Movie vs. Book: The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts is not only a phenomenal book, that I just reviewed, but a great movie as well. M.R. Carey simultaneously wrote the novel and screenplay and it gave interesting results.

I am always nervous when it comes to movie adaptations having been let down before, *cough* Percy Jackson, but this was a different experience. Having finished the novel the day before, I decided it would be fun to sit down and watch the adaptation. I have praises to sing and complaints to air.

I will start off by saying that the acting and script in this adaptation is amazing. Sennia Nanua made an awesome Melanie, she is a wonderful actress and she brought the character to life on the big screen. I felt like the casting choices were spot on, everyone played their parts well, and it made me fall in love with The Girl With All The Gifts all over again.

I would also like to commend the beauty of this movie. The scenery is gorgeous and you fall into a post-apocalyptic landscapes that is shockingly beautiful. The CGI is used tactfully and rarely noticeable, small exceptions do occur but they won’t rip you out of the story. Something I really look for is whether a movie is pleasing to the eye even if it’s a gory zombie movie.

I would also add that while it is a gory zombie movie it wasn’t as bothersome as other movies. There were definitely parts that made me say ew, but I wasn’t cringing away like other movies. There’s nothing I hate more than a movie that leaves me feeling overtly nauseous, it’s just not something I want in a movie. Luckily, this movie does not torture its audience.

On to my complaints. There were parts of this adaptation that were changed for seemingly no reason. Characters included and excluded for typical movie hijinks. They included a new character just so that they could kill him off, it annoyed me. They also excluded the junkers entirely, why? To me it seems that the junkers would only enhance the experience. I was so excited to see them come to life on the screen, and they didn’t.

Next, they screwed with the timeline a lot. Parts were mixed and matched and suddenly Dr. Caldwell in the movie knew a lot more than Dr. Caldwell in the book. People are killed in ways that make Melanie look like a bad guy, it made her less innocent and I don’t know why it was done. I am fully aware that not everything from the book will fit in the movie, but why mix things up? Why exclude one of the main antagonistic groups of the whole novel? Why include stuff that didn’t happen? I find that so irksome.

But, they kept the ending. I was scared the whole time because I needed the ending to be the same. I had to see it on the big screen or the adaptation would’ve been ruined in my eyes. But, they kept the ending mostly the same. I was able to breathe easy once again. And, I will say that though it was different the story flowed together nicely. And, M.R. Carey says in the back of The Girl With All The Gifts book in an author interview that,

“What I was doing was finding two different solutions to the same set of narrative problems.”

So with his experience in multiple different types of media, he felt there were pieces that needed to be different, and I can respect that decision.

The movie on its own, excluding the differences from the book, is a 5/5. The adaptation work itself earns a solid B+.

I strongly suggest you check both the novel and the movie out. If you’ve already seen or read this one, let me know what you think in the comments.

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Savannah Worman

My name is Savannah, you can call me Sav. I am a recent Oregon State graduate, Siletz tribal member, and aspiring book critic. Join me on this exploration of the literary world around us. You’re sure to find something you like. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments feel free to hit me up on the contact page! I live in the Pacific Northwest with my boyfriend, my Havanese/Aussie Shepard Stark, my Jack Russell/Shih Tzu Daenerys, and my son Finn.

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