Trailer Thoughts: The Magicians

The MagiciansWhee! BuzzFeed has the first trailer for Syfy’s The Magicians, based on the novels by Lev Grossman. It’s an exclusive, so I’m going to link you over to them rather than embedding, but if you’re interested in the show, you should definitely watch – I was a little skeptical at first, but by the end I was all in. Jason Ralph plays Quentin, and while he looked a little old at first, I think I’ll like what he does with the character, so I’ll go with it. Quentin needs to be something of a jerk but also sympathetic, which can be a hard line to walk; I assume a show would be tempted to make him too likeable, to make sure the audience is on his side, but so far so good. That first shot of the Brakebills lawn was perfect, and so far I like the way they’re portraying the magic itself. Can’t wait to see more!

Watch the Delirium Pilot Now

Thanks to Hulu, we’re getting a look at the pilot based on Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, even though it was not picked up to series. It stars Emma Roberts, Gregg Sulkin, Billy Campbell, Daren Kagasoff, and more. I was not a huge fan of the book – except for Oliver’s writing, which is the hardest part to make come through in an adaptation – and after watching this pilot I can’t say I’m too sad that it wasn’t picked up. It wasn’t terrible, and I’m sure I would have watched the show and hoped for it to get better, but it also didn’t really grab me at all. I do like that it was made available, and I hope this happens with more rejected pilots. Anyone else watch? What do you think?

We Were Liars Headed to the Big Screen

Ever since I read E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars a few weeks ago, I’d been wondering whether someone would try to make a movie out of it and how that would work out. And now, with the news that Imperative Entertainment has acquired the book, this is potentially more than a theoretical question. (Of course, lots of books are optioned and never actually turn into movies, so don’t get your hopes up too much yet.) It’s obvious why this would be an attractive property: It’s getting a ton of buzz, and it’s an enchanting story about pretty people in a pretty place; it would be a gorgeous movie.

On the other hand, We Were Liars is an unusual book with a very specific structure and style, and I’m not sure how successfully those elements would translate to the screen. (The author has written the first draft of the script, which is encouraging, at least.) It’s a mystery, of sorts, with the truth slowly revealed, and I’m concerned about both how that would work in the movie itself and how the movie could be marketed without being spoiled. (You’ll notice that I’ve avoided telling you anything about the plot. That’s because I thought it was so good, and because you should go into it blind if at all possible. I did and that definitely improved my reading experience.)

I loved the book, so I want the movie to work. But I’m not as optimistic about the prospect as I’d be with other books with more traditional language and formats. So. We’ll see. Anyone else read this one yet? Do you think the movie will do it justice?

Sleepy Hollow Finale Links & Season 2 Speculation

Sleepy Hollow[SEASON FINALE SPOILERS AHEAD!]

Still reeling from the Sleepy Hollow finale? Me too. After I posted my finale thoughts yesterday, I started thinking about what the finale might mean for which characters we’ll be seeing a lot of in season two. On the one hand, I hope it means that John Noble will be sticking around. And I hope that Katrina being out of Purgatory means that we’ll get to know her better – I want to like her, but the way she was so isolated in season one meant the show didn’t give us much to work with in that area. Conversely, I’m worried about for how long Abbie will be in Purgatory. One of the absolute best parts of the show is the Ichabod/Abbie dynamic, so I hope we’re not in for many episodes of them being separated.

And if you need more Sleepy Hollow, here’s a recommended reading list:

A few Catching Fire thoughts…

Catching FireThis week I finally – belatedly – saw Catching Fire, and while no one needs or wants another big long review of it at this point, I figured I might as well say that I liked it quite a lot! (I’m not going to get into any in-depth plot analysis here, but there may be some spoilers, so be advised.) I didn’t reread the book before seeing the movie, and while that wasn’t really a conscious decision, I think this is a movie for which that helped: I couldn’t remember some of the specifics of the plot, which let it have some genuine tension for me, and I wasn’t as inclined to nitpick (though, of course, nitpicking can be fun). Instead, I was pretty much just along for the ride, and what a ride it was. One of the most impressive things about these movies is the way they make clear how the spectacles seduced the people, while never losing sight of how truly horrifying they are too.

While watching the movie, I kept marveling at how great this cast is. At this point, we all know Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful – I’ve loved her since Winter’s Bone – so this time around, other members of the cast stood out to me more. Josh Hutcherson is so good as Peeta, and surprisingly, completely hilarious through much of this movie. Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and Philip Seymour Hoffman were as great as you’d expect – Tucci, particularly, seems to be having so much fun with this role. And Woody Harrelson did an amazing job with one of the most nuanced roles, managing to capture the humor, pathos, and heroism of Haymitch.

I’ll probably try to reread the books at some point before the next movie comes out, and I remain very curious to see how they handle Mockingjay, especially since they’re splitting it into two movies. I know it’s many fans’ least favorite book in the trilogy, and will provide some challenges for adaptation especially since the main characters are so frequently separated and often kept out of the action.

Thinking about Daughter of Smoke & Bone…

As I’ve mentioned, I love Laini Taylor’s novel Daughter of Smoke & Bone, so I’m very interested to see how the movie turns out. I really hope it’s wonderful! But I have concerns about how a few particular aspects of the book will translate to the screen. (Spoilers, obviously!)

First, there is the visual aspect. Daughter of Smoke & Bone is full of supernatural creatures, and they’re not the kind who look like humans with pale skin or weird teeth or ears. Here’s how one of the main characters is introduced:

Brimstone’s arms and massive torso were the only human parts of him, though the tough flesh that covered them was more hide than skin. His square pectorals were riven with ancient scar tissue, one nipple entirely obliterated by it, and his shoulders and back were etched in more scars: a network of puckered white cross-hatchings. Below the waist he became elsething. His haunches, covered in a faded, off-gold fur, rippled with leonine muscle, but instead of the padded paws of a lion, they tapered to wicked, clawed feet that could have been either raptor or lizard – or perhaps, Karou fancied, dragon.

And then there was his head. Roughly that of a ram, it wasn’t furred, but fleshed in the same tough brown hide as the rest of him. It gave way to scales around his flat ovine nose and reptilian eyes, and giant, yellowed ram horns spiraled on either side of his face.

Now, I know that visual effects can do practically anything these days. But this book walks a very fine line: It manages to have a dreamlike and lyrical mood while never undercutting the grittiness of its world. I’m worried that the monsters and the flying and the weird places will all either come across as too cartoonish (which the book never is) or too familiar, thus denigrating the incredible world-building that Taylor does in the novel.

And the other issue is structure. The last 150 pages or so of the novel are primarily flashbacks, stories, and memories that take place in an entirely different world and time and involve mostly different characters. (Sort of. It’s complicated.) It works in the book: it reads weirdly, but that’s part of the point, so it works. But I’m having trouble picturing how they’ll frame it in the movie so that it feels surprising but not alienating to the audience, and so the movie is a cohesive whole. It’s possible they’ll move things around so those sections aren’t so concentrated and so scenes set in the other world are a regular thing from the beginning, I guess. That could work, but it would lose something of the shock that those sections of the book have for both the reader and the main character.

For those who have read the book: Any thoughts? How would you like them to proceed?