We had seen “Paper Towns” already, in preparation for our interview with Cara Delevingne, but the best way to enjoy a film inspired by a John Green book is to watch it surrounded by the author’s fans. That’s what we did on Tuesday night, at the special screening of “Paper Towns” at Greenbelt.
(READ: Cara Delevingne: Would she shave her brows for a role? ‘Yeah, sure!’)
Because “Paper Towns” is a film about friendship and adventure, 20th Century Fox held a contest asking people to send photos and videos of their best barkada moments. The winners (and their friends) were invited to the screening and John Green had a special message for them:
“First, I just want to thank you for your support of both the book and the movie ‘The Fault In Our Stars.’ Its journey in the Philippines has been amazing to me. The movie was so well loved there and the book has been too, so thank you so, so much. Also, thanks for coming to the screening today. You get to be one of the first people in the world to see the ‘Paper Towns’ movie, so I’m a little bit nervous but also very excited. I hope that you enjoy the movie… Thanks again and maraming salamat and mahal ko kayo.”
The video greeting was met with screams. Then the screams gave way to silence as the film started and the people packed in the theater lost themselves in the adventures of Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q, Ben, Radar, Lacey and Angela.
Making a film based on a well-loved book is a tightrope act. Stay faithful to the book and you’d make the fans happy but you risk alienating audiences who have never read it. Change too many things, and you might earn the ire of the author’s devotees.
But, as people streamed out of the cinema that night, there was no anger. Only happy, giddy faces and screaming, more screaming.
(Watch the video below.)
Did you like the film? We asked Juwena Anne Tallongan and Jovan Obra, 23-year-olds who were wearing “Paper Towns” shirts printed with the red push pin from the book’s cover.
“Yes! Very much!” they answered in unison.
It’s Jovan’s birthday, they said. “This is the best gift ever,” she added.
“We didn’t just like the movie, we loved it very much, oh my God,” said Arianne Jane Velasquez, an 18-year-old student from FEU Makati.
Illac Aragon, 18 and also from FEU Makati, said he read the book twice. “I read it last year and today.”
Twenty-year-old Karl Lawrence Oasnon said, “The casting was so diverse so a lot of people could relate to the cast.”
“I love Ben in the movie,” Illac added.
A group of very enthusiastic students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Quezon City loved the movie too. Florisa Capones’ voice was hoarse after screaming so much.
What did you like about it? We asked. “Everything” was her quick reply.
Her friends chimed in, “Friendship goals!” “Road trips!”
And their favorite characters?
“Margo,” said Roby Ruivivar, one of the winners.
“For me it’s Radar, yung sinabi niyang you can’t expect Ben to be you and you to be Ben. Hindi ko talaga nakikita ’yung love dun, it’s really about friendship,” said Florisa.
“At tsaka kamukha nung crush niya,” Roby added, making everyone laugh.
Is the movie exactly like the book? No. Will you mind? No. Unless you really really like SeaWorld.
The fans at the screening said that while they noticed the differences, they didn’t mind. “When you watch the movie, it’s a new experience. It was so good, so so good,” said Illac.
Arianne said, “My friend and I were whispering to each other, ‘Di ba ganito ’yun, di ba ganito yun…’ But we enjoyed every variation. The book and the movie are great in their own ways.”
And when asked which other John Green book they’d love to see on the big screen, they had one enthusiastic answer: “Looking for Alaska!!!”
Illac even has a casting idea. “I want Lacey to be Alaska.”
Arianna agrees, saying that Halston Sage, who played Lacey Pemberton in “Paper Towns,” would make a great Alaska. “She’s perfect, with the hair and her physique.”
But for now, they will be happy to enjoy “Paper Towns” again, when it hits cinemas on July 22. “Ang tagal pa,” said Florisa.
“Manood po kayo kasi wala pong makakapigil sa inyo,” said Kyle Cyrds Sanchez Esoy.