by Linda Holmes
You know, it wasn't two weeks ago that I was sitting and thinking, "It isn't like there aren't lots of little girls in fiction who don't really fall into the princess or princess-like categories. I wish they'd make a good Ramona Quimby movie." This is because I don't follow development news closely enough, I suppose.
Because the trailer for Ramona And Beezus has appeared.
If you're not familiar with the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, they feature Ramona Quimby, who starts at age 4 in Beezus and Ramona (where she's not so much the lead), but doesn't, in my opinion, really hit her stride until Ramona The Brave, when she's in first grade. It's Ramona The Brave where she makes a paper-bag owl, and loses a shoe, and threatens to say an extremely bad word, which, when she finally says it, turns out to be "guts."
(Speaking of Ramona The Brave, writing this post indirectly led me to the discovery that there is an audiobook of Ramona The Brave read aloud by Stockard Channing. Don't think that didn't get snapped up in a hurry.)
She is a spectacular creation, creative and odd and funny, and I find that, in particular, women who read those books as girls (Ramona The Brave came out in 1975) are very, very, very protective of her. You know how freaked out Twilight people were about the possibility that they'd screw up Edward and Bella? That's nothing compared to how upset a lot of Ramona fans are if you get Ramona wrong.
Don't believe me? Jezebel has already used the word "blasphemy" to describe the trailer for the new movie, which stars 10-year-old Joey King as Ramona and a certain Disney Channel megastar as her sister, Beezus.
The trailer, after the jump ...
Now, I will tell you one thing right off the top: That is not the books' Beezus, by any stretch of the imagination.
Beezus was not Ramona's fairy godmother. She was much more serious than Ramona, she was very seriously aggravated by Ramona, she was uncomfortable with her own appearance heading into her teenage-hood, and she was ... well, she was not Selena Gomez, no way, no how. They have gone a different way with Beezus, and they have done it to get the Disney Channel fans to show up, and that's a shame. And that Ginnifer Goodwin/Josh Duhamel business had better not take up too much time, because ... what?
But I look at Joey King, and I have to admit, I think ... they're close.
The shot of her in the hard hat and goggles is very Ramona, to me. I like her squatting un-self-consciously in her jeans and her green sweatshirt to draw with her father. (John Corbett, who is too hot to be her father, but if that's the worst thing the movie does? Eh.) By the way, in other casting news, I absolutely love the idea of Sandra Oh as her teacher -- love it. Cannot explain why, but I love it.
The shot of Ramona in the parachute, the shot of her leaping from the hole in the house (right out of the books, that) ... I see it. I don't see Jezebel's mini-version of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I actually kind of see Ramona Quimby. There are shots of her in a dress, yes, but Ramona didn't never dress up, and she had her moments of longing that related to being and feeling pretty -- that's one of the reasons she couldn't help pulling the curly hair of a classmate. (Oh, perfect Susan.)
Normally, I'd expect to be the first person to have grave reservations about this movie, but I'm not against it quite yet. Yes, it's not the movie you'd make if you didn't have to worry about the movie making money. But grading on a curve, allowing for the movie they could be making, I'm not giving up on it quite yet.