Most often the book is better than the movie.
Why is that?
Among a myriad of thoughts on the subject:
- A book expands its ideas into hours of reading pleasure, making certain readers understand each and every nuanced plot-line. A movie compacts concepts into less than two hours.
- Movies tend to reveal a character's thoughts through conversation, texting, action. A novel can be written from within a protagonist's head, letting the reader know what s/he is thinking.
However, "The Here and Now" by Ann Brashares offers screenwriters an opportunity to improve upon the great idea she outlined in her less than stellar novel: protagonist time travels to the past with orders to avoid intimacy, but falls in love.
All the elements are present for a Blockbuster movie:
- Urgency. A deadline looms, requiring specific action hero Prenna and her true love must take to save the world from future disaster.
- Doomed love. If Prenna and Ethan consummate their love, Ethan will die.
- Oppression. Mr. Roberts and Ms Cynthia murder or move time travelers who step out of line; they are always watching.
- A villain. Who is Andrew Baltos and why is he attempting to foil the plot?
- Revelations. Surprises.
In Brashares' version, solutions come too easily to the young lovers. And there aren't enough road blocks when they figure out what is about to unfold. In fact, suspense leading up to the climax loses its impact as Prenna and Ethan experience a happy day at the beach, free from anxiety or fear, la la la la. It's reminiscent of old James Bond movies and insults readers.
Screenwriters would pick up the pace, streamline the plot and generate a movie ride scary and intense as Elitch Garden's All-New 7-Story Brain Drain.
Kudos to Brashares for coming up with a brilliant story line. It's all there; perhaps Random House's deadline was too tight? Brashares is known for her "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series and shines when it comes to character development. Perhaps this is the problem; her writing remains character-driven within this action-driven drama.
Advice for consumers? Wait for the movie.