Google+ YA Romantics: Page to Screen: Paper Towns

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Page to Screen: Paper Towns



Confession: I often avoid seeing movies that are based books that I like. My book club and I had planned to see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (which I still haven't read).  However, that movie left the theater right before we were due to meet, so the obvious thing to do was to go and see:


I was worried. I read Paper Towns some years ago and really liked it, but the casting had me concerned. That supermodel was all wrong to play Margot, and if Quentin were really that adorable looking, the book would obviously have turned out a different way.

I went into the movie with no expectations, and ... I really liked it a lot. I thought it captured the spirit of the book and I was happy that there were changes. The Harry Potter movies aside, I think the most successful book-to-movie adaptations are the ones that aren't afraid to actually adapt the book a bit.

What's different about the movie?

If you don't want to know what was changed from page to screen, you should stop reading here. If you haven't read the book, this won't make much sense to you, but carry on unless you are afraid of spoilers.

No Honeybunnies
I was really happy that Ben's character was toned down a bit. Thankfully, there were no mentions of honeybunnies or all the different bunnies he was always going on about. On screen, Ben was definitely channeling Anthony Michael Hall in every John Hughes movie, but I have no complaints about that.

Q gets cuter 
I can understand that in a movie targeted to a mainstream teen crowd, Quentin had to be more cute and less awkward than in the book. One review I read called the movie version of Quentin "unsurprising" and "average." That's harsh, but I sort of see the point. In the book, since Q is the narrator, his voice is stronger and I he comes off quirkier and smarter. 

More Girls
Watching this on screen made me realize that Paper Towns is a fairly guy-centric book. Margo is pretty much a MPDG, and all the other girls in the book have very minor roles. While I really loved that the movie emphasized the great friendship between Q, Ben and Radar, I was happy that Radar's girlfriend Angela got a bigger role in the film. 
P.S. I was wrong about Cara Delevingne. She made a great Margo.

Ninja Night
I loved seeing the prank sequence come to life on the screen. Sadly, there was no trip to Sea World, but I still thought this aspect was fantastic and otherwise true to the literary version.

Road trip 
Who doesn't love a road trip? I thought the small changes made to the trip were really smart and added some needed suspense and humor.

Pokémon Sequence 
Hilarious. And exactly right for these characters if they're high school seniors in 2015.

The Ending
Really, really liked the way the ending was done. I was really afraid that there'd be some (highlight for spoiler) completely inappropriate Hollywood happy ending, (end spoiler) but I really liked the very slight changes to the ending. 

Have you seen the movie? Read the book? If so, tell me your thoughts!

18 comments:

  1. I read the book a couple of years ago, and I can't wait to see the movie. I'm hoping I can squeeze it in this weekend when I'm visiting my mom. I love watching movies after reading the book. I love to judge how well they did (or didn't do). I'm glad to hear you think they did a good job with this one.

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    1. I just feel sad if they messed the book up. In this case, I'd argue no, but there were a surprising number of changes!

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  2. Haven't seen it yet, but I want to. Sadly we go to the cinema as a family and I can't convince Hubs to take an interest, lol :) I'll wait for the DVD.

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    1. My family can NEVER agree on a movie. We've given up!

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  3. I haven't seen it yet but I'm excited to. I really liked the book but agree most book to movie adaptations need some changes. Glad to hear this was done well!

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    1. I do think changes are important -- a book and a movie need different things to be successful, I think :)

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  4. I haven't seen it yet and I am wary of it, mainly because I thought the book was only okay. I am glad you enjoyed it though!

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    1. You might like the movie better, then. Or not :)

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  5. I liked it, but not as much as FiOS which I realize is a different animal.

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    1. Very! I think that was more well-suited to being a movie. (But I still haven't seen it yet...)

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  6. I have to say that I liked the movie well enough, but it was a bit below my admittedly high expectations. I've been following John all this time and I was convinced the movie would be absolutely brilliant. Maybe I'm just too old, I'm certainly not the intended audience.

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    1. For me, it was definitely a quiet movie. For the first fifteen or twenty minutes, I was worried, but the movie really grew on me. I thought it brought out aspects of the book (friendship) that I liked a lot.

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  7. Based on your review, I am excited to see the movie! I am always nervous to watch movies based on books I love, and this one has gotten pretty good reviews!

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    1. I saw a mix of reviews. I'm sort of curious to see what people who haven't read the book think of it.

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  8. Yes! Your review on the movie/book made me so excited to watch it now. Really was hesitant Cara will not be a great actress, but glad she did good in the movie!

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

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  9. I loved the book and am planning on seeing the movie this weekend. Glad to hear it was a good adaption! :)

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  10. I haven't seen the movie nor read the book, but I don't mind getting spoiled a bit ;) Usually, I don't mind the movie version making some subtle changes as long as the essence are still there and as long as they don't take out important scenes that are integral to the character's end-game development. Glad to know that Paper Towns delivered! Someone told me even if you didn't like the book, it would be good to watch the movie still for the supporting characters :D

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  11. I went to see Paper Towns last night. It was better than I'd expected, and Cara was actually good as Margot. However, I was a bit disappointed that the Sea World scene had been cut out. I really enjoyed the film though, and the Pokémon song was so funny!

    www.ramblingsofanotherunistudent.blogspot.com

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