So some book to movie adaptations came out this year and I decided to review two of them. These have been released for a while now but I’ve just got around to watching them. I will be talking about spoilers but if you’ve read the book, I don’t think it would ruin your experience. I have read the books for both of these so I’ll be doing a little comparison as well.
I had low expectations going into this movie because of reviews that I trust but I didn’t think that even my low expectations wouldn’t be met. It was tolerable while it lasted but alas, another disappointing YA book to movie adaptation. Omigosh where do I even start with this. Should I start with the pros? Ok, the pros. Uhmmmm, well I did like the costume and set design. I loved the vintage look of Ms. Peregrine’s home and it felt very magical. And that’s pretty much it…
Now the bad. First of all, the screenplay. The dialogue was sooooo boring and part of that was because the whole movie was basically Jake reacting to this new world. Someone says something new of world, react, repeat. Now this might have been enjoyable if the reaction was actually entertaining but no, Jake’s reaction to everything is basically ok, that’s neat and that’s it. THAT’S IT?? You’re meeting people with special powers and that’s how you react?? On top of that, the dialogue was cringeworthy and cheesy and the execution was just eyeroll worthy. I freaking loved Asa Butterfield in Ender’s Game and other movies but what happened to him in this one?? He was so stilted. This kind of leads to my next gripe which are the characters. As mentioned, they were given bad dialogue but they were also not really given a personality and the ones that did like Milliard, the twins and Claire were not really even given a lot of screen time. Who is Emma?? Oh that’s easy..uhmmm a girl who blows air and is the love interest and that’s it. The other children would not have been so forgettable if it hadn’t been the fact that they were just there to provide a shock factor. Like here are some kids with powers, isn’t that cool? Not a single one of them was memorable beyond their powers. Their powers weren’t even used in creative ways. And that includes the villain. He was evil for evil’s sake which is fine but I never felt that he was any threat whatsoever to these kids. There was one point where he is being thrown against the wall by Emma’s air power and he just stays there for at least 15 minutes of the movie threatening her and that’s it..Hell even Jake’s grandfather who is suppose to be his motivation for the entire thing didn’t really even feel believable.
It could have made a great movie if there was even an inkling of warmth and richness to this world. This movie was passable because it went through the basic motions of a typical fantasy adventure featuring an underdog protagonist. As a book to movie adaptation, I think it took a lot of what made Ms. Peregrine’s world unique and simplified it too much for it to be original.
I still don’t quite understand why I gave this book a 4 stars on goodreads. I mean it was cute and I had a good time for the most part but it’s definitely a 3 stars at best. So I came into the movie expecting the same which I got. I think I liked the book and the movie equally. It was a very faithful adaptation. And you couldn’t have asked for better actors to play Will and Louisa. I mean Sam Clafin just flawlessly transitions a face of entitlement and arrogance to one of sadness and bitterness without seeming like a 360 degree turn. Emilia has just the right balance of bubbliness but persistence. The movie cut out a lot of elements that didn’t focus directly on the romance. I felt like the issue of the quadriplegia and everything related to Louisa as a character was sidelined bc #romance which in some ways is understandable because this movie is marketed as a romance movie but in others just hurts the topics that should have been discussed more like his quadriplegia. In regards to Louisa’s backstory that was revealed at the end of the book, I thought it was already contrived in the book so I didn’t really mind that it wasn’t included in the movie.
And tell me if this is just me but sometimes when I saw Louisa and Will in the same scene, Louisa comes off as like a child and Will seems much older so it makes me kind of uncomfortable. In some scenes, Louisa looks like Will’s niece. I know they didn’t purposefully infantilize Louisa but it just comes across that way. Maybe I’m just being an overanalytical bitch, who knows. But I’m kind of sick of females in romances being written with traits that correspond to children such as innocence etc. It feels weird. Anyways I did like the romance for what it was. The cinematography was a lot better than what I expected from a romantic comedy and really elevated it from the average romantic comedy. I would also like to address the whole debacle with Me Before You being ableist. And to me, it’s not. The reason is because Will is a specific character and the author constantly specifies that he was a very athletic person but you also have to remember that he was a very entitled, king-of-the-world type of person before the accident. Some people are different. They can live with and find joy in whatever their condition but Will isn’t like that. He’s a bitter person and some people are also like that. Will’s experience is not a complete encompassment of what every quadriplegic’s life looks like and shouldn’t be treated it as such. To me, Will doesn’t want to commit suicide because of his condition but because he hasn’t and doesn’t want to find a way to live with it. The ending might be emotionally manipulative, it seems like a way just to get people to cry now that I think about it but that’s my opinion. Either way, this movie was enjoyable for what is. I really wasn’t expecting anything more.
Let me know what you thought of these movies or my thoughts on these movies or if you liked the book over the movie or vice versa. I’m really excited for my next mini movie review batch because I’m going to be reviewing 3 foreign language films that I really liked. So stay tuned for that!