The Girl with All the Gifts

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The Girl with All the Gifts

Our greatest threat is our only hope.

20161 h 50 min

In the future, a strange fungus has changed nearly everyone into a thoughtless, flesh-eating monster. When a scientist and a teacher find a girl who seems to be immune to the fungus, they all begin a journey to save humanity.

Director Colm McCarthy
Runtime 1 h 50 min
Release Date 23 September 2016
Movie Media DVD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Good

I am admittingly not a fan of zombie movies. There are some great ones out there, but for the most part it’s more of the same. However, The Girl with All the Gifts is based on a very good book. And for the most part, the film manages to stay true to the book. There are some changes, some major and some minor, but it is relatively the same story. What really shifts is the tone, which was adjusted (by necessity) to better fit the film format. The change is by no means bad, but the story feels different played in this different light.

The most obvious change is the pacing. You go from a book that took me personally about 6½ hours to read to a 110-minute movie. The opening sequence of the book is a slow build-up that takes about 1/3 of the page count. As opposed to the movie where that whole sequence is completed in under 30 minutes, closer to 1/4 of the running time. And that is with a bunch of scenes and sub-plots being cut out on top of the faster pacing. The rest of the film follows similar pacing changes.

Then there is the tone. The book starts out from Melanie’s POV. We do see scenes excluding her, more often as the book goes on, but it primarily focuses on her. The wording used is being given by a kid. Even though we know the world is dreary and bleak now, we are still seeing it through the bright eyes of a child. The movie does not, really cannot, do that. The audience gets a full, direct visual of how messed up all this is from the very first frame. That level of post-apocalypse bleakness is a lot more direct thanks to the visual element.

And then there are the story changes. Anytime a book is adapted to a film, this happens. And for The Girl with All the Gifts, it is pretty low-key. The changes could have been much, much worse. There are two major changes, the first of which is a character’s backstory being cut. It was not necessarily essential to the plot, but it would have helped a lot. The other big change was the ending. While the end result is ultimately the same, the way it plays out is a bit darker. It is pretty equal in quality compared to the book, but some people seem to prefer one vs. the other. Overall, The Girl with All the Gifts is one of the better book adaptations out there and a great way to experience this story if you do not want to read through a slow-burn horror novel.

May 31, 2020