A few weeks ago I went to see Beautiful Creatures. The book blew me away so I figured the movie was worth my ten bucks. Lesson’s learned, from the opening credits to the close no part of the book was left un-violated. I can easily say it was the worst adaptation I’ve ever seen. Which got me thinking, an awful lot of young adult books are making their way to the big screen these days. So how do you know what to see and what to skip?
Below is my breakdown of the good the blah and the Oh No You Didn’ts of the last few years.
The Good: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky’s novel debuted in 1999. I remember because I was in high school at the time and so were the characters. The film version hit theatres in 2012 and despite the huge generation gap between teens of the nineties and teens today the movie is as relatable to teens today as it was to me back then. I’ll confess that I don’t remember the book well enough to know if any minor changes were made but certainly the essence of the story remained the same. This is probably due to the fact that the author himself wrote the screenplay. If you haven’t read a good book lately, pick this one up. If you’re too busy to read, pick up the movie, because in this rare case one is as good as the other.
The Blah: The Twilight Series
If you liked the books you probably liked a few of the movies. The first was pretty funny, whether that was intentional or not remains debatable. Was it true to the book? Not always, but did that hurt them at the box office? I’m gonna go with no. What’s unique about the movie adaptations of Stephanie Meyer’s series is that they can be enjoyed with or without having read the books. Something about giant digital werewolves, shirtless men and good-looking British guys makes for box office gold. Go figure.
Oh No You Didn’t: Beautiful Creatures
I’ve already mentioned that this one didn’t suit me, but let me explain why. It’s not that the movie is bad. If I had never read the book I might have liked the movie. The problem is that the book is good—great even—so doing it justice would require some dang good screenwriting, which is exactly what the movie lacked. Adapting a 400-plus-page novel into a 124-minute movie couldn’t have been an easy task. Things had to be cut, but unfortunately the things that the writers chose to cut stole the humor, pacing, and charm from the final product.
2013 has a pretty impressive line up of adaptations in the works. I'm hoping for the best but Beautiful Creatures has left me more than a little jilted. Keep your eye out for the following:
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments (August )
Stephanie Meyer’s The Host (March )
Rick Riordan’s The Sea of Monsters (August)
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (November)