be the most inclusive in children’s literature.  He uses his voice and privilege to ally and uplift other voices that don’t always get the spotlight.  To put it simply.  Rick is a good egg.  He is also been one of the biggest critics of the movies of his own books.  While the way he trolls them is amusing it does highlight the difference between the two mediums and how as much as we think Authors have a say in the movies based on their work, they don’t.  We all have a favorite book that was completely ruined by it’s movie.  For fans of Percy Jackson the movie is just terrible and almost unrecognizable to the books.  The choices that the filmmakers chose made it almost impossible to make it a franchise.  I think they realized it with the second movie and tried to fix it but it was already too late.  A problem that Rick foresaw when the filmmaker’s asked for his opinion.  Today, Rick posted a blog post where he details the email conversations with the filmmaker’s and how little power he had in the process.  It’s an interesting read and I suggest taking a few minutes to read.

First, it kills any possibility of a movie franchise. I don’t know if you or your staff have had the chance to read farther than The Lightning Thief in the Percy Jackson series, but there are four other volumes. The series is grounded on the premise that Percy must progress from age twelve to age sixteen, when according to a prophecy he must make a decision that saves or destroys the world. I assume that XXXX would at least like to keep open the option of sequels assuming the first movie does well. Starting Percy at seventeen makes this undoable. I’m also sure that XXXXX (for) the first Harry Potter movie, some in the studio argued for making the characters older to appeal to a teen audience. Fortunately, they took the long view and stayed true to the source material, which allowed them to grow a lucrative franchise. This would’ve been impossible if they’d started Harry at seventeen. The same principle applies here.

Memories from my TV/Movie Experience

Movie Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

to all the boys So I finally got around to seeing To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix and it was delightful.  It was every bit as charming as the book was and the casting was truly spot on.  Lana Candor is the perfect Lara Jean. She’s sweet, shy and romantic.  She’s unassuming and comfortable being in the shadow.  Noah Centineo is the perfect Peter.  He just oozes the big man on campus charisma.  You can’t help but fall in love with him, which it seems like everyone on the internet has.  The story is the same.  Lara Jean is 16 and is about to start her Junior year in high school.  Her big sister is going off to college making her the big sister at home.  Her mother died when she was young so it was just her and her sisters and her dad.  Lara Jean has never had a boyfriend but she’s had a few crushes.  She wrote her crushes a letter that was never meant to be read until they were.  Two of those letters went the Josh, the boy next door who dated her older sister Margot and Peter, her former friend from Middle School.  Peter and Lara Jean decide to fake date to make Peter’s ex girlfriend jealous and help her avoid Josh.  All goes well until of course she starts to have feelings for him.  The movie goes by at a pretty clip.  Establishing both Lara Jean and Peter and their relationship.  As they spend more time with each other we see what a great couple they are for each other.  They allow each other open up to each other and be honest about their feelings that they can’t be with each other.  I also love that while Peter asks Lara Jean to do things outside her comfort zone like go to parties, he never asks her to change who she is.  Obviously in the book we see more development of their relationship then we do in the movie because of time constraints it still comes out.  They relationship may have started as pretend, you can see from the beginning that there was always something there. If there is one thing I wished there was more of was Kitty.  Kitty was always my favorite character in the book and I think she needs her own series.  *cough Jenny Han cough*  I can only hope that Netflix greenlights a sequel so we get more of Kitty, Lara Jean and Peter in the future.  The movie is not earth shattering but it is so cute and charming that i feeling it’s going to be on heavy rotation in my Netflix queue for now on.

The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel

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I picked up this book in a sale at the library. It seemed like it might be pretty fun. Well, as much fun as you can have in a war. Nazis steal treasure (from pretty much everywhere) and Allied soldiers get a wiggle on and go after it. The narrative starts prior to World War II with members of the art community saying that war is bad for art and that we should remember that if fighting ever happens again. It followed the stories of a couple of museum people and some art conservators. One of them actually writes out a plan on how to preserve monuments and art during wartime. Then, World War II breaks out, the Allied forces have some pretty disastrous PR following the destruction of some monuments and so decide that maybe they should do something to preserve the cultural heritage of Europe. This turns out to be a great idea because Hitler is obsessed with art and has his surrogates all over Europe cataloging and seizing all kinds of property.

So, this book follows six of the folks assigned to Monuments duty during World War II. The bulk of the narrative focused on the recovery of the Ghent altarpiece, the art at Neuschwanstein Castle and all of the art that was stored at the salt mine at Altausee. It was really interesting hearing about all of these pieces of art. It was also interesting hearing about the storage, transportation and care of the art. (Spoiler Alert: pieces often didn’t get the treat they deserved.)

I’m not going to lie to you, some of this book was a little boring. But, overall I’m glad that I read it.

So, if you’re interested in war, treasure hunting and the Allied forces defeating the Nazis, you may want to pick this up.