Movies That Should’ve Been Books

15

August 24, 2012 by Heidi

I’ve seen a few book bloggers, such as Sophistokatied Reviews posting on this subject, and thought that my recent watching habits fit well in for me to write my own!

As readers, we’re constantly pitting movies against the books they are based on, and let’s face it, they very rarely measure up.  Sometimes I read a book and think about what a fantastic movie it would make, but even more occasionally, I see a movie and think that it would’ve been a better book.  This past weekend I watched two such movies: Chronicle and Another Earth.

Chronicle Movie PosterAnother Earth Movie Poster

Don’t these movie posters even look like YA book covers?  I certainly think so.  Both of these movies are Sci Fi and star young adults (though it can be argued that in Another Earth she is a new/adult as she is 21 for the bulk of the story), and while Chronicle was based on a story written by the director/writer of the script, neither of these movies were based on books.

Chronicle you’ve probably heard of, but just in case you haven’t, here’s the low-down:

Three high school seniors develop telekinetic powers after coming into contact with a mysterious object while exploring a cave.  Andrew, the character we get into the head of the most, is struggling at home with an abusive father and a mother dying of cancer.  He’s maladjusted socially, and has a lot of understandable anger that he doesn’t really know how to deal with.  After developing their powers, Andrew becomes close with his cousin, Matt, and his friend Steve.  Matt and Steve are the easy going popular boys of their high school class, and Andrew finds himself welcomed into their fold, but unable to believe that they are truly his friends or forget about the harsh realities of his home life.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8LQWi0yjAc&w=510&h=286&hd=1]

Sounds like a YA book to me!  I went into Chronicle with pretty low expectations, and as such, came out satisfied.  I wouldn’t call this movie great, but I would say it’s worth watching, certainly for the YA crowd.  Chronicle would have made a fantastic YA book as it deals with the idea of regular teens obtaining superpowers, and what they would do with them.  Would the average kid use them to fight crime?  Probably not, they’d probably use them to mess around, but the volatile emotions of a teen can easily make such powers dangerous.  I would have loved to get more into the heads of these characters, and think the story would have been more compelling (if less visually cool) in book format.

Another Earth was a successful film at the Sundance Film Festival, which I first saw mentioned by Melanie.

It’s about a girl named Rhoda, who changes her life irrevocably on the night that the other earth appears in the sky.  At 17, Rhoda was celebrating having gotten into MIT.  Fascinated with astronomy since she was a small child, Rhoda was enraptured when another earth appeared in the sky.  On her way home from the party, possibly drunk and distracted by looking up at the sky, Rhoda strikes another car, killing mother and child and sending the father into a coma.  She spends the next four years not at college, but imprisoned for manslaughter.  Rhoda is released at a time when the world is finding out more about ‘Earth 2’, a planet that appears in all ways to be identical to our own.  She enters a contest to win a place on a ship traveling to Earth 2.  For Rhoda, it is a chance to escape what her life has become, and she spends the remainder of the movie struggling with the need to apologize to the man who’s family she destroyed.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDIxfk8VAUg&w=503&h=282&hd=1]

Visually, I found Another Earth to be stunning.  I love the washed out colors and the brightness of another earth constantly in the sky, but like many independent films, it was also very quiet and subtle.  I feel as if a book would be able to flush out more emotion, and I would have loved Another Earth to be more about that other earth, more about its discovery and the fear that came with knowing there was another you out there, and wondering if that other you was living the same life you are now.  To me, this existed in the film, but wasn’t really palpable.  Again, I wouldn’t rate this movie as amazing, but I would list it as well worth watching.  I did get a bit skeezed out, partly because of the plot and partly because Lost forever branded William Mapother as a creeper in my mind.  I recommend it, though again more new adult/adult than teen for this one—Definite crossover potential story wise.

Chronicle is currently available via instant streaming on Netflix, and Another Earth is currently showing on HBO.

Go watch one, the other, or both, and let me know what you think!

Or would you rather read the book?

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15 comments »

  1. Brittany says:

    I don’t know these, but they look stunning! And Another Earth in on HBO? Well I happen to have 6 mos free HBO…… Maybe I should check that out!

    • Heidi says:

      You should! It wasn’t on demand (at least not in HD, maybe it was in regular), but it’s been on frequently, and I just set it to record at some point. They’re both visually really cool, and worth watching.

  2. VeganYANerds says:

    I’ve definitely seen the ads for Chronicle but I don’t go to the movies much so I must have missed it and I’ve never heard of Another Earth but I now want to watch both, thanks so much for the recs and you’re right, the covers look so YA!

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, I almost never go to the movies either (we’ve been like 5 times this year which is a ton for us), but we watch a ton of movies once they’ve come out on DVD. I hope you enjoy!

      • VeganYANerds says:

        I watched Chronicle, it definitely would have made a good book, better than the movie in fact. I thought it felt realistic that the boys would use their powers to muck around and Andrew ended up so creepy!

        • Heidi says:

          I know, right? Talk about not knowing how to deal with emotions and funneling them into anger–kind of expounded when you have this immense power. Glad you watched it!

  3. Ooo I remember going to see ‘Chronicle’ at the cinema a few months ago- I enjoyed it! It was more thoughtful than I thought it was going to be. The jumpy cam got a bit annoying though. I would love to read it as a book- films and books are good at portraying different aspects. That’s why I find it annoying when books are directly translated into films- I feel the director should make use of the subtlety you can have with a film and use atmosphere and visual signs to evoke the plot rather than trying to copy the book exactly. I haven’t worded that very well but I just wish books and film adaptations would compliment each other more!

    • Heidi says:

      Oooh, yes! I completely agree! I actually DON’T like it when a film and movie are too similar. I don’t think it works well when they are, they’re different genres and should be treated as such.

      I think that both of these movies were more character driven than anything else (even though, obviously, Chronicle highlighted action), and would have loved to see the development that could come in a book form that wasn’t there in the movies.

  4. Eek! This is so exciting! I saw previews for Another Earth a few months back but I had no clue at all that it was On Demand right now. I am going to put it on this very second and get back to you:) Chronicle sounds fun in the same way that movies like Beauty are fun–nothing great but still entertaining. This post was awesome, Heidi. Why don’t you get started on a book set on another earth?!

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Flan! Though egging me to write a book just makes you sound like my mom. :P

      Yes, Chronicle is EXACTLY like that. Not amazing, but I didn’t feel like it was a waste of time. Really excited that you’re going to watch Another Earth right away, let me know what you think!

  5. Thanks for the link, Heidi! I agree, finding out more about the other earth would’ve been cool. The idea of that is just so fascinating.

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks for letting me know about the movie! If I hadn’t read your post about it, I probably never would have watched it.

      Agreed! The idea was fascinating, but it seemed like it was actually a pretty small part of the movie. More like an understated driving force behind the story than the story itself, which was fine, but I was curious.

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  7. Jasmine Rose says:

    When I heard about Chronicle I was all “WOOO! Seattle!” And then when I watched it I was obsessed with figuring out where all the places from the movie were :P
    It did have a good story too. Not the best movie or anything, but worth the watch.
    I’m right there with you on Another Earth too. The movie was enjoyable but the Other Earth only served to create a conflict in the regular earth. I hated that they didn’t talk about it at all. If it were a YA book they’d totally talk about Other Earth more.

    • Heidi says:

      Right? Exactly. I’m not saying they needed to even GO to that other earth in the movie, but when you title a movie ‘Another Earth’ you kind of go in expecting it to be a bit more about that other earth.

      Lol, the whole time watching Chronicle I was totally missing the Seattle area. I may not have enjoyed living there for the vast majority of the year, but this time of year you couldn’t ask for better. And it IS gorgeous all of the time.

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