‘Safe Haven’ plays it safe… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing

Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough seek refuge from a storm in 'Safe Haven'
Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough seek refuge from a storm in ‘Safe Haven’

Nicholas Sparks has published 16 novels thus far.  With the release of Safe Haven, half of them have been made into films.  But this one does something the others did not.  Oh, it has the usual schmaltz, romance, and major character in jeopardy.  But this time, the person in jeopardy isn’t being endangered by disease, war, or some other ‘thing’.  “Katie” (Julianne Hough) is being threatened by someone.

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‘Safe Haven’ is the latest in a long line of Nicholas Sparks books to become films

On February 14th, the film Safe Haven opens.  Based on the seven previous adaptations of books written by Nicholas Sparks, it should do well at the box office.  But before describing the film version of this novel, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, let’s look at the prior film adaptations of the novels of Sparks.

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‘The Lucky One’ was lucky to have Zac Efron

Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling in ‘The Lucky One’
Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling co-star in 'The Lucky One'
Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling co-star in ‘The Lucky One’

There have been seven adaptations of novels by author Nicholas Sparks thus far, with more on the drawing board.  I’ve seen four of the six previous offerings and the formula was the same in all.  Man and woman meet through unusual or extraordinary circumstance.  There is chemistry between them very quickly.  There is tragedy involved at some point.  There is loss involved at some point.

The question becomes, do the people who are taking the vision of Sparks and bringing it to the big screen manage to get the maximum mileage from this formulaic story he recycles?

Read more‘The Lucky One’ was lucky to have Zac Efron