One of the strangest things about Peter Jackson's three-part, nine-hour adaptation of The Hobbit
is that the trilogy is based on a very brief children's book, and that the source material had to be ruthlessly extended to get ready for the big screen.
That's not the first time we've seen this happen: The Polar Express, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Jumanji and countless others took simple kids' books and made them into blockbusters. So now we're going to take a crack at it. What happens when we try to transform 10 very simple kid-friendly books into major movie events? Well, let's just say that we don't actually endorse any of these ideas.
Green Eggs and Ham
The Original Story: Sam-I-Am pesters an unnamed narrator to try green eggs and ham. He succeeds.
The Hollywood Pitch: In this psychological thriller, Sam-I-Am's repeated harassment over the subject of green eggs and ham turns into stalking, forcing our hero and his family into a witness protection program. Undeterred, the obsessive Sam-I-Am tracks them down in an epic and game of cat and mouse. As our hero's mental state gradually deteriorates, he begins to wonder if he may actually like green eggs and ham if he gave them a chance.
The Giving Tree
The Original Story: A boy befriends an apple tree, who falls madly in love with him over the years. She gives him everything to live a full life, from fruit to pencils, but he still leaves her for Megan Fox.
The Hollywood Pitch: Inspired by the success of recent YA books turned movies with love triangles between human and nonhuman, this story of forbidden love and desire should appeal to YA audiences. The tree knows she shouldn't fall in love with a human! The boy knows he isn't fit for a proper relationship! But sparks fly when these two are together, sending them down a path of emotional destruction.
The Original Story: A little boy says goodnight to the moon. He then says goodnight to everything within eyeshot.
The Hollywood Pitch: For years, our hero (who will be played by Ben Stiller) performed the family tradition of bidding goodnight to the moon, and to every object in his room, as he was taught by his father. When his father dies, he embarks on an epic, spiritual quest to cure his middle-aged blues. Can he say goodnight to the moon from every country on Earth? Life and love and hope and a treacly soundtrack happens.
Harold and the Purple Crayon
The Original Story: With the help of his (magic?) purple crayon, Harold draws whatever he wants or needs into existence.
The Hollywood Pitch: Harold used to dream that he could manipulate reality with his handy purple crayon. Years later (and now Keanu Reeves) he learns that his purple crayon dreams were real and that he must save the planet from an alien invasion! In the first part of an epic trilogy, Harold uses his crayon to travel to other worlds, battle monsters and learn to master his mysterious power.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Original Story: A very hungry caterpillar eats a bunch of food, wraps himself in a cocoon, and emerges as a beautiful butterfly.
The Hollywood Pitch: The result of an experiment gone wrong, the insatiable caterpillar consumes every leaf and fruit he can find and balloons to enormous size. Growing exponentially with each meal, the now-massive caterpillar escapes the lab in search of MORRRRE FOOOOOD. Can the city survive his lettuce-fueled rampage? We'll see after Roland Emmerich hands in his script notes.
The Original Story: A vaguely educational and kid-friendly examination of how all animals, uh, you know.
The Hollywood Pitch: Adam Sandler stars as a good-natured scientist embarks on a quest to prove the title of the movie wrong and track down the one animal on Earth that doesn't excrete bodily waste. He journeys deep into the jungles of South America, where he meets talking monkeys, dinosaurs and mystical monsters straight out of myth. In the end, he learns that even the most magical of creatures have to go sometime.
The Little Engine That Could
The Original Story: A train is tasked with climbing a steep mountain. He succeeds.
The Hollywood Pitch: You may think you know the story of the Little Engine, but this flashy, action-packed reboot will fill in all of the blanks. Set in a postapocalypse inhabited entirely by human-train cyborgs, the story opens with the Little Engine's father perishing while climbing a mountain for his corrupt masters. Now grown and surly, our hero takes on the mission that killed his father to prove something to himself... and to seek vengeance!
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Original Story: The rebellious Peter Rabbit disobeys his mother's direct orders to stay out of Mr. McGregor's garden and finds himself chased away by the crotchety human. Our plucky rabbit must then embark on the long journey home, a major part of which involves, uh, finding his lost clothes.
The Hollywood Pitch: Hey! We actually don't have to change much. Just make sure that Peter Rabbit is voiced by a flavor-of-the-minute movie star and cast a handful of respected character actors as everyone else and we're good to go! (Though the family version may leave out that part about the McGregors putting Peter's dad in a pie.)
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
The Original Story: A mouse asks for a cookie. Then he wants a glass of milk. And so on.
The Hollywood Pitch: The mouse is a metaphor, you see. In this experimental, French art film, a simple man loses his family and slides into poverty as he bends over backwards to keep his mouse houseguest happy and content. In a third act twist, we learn that there never was a mouse and that he did everything as part of a delusion caused by mice-induced childhood trauma. Independent Spirit Awards, here we come!
The Original Story: A literal-minded maid bumbles her way through life, always winning her employers over again with good cooking.
The Hollywood Pitch: Uh, she's just a maid who makes mistakes by taking her instructions too literally? We can't make a movie out of this! What if she was a wizard or something? Yeah. In our movie version, Amelia will be a wizard who is disguised as a maid. Oooh, maybe she can have a talking animal sidekick. And then... wait... why don't we just not make an Amelia Bedelia movie?