Adaptation Chat – A Monster Calls

I love books, I love films – why not combine the two together and talk about how much I adore them? I want to talk about A Monster Calls, directed by J.A. Bayona and based on the book written by Patrick Ness! It’s a bit of a messy chat but hey, I needed to release some feelings.

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 21.24.09.pngWhen I read A Monster Calls I completely fell in love with it (yes, I am shamelessly promoting my review here) and when I heard an adaptation was about to be released I was pretty excited. The film (in my opinion) did not disappoint! I really want an in-depth kind of ramble post about my thoughts on it since I love both films and books! So here it is.

First of all, the film is visually beautiful. Locations, the set design and the animation were all stunning. I loved how real the house felt; it felt so lived in and just full of STUFF: I adored it. I think that added to the emotional impact of how Conor would feel to leave his home, because every nook and cranny, all the bits and bobs – everything – meant something. It was like a huge room of memories. Anyway, I’m going to tear up I need to move on.

I have to talk about the way they portrayed the artwork from the illustrated version of the book is stunning. They do this in two ways – the animation for the stories and Conor’s love for art.

The animation! It’s so pretty! It’s all meant to look like watercolours and it’s so stunning. I especially like the style of the second story because I just loved the way it was filmed in parallel to Conor’s destruction. The monster also comments that it is Conor’s mind which is conjuring up all these images, which I thought was a wonderful addition as it is such a subjective storyline and it shows how creative Conor is, and also what he wants to believe.

The shots of Conor drawing in the style of Jim Kay’s illustrations are so beautiful. Honestly, I want them all put into one compilation video because I was so relaxed while watching those snippets of the film. It was the most calming thing to watch and listen to? It also really visually connected the book and the film, something which a lot of adaptations don’t always try and do.

There are a few negatives and criticisms I have with the film, and the book for that matter, but nothing is ever perfect! I always thought even in the book the bullying scenes were a little odd. The way Harry speaks to Conor is sometimes (I find) a little unrealistic, especially considering their age. The way he says things such as “I see you” just doesn’t seem right. However, this was much more obviously odd in the film. The dialogue in these scenes was stilted and didn’t seem realistic in my opinion. It’s a little like The Fault in Our Stars in that aspect – though Gus was pretentious in the book, it didn’t feel as awkward as when the dialogue was spoken out loud onscreen!

I really do feel that the adaptation got the spirit of the book right and that’s the most important thing to me. I love adaptations because we get to see someone’s vision of something and though it may not always be how we see it, it can still be a wonderful interpretation!

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, I sobbed my heart out at both the book and the film. Also that final scene of the film?? Please someone talk to me about that because I loved it!

Has anyone else watched or read A Monster Calls? Please let me know your thoughts on here or over on our twitter!

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