From Novels to Movies: To Be or Not to Be

I have gotten into doing a lot of novel reading…as my commute in the DC area can be quite long. Ok…so it’s not actually novel “reading”…it’s books on CD…but you get the picture.

Throughout my reading (or listening) I have wondered how some books would fair as movies, and at the same time, have wondered why some books have been made into movies. Here’s some miscellaneous ponderings:

The City of Ember: This book has received some good reviews, and honestly, I couldn’t get even halfway through the book. Fairly inane story based on an alternate reality that I just can’t grasp onto. It’s a city that is on the verge of collapse with a mystery behind its beginnings. Sure, sounds nice, but I just couldn’t get beyond one underlying facet of the city: the communication. I could write a whole blog post on this one, but I won’t. Instead of modern conveniences like the Internet, phones, or EVEN snail mail–they use messengers who have to run all over the city to convey messages. Just the idea that an advanced society couldn’t figure out mail turned me off.

The Lightning Thief: Harry Potter meets Mount Olympus. I have been thinking about a whole post on this book, and how after what JK Rowling put together, no other book featuring a young boy who goes on a quest to defeat evil will ever be able to avoid being compared to Harry Potter. But then I found out that it was in production to be a movie. I think the scenes and story are good enough for a movie, but the plot, frankly, is a little predictable and a little overdone. It is unique in it’s own merit, and I look forward to seeing how they pull off the final scene between Percy and a character not to be named, so as to not ruin the story for you.

The Tale of Despereaux: I mistakenly read this book to my kids. It’s not really a kids book honestly. The themes are very adult and anything but child-friendly. Especially the murder plot…oh, and the child abuse. Then I saw the previews for the movie, and I have to say, I don’t see ONE element of the book in the movie. THey must have done a complete overhaul of the story to fit into the movie.

The Dark is Rising (AKA The Seeker): I just finished this book, and at first, I was anxious to see the movie (the 2007 release, the Seeker).  Then I saw the previews, and it looks like they tried to update it to give it a 21st century feel to it. I read the reviews, and others agree, the movie and the book are two separate entities. If you’ve seen the movie, don’t let it ruin the book for you…the book is fantastic.

Now–a few movies I’d like to see:

Airman by Eoin Colfer: The plotline is akin to the Count of Monte Cristo, but it’s fabulous in its own right. The end left a little to be desired, but all in all, this was an amazing book, and I can’t wait until some producer picks up the movie rights for it.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp: I loved the book. Fantastic story. Great plot twists. Excellent character development. I’d love to see John Woo take this movie on.