I was looking through some old scribblings that didn’t quite make the cut for this website and came across a ‘Book to Movie’ article on Stormbreaker, the movie adaptation of the first book in Anthony Horowitz’s excellent Alex Rider series. I resurrected it and here it is today for your reading…eh…pleasure?
Stormbreaker was released in 2000 and ushered in a new phenomenon in the children’s and Young Adult’s market, the teenage spy. Since then there have been a number of writers to tackle the sub-genre, such as Robert Muchamore with his Cherub series which launched in 2004, Charlie Higson released the Young Bond series in 2005 and Joe Craig penned the Jimmy Coates series, also making its debut in 2005.
None of them do it quite like Horowitz, though.
Alex Rider was a teenage James Bond. Bond for Boys. (That’s not the slogan he used…thankfully). The books had twists, turns, gadgets, exciting plots and deplorable villains. They instantly became a hit amongst young boys and a go-to series for parents to get their kids interested in reading.
As of 2015, the books had series had sold over 19 million copies. Sadly, the movie did not fare as well.
The Alex Rider series made the leap to the big screen in 2006 and seemed to have everything going for it. An experienced director (Geoffrey Sax), a writer who knew the story better than anyone (Anthony Horowitz himself) and a cast so absolutely crammed with talent they get their own paragraph.
Alex Pettyfer, Ewan Mcgregor, Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane, Mickey Rourke, Sarah Bolger, Bill Nighy, Damian Lewis, Sophie Okonedo, Missi Pyle, Andy Serkis and Alicia Silverstone…even comedian Jimmy Carr makes an appearance. That’s far better than your average cast! Clearly, there were high hopes for Alex Rider.
Was the movie a dud?
No, not at all. It didn’t translate to the screen as well as it should have but it wasn’t a terrible movie either. It was an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half with some good dialogue, a few witty scenes and solid action sequences. I particularly enjoyed Nighy’s performance in the role of Alan Blunt (whose personality was altered from the character in the book). His mannerisms are hilarious.
After a reasonably successful release in the UK, a decision was taken by the powers that be to not release it in America. That made its fate inevitable and as a result, Alex Rider never made another appearance in our cinemas.
The book was better than the movie, there’s no doubt about that, but the movie was an enjoyable hour and a half of TV.
I was left quite disappointed that Alex Rider wasn’t given a second chance. The books were great and the movie cast was stellar.
Happily, there is a small silver lining. Last year Horowitz revealed he was in talks to turn Alex Rider into a TV series. Maybe this would be a better format for the teenage spy to flourish. Maybe it will never happen. At least it’s something for fans to cling onto.
Hopefully that was a nice change of pace from the myths I have been posting for the last while. If you liked this and want to stay up to date with more of what I write, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for reading!