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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: film fridays

Film Friday is where I blog about a book that’s been adapted into a film or a movie that is a film.  Today’s post is about one of the most renowned and beloved children’s books of all time that is FINALLY a film.

1963, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is published
1964, Where the Wild Things Are wins the Caldecott
1980’s, Scholastic Video releases a cartoon version along with other animated Sendak tales
1983, Disney conducts an animated screen test by John Lasseter, of Pixar fame (watch it here)
1990s, various attempts to make a film version are mounted, fail
2006, filming begins in Australia
2008, leaked footage, reshoots are ordered
2009, Where the Wild Things Are releases

I’ve been following the progress of this for awhile.  In 2008, leaked footage the movie was trashed, the Wild Things’ costumes criticized, and the whole project looked headed to be completely reshot. Warner Brothers was unhappy, the movie was terrifying for young children, etc. But here we are in 2009 and it’s awaiting release.

It has an excellent cast – indie faves Mark Ruffalo, Chris Cooper, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano.  TV vets James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose.  And one of my all-time favorites, Catherine O’Hara.

It’s an odd pairing behind this movie, hipster-favorite Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) and Spike Jonze, who directed the quirky and surreal Adaptation and Being John Malkvoich. Judging from the trailers and movie clips I’ve seen, and the kid-chorus alongside Karen O (of The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s) composed soundtrack, this film seems tailored to two audiences. The story of Where the Wild Things Are at its heart is simple: escapism, and that’s what this story is about.  A little boy, who escapes to a magical world, forgets his problems for a little while, and when he comes back.. his dinner is still warm.

But the question can a book with barely 30 pages be a film?  We’ll see soon.

I hope that, despite the added elements to the story, the film keeps its darkness and whimsy at heart, and gives us all the feeling we had when we first read the book, and wished we were Max.
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This Film Fridays post is on Saturday, due to my post for the Dreaming Anastasia blog tour.  Film Fridays is where I write about a book I’d either like to see a movie, or a movie that was adapted from a book.
This week, it’s all about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, the film of which opened this week, including screens featuring IMAX 3D.
This classroom staple was published in 1978.  The original tale is about a grandfather who tells his children about the town of Chewandswallow, and the peculiar weather of the town: food.  It would rain soup and juice, and snow mashed potatoes.  But the weather, while delicious, causes problems for the whole town, and something must be done.
A sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh, is available as well. In November, The Complete Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs arrives in stores, with both books in a collection.

The film version runs 81 minutes, and features the voices of Mr. T, Anna Farris, Neil Patrick Harris, and Saturday Night Live‘s Bill Hader and Andy Samberg. The trailer and other goodies are at the official website,  Obviously the story of the original text has to be fleshed out a bit, so it foscuses on Flint Lockwood, a bumbling inventor who invents a device to help his starving town, but it backfires.

Every Friday, I make a post on what books I’d like to see as movies, or write about a movie that was originally a book.   You can participate if you like as well.

This week, I chose the Bunnicula series by James Howe.  A middle grade series written from a dog’s perspective, there’s several books in the series.

The titular character, Bunnicula, is a rabbit who the animals – Chester, the cat, and Harold, the dog – suspect is a vampire due to his need to suck all nutrients from vegetables, rather than consuming them whole. The series starts with Bunnicula, followed by Howliday Inn, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, Nighty Nightmare, Return to Howliday Inn, Bunnicula Strikes Again!, and Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allen Crow

There was also a spinoff series, Tale from the House of Bunnicula.

With all the CGI wizardry around, it’d be interesting to see either a live-action version of the series or an all-animated version.  In 1981, an animated version of the books did air as a made-for-television event, but according to fans, it differed heavily from the novels.

I’m going to try a new feature here at my site. Film Fridays. The idea is simple. Blog about one of the following:

  • A book adapted into a film
  • A book you’d like to be made into a movie

My first Film Fridays post is for Frindle by Andrew Clements, one of my all-time favorites. Frindle is about Nick Allen, and his middle-school antics. He’s not really a troublemaker, he just wants to make school more fun.

When he’s assigned a report about dictionaries, he learns about the origin of a word, he decides to coin his own. He calls a pen a “frindle.” To his teacher’s surprise and annoyance, the word spreads beyond the school grounds to the city, then the county, and finally, the world.

Andrew Clements is a fantastic midde-grade author, and after seeing how well Louis Sachar’s Holes translated to screen, I know Frindle would be just as successful.

I’m going to try a new feature here at my blog. Fiction Film Fridays, or Film Fridays for short. The idea is simple.. blog about a book you’d like to see made into a movie OR write about a movie that was based on a book. That’s it! I chose Fridays because movies are released on Fridays.

If you do this, leave a comment. I’ll add a link widget here later.