With the release of Paper Towns this week, the film adaptation of John Green’s book of the same title, I’m sure every John Green fan who eagerly awaited The Fault in Our Stars has been queuing up to see this new film. Despite all the excitement about this film, I have to be honest and say that I was disappointed they chose to adapt Paper Towns rather than Looking for Alaska, which is definitely the better novel. Paper Towns is a coming of age story about shy Quentin (Nat Wolff) and his adventurous neighbour Margo Roth-Spiegelman (Cara Delevingne), who became the mystery she always sought to be. After a night-long adventure together, Margo disappears, leading Quentin on an even bigger adventure in an attempt to find her.
Although Paper Towns has potential as an engaging Romantic Mystery, I was somewhat disappointed, finding the plot dull in places. In fact, it felt as though the film was two separate stories that while engaging, don’t have enough substance to be a film on their own so have been put together. As well as this, both of the main characters are deeply flawed, with Margo appearing selfish and Quentin appearing naïve and at times, also very self-involved. Although this does add complexity to the characters, in the context of the plot it just doesn’t feel right.
The film is not without its merits though, it’s incredibly funny in places and the friendship between Quentin, Radar and Ben is unfailingly amusing throughout the whole film (including one very funny song scene). The first half of the film – Margo and Quentin’s adventure – is also constantly engaging. The soundtrack to the film is also incredibly good and they kept very well to the book, which I always love. The actors were all well-cast and talented, although none of them stood out to me as outstanding.
All in all, in the context of the book, Paper Towns is a very well-done film, but in all honesty, I feel that the book didn’t have enough substance and complexity to be outstanding (like The Fault in Our Stars most definitely was). While it was funny and light-hearted throughout, it made for an interesting film, but not one I would watch again.