Films like The House With a Clock In Its Walls are poisonous to kids’ cinema

Film is an expressive medium — at least as flexible as books are, in terms of the potential for variety and nuance. So how to explain the way cinema processes so many diverse, nuanced books into generic, nearly identical hunks of cookie-cutter product? And the problem seems particularly pronounced with books aimed at younger readers. When novels as tonally and creatively wide-ranging as Bridge to Terabithia, The Dark is Rising, the first five Spiderwick Chronicles novels, and Cirque du Freak all enter the screen-adaptation machine and come out looking and feeling nearly identical, it’s clear that the problem isn’t with the source material, it’s with filmmakers who are suffering a lack of imagination.

Or maybe it’s just a lack of freedom…

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