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"A children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last." --C.S. Lewis

Movie Review: Paper Towns - John Green

Release Date: July 24, 2015

Paper Towns - John Green | Goodreads

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...

So, this is the first time I've done a movie review, but it's probably not a movie review in the traditional sense, anyway.

If you're wondering whether they've adapted the book you know and love accurately, here are a couple of differences:

(I read Paper Towns last April. I sort of remember the book but forgive me if I've gotten some of the details fudged).

 

  • The Sea World scene was not included.
  • Although they included the Robert Joiner death scene, they do not discuss how Q once wonders whether Margo has committed suicide (i.e. "his strings were all cut."). The death scene is more the marker of "separation" for Q and Margo.
  • When Ben has to pee during the road trip, he actually ends up spilling some of his pee on Radar. I don't remember that happening in the book, if it did, and I definitely slid down in my seat when it did in the movie. So gross.
  • The ending confrontation with Margo was probably the most changed scene. When they arrive at Agloe, New York, Margo is not there. They run out of time. Everyone tries to get Q to leave; he screams at them. Lacey leaves, saying that "Margo wouldn't have come looking for her." When Q actually does meet Margo, it's because he's sitting outside the bus station in Roscoe (he told Ben, Radar, Angela, and Lacey to take his car and go), and he sees her walking outside. After saying that Q doesn't actually know her, Margo takes him to a diner to explain why she left. When they're parting, he says that she should call her sister. She says that she does everyday. (Movie Margo seems a little more thoughtful than Book Margo in that regard, and Q less a director of what Margo does/realizes that she should do.).
  • The movie ends with the boys all headed to college in their respective cars, and Radar giving them Black Santas as gifts.
  • Angela is featured more. I don't think that she went on the road trip with them in the book, but she did in the movie, which I personally loved.

 

One girl, when I was exiting the theater, said that they changed more about the Paper Towns movie than they did for The Fault in Our Stars adaptation. I would agree with that assessment, and I personally enjoyed TFioS more than I did Paper Towns (mostly because I like the TFioS actors better). But above all, I'd say that if you're a fan of the book, you'll probably be a fan of the movie. They do justice to the book's themes, add in its combination of humor and life journey/questing, and especially remember to voice-over the famous quote: “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person."

John Green also has an introductory clip explaining that every member of the cast was really dedicated to the making of the adaptation, which reminded me that he's essentially a celebrity now. He seems the main reason his books are being made into movies - he'll probably be over six million twitter followers at the year's end. (Though I think Paper Towns and TFioS are also easy to adapt - the road trip, the night activities, and so on.) If you're his fan, or a fan of his books, you'll probably like the movie.