I somehow missed that this movie was a legitimate and happening thing. The Book Thief is probably one of my favorite books of all time. Markus Zusak is up there on my list of favorite authors as well, although if you asked me to rank them (my favorite authors that is), I would fail miserably. There is just something about the unique but honest and touching story the book tells. And they way it’s told is just fantastic. I could go on forever, but I have more pressing things to discuss in light of this trailer.
First the positives:
1. I think the casting looks amazing. I love Liesel. Her adoptive parents look pretty perfect. Max is suitably wispy and pale. Rudy is ok. I think, from what is shown in the trailer, they all seem to catch the essence of the beautiful characters Zusak created.
2. I can already tell that the movie is going to be emotionally impactful which is really important for portraying this book. The impact of this story comes from more than the historical backdrop and the movie seems to be conveying that well. I already want to cry upon watching the trailer and that is good. Very good.
3. So far the cinematography seems beautiful. It seems like it’s going to be beautiful in that haunting, honest way that the book comes across when reading. There is a lot of visual imagery in the book that I’m looking forward to seeing on the big screen (I will be in theaters opening night if at all possible).
4. I want everyone to read this book, and a movie is a great way to make that happen. The book will get a lot of mainstream popularity in the adult (not that it isn’t popular already, but I’d say especially among young adults). Put it on bestseller lists again and at the front of ever book display. My heart will sing with gladness.
So the movie is promising, but I have a lot of very real concerns. Here are a couple:
1. The trailer is narrated by Liesel. Don’t get me wrong, Liesel is a fantastic character with a wonderful voice. The personification of Death as the narrator in the novel is what really and truly makes the book stand out from other WWII era coming-of-age dramas. I have no doubt that they will give Liesel some of Death’s lines, but the whole framing device that allows a level of omnipresence will be gone. I understand that it would be VERY difficult to make Death work on screen, but I will mourn her loss because it is HER voice that makes this book equally uncomfortable and like something you want to hug and never let go. The story will lose something without Death, but people who haven’t read the book will not know.
2. The movie is going to have to simplify the plot. There is A LOT going on in this book and I fear some of the little things will get lost. Almost every book movie has this struggle but it still makes me sad. Every scene in the book is SO IMPORTANT to me. Will they cut the mayor’s wife? Will they shorten the bomb shelter scenes? Will they cut some of Max’s and Han’s back story? Or Ruby’s? I won’t like any of the choices they make. Whatever they cut will disappoint me.
3. Liesel’s relationship with her adoptive parents seems like it’s going to be too gushy. Rosa appears to be too tame and I see no sign of her German cursing. Hans, in the scenes presented, is not soft spoken enough. In the book, their relationship is not peaches and ice cream even though they do end up being a close knit and loving family. That is supposed to slowly grow throughout the story and I’m worried they will oversimplify the relationship leaving them much more stereotypical and in the end, less heartwarming and real.
I guess I’ll have to just wait until Nov. 15 and see. I have no doubt that the movie will be good, but will it be good enough? I’m not sold. How about you?