*spoilers and more discussion after ads
The latest in a long series of reboots of a character classic. Sophia Lillis plays a particularly young version of the plucky amateur detective. Having read over 500 books that were either Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys related, I can safely say, I’m a fan of the franchise. That said, this movie’s a decent addition, but I’m not entirely pleased with every choice they made in bringing her into his century. Most of that might have to do with the fact that I didn’t like the latest turn the books took either.
- When I watch a movie, I judge it based on one question: “was I entertained?”. Answer for this movie, yes. Further though, I think about replay value. Answer this round: meh.
- I know it can’t be the old school classic books many people fell in love with ages ago. That said, they changed quite a few details.
- Cool changes: It’s modern. There are cell phones and the internet and greed as the center point for the mystery.
- Weird changes (classic book series to 2019 movie): Carson Drew and Hannah are siblings. George is African American. (Don’t get me wrong, the actress, Zoe Renee, did a great job with the role. It just seemed like the casting move came more from a need to stay politically correct than to stay true to source material.) Bess isn’t blond. According to this, Bess is not the brainy one.
- Not sure who they aimed at in making this movie. If it’s for kids, it’s probably a fail. If it’s for the millions of adults who loved Nancy Drew growing up, it’s a maybe.
- Plot 3.5/5: There was at least one point where I was like “wait, what? How the heck would you conclude that?” (Rant later on some plot points.)
Whether this is the right movie for you depends mainly on your expectations. If you’re looking for a decent movie very loosely based off a beloved classic character, go for it. If you’re looking for inklings of the actual Nancy Drew you grew up imagining, brace for disappointment.
Associate links to follow…
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The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.
If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.
Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.
Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.
- Minirant: At one point, they break into the high school and work overnight in the chemistry lab. As a chemistry teacher, I cannot condone that sort of behavior, ever. If this is a movie for kids, it’s setting an absolutely terrible precedent. No, I don’t think kids are likely gonna be like “she did it. Cool. I’m gonna do that,” but it’s still irresponsible to put that sort of behavior in a positive spin, even in a fluff movie.
- Minirant 2 Characterization: Not sure I entirely like the characterization of Nancy here. She’s always been brave and bold, but this version starts out by pranking a cyberbully so that he turns blue. Amusing, yes. And she gets into trouble. Her father says she committed like 5 felonies, and she replies that they’re only felonies if you’re 18. BTW, in the books, she was 18. The old Nancy Drew was polite to a fault, always loved her father and the housekeeper who raised her. This new kid “borrowed” Hannah’s car to go save her father.
- Besides making Nancy probably 16, they changed the plot point about her mother dying when she was three. Since I haven’t kept super close tabs on the many iterations of the series, I don’t know when that happened.
- The Mystery itself: There’s a town feud going on about whether or not they should run a train through. While on community service for the prank she pulled to avenge Bess’s humiliation, Nancy hears an old lady speaking to the Sheriff about her hunted house. Naturally, she wants to investigate. Grounded or not, she gets permission to sleep over and experience the hauntings. Turns out they were dosed with a chemical in nutmeg and hallucinated. Nancy’s father is trying to keep the train out. When he fails to check in, she tracks him to a motel and sees him get kidnapped. She then concludes he must be taken to the haunted house with the hidden staircase and goes save the day.