Saturday, August 23, 2014

Teen Summer

This summer, the big, loud action blockbusters came out roaring, booming, and punching, but they subsided quickly into the vast realm of the forgettable. Meanwhile, teen-oriented films based on popular young-adult novels offered viewers some lasting emotional impressions. The Fault in Our Stars, The Giver, and If I Stay all have their silly moments, but two of them offer fine performances, by Shailene Woodley and Chloë Grace Moretz, and all of them provide touching moments that are a refreshing break from the ubiquitous blockbuster action made up of extravagant explosions and endless, pounding fisticuffs between heroes and villains. In addition, this summer, Boyhood, a realistic, touching examination of a boy growing up into teenhood, drew young viewers to “art-house” theaters.

We are in the midst of a growing trend. The thriving young-adult fiction market churns out dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and romance novels that get teens reading and hankering for the inevitable film version of the more popular ones. Teen viewers might complain that the filmmakers left out or changed this or that scene, but they love visualizations of their favorite books, and the only pounding is the pounding of their hearts during the romantic scenes – which tend to have a more lasting impression than the noisiest action and the biggest explosions.

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