This week I read the book Paper Towns by John Green which is why I decided to watch the movie. The book is really well written and I loved it, but I can’t say the same for the movie. Maybe it is because I read the book so I had all these expectations and preconceived ideas of what the film is supposed to look like, but it is just not that great of a movie. They took out a lot of what made this story fun and unique, leaving it like every other romance movie. It shouldn’t have been a romance story though, the book really focuses on the mystery and the friendships Quentin has. Whereas, the movie barely looks at the friends and does a poor job explaining a lot of why things happen like them dancing in the sun trust-building or the mention of breaking into SeaWorld. It really leans into the romance and leaves behind a lot of what makes the book so interesting.
In the book, Margot’s last night in Orlando is funny and exciting. In the movie, it feels rushed and offers little to no exploring the two character’s connection or lack of. There are also a lot of scenes that seem absolutely unnecessary like Quentin’s sleepy dream that Margo is there with him. In terms of dialogue, they stayed really close to the book, which in this case is not great because they say a lot of stuff that is random and does not make sense unless you read the book. It feels like snippets of the book brought together but without context. Like kid Margot who goes from talking about the dead guy they found, to randomly trying to get Quentin to break into SeaWorld with her. If you read the book you know that it refers to Margo and Quentin breaking into SeaWorld as part of her 11 tasks for them that night.
The pacing of the film is really slow and hard to get into. It takes until the road trip part for me to really enjoy the movie. That is when it gets funny with the gas station and t-shirt incidents. The part with the cow in the book has a bit of a build-up whereas in the movie it feels pretty random and adds nothing to the plot. It is interesting how some of the stuff in the book that I found so interesting or funny is nowhere near as cool in the movie.
Overall, I find the characters pretty bland and lack any real depth. I was however interested to see Austin Abrams from Dash and Lily and Justice Smith who I saw in All the Bright Places. I really like Austin’s character, he's definitely my favourite and brings a sense of humour to the otherwise boring dialogue. To me, the Lacey and Ben storyline is honestly more interesting than the Margo and Quentin one. I do like Margo's character and the mystery behind her character, but she is barely in the movie. This makes sense for the book, but when you have a big name like Cara Delavigne in the movie they should be featured more.
The film is not the greatest but it is available on Disney plus if you want to give it a watch and decide for yourself. Maybe my view is super skewed by reading the book first or maybe I’m onto something with its 58% on rotten tomatoes. If you have read the book it is pretty disappointing. This is where I can never decide if it's better to watch the movie first or read the book first. Generally, I have found better success liking both the book and the movie if I watch the movie first, for example, Harry Potter. Would I have liked it if I read the book after? Maybe, but if I didn’t like the movie maybe I never would have read the book. And I really liked the book.