Sunday, March 25, 2012

Skellig Book vs. Movie

Skellig by David Almond
Skellig: The Owl Man with Tim Roth

Michael moves into a new home with his parents and newborn sister. He finds a man in the run down garage that is not quite a man. And he and his friend Mina befriend this incredible being and all their lives are changed forever.

The book is a deceptively simple story about a boy who is both jealous of and worried about his baby sister who has been sick since the day she was born. There is a subtle magic and fantasy to the story that adds a nice twist to the traditional coming of age tale of a boy in a new home, with a new sister and all the other changes in his life. And it also shows what friendship and love can do in people’s lives.

The movie is more dramatic. It seems that everything is done bigger. Starting with small things like how rude Skellig was to begin with to a big dramatic flying scene. Everyone’s reactions are bigger. There’s more yelling between the characters. The magic is more obvious. All these things can be expected to try to make the movie more entertaining but it takes some of the simplicity that I liked in the book away.

Mina is a bit of a stuck up brat in both the book and movie but she seems less likeable in the movie.

One of Michael’s friends is also rather unlikeable. He made fun of Michael a bit in the book too. But at least in the book you could see why they were friends to begin with but it was hard to see it in the movie.

The stories are very similar and most of the changes can be forgiven for the sake of trying to make a dramatic movie but I like the way the book is a smaller, softer, subtler story where the power of it kind of sneaks up on you and surprises you.

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