Paper Towns DVD Review

DVD Review by Jarred Tito

The Premise
Adapted from the bestselling novel by author John Green, PAPER TOWNS is a coming-of-age story centering on Quentin and his enigmatic neighbor Margo, who loved mysteries so much she became one. After taking him on an all-night adventure through their hometown, Margo suddenly disappears - leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. The search leads Quentin and his quick-witted friends on an exhilarating adventure that is equal parts hilarious and moving. Ultimately, to track down Margo, Quentin must find a deeper understanding of true friendship - and true love.

The Review
I was happily delighted with this adaptation of the very popular 'coming of age' bestselling novel by John Green, for many reasons but mostly because this film took it's time to tell the story properly. I put it down to the director Jake Shcreier, who also made the film Robot and Frank, who is obviously not afraid of breaking the rules of modern theatre. He allows for long cinematic edits and spaces of quiet contemplation where dialogue takes a back seat to the character's thoughts and contemplative work which allows the time for the proper development of the characters. For me character development is a vital part to any good story, and this was definitely a good story.

I must confess that I was expecting the 'formular' approach, which is now standard with most teen type films, and was wondering what was going on when the story line started to deviate from what I thought was going to be a very predictable course. Tired themes such as our hero being bullied then facing rejection from his friends as he joins up with the bullies in an attempt to impress the girl of his dreams. Then seeing the error of his ways he rejects the girl because she is shallow and making up with his nerd friends and then finally noticing the plain girl who was his true love all along. Yes we've had our fill of those types. This one is different and much, much better.

Quentin Jacobsen, played by Nat Wolf, is your average American teen facing the last weeks of his High School finds himself in a journey of love, honour and truth as he sets about on a quest in which he initially believes is for love but eventually realizes is for much more.

There are plenty of laughs with some pleasant performances along the way by up-and-coming actors like Cara Delevinge who plays the deep thinking and provocative character Margo who this story is abstractly centered around. Austin Abrams plays one of Quentin's best buddies along with two other friends who actually make an entertaining trio, each keen to explore life's many forbidden offerings before ending their High School Days.

It's a little bit like Grease, the movie but without the song and it's also a little like American Pie but without the cheese. But overall I would have to say that this movie, Paper Towns, is quite something of a standalone piece as far as the teen genre goes. It takes a while to get into it but by the 30 minute mark I was right in there.

The Verdict
I left the theatre feeling pleasantly refreshed and suitably moved. I loved the story line and the performances alike. The pace of the film is superb as is the direction. Yes this is a coming of age story but expect a little more from it than just 'crude one liners' and 'pubescent' humour.  Paper Towns offers so much more. It covers real 'young people issues but in a fun and tasteful way.

I strongly recommend a viewing.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 25th November 2015
Rating: M – Contains sexual references
Duration: 109 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Cara Delevingne, Nat Wolff & Halston Sage
Director: Jake Schreier (Robot and frank)

The Extras
Cara Delevingne's audition for the role of Margo was outstanding according to John Green (book author), "Cara Delevingne's audition blew everyone away (including me!) and she understands Margo profoundly. I am so excited!" Mr. Green tweets in mid-September.

John Green has said that he would have cast Emma Blackery, a fellow YouTuber, but the casting wasn't up to him.

Second John Green book to be adapted into a film, both starring Nat Wolff.

Cara wasn't the only one who was considered for the role. Shailene Woodley was originally cast but had to drop out due to clash of filming schedules with Insurgent. John Green had someone in mind that he knew through YouTube (Emma Blackery) but the casting wasn't up to him.

The "SeaWorld" scene from the novel will not be seen in the movie. This is because the movie "Blackfish" had made people rethink SeaWorld and captivity. If the SeaWorld scene were in the movie, people would possibly boycott and the box office would be low. The screenplay writers decided it would be best to not put the SeaWorld scene in.