You may have guessed this…I am a complete YA geek. I love it. I read it for pleasure…it’s my cup of tea. I love it because the good stuff has so much going on, so many layers of subtext. The shit stuff is pure guilty pleasure.
Having worked in film and TV for more than a decade, it took reading “HIS DARK MATERIALS” to find my calling to specialize in kids and YA entertainment. I was returned to childhood and the escape of new worlds in Pullman’s novels. I couldn’t believe that something so controversial was selling like hotcakes and to kids all around the world.
Over the years I have compiled an amazing list that expands and contracts as projects are adapted into films and new authors are published. This brings me to the point of the article. I, along with many kids, have been sorely disappointed by many adaptations. “THE DARK IS RISING” was ruined and strangely renamed “THE SEEKER”. What were they thinking? Why didn’t they honor the book?
I have the most distinct remembrance of a childhood experience – I saw a movie adaptation of a favorite book and all I could think about was why did they change it? Where was that sequences? Or that character that I loved so?
HARRY POTTER is the best example of honoring the book. If they hadn’t, the filmmakers would have been stoned to death by four-foot somethings worldwide. The movies satisfy because of the art of what is left out and congealed for emotional significance. It is the art of the YA adaptation! Children are unforgiving when it comes to change, and this fact continues to trip up adult development executives with verbal diarrhea and a need to have something to say, anything.
The adaptations that have in-artfully changed elements have performed terribly! “CIRQUE DU FREAK”, “THE SEEKER” to name two… They did not honor their audience and paid the price.