Cinematic Saturday: Books Into Film
There are many films that have been inspired by books. Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc is one of them. As a matter of fact, the original was so successful, a second film was inspired, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian which opened this weekend.
I’ve spent the morning reading the reviews…ouch. Apparently I have the mindset of a “six year-old hopped up on Pixy Stix” because I thoroughly enjoyed the film. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a family film based on a children’s book. The targeted audience is (ahem) the children. There is also a certain level of humor to keep the adults entertained (Napoleon, the cameo appearance of Archie Bunker’s “throne”) and it is a very entertaining (albeit predictable) film. The biggest disappointment I have from films like this is there are so many wonderful characters and talented stars…they simply do not get enough camera time.
For anyone unfamiliar with the children’s book, Larry Daley (a divorced dad) finds what he thinks will be an easy job as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History. On his first night he dozes off awakening to find that the museum’s entire collection of dinosaur skeletons has disappeared. The panic-stricken guard charges through the museum, out into Central Park and over to the Planetarium in search of the missing dinosaurs frantically wondering who is the thief and how is he ever going to get the bones back to the museum. The similarities between the book and the movie seem to end here, but it is the foundation both movies stemmed from.
In movies derived from books intended for young children, Hollywood has the ability to expand on the original idea. Films based on novel length works, however, often need to cut out vital scenes to allow the film to stay within a specified time parameters, after all, film time is quite expensive. One thing I do like about Hollywood’s version of bringing books to life is the special effects employed to really make the story magical. The Night at the Museum lets your imagination flow as it brings its world to life. What are your favorite books to film? One of my favorites is a classic…The wizard of Oz. I remember as a child feeling the magic as Dorothy opens the door to her house as she enters the world of Oz and everything going from black and white to vivid Technicolor. You could feel the magic of this new world. How about you? What are some of your favorites and what brought them to life for you?
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