It’s the age old question asked by any film or print fan around the planet. I know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘why would you read that, they made a movie?’. Obviously it’s because the book is always better.
But is it really?
There’s a handful of authors that I love so much I’ll devour everything available, without even knowing what it’s about first. Patrick Ness is one of those authors. A Monster Calls would be why.
At only 216 pages, it’s one of the most profound and uniquely magical books I’ve ever read, especially for a book about loss. Patrick Ness took an amazing concept, from the late Siobhan Dowd, and created something exceptional. Then Jim Kay took that exceptional work and delivered powerful and haunting images to compliment it.
I’ve heard the audio for the series is good, but I guarantee that no other format compares to the illustrated print book. If you’re not seeing Kay’s images then you can’t be getting the full impact of the story. It’s simply impossible. It’s dark, and it’s edgy, and it’s magnificent.
(Added note, Jim Kay also did all the artwork in the new illustrated Harry Potter books.)
When I heard A Monster Calls was being turned into a movie I was excited. I’m always excited. I was also nervous, because book lovers can’t help but be nervous. Then I saw the trailer. If you haven’t watched the trailer, please click the link above and watch. You can’t help but fall in love.
The movie was even more epic. I’ve never seen a movie capture the essence of a book so perfectly. It wasn’t even just the adaptation was good, because there are plenty of moves that were well executed. No, it was how the movie brought the pages of the book to life. Those illustrations became reality on the big screen, exactly as I imagined them. The Monster was terrifying and beautiful. The 3 stories were told in mesmerizing watercolor. I couldn’t look away.
On the technical side, the script was perfect. Yes there were a few changes, missing characters, phrases altered. You have to expect some of that when a book is adapted into a movie. I didn’t care, because the move was perfectly cast and every actor and actress gave each scene everything they had. I hope Lewis MacDougall is recognized for his superb acting as Conor, and Felicity Jones had my heart in a vise as Conor’s mother.
I cried the first time somewhere around 20 minutes in, then continued off and on until the end.
I can’t choose. The book was the best launchpad any movie could hope for. All the basics were there, in the pages, for the gorgeous movie to interpret. At the same time, plenty of movies have a book to create from and they still fail. This movie did everything right.
It’s a tie. Neither the book, nor the movie was better. They’re truly the perfect compliment of each other.
I’m already eager to see it again.