June 15, 2007


Lost in Translation: Updating and downgrading Nancy Drew. (Thomas Hibbs, National Review)

Where is Walden Media when you need it? Well, not making the latest Nancy Drew film, a Warner Bros. production starring Emma Roberts, best known as the niece of Julia Roberts and for her role in the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous. On its own terms, the film is reasonably entertaining. It contains some genuinely funny scenes and moments of suspense, and Nancy is presented, in the end, as an admirable and virtuous heroine. But the problem here is one of translation. Unlike the successful Walden Media productions that have taken cherished books such as Holes, Narnia, and Charlotte’s Web and made the literature come to life, this film version of Nancy Drew has nothing literary about it, nothing to communicate the experience of entering even a modestly rich imaginative universe.

Of course, there have been many Nancy Drew book series (and films and TV series), with later installments making Nancy younger or older or more hip. Even the original book series, issued under the pen name Carolyn Keene, was in fact written by a number of authors. But the original books were by far the best and it would be a worthy undertaking for some ambitious producer to try to bring those books, that Nancy, to life again.

...didn't her "aunt" play Frank Hardy on the tv series?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2007 7:52 AM

Perhaps, but he..well whatever you say.. played the title charactor in "Miss Lonely Hearts" in 1983 and in the same year played the sexually confused husband of the murdered playboy model Dorothy Stratten. Maybe that year was the tipping point and everything went haywire, because out of nowhere his..ah er little "sister" made her debut in 1987.

Reminds me of the Alfred Hitchcock"s documentary "Psycho".

Posted by: h-man at June 15, 2007 8:56 AM

Speaking of Hitchcock and teenage sleuths, when is Hollywood going to get around to doing a "Three Investigators" movie?

Posted by: Bryan at June 15, 2007 9:11 AM

I don't believe it. She's way too cute to be Erin Brassierovitch's niece.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at June 15, 2007 10:02 AM

Bob, you are being unfair. Julia Roberts can't act, but she is attractive. Why else would anyone put her in a movie?

Posted by: Brandon at June 15, 2007 10:24 AM

The Nancy Drew book series was boring and unremarkable when I was in grade school 25-30 years ago. What makes ANYONE think that it would make a watchable movie?

Hollywood has simply run out of ideas.

Posted by: Brad S at June 15, 2007 10:33 AM

In addition, I have found pictures of Eric and Julia Roberts together. Of course they are from 20 years ago.


Posted by: Brandon at June 15, 2007 1:09 PM

Heh, yeah sure. They do amazing things with technology these days.

Posted by: h-man at June 15, 2007 1:33 PM

Attractive? Someone's got issues...

Posted by: oj at June 15, 2007 1:47 PM

Brad, laugh and make fun if you like, but those books were about empowering girls and they worked. In the early 40's when I was a kid, girls didn't do anything remotely like Nancy Drew. Her matter-of-fact self confidence opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me and millions of others like me. Caroline wherever you are, thank you. We all owe you big time.

I wish this new movie had gone back to the original time frame if only for the cloche hats and the roadsters, but I'll probably go to see it anyway.

Posted by: erp at June 15, 2007 3:16 PM