I love book to movie adaptations, even the bad ones.
Okay, maybe not the bad ones.
However, book to movie adaptations give me a reason to read and I do HAVE to read the book first. Experiencing the magic of watching a scene I read, reimagined on the big/small screen, is awesome.
There are plenty of book to movie adaptations coming up, but here are a few titles that I am most interested in.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This particular book to movie adaptation is one I have been looking forward to for a long time. Why?
Because it’s straight up creepy. Yes, creepy.
This novel is about a sixteen-year-old boy named Jacob who witnesses his grandfather’s murder at the hands of a mysterious creature. Of course, no one believes Jacob, and he soon begins to have nightmares. Jacob then travels to Cairnhold Island after it is suggested by his psychiatrist. During his visit to the orphanage his grandfather grew up in, Jacob discovers old photographs that suggest a mysterious secret lurking behind the inhabitants of the home.
According to ComingSoon, the movie adaptation is set to release on March 4, 2016 with Asa Butterfield as the lead. Filming began earlier this year with Tim Burton as the director. Other cast members include: Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Chris O’Dowd, Ella Purnell, and Terence Stamp.
Personally, I cannot think of a greater director than Tim Burton for this project. His talent for portraying dark and playful themes is a perfect fit. Will he be able to stay true to the novel and embody the eeriness of Ransom Riggs work? I sure think so.
The biggest challenge of this adaptation will be to appeal to a larger audience. If done correctly, Tim Burton will be able to adapt a movie franchise that could be as successful as The Hunger Games trilogy.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a novel in possession of a good premise, must be in want of…brain-eating zombies.
That’s right folks, zombies are taking over the word. An article on LiveScience, reported that fantasies about the zombie apocalypse make up a large part of post-apocalyptic pop culture. Well, I believe it.
As you might’ve already guessed, this is a parody of Jane Austen’s, Pride and Prejudice, in which the characters are set in an alternate reality. Elizabeth and her sisters are zombie-fighting warriors while Mr.Darcy, is a famous zombie hunter. The premise to this story remains true to Austen’s work, however, there is more action and brutal twists to the original plot.
Being a Pride and Prejudice fan, I am interested in this dark interpretation, but I’m also skeptical. Will it flop like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (which was also written by Smith)? Or will it surprise us like Warm Bodies (another zombie book to movie adaptation)?
Pride and Prejudice is one of the stories that have passed the test of time, therefore, I want to see it kept alive in this story. It would be easy to make a historical fiction romance with zombies in it, but since this is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I will want to see the zombies integrated to the story rather than placing emphasis on them. What I mean is this, if the zombies compromise the overall message of the story, it will go terribly wrong. Feel free to disagree.
Based on this trailer, it seems like the story will focus on the effect zombies have had on societal life, which can be an interesting turn. This could work…possibly.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I have some beef with this franchise.
It’s been a while since I finished the last installment of the Divergent Series, but the second movie installment left me feeling like I had been reading a different book. This was an unfortunate experience because it’s always great to see your favorite scenes on the screen. Not only did Insurgent fail to do that, it left me feeling incredibly underwhelmed. As movie blogger, TheMovieGuru, said “the film’s choppy structure and tediousness prevents it from ever doing anything interesting.” Am I expecting much out of Allegiant? Sadly, no.
This story is about a sixteen-year-old girl, Tris Prior, who lives in a futuristic Chicago, where society is divided into different factions based on virtues. Tris, who does not fit into any faction (divergent), is then forced to pick a faction and face the dangers that come with being divergent. In the last installment, Allegiant, we see Tris Prior stepping across the wall that surrounds Chicago, finding out what lies ahead, and exactly what it means to be divergent.
Personally, I felt that the strongest book in the trilogy was the first one. Still, Veronica Roth did write a powerful and surprising conclusion to the series. In fact, it was so surprising, that many readers were outraged with the ending. Needless to say, it was not a happy ending.
Despite this unhappy ending, I would like to see it happen in the last movie installment. Do I see that happening? I think there’s an equal chance it can go both ways.
A recent article on MovieNewsGuide, reported that a petition was signed by fans to change the ending of the movie. The screenwriters have already strayed from the original content so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up seeing a new ending. Would it be so bad? It depends.
One major flaw I see is that the creators have decided to split the novel into two movies. Despite the thickness of the novel, the book does not have enough content to be split into two movies. I think the screenwriters noticed this and decided to rename the second part to The Divergent Series: Ascendant. What is Ascendant? I have no idea.
Despite my strong reaction, I do not feel like the movies are necessarily bad. Yes, I’m disappointed, but I think people who have not been introduced to this series would enjoy the movies. I will definitely have to check out this last installment. Who knows? It might surprise us all.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Will I ever get enough of the Harry Potter world?
Eh, probably not.
When it was first announced that this would be turned into a movie, all I could think about was how it was a bad idea. How could they possibly turn a textbook into a movie?
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fictional textbook written by magizoologist, Newt Scamander. This textbook is first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when Harry takes a look at the list of required materials for first-year students. The textbook offers descriptions about different magical beasts, their environment, and whether or not they are dangerous. The reading also includes a forward by Albus Dumbledore, information about the author, and subsections titled: What is a Beast?, A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts, Magical Beasts in Hiding, and Why Magizoology Matters.
So, how is this becoming a movie? I have no idea, but I’m excited to find out.
According to YouTube channel, Clevver Movies, the movie is set to be released on November 18, 2016 with oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. The film is being directed by David Yates and the screenplay has been written by our very own J.K. Rowling. Interestingly enough, this will be the first installment in three movies and will include noted actors: Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman, and Katherine Waterston.
Oh, and there’s more.
When interviewed by Entertainment Weekly, David Yates told reporters that Fantastic Beasts would most likely resemble Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Since this is my favorite of the Harry Potter movies, I just about swooned.
Did I also mention that the story will take place in 1926 AND we’ll get the first glimpses of the AMERICAN magic system?
I truly believe that the success of this movie will come down to J.K. Rowling’s ability to write a screenplay. We know she’s a truly talented writer, so I have hope.
The special effects will have an even more important role in this franchise because so many beasts will be explored. As long as the script and visual effects have quality, I suspect we can expect great things from Fantastic Beasts.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The last and final book to movie adaptation I will talk about is The Mortal Instrument Series by Cassandra Clare.
This series is about an 18-year-old girl named Clary Fray who lives with her mother, Jocelyn Fairchild, in New York. One night, she and her best friend decide to visit a popular night club, where she witnesses a young man killing another attendee. Unbeknownst to Clary, the young man belongs to a race of half-human/half-angel warriors that fight demons threatening the human world. The attendee is actually a demon in disguise, and no one but Clary can see these angel-human warriors. Clary begins to think she’s going crazy, but when her mother goes missing, she reaches out to these warriors to find her mother. Along her adventure, Clary begins to realize that there’s a reason she can see these warriors and she might hold the key to her mother’s disappearance.
This book series had everything to be a hit, but it went wrong.
The series is now at its second attempt to reach viewers. The movie, which was released on August 21, 2013, had a budget of $60 million dollars and grossed $99 million worldwide. Not exactly the best performance.
So, what went wrong?
Well, for starters, the screenplay was not well adapted. Rather than building a plot and having it progress, problem after problem was shown to the viewer. This was confusing, especially to those who hadn’t read the series, because it felt like the story was going in many different directions. The second issue with the screenplay was the predictability. Everything in the movie adaptation was predictable. The script largely strayed from the book, which might have led to the lack of mystery and suspense. Blogger, TheM0vieBlog, offered a great summary in which he wrote “The only real problems with The Mortal Instruments become obvious when the movie slows down and starts playing into the teenage fantasy tropes with earnestness rather than self-awareness.”
The biggest issue was the cliché writing of the movie. Not only did it feel like I was watching a fifth Twilight movie, it felt like I was watching a knock-off version of Twilight. Sad, I know.
The special effects and music choice were bad as well. Imagine getting a Justin Bieber song put in the background of a Harry Potter movie.
Fans of the book series were disappointed, and understandably so. Still, there was hope, and earlier this year, ABC Family announced they were picking up a tv show based on the books. The series was renamed Shadowhunters and recast.
Making this franchise a tv show was a smart move. The novel has way too much content to show in 2 hours and a tv series would allow enough time to show character development.
The biggest obstacle I see in the tv series is the script. How do you make angel-human warriors appealing and sound mature? That’s a tough one. The tv show would have to get rid of all of the sappy language that was used in the movie and get good actors to do a quality job. Honestly, I think sticking to the book would be a safe bet. Cassandra Clare has a way of making heart-warming scenes great without being cheesy, and battle scenes fierce without being cliché.
In reality, I think the companion series, The Infernal Devices, would be a bigger hit. It’s set in the same shadowhunter universe but takes place in the 1800’s. The magic gives it a steampunk feel and the characters are much more lovable and complex. It would also add maturity to the script, given the language used in Victorian London.
ABC Family’s Youtube channel recently released two previews of the series. Although I am a big fan of these novels, I am sad to see that the script continues to show it’s sappy roots. Also, the effects are just…meh.
What do you think?
This show will premiere on January 12, 2016 and I do hope it gets enough viewers to help the show progress. Maybe it will get better and if it does better, we might see The Infernal Devices made. Fingers crossed.
So far, 2016 holds some promising book to movie releases. I can only hope we see these titles provide entertainment and gather even more fans/readers around the world.