Thursday, May 27, 2010

This Is Not My Girl Detective, Or, A Review of "Nancy Drew"

Last night, I watched the 2007 movie, Nancy Drew.

I'd been looking forward to the latest incarnation of my beloved sleuth and was a bit excited to see that it was next in my Netflix queue. Sadly, my hopes for the movie being a well-done representation of Nancy in the modern world were dashed early on. But then, I was watching a Hollywood version of Nancy Drew, so perhaps my expectations were too high. And I can't help comparing the movie Nancy to the book Nancy. Nor am I a "young person of today".

Right off the bat, I was disappointed with the overall cartoonish, almost Scooby-Do-esque feel of the movie. This isn't as noticeable in the trailer, but when you watch the full movie, it becomes more obvious. In fact, several of Nancy's outfits have a more cartoon-like look, rather than appearing "old-fashioned" or vintage-style.

That being said, I do confess that I liked her painting smock - you can't see in this pic, but the pockets look like paint pallettes...

Another item I take issue with is Nancy being portrayed as a somewhat annoying anal-retentive goody two-shoes - not personality traits I usually associate with my favorite girl detective.
In my book (pun intended), Nancy is intelligent, compassionate, capable, trustworthy, fun-loving, a problem-solver, and humble... and instead of Nancy trying to be like other girls, as is mentioned in the trailer, other girls wanted to be like her. I think there was an attempt to present the characteristics of the "book Nancy," but somehow the effect is rather one-dimensional.

Perhaps my biggest question is: why make a Nancy Drew movie without her stalwart chums, Bess and George?? Sure, we see them briefly at the beginning... at least I think it's them. Is it them? Bess and George are as much a part of Nancy Drew as her blue eyes (also missing from the movie), her trusty flashlight, and her roadster (don't even get me started on the one in the movie).

One final nit-picky thing.... Hannah Gruen, the ever-faithful housekeeper, may have had a German-sounding name, but she never had an accent in the 1930s to 1970s books, nor was her nationality ever mentioned that I recall. I concede that Hannah was a crackerjack cook and baker, though ;)

I will say this - Nancy Drew wasn't a terrible movie, but neither was I particularly impressed with the portrayal of Nancy and her world.

Have any of you watched this movie? Did you like it? Why or why not? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)


Kir said...

My family owns that movie, I thought it was a cute movie, but it was NOT Nancy Drew. At least not the Nancy I know.
I was bugged by how they barely even tried to make the characters true to how they look in the books.
It was sweet, it just wasn't Nancy. :)

Zootsuitmama said...

I'm probably the only person who didn't read alot of Nancy Drew as a youth...but I think I have some vintage ones stashed...maybe I'll read it. As for movies, they often disappoint. Zootsuitmama