It’s the weekend and you know what that means, yes more movies and reviews that follow them. Today we focus on yet another movie based on a book by John Green, author of the teenage love novels of the modern age. Since I haven’t read the book, a buddy of mine accompanied me to give you the most complete review possible, in hopes of giving you the 411 about this film. Hi I’m Robbie K and it is time to get our review on.
Think back to Fault in Our Stars and what do you remember? Most likely you remember the romance story between the two terminal ill kids, and the motif of living life to the fullest. Well that motif is back, the living life part not the terminal illness part, and Paper Towns dopes it up on steroids. As the trailers quote, you are supposed to feel alive every moment, and this film will beat this message into your head with repetitive dialog constantly reminding you about the purpose of the quest. Yet despite repetition, they keep the story interesting, for once providing a romance story that was actually quite entertaining. Hold the phone, did I just say an entertaining love story? Yes I did, for you see Paper Towns is a tale that has love as a major factor, but doesn’t focus on it and drown it cheesiness. It is a driving point, but our characters’ have other issues that occur alongside the love story that provides outlets from the romance focus. The whole tale is realistic, and has relevant points that don’t make it ridiculous, despite some of the stretches and rushes.
Does it match the book? According to my friend the answer is NO. The movie deviates a lot from the book, keeping a slim skeletal frame work that adjusted for the slower parts of the book, which apparently were a lot. Our film adaptation cuts through a lot of the slow parts, skipping sit around moments for the more comedic parts. I felt connected to the characters issues, and even got to know them on some level, but I think they skimped on some details that could have provided more depth. My friend also said they left out a lot of the clues, even going so far as to alter the timeline to something he found stupid and ridiculous, to which I agree.
But despite how much they adapted the story, the acting is perhaps one of the strongest components of the movie. I felt that all of our main cast did a fantastic job of playing the graduating high school student role, each capturing a quark that made our traveling band colorful. Natt Wolfe as Quentin covered a diverse set of emotions, playing the meek, studious nerd role and gradually adapting into his live for the moment, Margo obsessed persona. Quinn seems to be a natural part of Wolfe, and with the exception of a few moments, he captures the role to its fullest and keeps the stereotypical role interesting. Cara Delevigne as the mysterious Margo also brings a hipster tone to the movie, an edgy role with a little bit of innocence thrown into the mix. Not my favorite character, but she does her job of bringing the mysterious component to this film. My favorite character has to be Ben, who is the comedic relief in the movie and capable of cracking a few smiles with his awkward, clumsy, and geeky mannerisms. The rest of the cast do justice to their parts, and despite some hasty and simplistic lines, create a well–rounded cast to make the book come to life. Their performances helped me relate to the issues, and the lack of overdramatic garbage made famous in dramas kept me grounded to the issues at hand. Plus, the writing was very clever, spread throughout the movie and timed well to maximize the laughs. Lines weren’t pushed on me, and were not as expletive or crude that kept it funny and not too inappropriate.
Outside of acting and plot line what else is there to report. Well John Green’s novels continue to bring a well balanced soundtrack, with songs that are not only catchy, but matched with the right scenes at the right time. In addition, I found it a plus at a shorter than 2 hour run time, managing to capture the essence of the book without dropping into the extensive details. I do agree with my friend that I wanted more clues, for the mystery is solved in the first 45 minutes of the movie nearly dropping the “suspenseful” part of this tale. In addition, I could have done with a few more hindrances to our character’s problems that weren’t wrapped up so quickly as it was in this movie. Again, I’m sure you get this in the book, but it would have been nice to see some more of it incorporated into the film.
Paper Towns is an entertaining movie, and what I feel is a great summer teen flick for many. With relevant issues, characters that aren’t annoying, and a brisk pace in plot you have a victory you have a movie that actually is pretty interesting. Purists of the book need to brace themselves for the changes, or avoid the movie altogether. And if you are looking for the intimate love story that was Fault in our Stars, then check yourself again. Fans looking for a good drama/comedy this summer I encourage to check this out, but there wasn’t enough to recommend a trip to theater for this one.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0