After the success of the Harry Potter and other books-turned-into-movies, there is always the question of which book will be the next made into a film. The movie industry is always looking for the next big bestseller to turn into a film, but unfortunately some very great books are sometimes overlooked. Here is a list and short description of three books that would make excellent films that would be fun for the whole family.
Not everyone is familiar with the children’s book series Redwall by the British author Brian Jacques, but for those who are it is obvious how well the title book could be adapted into an animated film. The plot of these books exists in a fictional world where mice, badgers, moles, shrews, and hares live peacefully together in an abbey they have constructed in the middle of a forest. In this world there are no humans to cause mischief, but their place is taken by vermin, the name for all types of unpleasant rodents and predatory animals: rats, stoats, weasels, foxes, and wildcats. The animals in this world act like medieval humans would and fight one another with swords and slings. The peaceful creatures of Redwall feast in their great hall while the vermin siege Redwall abbey. The peaceful Redwall inhabitants must take up arms to defend their home. The animation would be modeled after films like The Tale of Despereaux and directed by some animations group like Dreamcast Pictures or Disney & Pixar. This film would be a fun adventure for the whole family: furry cute animals, action and fighting, amusing perspective for the audience, and even a little mousey romance. This is definitely a film that I can see working. The voice acting could be done by just about anyone, but Brian Jacques was very specific in his use of different British accents with different creatures. Hares, for example, speak with an upper class accent while Moles speak in a slurred heavy Scottish.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy
This young adult fantasy book series by Jonathan Stroud follows a young magician named Nathaniel in an alternate universe England. In this world, being magical is no big deal and likened to being in the aristocracy or having education. The story wouldn’t be particularly interesting without the hilarious addition of the narrator: a Djinni named Bartimaeus who becomes magically enslaved by Nathaniel. Bartimaeus is full of wit, irony, and constant comments which are demonstrated in the text by footnotes. An example would be a character saying something stupid and the footnote reading “what an idiot.” Bartimaeus being a shape shifting magical creature, this film would be live action with CGI added in. I think a director with a touch for the strange such as Tim Burton would be good. Burton’s favorite actor, Johnny Depp would also be a good pick for the voice of Bartimaeus. Nathaniel could be played by any young British male actor. As Bartimaeus tells you in the book repeatedly: Bartimaeus is the real star.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
John Bellairs in 1973 wrote this children’s book in his unique style of gothic horror and fantasy. It is the first in the Lewis Barnavelt series. Bellairs wrote a number of short books for children before his death in 1991 at the age of 53. The story of The Housewith a Clock in Its Walls follows young Lewis Barnavelt after the death of his parents in a car crash. Lewis must go to live with his strange but kind uncle Jonathan who lives in a large house in Michigan. Jonathan and his next door neighbor Mrs. Zimmermann turn out to be mediocre magicians while the house that Jonathan and Lewis are living in turns out to be haunted by the ghosts of an evil wizard who once lived there. Lewis is haunted by a constant ticking in the house that seems to come from nowhere. The story captures the stresses of being young and having to face hardships as it simultaneously engages the audience with exciting and frightening magic, humorous characters, and a dark atmosphere. This would be another film that Tim Burton could direct well. Lewis could be played by any plump boy actor. Mrs. Zimmermann could be played by Maggie Smith or someone similar. This is a film that would capture the imagination of Harry Potter fans particularly and it is a shame that it has not been made yet.
Each of these examples would make excellent movies. I hope that we see at least one of them on the big screen soon.
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_House_with_a_Clock_in_Its_Walls ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartimaeus_Trilogy