GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By CHRISTINA QUACH
Throughout the years, trends come and go. More specifically, movie trends come and go— especially the ones based on young adult (YA) novels.
The whole YA movie craze kicked off with the notorious success of the Harry Potter movie adaptations, to the infamous Twilight era, and with that, other teen-oriented movies began to revolve more around wizards, vampires and werewolves. From there, the trend shifted toward a more dystopian phase (alternative universes), with films like Hunger Games and Divergent, and later, to more coming-of-age films, like Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault in Our Stars.
All these films have gained a major following and influenced the movie and TV industry to follow in their footsteps, but more recently, there has been a significant decline in book-based films. Even so, contemporary movies are now entering the scene, as evident in films like Everything, Everything and Love, Simon.
Perhaps with the recent success of Love, Simon, there will be a resurgence in book-based films. Many famous series have fans dying to have a film adaptation, but the real question is: are movie adaptations worth it?
Undoubtedly, these movies often introduce people to the novels, yet oftentimes, the films themselves are not an accurate representation of the book. In a span of two hours, a film simply cannot cram 300-600 pages of world-building, developed plots or subplots and include intricate character dynamics. Picture this: Hank Green making a 15-minute Crash Course Episode about rocket science. Things are bound to be cut out. Similarly, some of the more interesting parts of the novels are unavoidably excluded from the film. Nevertheless, movies can bounce back, and manage to cohesively weave both old information and new information together.
However, what most of these movies lack is diversity. Most films have a primarily white cast with maybe one black character, and then later pride themselves on being diverse. Newsflash: that is not being diverse; that is trying to gain fans with the pretense of having people of all colors in their cast when, in reality, they only have two races.
Although there is an evident lack of diversity, these movies have been taking baby-steps in trying to be more progressive. Very small baby-steps, but baby-steps nonetheless.
Take Everything, Everything for example. They have a black female lead and also include a biracial relationship. This is one of the first times that a film — which was based off of a book — featured these two aspects in mainstream media. Paired with an interesting storyline, Everything, Everything is the recipe for success.
Another recent success would be Love, Simon. Featuring a homosexual relationship and an extremely diverse cast, the film rapidly gained popularity. Love, Simon’s popularity will cause the mainstream film industry to start moving towards similar storylines and start to hone in on more scarcely talked about themes.
All in all, while it is risky to turn a well-known novel into a film, if done properly, both can end up thriving: books with newly gained fans and films with passionate booklovers. It is mainly a win-win situation unless the directors majorly mess with the contents of novel…and I am looking at you, Paper Towns.