Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Top Page-to-Screen Adaptations to Put on Your Radar


Photo Credit: Sony/Puffin/Lionsgate/Quirk

We’ve all heard the following: “The book is better than the movie.”
The move from page to screen is tricky. What works in a book doesn’t quite get across the same way cinematically. It’s not practical to film every detail in a book, even though as readers and fans we may find all of those details fascinating and important. The cast and crew have to use their own creative talents to interpret the essence of the novel in the most captivating way possible, whether or not it’s completely faithful to the story.
Many YA adaptations, new and old, suffer from not diverging far enough from the source material. However, there are instances when too many differences can hurt a film as well. The following is a list of upcoming movies and TV shows based on YA titles that hopefully will find the balance of being true to the story while also excelling in a new medium.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – Release Date: November 20, 2015
The Hunger Games franchise has proven to be “the crown jewel” of YA adaptations, well-loved by fans, critics, and general audiences—which is a rarity. The movie series has great source material, and the creative team behind it knows how to make the film version visually epic and hit the key emotional moments that allow viewers to take enjoyment of Suzanne Collins’s trilogy (Scholastic) to a new level.
Shadowhunters – TV Premiere: January 12, 2016 on ABC Family (aka Freeform)
A disappointing debut at the box office and negative reviews did not deter producers from rebooting The Mortal Instruments series (S. & S.), this time for television. The Mortal Instruments is better suited for long form storytelling. The series is packed with plot, characters, and details that the movie couldn’t completely touch on, and Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunter world needs time to be explored, rather than throwing a ton of exposition at viewers hoping they comprehend it all. Footage of the new show recently debuted at New York Comic Con, and while it’s not terribly convincing, there is real potential there.
The 5th Wave – Release Date: January 15, 2016
Put The 5th Wave (Putnam, 2013) and Chloë Grace Moretz together, and it’s hard not to be excited for this upcoming movie. Based on the trailers, the film looks like it is faithful to the story. Obviously, the studio hopes to turn the series into a franchise, and Moretz may have enough star power to make that happen. I suppose my only worry would be adapting the sequel, The Infinite Sea(2014), because that book is a doozy.
The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Release Date: March 18, 2016
Splitting the final book in Veronica Roth’s best-selling “Divergent” series (HarperCollins) doesn’t seem like the smartest choice. The first part of the novel is slowly paced, yet it’ll be interesting to see what the creative team adds to boost the narrative. UnlikeTwilightHarry Potter, etc., the final movie, due in 2017, will be called Ascendant instead of Allegiant Part 2. It makes us wonder what provoked the new name and if the film will stay true to Roth’s semi-controversial ending.
The BFG – Release Date: July 1, 2016
Not quite YA, but The BFG (Penguin) is a young readers’ classic. It’s a personal favorite, and director Steven Spielberg is bringing Roald Dahl’s tale to the big screen. Spielberg is a great choice; he’s a master of creating adventure stories that are exciting, heartwarming, and thought provoking. Add Bill Hader and a score by John Williams, this might be the movie to win our hearts in 2016.
A Monster Calls – Release Date: October 14, 2016
Known for directing The Impossible, Juan Antonio Bayona has experience creating harrowing and transcendent storytelling for film. Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls (Candlewick, 2011) is profoundly written, and it easily has the capacity to be a compelling and powerful film, especially with a cast that includes Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, and Felicity Jones.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Release Date: November 18, 2016
Audiences will return to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world with a prequel series following the adventures of Newt Scamander (played by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne). Written for the screen by Rowling herself, the film offers fans something new: America’s magical world. The new setting and characters will likely not seem too different since David Yates, who directed the last four Potter films, returns to helm the first film of the new trilogy.
Let It Snow – Release Date: December 9, 2016
The short story collection (Speak, 2008) from Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle, and John Green received an official release date from Universal earlier this year. Little is known about the film project, besides the fact that Kay Cannon, who wrote Pitch Perfect, was hired to adapt the interconnected vignettes. That Universal gave the project a release date is a good sign that they plan to move forward with production, and hopefully a director and cast will be announced soon.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Release Date: December 25, 2016

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