Harry Potter. The Hunger Games. The current nationwide phenomenon The Fault In Our Stars.
Classics coming soon to the big screen: The Great Gilly Hopkins and The Giver.
And way back when, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and in the beginning, The Wizard of Oz.
Great children’s books have always been made into beloved movies. Still, the TFIOS buzz got me wondering what kids think about recent film adaptations of bestselling books.
So I went looking for the perspective of the publishers’ and studios’ target demographic. 13-year-old Jesse was eating Goldfish crackers and reading a magazine on his trampoline when I caught up with him.
Are you going to see The Fault In Our Stars?
J: Probably not. I’ll probably read it.
In general: would you choose the book or the movie?
J: If my friends are talking about the book, I’ll probably read the book. Movies are kind of long and they don’t teach you much and you can often predict what’s happening. With books it’s different.
J: For a movie it feels like it has to be for a wide audience. With a book it feels like it’s something the author wrote that they like, for a small group of people.
Like there’s more pressure for a movie to make money?
What was the last adaptation you were excited to see?
J: I guess The Hunger Games, because it was so far fetched and different than anything else.
Did it meet your expectations?
J: It did. It didn’t skip too many parts and I thought they picked the characters well. It matched what I had it my head when I read the books. With books it’s cool because you can create what you think it looks like with just the author’s guidelines. With movies you just see what it is and everyone reacts to it the same way.
What book would you never want to see made into a movie?
J: Well, I could either pick a book that’s really bad… or a book that’s really good that could possibly be made into a bad movie and ruin the book. There’s one book I read, Life As We Knew It, about some apocalypse or something, and there have been way too many of those movies. And there are ones like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, where there’s so much to go into and they made so many movies. I think that would happen with The Ranger’s Apprentice.
I’m a little worried they’re making The Giver into a movie, even with Jeff Bridges.
J: No. It wouldn’t work as a movie.
So what’s the best book you’ve read recently?
J: There’s a series called Beyonders. Basically what happens is a boy and a girl who live in different parts of the US go into an alternate universe called Lyrian and there’s this ruler named Maldor who lives there and he’s unbeatable and like a tyrant. So Maldor has some serious connections and he knows what’s going on and he knows these people who aren’t supposed to be here came through these portals. So they’re running from him and they’re basically teaming up and making allies in Lyrian and slowly taking down Maldor. Oh and there’s also a prophecy.
Would it make a good movie?
J: Maybe. It might be okay. But a lot goes on though.