Fans of 300, closely based on Frank Miller’s superb graphic novel, will be thrilled with the March 7 release of 300: Rise of an Empire (R), also inspired by a graphic novel by Miller (the not-yet published Xerxes). This time, the combat action moves to the high seas.
Opening in theaters on January 24, I, Frankenstein (PG-13) provides a fresh take on a classic character set in an alternate modern-day world. Help teens make a connection between movie incarnations of this fearsome protagonist and the tale’s early 19th-century literary inspiration with a spine-tingling selection of graphic novels and reimaginings.
As 2014 peeks around the corner, SLJ looks ahead to future releases in this latest installment of our roundup of the most highly anticipated franchise openers and long-awaited big screen versions of children’s classics.
In an ambitious foray into transmedia, Razorbill has teamed with pecial effects company Framestore to produce The Creature Department (2013). The making of the new novel by Robert Paul Weston, starring a cast of fantastical characters, was a unique collaboration with Framestore (creators of the Geico Gecko), which played an active role in the book’s creation.
This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.
Multiple beheadings, one impaling, and an omnipresent necromancer—these are just three indications that director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 adventure/fantasy The Hobbit has taken a dark turn. The short novel has been expanded into what might amount to a nearly nine-hour-long trilogy—turning what seems a fireside yarn in print into an overlong saga on the screen.
In this second foray into Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy, the filmmakers approach Catching Fire’s dystopian derring-do with deadly seriousness. Though a new director, Francis Lawrence, has taken over the franchise from The Hunger Games’s Gary Ross, it has been a smooth transition.
How does a filmmaker adapt Markus Zusak’s bestseller The Book Thief, written in Death’s candid point of view? Director Brian Percival tackles that question and more in this atypical family movie set in Nazi Germany. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse, the adaptation expands to theaters nationwide in the coming weeks.
For those who can’t wait two more weeks to see Catching Fire, relief is at hand. The taut How I Live Now offers a slimmed down dystopian world at its most bucolic—a survival tale meets hot-and-heavy first love with a punkish swagger. The screenwriters have tweaked the snarky-but-soft-hearted narration of Meg Rosoff’s absorbing novel (Random, 2004), but given the heroine a still-defiant voice.
There are moments in the sleek-but-not-too-flashy adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game when the film takes flight. It feels like child’s play, and the audience forgets briefly that the on-screen kids, the smartest in the world, are being groomed to kill at a Battle School in space. The screenplay hews closer to the book than a potential franchise template.
The Book App Alliance aims to help locate quality book apps amid the tides of Disney, Dora, and Dr. Seuss products. Alliance founders also want to foster best practices.
From a soul-searing work of historical fiction to an array of dystopic tales that envision the not-so-distant future, four much-lauded young adult novels have been adapted for the big screen, all slated to premiere in November. Help teens make the connection between book and film by displaying, booktalking, and discussing these attention-worthy offerings.
While the jury is still out on the big screen adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, reviewers are raving about the surprise indie hit The Spectacular Now, based on Tim Tharp’s young adult novel. Children’s books continue to be Hollywood’s go-to source for inspiration, and librarians couldn’t be happier. As readers and movie fans await the book-to-film entries coming this fall, such as Suzanne Collins’s Catching Fire and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, SLJ looks ahead to future releases in this latest installment of Page to Screen.
The first movie adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s popular series, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, is out in theaters on August 21. Lily Collins as Clarissa “Clary” Fray and Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace star in the action-fantasy, which provides the thrill of the chase and a sprinkling of the romance for its core audience.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Sea of Monsters comes roaring into theaters on August 7. SLJ reviews this page-to-screen adaptation of the second installment of Rick Riordan’s ultra-popular series.
Director James Ponsoldt’s sharp take on Tim Tharp’s 2008 novel (Knopf) gives The Spectacular Now a higher level of maturity and complexity than most young adult book-to-movie adaptations. The film, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, arrives in theaters on August 2.
They may be young, but teacher Arturo Avina’s talented kindergarteners are already celebrities in their own right. Students at the Los Angeles Unified School District Olympic Primary Center are the stars of a short-film adaptation of Harry G. Allard Jr.’s beloved children’s classic Miss Nelson Is Missing. Over the course of two months, Avina directed the youngsters, filmed the scenes, and, with the help of the budding actors, edited the movie with technology available in most classrooms.
I’m on my way to visit Susan Cooper on an unseasonably warm day in mid-February. As my car cruises along, about 45 minutes south of Boston, low tide reveals miles of untouched marshland. I drive across a short causeway, creep down an unpaved lane, and suddenly I’m staring at the exquisite home that Cooper built a couple of years ago.