Monday, October 10, 2016

The Swap Review (Disney Channel Original Movie)

Striker, Gunner and Jack? What, did they run out of cool names at the Cool Name Store?

What is it? DCOM (single-camera made-for-Disney Channel original movie)
Where did it air? Disney Channel
Who stars in it? Peyton List from Jessie/Bunk'd, Jacob Bertrand from Kirby Buckets (and the Lucas Cruikshank vehicle Marvin, Marvin prior to that but...I bet even Lucas Cruikshank wants to forget that one). 
Why are we reviewing this? Because it's a DCOM, so, yay!

If you've been reading the comments Spongey44 has posted on the review of The Swap: The Young Adult Novel, then yeah, the DCOM was decent. 

I guess I'll just get the biggest thing out of the way first: the whole Peyton List/Jacob Bertrand casting. Yeah.... Just as I had predicted/feared, it was a bit awkward to say the least. There's almost exactly a two year difference in age between the two and while that might not seem like a lot, yeah, it is a big difference for teens. And if nothing else, it just doesn't seem to match. It's like watching Rowan and The Other Peyton on Girl Meets World. If they were going to go for a Peyton vehicle (and they overwhelmingly were likely determined towards that) then I probably would've just had Peyton the Second - Peyton Meyer as Jack. If they were determined to keep Jacob Bertrand instead I would've cast Best Friend Whenever's Landry Bender instead. And I still think Francesca Capaldi and Isaak Presley are much closer to the characters in the book, though that might've been pushing for too young for the audience Disney's hoping for (the general rule of thumb for kids' shows is that it's easier to attract an audience younger than the stars as opposed to around the same age, let alone trying to hit above the stars' age).

Speaking of keeping faithful to the book, it...was close enough. The biggest, most substantial and quite frankly most bizarre change is changing Ellie from a soccer star to a gymnast, because I'd think having her as a soccer star would've been better-serving the type of image Disney Channel tries to go for, but whatever. It also meant no epic soccer showdown between Ellie and Sassy as in the book which I think would've also translated well into the movie, whether or not Disney Channel would've insisted they had Ellie barrel down and blast through her defenders to the point of literally causing them to knock and spin into the air, which I still maintain is the stupidest scene in all of DCOM history, and I've seen Read It and Weep (yes this is me knocking on Invisible Sister yet again). 

That's all I can really think of that's worth discussing as for the most part everything else is more or less already covered in the novel review. It didn't diverge nearly as much as I had predicted/feared, so that's good I guess? Still, and even keeping in mind the original source material is a middle school-level book, there still feels something lost in translation. 

DCOM Grade: B-. I was wavering between this and a C+ to be honest (I think I openly shared this with Spongey in the comments from the novel review) but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, especially after a weekend to think about it. It's definitely not as good as the last DCOM (Adventures in Babysitting), that's for sure.
DCOM MVP: Eh, I guess Peyton List is a safe enough choice. 

Extra Thoughts:

 - stupid random-person-gets-hit-so-hard-they-spin-in-the-air count: Exactly 1, and it's Jack who gets hit and spun by Porter very early in the movie. 

 - I was just re-reading my Adventures in Babysitting review and it just only occurred to me now how creepy my whole paragraph about awarding MVP to Sofia was so I apologize for that. She's still that DCOM's MVP I just wish I'd been more aware of just how fucking creepy I sounded about it.

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