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Tag: movie adaptations

Monthly Monday Polls: September – Screen Adaptations; Yay or Nay?

Monday Poll @ YALSA's The HubHappy Labor/Labour Day, everyone!

Last month, The Hub asked which recent page-to-screen adaptation you were most stoked about, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children took solidly half the vote, followed by A Monster Calls with 26%, and Me Before You with 12%, and then Alice Through the Looking Glass (6%), Nerve (3%), The Queen of Katwe (2%), and Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life(1%). Thanks to everyone who voted!

In researching the screen adaptations (projects already released and those on the horizon) it is abundantly clear that, where YA lit is concerned, film-or-tv rights are big business. True, many projects may languish “in development” for years (I’m looking at you, Lunar Chronicles!), but it can sometimes feel like everything YA that readers have loved on the page has a screen adaptation in the works, or has at least been optioned.

So…how do you feel about the deluge of page-to-screen adaptations? Do you find film/tv adaptations to be an awesome tool for expanding the potential audience for a story, offering a strong incentive for readers to try the book version, OR do you dread the inevitable bungling of beloved character nuances and rich, complex details that get cast aside in favor of time and clarity on the screen?

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Book to Movie: Soundtracks that Rock

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October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Dessi Gomez from California.

fault in our stars the giver if i stayMovie soundtracks can potentially make or break a movie. It’s great when they complement the movie, and they are even more poignant when they connect to the book off of which the movie is based. I compared the soundtracks of three popular books that have been recently transformed into movies: The Giver by Lois Lowry, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. These soundtracks chosen to help tell each of these stories have different tones that create unique vibes for each and every reader and viewer. The Giver is suspenseful and liberating. If I Stay is indie and quietly heartbreaking. The Fault in Our Stars is modern and mainstream. I wanted to talk about four songs from each soundtrack that I personally think really topped off the movie. [Note: time stamps for specific lyrical references are given at the end of some descriptions.]

fault-our-stars-movie-posterThe Fault in Our Stars

  • “All of These Stars” by Ed Sheeran

This song does a fine job of closing up the movie as the credits song. I thought of the title of the story when I heard the words, “I saw a shooting star and I thought of you.” Many of the songs in the soundtrack contain references to the stars. The lyric “I can see the stars from America/Amsterdam” connects the two countries in which Hazel and Augustus spend time together. The combination of “the way our horizons meet” and “skyline splits in two” speaks of how Hazel and Augustus are meant to be together, but are cruelly torn apart. “I looked across and fell in love” reminds me of how Augustus couldn’t take his eyes off of Hazel once he saw her in support group.  [Times: beginning-1:37; 2:17-2:35; 3:15 to end]

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Page to Screen: The Maze Runner

mazerunnerIt’s hard to know where to start this review of The Maze Runner movie, so let’s start with some numbers – 1, 32.5, 63, 80, 49 and 9.15.  It was the #1 movie this past weekend, raking in $32.5 million dollars. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 63% of critics favored the film and 80% of audiences liked it. Variety reported that 49% of the viewers this weekend were male, and that after seeing the numbers above, Fox wasted no time announcing the release of the sequel to The Maze Runner to be released in September 2015.

The Variety article is interesting for many reasons, but mainly because it talks about the bankability of film adaptations of young adult books. At first it wrongfully seems to argue that The Maze Runner did so well because it was the first YA lit film with a male protagonist– apparently they’ve forgotten about the Percy Jackson films. I would also argue that this is more of an ensemble film, but that would be digressing. The more astute observation from the article is that in order for a book to film movie to do well, no matter the fandom’s size, the movie actually needs to be good for both fans and newcomers alike.

So how did first time director Wes Ball do with James Dashner’s The Maze Runner?

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Page to Screen: If I Stay

if i stay posterThe film based on Gayle Forman’s novel If I Stay starring Chloe Grace Moretz came out this past weekend. It topped the Friday box office with a $6.8 million dollar opening and became the #3 movie of the weekend.

We YA lovers really do love a good opening weekend for the hotly anticipated and heavily marketed films based on our beloved books. If I Stay was named on the 2010 Best Books for Young Adults and Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults lists, and has legions of devoted readers. So how did director, RJ Cutler et al, do with adapting Forman’s novel? I have some mixed feelings about this one, so riffing on Jessica Lind’s post from last week’s The Hub about required reading, read on for the good, the bad and the ugly of this particular film adaptation.

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The Giver Movie: A Reader’s Perspective

The_Giver_posterAs a reader, I’m not sure if I went to the movies because I wanted to watch The Giver or because I wanted to hatewatch it.

I did a little of each. I’ll try to explain my reaction to the film, while also leaving out enough information to keep the movie surprising if you’d like to be surprised. That may leave this post incomprehensible until after you’ve seen the movie. I’m not sure. You’ll have to let me know. But be forewarned: this post either has spoilers or is impossible to understand.

I think your liking of this film will depend on how passionate you are about the book. I’m not someone who thinks movies have to stick to the book word-for-word; different media require different approaches. But I’m also not someone who likes it when a movie slaps a book title on its poster and does nothing else to base it on the novel. The Giver is somewhere in between, and it’s not really a bad movie so much as a film that suffers from the glut of dystopian movies, TV, and books and designed itself to be attractive to people just catching on to that genre, not people curious to see Lois Lowry’s beloved book come to life.

That’s not to say that readers won’t enjoy this film. The creators did a brilliant job of dealing with the colorless world. The slow transitions and back-and-forth from plain to color and back again, as Jonas learns new colors and as he goes back and forth between the colorful world of the Giver’s home to his own bland dwelling, is just perfect. The set design is spot-on, and the costumes and props are stylized but not too corny. This film has excellent trappings, but it didn’t do much to translate the power of the book to the screen. 

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It’s Good to Be Bad: Maleficent

maleficent

I always thought Maleficent was the scariest and the most fascinating of all the Disney villains. So from the moment I saw the first trailer at Catching Fire back in November, I was thrilled that she was getting her own movie. It turned out to be so much more than I expected.

In recent years, Disney has made a refreshing departure from their standard princess movie to a new generation of tough  heroines like Merida and Elsa, who determine their own destinies, fight their own battles, and want more out of life than to marry a prince. (If you have not read it yet, you should really check out Hannah Gomez’s Hub review of Frozen.) In Enchanted, we even saw Disney poke fun at some of its own tropes before sort of reinforcing them. Maleficent goes a step beyond to do something it has never done before. It takes one of those classic princess movies and turns it on its head, not just by telling the story from the perspective of the villain, but by putting ALL the power in the hands of the women.

It is almost impossible to write about the themes of this movie without being spoilery, but I am going to try. Even if you have a Disney-obsessed seven-year-old in your house  like I do and have seen all the extended sneak peaks on the Disney Channel, you probably have not seen much that deviates from the 1959 animated Sleeping Beauty. And I am going to try to honor that because I really want everyone to go see it and be surprised…and delighted, and terrified, and maybe even moved to tears. 

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Page to Screen: The Fault in our Stars

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All right fellow YA lovers and nerdfighters, this past weekend was a big one for us. The much anticipated movie adaptation of 2012 Teens’ Top Ten pick The Fault in our Stars came out on Friday with some theaters even previewing it on Thursday night. This heavily anticipated film has received a lot of media coverage as of late because of the book (and certainly John Green’s) large fandom.

Fans of the book and Green have been very vocal about their anticipation and expectations for this film. John Green made the film seem like a collaborative process to get from page to screen, and the filmmakers were pretty vocal about their love of the source material. The collaborative aspect with Green in and of itself is rare since authors usually get NO say whatsoever once the film rights have been sold to the book, so this was huge and something that made me as a fan pretty hopeful for the adaptation.

John Green really gave me hope for this movie, and I daresay this film might just be one of the truest adaptations of a book that I’ve seen in a long time. Now there were changes made from page to screen and for a full rundown of those you can check out this EW article, but the heart of the book was all there. John Green’s words were there. 

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Teens Weigh In: Why Romeo and Juliet Endure

Well, readers and movie buffs, today marks the release of a new Romeo and Juliet movie adaptation, this time with Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey fame) putting the Bard’s words to screen. Take a gander at the trailer if you haven’t already:

Here at The Hub, we’ve covered remakes and star-crossed love, and today we bring you teens’ and young adults’ own thoughts on this ever-enduring story.

Which movie actors would you cast as Romeo and Juliet?

“I think Rose Byrne would be a good movie actress to play Juliet, because she landed her first role at 15 years old, and they were about the same age, and I think Romeo should be played by Leonardo DiCaprio.” –Genoa Juliet

“Orlando Bloom on Broadway” –Helen

“If we’re going more age-appropriate, I agree with the casting of the new movie: Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth. If you’re looking for actors a little bit older, I think I’d cast Eddie Redmayne as Romeo. He has that suave, leading-man quality about him from what I saw in Les Mis. For Juliet, I’d go with Condola Rashad. I just saw her on Broadway as Juliet (opposite Orlando Bloom) and she was fantastic!” –Luke

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series has quite the following- see YALSA’s Teens Top Ten lists from 2007-2011 to get an idea- so it wasn’t that big of a surprise that someone decided to turn the series into a movie. The new “it” thing to do in Hollywood these days is to search for the next big YA movie franchise now that Twilight and Harry Potter are completely done. We still have The Hunger Games and now the much-anticipated adaptation of Divergent that just wrapped filming, but for every one of those, we have several more Percy Jackson or Beautiful Creatures flicks to suffer through. So where in all of that does City of Bones fit?


Well, there does not seem to be much of a consensus on the first film in the Mortal Instruments series. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the critics believe that the film is 16% rotten while the audience believes it is 82% fresh. Talk about a huge gap. Personally, I would probably rate the film somewhere in the middle of that– an “A” for effort with a “C” for execution. The actors for the film are exactly who, as a fan, you would want. Lily Collins fits perfectly with how one could imagine Clary. Lena Headey reminds us how awesome she is, if we somehow forgot her roles in the Sarah Connor Chronicles, 300 or Game of Thrones, as Clary’s kick-butt -and-take-names-later mom. She really is the definition of a fanboy/fangirl dream. Jamie Campbell Bower pretty much looks exactly how I would have imagined Jace, and embodies that iciness with cracks of vulnerability well. They had the actors right for me, so what happened?

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