The trailer for the movie Chaos Walking has dropped, and I’m honestly not looking forward to it. It’s based on a trilogy of books by Patrick Ness: The Knife Of Never Letting Go, The Ask And The Answers, and Monsters Of Men. The basic premise is this: Humans have colonized a planet that they’ve appropriately titled New World. Because of the planet’s atmosphere, all the men on the planet can hear each others thoughts 24/7, which is known as Noise. One day, the protagonist, Todd, is forced to go on the run when he learns that his town’s evil leader, Mayor Prentiss, is launching a war to take over the planet and rule it as a dictator. Todd eventually meets a girl named Viola, who is the sole survivor of a crash of a scout ship sent to investigate the planet for a band of approaching potential colonists. With nowhere else to go, she ends up being drawn into this war alongside Todd, and the two of them may end up being the only ones who can create true peace.
The books are all amazing, and if you enjoyed series like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, you should definitely read this trilogy. But after watching the trailer, I fear what made the books so great will be lost in the film. The film started shooting back in 2017, and had to undergo extensive reshoots because the first cuts were reportedly so bad that it was considered unwatchable. These reshoots took a long time to do, mainly because of stars Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley’s commitments to Marvel and Star Wars. That actually is my next concern, the casting. Simply put, Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley are wrong for the parts.
Why are they wrong, you may ask? Because in the books, Todd and Viola are only about 13 years old. Part of what makes the books so powerful is that it explores war from a child’s point of view, a war that neither one of them wanted to be a part of, but were forced to by circumstance. In this war, they become catalysts for wanting to achieve true peace, but because of their age, they sometimes make rash, impulsive decisions that have serious consequences. By casting adult actors in these roles, I fear this takes away the devastating nature of this conflict that is described in the books. Also, I fear that this movie will be just a straight up action thriller rather than take a look into the powerful themes of the book such as slavery, colonialism, and gender politics. In other words, I fear that this movie won’t delve into the reasons of WHY this war is started.
The only thing that actually looks good about this movie is Mads Mikkelsen as the villain, Mayor Prentiss. He definitely has the perfect look and voice to embody this villain, one who has an outward, calm demeanor, but is truly a vile, evil man who must be stopped at all costs. He’s a villain up there with Voldemort and President Snow.
Maybe this movie will be good, but I have very little hope. Movies with as many production problems as this one rarely turn out to be good. Apocalypse Now is probably the one exception. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and read the actual books. You won’t be able to put them down.