4 Book-to-Screen Adaptations I'm Worried About
Book-to-screen adaptations are something filmmakers have done for ages, but it seems like within the past few years there has been an influx of them. Some of it has to do with the explosion of YA as a book genre, but even aside from that it seems that every successful novel is being made (or remade) into film or a TV show. While I generally am excited to see beloved characters come to life on screen, there have been some REALLY big misses in that department as well. The saddest part for me is that people who haven't read the original material end up judging the books by the mediocre movies they've become. The perfect example of this in my opinion is The Da Vinci Code / Angels & Demons. How could you ruin those books so badly, Hollywood?! Or pretty much any film or TV adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo... Anyways, today I wanted to share my concerns about the upcoming book-to-screen adaptations, since I've been hearing about so many.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Expected Release Date: ????
I have to admit, the recent news of Steven Spielberg directing this has my hopes up a bit, but I am still majorly concerned. While I think that if ANYONE can bring this imaginative world to life, it's Steven Spielberg, the scope of this film has to be massive. Starting with the endless amount of sets that need to exist to follow the events in both the OASIS (a virtual reality with countless planets) and the dystopian situation of the real world, and ending with the fact that a lot of characters need to be double cast because people's avatars in the OASIS don't always match the reality. On top of that, there is so much actual plot to work with that I honestly have trouble seeing how this could be condensed into 2-3 hours of film. The author himself said that he wrote Ready Player One with the intention of it NOT being adaptable for screen. Promising, isn't it? I also wonder how they filmmakers are going to deal with the multitude of pop culture references, as this whole book is based around 80s-90s film, music, and video game trivia.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Expected Release Date: 2016
Guess what? There is another YA book trilogy adaptation coming your way, and let's be honest: the quality of those has been getting progressively worse. But can you blame Hollywood? They know that if they throw a decent cast into a popular book series—the fans will come, and most likely bring their friends. So, why bother actually trying to make this a great film? Now, the thing about The Darkest Minds is that it actually has the potential to be "the next Hunger Games": it has social commentary, it has a unique take on special abilities, and it's not just one character that's a "unique and individual snowflake"—it's all of the kids with powers (check out my review of the book series here). But if the filmmakers decide to focus on the romance and avoid the gritty parts to get it to a PG-13 rating—it can end up being a train wreck. Or entirely forgettable. I'm not even sure which is worse.
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Expected Release Date: April 17, 2015
This one is coming up really soon (two weeks, people!) and it's also one of my most recent reads (book review coming in a few days). I was originally very excited for this film, and I still think they have a fantastic cast that matches the characters from the book really well. But here is the thing: Hollywood does not have a good track record of making films about Eastern Europe—most of what I see are stereotypes and caricatures. And what is with the accents?! Russians in Russia don't speak English to each other with fake Russian accents—they speak their language. Obviously, this is a movie, so why not let people speak their regular English? I really don't think it adds any kind of authenticity—it's obviously fake and nobody would be confused about where this movie is taking place without it. Another thing is that Child 44 is actually very dark and graphic, and I wonder whether the filmmakers were brave enough to go for it.
Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Expected Release Date: ????
I've talked about how much I love this comic book series in this post, as well as in this video. If you've ever wondered what combining fantasy and horror in a contemporary setting is like, look no further than the fascinating world of Locke & Key. Thankfully, this was announced as a film trilogy, so there will be plenty of time to work through the intricacies of the story. Still, whoever brings this to life has a lot of work to do with visuals and cast: not only is this comic book seires filled with dark and beautiful imagery, but also the characters are very well developed and go through really rough emotional times. I am hopeful that Locke & Key will fall into the hands of someone like Guillermo del Toro, who will not shy away from all of the darkness, but also make it the beautiful film trilogy it could be. And no PG-13 rating, please!
Are you concerned about any of the upcoming book-to-screen adaptations? Is there is one that already hit theaters or TV screens, and turned out to be a disappointment for you?