When the last trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 landed online the other week, I was temporarily lost in face-devouring wow. While I’m sure the finished film will live up to my own TOWERING expectations, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time I was enchanted by a trailer only to be left disappointingly underwhelmed by the finished film itself.
We all love a good book. We all love a good film. But we all hate a bad adaptation. This year, major releases such as Brighton Rock and The Rum Diary (not to mention the final episode of the Harry Potter series), are due to attract big numbers in the box office. But with a plethora of books flying from the shelf to our cinema screens, what makes a good adaptation?
You don’t need us to tell you this was never going to be a good film, but in the age of Up and Where the Wild Things Are, there’s always a chance kids’ movies might surprise you. No surprises here unfortunately – this sequel to the equally inane Alvin and the Chipmunks sees our high-pitched protagonists dealing with high school and a rival rodent-based pop group with typical stupidity and slapstick humour. The plot is formulaic, there’s no acting to speak of and there’s enough cutesyness to test even the strongest stomach.
At least, not always. Films that studios allocate ridiculously bloated publicity budgets to are not always likely to be showered in glowing reviews and critical acclaim. Here we chronicle 2009’s most hyped films, some of which delivered and some that blew up in the studios’ faces big time.
If ‘kidult’ films are the latest trend in Hollywood, Where the Wild Things Are would be at a Kate Moss level of cool, as the hype surrounding it demonstrates. But this is one movie that lives up to its press – the sumptuous visuals, amazing costumes and edgy soundtrack create an amazing and unique cinematic experience. There’s not as much in it for the kids as some parents might like, but the lack of family-friendly formulaic storytelling is also what makes it great.
All it took was one weedy little wizard-nerd to make children’s book adaptations the new Hollywood holy grail. Suddenly, studios are scrambling over each other in their quest to create the coolest, most visually stunning, and (most importantly) highest-grossing new book-turned-film. But is this new trend really making kids the kings of the big screen? Or is it just creating a bunch of overly-thought-out tat that’s too advanced for kids, too weird for adults?