The world of fiction is perhaps the most appropriate source of inspiration for movies and TV series, with many examples of successful or unsuccessful adaptations. At the moment we have chosen a somewhat nostalgic tribute to books or series of books of our adolescence and post-adolescence, which, although they managed to win over the reading public, failed to land on the big screen. It is, therefore, a tribute to cinematic adaptations that fell through the cracks, along with a flashback to the fiction of our adolescence.
We begin the tribute with perhaps the most unknown metaphor of those that will follow. We are talking about “Inkheart“, a film released in 2008 starring Brendan Fraser, known from the films “The Mummy”, based on the book of the same name by German author Cornelia Funke. This is the first book in the Inkheart trilogy, released in 2003, followed by “Inkspell” (2005) and “Inkdeath” (2007).
It’s a magic story, a fairy tale within a fairy tale, as the protagonists and main characters of Cornelia Funke, Mo (Brendan Fraser) and his daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett), have a very special ability: To bring to their own world the characters of fairy tales, when they read the latest loudspeakers. Only magic always comes with a price. For each character they bring into their world, someone from their own world is transported to the world of fairy tales. So did Maggie’s mother, Resa, who is trapped in the Inkworld, as Maggie calls it in the books. Respectively, Capricon (Andy Serkis), the villain of the fairy tale “Inkheart”, written by Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent), was “released” in their world, whom the protagonists are called to stop from bringing Shadow into their world.
Although it is a very well-written story, which develops in the books on a journey between the real world and the worlds of fairy tales, its transfer did not manage to win over the cinematic audience, despite the very worthy cast Brendan Fraser, Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany , Jim Broadbent, Rafi Gavron, Andy Serkis, Eliza Bennett, so we do not see on the big screen the continuation of the trilogy. Books, however, have won over readers, at least abroad, to win numerous awards in the field of adolescent fiction. In fact, Cornelia Funke announced that in October 2021 the sequel of the trilogy entitled “The Color of Revenge” will be released, with which it will complete the story.
Cornelia Funke has teamed up with Guillermo del Toro to bring together his movie “Pana Labyrinth” into a fantasy novel.
The Mortal instruments: City of Bones (2013)
This film is the cinematic adaptation of Cassandra Clare‘s book of the same name, which is the first book in a series of six books entitled “Mortal Instruments”. This series of books, although aimed at young, but adult, readers, managed to win over the teenage audience primarily. It is an adventure in the urban landscape of New York, behind the veil of which hides an invisible world with many imaginary creatures. At the heart of this invisible battle will be Clary Fray (Lily Collins), who will join an “organization” called the Shadowhunters, tasked with protecting the mundanes (mundies, something like Harry Potter muggles) from the invisible supernatural evil of this world. At the same time, it is a search for her lost mother on the one hand and her preparation, on the other, to be protected from a mysterious danger called Valentine.
Although the book series has managed to gain a fanatical audience, the film failed to convince, with readers complaining that it failed to outline even the slightest bit of book characters. The sure recipe (supernatural-teen drama-romance-mystery-lgptq friendly) that could lead to a new lucrative Twilight-type saga did not succeed in that film, judging by the audience’s acceptance, so it never went ahead the transfer of the next books to the big screen. Nevertheless, the production company Constantin Film did not give up the project and tried to transfer the books to the small screen with the series “Shadowhunters” in 2016, which had 3 seasons of life, before being canceled with two special episodes in 2019. The series was also very below expectations and in no case could he convince the fans of the supernatural genre.
The six books of the series: City of Bones (Book One), City of Ashes (Second Book), Glass City (Third Book), City of Fallen Angels (Fourth Book), City of Lost Souls (Fifth Book), City of Heavenly Fire (Sixth Book).
How did a film that included dragons, elves, rebels and Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich in the same cast fail? We were still in Innocent 2006, where a fantasy film did not necessarily need sex and intrigue to stand on the world cinematic stage (Lord of The Rings). We are talking about the film adaptation of the first book of the quartet of “The Inheritance Cycle” by Christopher Paolini, Eragon.
The last hope of elves and humans towards the empire of Dragon King Galbatorix (John Malkovich) is in the hands of an elf woman, Arya (Sienna Guillory). It is about a stolen dragon egg, which, shortly before her capture, she manages to teleport it miles away. Eragon (Ed Speelers), a farm kid, finds the egg, which quickly hatches into a young female dragon, Saphira. Both are targeted by Galbatorix and his servants, led by Durza (Robert Carlyle), who chase after them. The mysterious village guy, Brom (Jeremy Irons) escapes them and the three of them start a journey to find the Varden, the only organized resistance against the emperor.
Christopher Paolini started writing the first book in the series at the age of 15 and published it at the age of 19. Although the story of Eragon is over, Paolini has stated that he will return to the world of Alagaësia at some point.
And the journey into the magical world of Alagaësia only holds one film, which, although decent in terms of graphics, fails to convince, and even the choice of the protagonist is indulgently unfortunate. However, it continues to be a great story for young and old, based on four wonderful books full of magic and epic battles that are eventually lost on the big screen. Christopher Paolini manages to create a wonderful world with a pure narrative, almost childish in the beginning, but growing up with him later. All four books, “Eragon”, “Eldest”, “Brisingr” and “Inheritance” are still a very good proposal for lovers of fiction.
The Golden Compass (2007)
With an outstanding cast featuring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Sam Eliott and Ian McKellen in the voice of Iorek Byrnison, Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” embarked on what turned out to be a short journey on the big screen with the film adaptation of the first book in the series “Northern Light”. Although it was a well-made film, the acceptance of the film audience was not such as to allow the adaptation of subsequent books to theaters, with the main complaint of fans that it cut most of the book’s plot.
The story is placed “spatially” and temporally in a parallel world, that of Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), which at first glance looks quite like ours. From the very beginning, however, a very essential difference between our worlds is perceived. In Lyra’s world, a “magical” element is found in a way, completely normal for her and her “co-cosmists”, to the point that its absence is perceived as something other than nature for human existence. Every human being in this world, then, is connected from the moment of his birth with a demon, a reflection of his soul that takes the form of an animal. While, at the moment of his death, a ghost emerges, which, under normal circumstances, makes its way to the world of the dead. Something that at first glance seems childish, perhaps stupid to some, but in essence, reflects the threefold dimension of human existence in body-soul-spirit in the Catholic faith and the beginning of a wide variety of symbolism that breathes from beginning to end Pullman’s work. In general, throughout Pullman’s work there is a strong and at the same time extremely creative critique of religion. Religion, and in particular the Church, in addition to being a field of criticism for Pullman, an element that we mentioned to you from the beginning to show that we expected more than just a fantasy film, is a key factor in the plot of the story, as well as its beliefs about salvation of human nature and its attempt to put them into practice are what will lead to the great war of which it is reported. And when we say war, we mean war!
Fortunately, however, this wonderful world of Philip Pullman returned to our screens through HBO and the BBC, which undertook the television adaptation of the trilogy with the series “His Dark Materials”, which is already one season long, while, already The second season has started in November 2020.
The three books of the “His Dark Materials” are “Northern Lights”, “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass”. The story continues with another trilogy by Philip Pullman entitled “The Book of Dust”, with the first two books already in circulation: “La belle Sauvage” and “Secret Commonwealth”.
+1 Artemis Fowl (2020)
After many adventures in terms of its film adaptation, the science fiction book series “Artemis Fowl” by Irishman Eoin Colfer found its way to the big screen when Disney took over the rights. Because of Coronavirus, however, the film never hit theaters, but was released exclusively on the Disney + online platform in June 2020. The conditions of the pandemic in which this journey began is the main reason why this film is currently placed, although the very negative reviews it received, probably, have predetermined the subsequent fate of this journey: None. Too bad for the remarkable “contributions” of Colin Farrell and Judi Dench to the project.
A genius 12-year-old, in order to save his father from a mysterious kidnapper, is forced to bring to light a world very well hidden from human eyes. This is the mythical world of the Irish tradition, that is, fairies, dwarves, demons and trolls that have been hidden for centuries in the bowels of the earth, having developed a highly advanced civilization. The truth is that Disney chooses to deviate a lot from the books, essentially changing the character of the protagonist. It focuses on a family story, where diversity can be the beginning of a special friendship.
The books’ plot follows a completely different development and highlights the character created by Eoin Colfer. Artemis Fowl is not just a genius young man, but a genius criminal mind, exposing the world of fairies for their gold. And his relationship with fairies, as it develops in the books, is not always based on dealing with a common danger, but on the satisfaction of mutual interests. Eoin Colfer did not aim to create and present to the reading public a hero, as Disney wants to show us, but an antihero. The series consists of 8 books, all of which have also been illustrated (graphic novels).