Films Based on Books: The 2013 Edition

With Parker, the latest film incarnation of the badass protagonist appearing in two dozen Donald Westlake books, hitting theaters today (the character previously appeared in 1967’s Point Blank and 1999’s Payback), librarians should be aware of other forthcoming films based on print resources and have them on hand.

Beautiful Creatures. (Feb. 14) A supernatural love story based on Kami Garcia’s novel with Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, and Viola Davis. Could be the next Twilight (with a real story and better acting).

 

Oz The Great and Powerful. (Mar. 8) It’s equally gutsy and crazy to take on something as beloved and iconic as The Wizard of Oz (possibly the one movie everybody likes), but if anyone can pull it off it’s director Sam Raimi and Disney. James Franco, who worked with Raimi on the Spider-Mantrilogy, plays the Kansas magician whose balloon is sucked into a violent storm that carries him to that mysterious land over the rainbow. Other cast members include Rachel Weisz as Evanora, the Wicked Witch of the East; Michelle Williams as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South; and Mila Kunis as Theodora, the Wicked Witch of the West. Casting a cutie pie with little acting chops like Kunis in such a key role is cause for concern (think Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane in the Spidey trilogy). This character is the Hamlet of female villain roles, and if Kunis isn’t up to snuff this will tank so badly it’ll be like someone dropped a house on it. Fingers crossed.

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The Host. (Mar 29) Stephanie Meyer jumps from sparkly vampires to mind-stealing extraterrestrials. Let’s see if any of the Twilight magic is still left. Considering this film opens in a few weeks, the trailer doesn’t show much. Still, the diehard Twilight geeks desperate for any table scraps might flock.

 

Iron Man 3. (May 3) Now we are talking, baby! The summer blockbuster season will officially open with Robert Downey again donning the high-tech armor as Tony Stark. This time, Shellhead goes up against Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin. The first two installments were top shelf so let’s hope that new writer/director Shane Black can do a hat trick. This also will serve as a fix for those dying for the next Avengers flik. The trailer looks seriously badass!

 

The Great Gatsby. (May 10) This latest incarnation of Fitzgerald’s classic makes the jump to 3D (why is anybody’s guess). Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the title character with Tobey Maquire as Nick Carraway and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. This was supposed to debut in 2012 but was held, which is never a good sign. The cast is solid, but, while stylish, this trailer looks like Scarface set in the twenties instead of a romance. Bringing the story’s crime element to the forefront might work, but it could wreck it, too.

 

 

Man of Steel. (June 14) Batman has had his day—or night—in the sun and now it’s Superman’s turn. Director Zack Snyder, who delivered loyal and stylish adaptations of Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s 300, hopefully will be just as respectful with this Supes reboot. UK actor Henry Cavill dons the red cape (but not the matching drawers) with Diane Lane and Russell Crowe. The film is produced by Christopher Nolan who scored big with “The Dark Knight” trilogy. Supes turns 75 this year, so please, Zack, give fans a film that does the character justice and isn’t just pretty to look at like Sucker Punch. It shouldn’t be that hard, but this trailer is jut plain strange.

 

Kick-Ass 2. (June 28) Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Chloe Grace Moretz are back for more kickassery in this follow up to the 2010 big screening of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s graphic novel series. Although loads of fun, the film was a sleeper. Here, Kick-Ass is joined by more ordinary citizens also looking to fight crime, but McLovin, errr, I mean Red Mist, plots revenge for his father’s death. Jim Carrey and John Leguizamo join the cast. Moretz, who stole the first film as the 11-year-old killing machine, Hit-Girl, also stars in the October remake of Stephen King’s Carrie (see below).

World War Z. (June 21) Director Marc Forster, who scored a hit with the screen adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Quantum of Solace, takes on Max Brooks’s novel about a UN worker (Brad Pitt) trying to stem a world zombie pandemic.

 

The Wolverine. (July 26) Hugh Jackman rocks the adamantium claws for the sixth time! This second stand-alone outing finds Logan in Japan, so expect lots of shiny, sharp things. Even though the first Wolverine solo act was mediocre, Jackman is the ultimate superhero eye candy—fanboys and girls equally can’t get enough of him. Hopefully, the script is something he can really—ahem—sink his claws into.

 

RED 2. (August 2 ) The 2010 screen adaptation of Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hammer’s graphic novel, was a surprisingly fun ride. Besides a cadre of A-list actors (Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich as the biggest nutball you ever saw), there was an actual plot, quite refreshing considering how much solid action it offered. The sequel sports most of the original cast plus adds Anthony Hopkins.

 

Carrie. (Oct. 18) Film adaptations of Stephen King’s books often are less than satisfying. Director Brian De Palma’s 1976 take on Carrie actually is one of the good ones. In this remake, Chloe Grace Moretz takes on the title role originated by Sissy Spacek with Julianne Moore as her Bible-beating psycho mom played wonderfully by Piper Laurie in the original. Moretz and Moore are excellent, but does anyone really need this? We’ll see.

 

Ender’s Game. (Nov. 1) Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sf novel follows a boy being trained for combat., With a kid in the lead, the performance has to be believable (not all kid actors are created equal) or the whole thing crumbles.

 

Thor: The Dark World. (Nov. 8) It’s hammer time! Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston all reprise their roles in this sequel. Now that all the origins stuff is out of the way, let’s hope this one has some better action than the original. Marvel has the Midas touch at the box office, so this should easily find a large audience.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. (Nov. 22) Jennifer Lawrence once again takes up her bow and arrows in this sequel to the smash original from Suzanne Collins’s best-selling book series. Philip Seymour Hoffman joins the cast. This will be huge!

 

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. (Dec. 13) Speaking of huge, the second leg of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy should be as much of a smash as the first.

Jack Ryan. (Dec. 25) Chris Pine, who won over fans as the young incarnation of mack daddy of the universe James T. Kirk in the Star Trek reboot, joins the ranks of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck in portraying Tom Clancy’s hero. The previous films were okay to middling hits, but add Kenneth Branagh as director and you could have something.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. (Dec. 25) Ben Stiller both stars in and directs this update to the adaptation of James Thurber’s short story about the daydreaming title character. Danny Kaye scored a hit with the 1947 version leaving Stiller with big shoes to fill. The original is great fun, so let’s hope this one also can go “pocketa, pocketa, pocketa.”

Last-minute editions
300: Rise of an Empire. (Aug. 2). A sequel to Zack Snyder’s take on Frank Miller’s graphic novel offers more fun and games with the pec monsters of Sparta.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. (Aug. 16) Sequel to PJ and the Lightning Thief. More for the YA crowd but the first one was fun and author Rick Riordan’s book series is hot with tweens.

I, Frankenstein. (Sep. 13) Yet another twist on Mary Shelley’s novel finds the monster in the middle of a war between two immortal clans.

Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For. (Oct. 4). Director Robbie Rodriguez and many of the original cast have regrouped for new chapters from Frank Miller’s gritty uber-violent graphic novel. The original has a huge fanboy following,

I’ll continue updating the list as more intel becomes available.

After Twilight: More YA
In addition to Beautiful Creatures, which received a less-than-stellar reception from film critics, Mortal Instruments150 Films Based on Books: The 2013 Editionand the next installation in the Hunger Games series, Hollywood is turning to additional YA print properties in an attempt to fill the gap left by the conclusion of the Twilight franchise.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone all are under development. City of Bones debuts in theaters this August.

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Michael Rogers About Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers (mrogers@mediasourceinc.com) is Media Editor, Library Journal and Managing Editor of LJ Reviews.

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