June 5, 2009

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs Looks Like This!

I finally got around to seeing Up yesterday and, not surprisingly, loved it. I did not, however, love the horrendous trailer for the film adaptation of the children's book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. I love this book, which is told as a frame tale (a grandfather telling a tall tale to his grand kids over a pancake breakfast) about the town of Chewandswallow, where it inexplicably rains (and snows and hails) food. The simple illustrations are creepy and beautiful. The movie version has changed the plot to involve some sort of obnoxious mad scientist character, and features flashy-- and ultimately pointless-- 3D effects.

Now I understand that a successful adaptation is a tricky task, but I'm saddened that so many wonderful children's books are being reduced to superficial, simplistic blockbuster hits. Case in point, the upcoming Ramona movie. If the success of Up proves anything, it's that kids can handle a complex and nuanced story, and there's no need to overstimulate them with things like talking guinea pigs. For this reason, I really appreciate and respect Spike Jonze's work on his adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, and while I'm sure there will be aspects of the film that I'm not 100% crazy about (we all have our own imagined ideas surrounding that book, so it can be tough to see someone else's), there is real thoughtfulness and tenderness in his approach. I've especially enjoyed following his blog, "We Love You So."

So the moral of this mini-rant is the following: if you have children, will someday have children, or even just know some children, go and buy them this book immediately, before their imagination is co-opted by Sony Pictures. The movie ticket will cost you $15, you can get the book for $2.10.


Holly said...

you are so smart!! where did you come from??

maggie said...

You said EXACTLY what I was thinking...especially: "If the success of Up proves anything, it's that kids can handle a complex and nuanced story"

On a separate note: I so enjoyed our movie outing!