Originally I planned to do one of my typical Book vs. Movie posts for Paper Towns, but it’s been so long that I’ve read the book that I couldn’t remember the details even if I wanted to. Instead you’re getting a simple movie review (with Spoiler-free and a Spoiler section)!
So, I got to watch the UK Preview Screening which did not just include the movie, but also footage from the Q&A that was done with John Green, Nat Wolff and Cara Delevigngne in June. They talked about their similarities with the characters, what the audience should take away from the movie and whether they ever did something as crazy as the road trip in the movie. It wasn’t very long, but it was the perfect way to start the movie.
Now, I don’t know how many of you read the book or watched the movie or just generally know the story, but this is like a little plot summary:
Ever since Margo Roth Spiegelman moved in next to Quentin, who everyone just calls Q, he’s been in love with her. But their lives developed differently and while Q made safe choices and led a fairly sheltered life, Margo threw herself into every possible adventure, becoming a myth herself in the progress.
We are in their Senior Year at High School and Q’s optimism for ever being part of Margo’s life again is low, until one night, when she enters through his bedroom window and makes him her revenge-plot-accomplice. The next day, Q has the feeling that everything has changed, but has to find out that Margo is gone. Now he has to decide whether he’ll continue his uneventful life or if he’ll go searching for her, following the little clues she’s left behind.
First, I want to say that Paper Towns is one of my favourite books of John Green. I know that a lot of people prefer Looking for Alaska, but in my opinion the books are very similar and I read Paper Towns first, so I have a feeling that that impacted my opinion. However, when I heard that the same people who adapted The Fault in Our Stars would do this movie, I was massively excited, because they did a great job with TFIOS. I wasn’t entirely sure about the casting, but ended up really liking everyone they picked! Cara is like a real-life Margo to me, Nat is perfect as Q and I never thought I cared that much about how the others looked but they were also a perfect fit! Especially Justice Smith and Austin Abrams had mad chemistry with their female counterparts as well as a strong bromance with Nat Wolff!
Another thing I absolutely loved was the Soundtrack! Again, the music (just like in TFIOS) was brilliant and I cannot stop listening to it. Whoever chooses the artists and songs, I applaud you!
Now, on to the not so great part. While I did really enjoy myself during the entire movie, it did not have the exact same vibe and emotional impact as the book. I get that they had to make changes and, as I mentioned above, I cannot remember it in that much detail anyway, so I don’t care about that. I liked the ending even though it’s supposedly different from the book, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I was really bothered by how quickly Q and the others figures out Margo’s clues. I do understand that the film might’ve been way too long if they showed the real struggle, but it seemed so easy. They found a clue and within a couple of minutes they knew what to do. From what I could remember those clues were so vague sometimes, Q racked his brain for days sometimes.
This is only a minor issue though and other than that I laughed a lot (who wouldn’t when Black Santas are involved) and generally enjoyed watching the friendship of everyone on screen evolve and grow. The road trip could’ve gone on forever if it were up to me!
SPOILER AHEAD!!!!!! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE
I don’t really want to talk so much about the plot in the Spoiler-section as I want to talk about some cameos!
So, it was announced that John Green would have a cameo in the movie, but I didn’t see him. The thing is, you wouldn’t either. He doesn’t actually physically appear in the movie, he just voices the father of Becca’s father. That was not the cameo that nearly stopped my heart though. I read on Twitter that Ansel Elgort stopped by on set and now it all makes sense, but I did not even think about him being in the movie. I seriously started grinning from one ear to the other, I was so happy to see him.
All in all, I laughed, I almost cried and I really enjoyed the movie even though it has some flaws. People need to stop comparing it to TFIOS because of course those movies aren’t going to have the same emotional impact. One of them is about teenagers with a terminal illness, whereas the other movie is about not putting people on pedestals, taking risks and finding out who you are. What are your thoughts?