film adaptations of graphic novels
the diary of a teenage girl (2015)
“I had sex today. I think that makes me officially an adult.”
The Diary of a Teenage Girl follows the dysfunctional life and sexual escapades of fifteen-year-old aspiring comic artist Minnie Goetze, who clumsily begins a secret affair with her mother’s casual boyfriend at the film’s outset.
Based on Marielle Heller’s 2001 graphic novel of the same name, the film, narrated retrospectively by Minnie, is bursting at the seams with beautiful comic-style animation that is woven seamlessly into its live-action scenes.
Despite the juvenile and often humorous nature of these animations and Minnie’s accompanying narration, this film is anything but innocent. Few coming-of-age stories have ventured where this does in terms of the exploration and depiction of adolescent sexuality and taboo subject matter; most notably in the predatory relationship between Minnie and Monroe.
Throughout the film, Minnie longs to be taken seriously by those around her. In search of this validation, she mistakes sexuality with maturity, which lands her in the kind of dangerous territory that only serves to highlight just how young fifteen really is.
TDOATG benefits hugely from stellar performances from its supporting cast, including an excellent dramatic turn from SNL alum and comedienne Kristen Wiig. However, the film really belongs to its lead actress, Bel Powley, who does an incredible job at balancing Minnie’s naivety and vulnerability with her quick wit and outrageous humour, creating a truly unforgettable character.
Looking for an action-packed superhero epic about a kitten-loving, cigar-chewing half-demon who protects the planet from hellhounds, Nazis and Russian mystics? Or are you craving one hell of a good time more than anything? Well, 2004’s Hellboy certainly delivers on both fronts.
The film roughly follows the plot of Mike Mignola’s graphic novel Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. Summoned to Earth by the Nazis in a last-ditch attempt to win the war, the titular anti-hero (Ron Perlman) falls into the hands of Professor Bruttenholm (John Hurt) and the Allies. Now working for the Bureau For Paranormal Research And Defence, Hellboy along with his allies must stop the evil Rasputin from unleashing hell upon the world.
Director Guillermo del Toro’s experience working on the Blade franchise shows here; there are some shots that look like they’ve been taken straight out of a comic book. The film definitely does the source material justice, but there have been better comic book adaptations in recent years. While some may call it derivative, Hellboy combines the best bits of X-Men, Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters.
However, the film is worth more than its entertainment value alone due to its ability to deal with complex themes. Hellboy is essentially about being born in horrible circumstances and learning how to overcome your inner demons in order to make the right choices in life. “We like people for their qualities but we love them for their defects”.
David Harbour (Chief Jim Hopper from Stranger Things) in my eyes is the ideal choice to take over from Perlman as the lead of this year’s upcoming reboot. If the trailer is anything to go by, I for one am excited to see where they go with it.
scott pilgrim vs the world (2010)
Written, directed, and produced by cinematic genius Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is an action comedy film based on the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley. 23-year-old Canadian bass player Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) falls in love with Amazon delivery girl Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who he first sees in a dream, and must defeat her seven evil exes to win her heart. While I believe that everything in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is incredible and hilarious, from the music to the endlessly quotable script, my favourite thing about it is how close it stays to the source material. The casting and costume design make the characters seem like they were pulled straight from the books into real life. The film also keeps the video game influence found in the graphic novels, such as the coin drops when Scott defeats an evil ex-boyfriend. These pulls from the graphic novel are what make the film so entertaining and unique, and bringing Scott Pilgrim from the page into live action only adds to the character and the story.