Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be fascinating.
“I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell sad stories. On the one hand, you could sugar coat it, and nothing is too messed up that it can’t be fixed with a Peter Gabriel song. I like that version as much as the next girl does. It’s just not the truth. This is the truth.” So begins the trailer for one of the most anticipated (and perhaps slightly dreaded) movies of 2014. For the countless fans who have read the book, I’m sure you’ve already seen this trailer, but for those of us who haven’t read the book (or if you just can’t see the trailer enough times) take a look below and read on for my comments:
As I said, I haven’t read the book by John Green which has become the favorite book of many since its release in 2012, so I’m coming at this from a different perspective than the fans who have raved and wept over the trailer. I’m familiar with the book, and though I don’t know all of the details I can guess at the story (and possibly the ending). It’s a tough prospect to make a film about teens with cancer seem like something that audiences want to see, and at least as far as I’m concerned this trailer really helped sell the tone and attitude.
The book and movie tell the story of Hazel, a teen with terminal cancer who meets Augustus at a cancer support group. Together the two face the limited number of days they’ve been given, trying to overcome the fears that any of us would have in a similar situation while trying to find some meaning and a purpose to living. And while I’m sure that description sounds flat, uninteresting and hollow to a fan of the book, that’s the basic overview of the story that is presented to those of us who haven’t read it. But the trailer sets itself apart from other terminal disease movies by giving the film both a sense of reality and a tone that’s remarkably light on melodrama.
The image of Hazel lugging around her oxygen tank that seemingly represents the burden her disease has placed upon her, and it’s very effective, as is her description of herself as a grenade who will eventually go off and hurt those around her. Augustus’ declaration of love in the face of oblivion is another moment that stuck with me. And although I don’t exactly know why, I understand that the “Okay?” “Okay.” exchange is an important part of the story and that fans were happy at its inclusion in the trailer. From what I’ve read online, fans of the book were generally very pleased with the trailer, but like every book adaptation there will be some who are happy and some who aren’t.
I’m thrilled that Shailene Woodley is getting to have a big year, between this and Divergent. She was so good in The Descendants and I’m glad that she has graduated from TV to film. Ansel Elgort, who plays Augustus, is also in Divergent as Tris’ brother, Caleb, though I doubt he’ll get as much press from that film as this one. The Fault in Our Stars also features Laura Dern as Hazel’s mother, and Willem Dafoe in a role that isn’t shown in the trailer. (His character, which I guess is supposed to be a surprise or a secret to those who haven’t read the book, is the one mystery about this film of which I haven’t got a clue.)
Usually when it comes to film adaptations of books I haven’t read, I either rush out to read the book as soon as I hear that they’re making a film (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner) although those are usually books that I intended to read anyway, or I wait until after I’ve seen the movie to decide whether to read the book (The Book Thief). I’ve had The Fault in Our Stars recommended to me by countless friends and anonymous people online, but I’ve held off, mostly because of the subject matter. And while I’ve never before had a trailer inspire me to read a book before, after seeing this one I ran out and bought the book, and intend to read it before the film comes out on June 6th. Perhaps after reading it I’ll come back and look at this trailer again from a different perspective, or maybe there will be a new trailer by then to analyze, but suffice to say that I’m intrigued by this brief glimpse into the film.
What do you think? If you’ve read the book, what did you think of the trailer? If you haven’t read it, did the trailer make you interested in seeing the film or reading the book? Is a story about teenagers with terminal cancer something you’re even interested in watching or reading? What do you think of the casting of Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort? Let me know in the comments!