Walden Media Plans New Movies

Am I the only one who didn’t know about the movies Walden Media has put into motion?  According to Publisher’s Weekly,  they begin filming Beezus and Ramona next month!  How awesome is that?  And Disney star Selena Gomez has been cast as Beezus, which I think sounds great.

In the development stages are another Narnia movie and Ingrid Law’s Savvy!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie!

Thanks to Betsy Bird for passing this news on!

There will be a Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie!  “Director Thor Freudenthal (Hotel for Dogs) will direct the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid for Fox 2000, which is slated for a 2010 release, per The Hollywood Reporter. The movie is based on author Jeff Kinney’s eponymous book for kids/tweens 9-12.”


Well, I know a lot of kids who are going to be very excited about this news!!

Summit and Catherine Hardwicke Part Ways for Twilight Sequels

I know I have a lot of Twilight fans reading the blog feed.  I was very surprised when I opened my favorite Hollywood gossip page and read  that  Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight, has been fired.  Deadline Hollywood ( updating page with new announcements as they come) says “Summit Entertainment Co-Chairman/CEO Rob Friedman just phoned me to say: ‘Catherine and Summit have agreed to part ways on the sequel because our visions are different.’”    Within minutes of reading the gossip online, Summit made an official announcement.  

I still haven’t seen the movie, but I find this news fascinating.  I know that Nikki Reed and Kristen Stewart made it quite clear that Hardwicke was the reason they signed on for the movie in the first place.  I wonder how they are taking this news?  

As Harry Potter fans know, different directors don’t necessarily effect box office results when a movie/series already has a rabid following.  But if any of the actors choose to leave, that might make a bigger difference to the tween fans.  Honestly though, my students are obsessed with the character and the stories- not the actors and actresses on the screen.  I doubt they would even notice!

Still, interesting news…

Boy in the Striped Pajamas Trailer

This book has been on my TBR pile for ages and I haven’t yet been in the right mindset to read it when it reaches the top. But I have to say, the movie does look powerful.

Maze of Bones (39 Clues)

I was reading my YALSA- listserv today when I saw that someone had posted a link to the trailer for Scholastic’s new series, The 39 Clues. Not expecting much, I clicked on the link and was surprised to see that an entire website was already laid out…almost 7 months before the first book will be published!

The video is here. I have to admit- I am intrigued! I am a sucker for historical mysteries, though. I love the “National Treasure” movies more than any logical, intelligent adult should. And I do love Rick Riordan’s writing. Now, I am dying to get my hands on an ARC for “The Maze of Bones”, the first book in the series. I thought it was way too early for ARCs when i went to Mid-winter, but it seems like they must be out there somewhere. And while I am not a big fan of calling anything “the next Harry Potter”, I do like sound of this series and my students love any series books. They also love mysteries. I am hoping this will draw in a few more readers for my class next year.

While watching the video, I also had another thought. It seems that book trailers are becoming more and more popular. While they haven’t hit the mainstream too much, I do think I will show this trailer to my students. In the past, commercials for books seemed like a silly premise. Those were better left to movies and tv shows. However, kids today are inundated by media in all parts of their lives. Are book trailers or commercials the wave of the future? I think a trailer like this one would pull in a lot of students. I also think that trailers for many of my class’ favorite books would be great to watch. In class, we talk about the “movie in our mind” whenever we read our novels. Picturing what you read is a huge part of getting into the reading zone. It’s what makes you feel like you are in the story. So are book trailers/commercials a natural extension of that same strategy?

I hope we see more book trailers in the future. More book trailers that are professionally made and treated almost like movie previews. It’s a great way to get the word out about books and authors and also builds up buzz. Buzz is what sells books. Buzz is what makes my students go to the bookstore and choose a particular book. Right now, that buzz is usually from me or their classmates making recommendations. A perfect example is Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid. As more and more students read the first book, buzz kept building. Then, as we anxiously awaited the publishing of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, the excitement was palpable.  A perfect example of buzz building.  Then, as soon as the book was released I had students who raced to the book store to buy a copy.  Other students immediately placed an order for the book through Scholastic’s book clubs.  Without any buzz, this would never have happened.  And if book trailers will build that buzz, I think I have to be a fan!

This doesn’t mean I want every book trailer to proclaim “the next Harry Potter!” et al.  But a quick trailer that I can show after I booktalk certain books can really pull in my more visual learners.  It will be interesting to see if more series publishers go down this road and let us have trailers.  Any thoughts?

Novels vs. Movie Adaptations

Today I got a hold of Disney’s “Tuck Everlasting” movie, the 2002 adaptation of the Natalie Babbitt novel. Oddly enough, before tonight I had only seen the much older adaptation of the novel. I wanted to preview the movie before we watch it as a class next week, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I had to set aside my thoughts about the novel and view the film as a separate entity.

It should be very interesting watching the movie with my students. We have been analyzing the novel for two weeks now and will have completed our initial reading before we view the film. My students are very adept at picking up on Babbitt’s symbolism, and will notice when anything is changed in the film. Within the first 5 minutes I had already picked out 3 important changes from the novel (and I know they will immediately notice them, too).

The screenwriter has changed the timimg of the story from August to the beginning of summer. This upset me, as the metaphor about the Ferris wheel hanging at the top like August hangs at the top of the year no longer works! Also, Winnie is aged by about 6 years, making her closer to 16 than 10. Finally, her parents play a much more prominent role than they do in the book. While this is a departure from the novel, I didn’t mind that as much. Her parents are characterized as bossy, overprotective, and downright mean! It does make it more obvious why Winnie runs away- in the novel we only hear her grandmother and mother in the background, so to speak. Here they are much more in the forefront of the tale. Most importantly, the ever-present and symbolic toad is barely mentioned in the film. It does appear in a few scenes, but is never explained or pointed out.

Apparently, Natalie Babbitt gave her approval of the film and even participates in the audio commentary and extra features. If Babbitt approves of the film, I certainly do, too! However, I will look at it as a separate entity from the amazing novel. I do wish more people had seen the movie, though. It might have turned them on to the perfection of Babbitt’s novel!

Harry Potter OoTP Movie

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Last Wednesday, I rushed out of work to see the latest installment of the Harry Potter films. I am a huge fan of the books (and have been since high school….which gives you some sense of my age). The movies have always been ok for me. I usually saw them when they came out but the books were always my favorite.

For this movie, I didn’t re-read the novel beforehand. I’m too busy trying to re-read HBP so there was no time to squeeze in OoTP! I think that was a huge help when I was watching this movie. Instead of sitting in the theater, noticing what was left out, I enjoyed the film for what it is.

Let me say this loud and clear- I loved this movie! I thought the directing and staging of the shots were fantastic. The transitions using the Daily Prophet covers were a brilliant idea and really showed the political mood of the wizarding world without spending too much time on it. I also thought that the kids have really learned a lot about acting over the last few years. Daniel Radcliffe did a really nice job, especially in the Occlumency scenes and the final battle. I rarely enjoy a film’s portrayal of specific scenes more than the original books, but that does not hold true for the final battle, in the scene where Voldemort enters Harry’s mind. It was a million times better than I had ever pictured in my own mind!

The only thing I noticed missing while I was watching the film was that when the twin left Hogwarts in their blaze of glory, we didn’t get my favorite line. “Give her hell, Peeves!” That scene wasn’t built up as much in the film as it was in the novel, so I wasn’t cheering as loudly, but the rest of the audience certainly was!

Until I got home, I didn’t even realize Mundungus was not in the movie. Very interesting. I also forgot that Cho is not the one who betrats the DA. However, the choice to use her in the film worked in tha narrative that they were building. (Oh, and I was really uncomfortable in the Cho/Harry kissing scene. It went on way too long!) I also did not realize how little Kreacher was in the movie. However, I am, glad they left him in.

As far as casting choices, Evanna Lynch is my picture of Luna Lovegood. Her voice, her mannerisms, her ethereal quality were exactly the same as the Luna in my own head while reading the book. And Imelda Staunton was impeccable as Umbridge. As a teacher, I got a few chuckles (all by my lonesome!) out her need to teach to the test. A great testament to education in our world, too!

I have to say, I think this is my favorite of the Potter films. It certainly made me even more excited for this weekend!!! Only a few more days until we have all the answers! I plan to pick up the book at midnight and start reading ASAP, not stopping until I have reached the end. Of course, I have to attend a bridal shower on Sunday. Who has the nerve to plan anything on Harry Potter weekend????? Oh well, just more incentive to finish the book!!!!!!!1