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.
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.
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series has already been made into a movie. You may have forgotten it existed since it came out and was gone just as quickly in 2013. I’ll admit, I have a copy of it, given to me by a friend and I still haven’t seen it. From what I hear it wasn’t good. Well, it looks like Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle and Magnus will have another chance to live off the page but this time on TV. ABC Family has ordered the series Shadowhuntersto premiere sometime next year. Honestly, I think it will be better TV show then movie. It has so many subplots and characters, that a more serialized form would be a better fit to get all of it in. And for me at least, the casting is more in line with how the characters are in my head then the movie. Though, that is not the case for everyone. Some fans have express their “concerns” over the fact that some of the actors are not the ethnicity as the characters in the book. For instance, the actress cast as Isabelle, Emeraude Toubia, is hispanic. I don’t see this as a problem because a) She’s beautiful, tall with long dark hair like Isabelle and b) we are never really given her nationality beyond the fact she is a Shadowhunter because in the shadowhunter world, that comes first, nationality comes a distant second. Props to the producers and ABC Family for casting based on who they thought was the best fit for the role. I hope it’s good. I do have some reservations about this series but I really did enjoy reading them as a whole and I will see the movie eventually. It got me thinking though. What other book that has already been made into a movie would I like to see made into a TV Show? I have two on the top of my head.
First, hands down, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The first two books were made into a movies and well they were bad. OK, they were fine but anyone who read the book, knew they were lacking. Percy, Annabeth and Grover were too old and the prophecy that was the center of the whole series was left out! It was just a mess. With 10 books, if you include the Heroes of Olympus there are plenty of material to work with for several seasons.
Second, Harry Potter may seem like a strange one because the movies were really good. As far as adaptations go, they were faithful to the source material but also have their own identity but think of all that was left out? The beauty of TV shows is that you more time to tell the story depending on how many episodes. Movies are about 2 to 2 1/2 hours long. Shows are 30 minutes to an hour long from anywhere to 12 episodes to 24. That’s a lot more time! Maybe then we would get to see more of Dobby and the house elves. More of Neville’s back story and well more of the other characters in general. Just think of the possibilities!
Those are two I can think of right now? What other movies based on books would you like to see go the TV route? Sound off in the comments below.
And we are back. Well, I am. As I’m writing this Kate is on a plane on her way home. New Orleans was great! We both had a lot of fun. It’s such a chill city. It was a lot of fun walking around and seeing the sights. I do hope we get to go back again some day.
But back to business. The movie adaption of Insurgent by Veronica Roth comes out tomorrow. I have mixed feelings about the movie of Divergent, I overall liked it but I have reservations about this one. First the trailer makes it pretty clear they did some major changes and I’m not sure if that’s going to be good or bad. Insurgent was a hard book to read because Tris suffers from PTSD and no one tries to help her and it was beyond frustrating. I’m not sure how that will play on screen or if they will sort of gloss over it kinda like they did with Katniss in Mockingay Part 1. I guess I’ll find out when I see it later this or next week.
There are other YA movie adaptations coming soon that I’m pretty excited. Of course Mockingjay Part 2. That’s definitely going to be brutal. Moviefone highlighted a few that are in the works. Some that I knew of like The 5th Wave and Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The former should make a good movie and the latter, well hopefully with Tim Burton at the helm it will be better then the book. I didn’t know that Daughter of Smoke and Bone,Grasshopper Jungle, Immortal Rules and Shadow and Bone have all been optioned. That’s awesome! I think both Kate and I have said how much we loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. That will be really interesting to see how that plays out on the big screen. Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa is excellent Vampire Dystopian novel. I also think that Smoke and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is being produced by David Heyman of Harry Potter fame. So I have a lot faith that will be well done. And Edgar Wright is attached to direct Grasshopper Jungle? Yes please! I know we have talked a lot about this book lately and it’s flaws but it was an entertaining book and I actually think if done right will make a better movie.
So book fans, we have a lot of good books being made into movies in the upcoming years. Let’s hope that they are all more like Harry Potter and Hunger Games and less like The Giver or Percy Jackson.
P.S. Not mentioned in the article but Maggie Stiefvater’s Scorpio Races and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park have also been optioned. I’m not sure where Scorpio Races is in development but I do know that Miss Rowell was asked to write the screenplay for Eleanor and Park and well I can’t wait for both of these!
Last night with my friends Annie and Rebecca went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 last night. I know, finally. Hey, We’ve all been busy with jobs ok. Jeesh. I’ll try to keep this spoiler free as possible but read on at your own risk.
The movie itself is fine. It’s not great but it’s also not bad, either. There really wasn’t anything that I really disliked about it, to be honest, except for the whole Part 1 bit. I think splitting the book into two movies really hurt this one. I want to say to movie companies, that just because it worked for Harry Potter does not mean it will work for all YA adaptations. I mean, it only partly worked for Twilight. Breaking Dawn Part 1 was a big ol’ mess but Part 2 was actually pretty good since it wasn’t weighed down by all the nonsense of Vampire/human pregnancy drama. I’m not saying that Mockingjay will be Breaking Dawn because Mockingjay Part 1 was a good movie, not great but good. Breaking Dawn Part 1 was just bad.
So what are my issues with Mockingjay P1? First, it started off slow. To make the first half of the book into a full length feature film, they had to add scenes and draw out scenes to make them longer. This really slowed down the pace of the film. Many would argue that this was also a flaw of the book as well. The first half of the book, is the attempt to make Katniss the Mockingjay and the internal politics of District 13. Not exactly the most exciting stuff in the series. This is really only highlighted in the slow start of the movie. The movie follows Katniss as she tries to grasp what has happened and try to be who they want her to be. She (and Jennifer Lawrence) only really shine is when Katniss is able to be herself and not some manufactured rebel. By the time the movie really starts to pick up momentum, the movie ends. As one reviewer put it, that wasn’t a cliffhanger, that was a tease of an ending.
As I said before, it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t as good as the previous two. I did enjoy the scenes of the other districts rebellions. In the book, they mention the rebellions going on in the other districts but since the book is from Katniss point of view and she’s not see what is going on District 8, 7 or 5, so we don’t. It was good to see how much influence the Mockingjay, truly has. To see the rebels take up what Katniss says as battle cries and actions. It puts a whole new weight to her power that she truly doesn’t understand. I’ve always liked the little glimpses into the Capital and President Snow throughout the series but this time, we truly get to see who ruthless he really is. We obviously know that by what happens in the book but to see a man so calmly order a hospital of wounded men, women and children is chilling.
It really isn’t fair to judge Part 1 just yet as we haven’t seen Part 2. For all we know, Part 2 is going to be so amazing that splitting Mockingjay into two parts was the right call but we won’t know that until next year. I have a feeling that even if Part 2 is better, Mockingjay still would have been better as one movie.