Book v. Movie: Dune

Category : movies

I felt something of a sci-fi reject not having read/watched Dune. With all great classics, it was intimidating. What if I didn’t understand it? Or what if I didn’t like it? As expected, I was quite fond of the book. (The review is four stars, but I’ve considered bumping it to five.) It’s a must-read. I feel complete having read it.

So how does the movie compare?

The movie is good. I’d go back to reject status if I didn’t say that right away. And with all great books-turned-movie, they leave out a lot of detail. A lot. For instance, did you know that Paul had a son? Or that Jessica wasn’t supposed to drink the Water of Life, being pregnant?

I felt like I was putting the pieces together throughout the film, filling in the gaps from what I know from the novel. Yes, the movie stands on its own, but it’s watered down. There’s so much more in the book—this isn’t simply Paul’s rise to power. It tackles familial bonds, politics, and loyalty. It’s searching for the unknown.

And the ending is completely different. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the emperor’s daughter had a larger part in the novel. Or, rather, a part. She may have provided the introduction in the film, but we learn so much from our hidden narrator in the book. And she has a fairly large role in the end, even if she barely speaks.

There is one scene that—dare I say?—I like better in the film version. When Paul drinks the Water of Life, I almost missed it in the book. He didn’t tell anyone, so even the reader didn’t know it had happened. Yes, the film was more dramatic: It was this whole big ceremony. This man is attempting something that other men have died from. It deserves dramatics.

Can we also discuss how adorable Paul is? Excellent casting, friends of the early 80s.

There was a mini-series in 2000 that I want to check out as well. I’m curious if it goes into more detail, being longer. At the same time, I’m skeptical over remakes on classics. There are some things you don’t mess with, and Dune (whether it’s the book or the film) is timeless.

Book v. Movie: City of Bones

Category : movies

It’s been over two years since I’ve started fawning over this movie. As fans of The Mortal Instruments, we never thought movie release day would arrive. August 2013 was so far. But you know I was in that theater on opening weekend. I may have gotten a little misty-eyed during the opening credits.

It’s been four years since I first read City of Bones (Four years? Really?), so my memory is a little hazy. Perhaps it’s better that way. But I’ve accepted that movies are never as good as the books. I expect them to be a supplement of sorts, a thing only the book-reader would enjoy. And that’s exactly what this film was.

If you hadn’t read the book, you’d likely be confused. And it tries to compensate for that—it crams so much information into the first half-hour that there’s a lot of explanation rather than actual plot. And even some major plot points are swept under the rug. (Simon gets kidnapped by vampires and suddenly doesn’t need his glasses? And no one questions this.)

But overall… it’s pretty good. Some of the acting is a little cheesy, and the plot is difficult to follow even with a knowledge of the books. But it’s gorgeous. The institute is even better than I imagined it, and the Silent Brothers give me the heebie-jeebies—just as it should be. I won’t claim it’s the best cinematography I’ve ever witnessed, but that doesn’t mean I won’t see the next installment on opening weekend, too.

Book v. Movie: Atlas Shrugged (part 2)

Category : movies

I’m faced with a dilemma here in reviewing part two of this film. (My part one reaction is here which, you may recall, wasn’t great.) On one hand, I’m still jarred by the fact they’re watching television and using touch-screen technology and things like that. On the other hand, it was a great improvement to part one.

In this part of the story, all the great minds are starting to disappear. A concert pianist disappears during intermission. An engineer vanishes in the middle of working on a great invention. And there are no warning signs—one day they’re working, and the next they’re not. And the movie does a fantastic job with this. There’s a clear divide between the successful, brilliant people and the ones living in the streets. (Granted there seems to be no middle class at all, but we can blame that on the novel.) It’s obviously counting down to something major, and that something is happening soon.

Apparently there was a complete cast change from the part one. I watched it so long ago that I don’t remember. I do remember disliking Dagny’s actor, but I quite liked her this time. Perhaps it was an improvement.

If I’m going to complain about one thing, it’s Francisco D’Anconia’s role—that is, he hardly had one. He has an obvious history with Dagny in the novel (beyond just childhood friends), and he was one of my favorites so I’m disappointed that he gets overshadowed in the film.

And now, part 3 won’t be out until next summer. That’s the best part of the book. (I can’t wait for the John Galt speech.) Perhaps I’ll re-read the book during my wait.

Ender’s Game: the Trailer

Category : movies

Let’s ignore the fact that my “getting back into blogging” posts often include videos. (Truthfully, there are a few things I’ve been meaning to blog about so stay tuned.)

In the meantime, enjoy the trailer for Ender’s Game. It looks awesome. They better not botch up this book.

The Best Animated Short in the History of Shorts

Category : movies

Let’s ignore the fact that I haven’t posted anything here in over a month. You know when you start slacking off with something, and then you honestly intend to return, and keep on putting it off? Next thing you know, you’re huddled in your Snuggie with your 3DS grinding your little pixellated teams and you’ve completely forgotten that you even have a blog.

What? No, that’s not autobiographical at all.

To get back into the swing of things, I’m going to make you watch (I mean… I recommend you watch) this year’s Academy Award–winning animated short film, Paperman. AKA, my new favorite thing ever. A side note: I made my mom watch it with me and in the first two seconds she said, “He is totally your type.”

Book vs. Movie: Warm Bodies

Category : movies

Zombies usually aren’t my thing. Believe it or not, I’m not into the whole undead, brain-eating thing. But a friend recommended I read Warm Bodies, and I liked it. And when I learned a movie was coming out, I obviously had to see it.

If you’re here because you want me to complain about the movie, as I usually do with film adaptations, you’ll be highly disappointed. It stayed pretty true to the book. There were a few things cut out, but I didn’t mind that so much (the whole zombie marriage thing, and I distinctly remember a scene in the book that included a lot of drinking). But when you take out all those details, the movie is exactly what the book is at its core—a love story.

If you’ve read my book review, you’ll know I didn’t completely buy the love story. It didn’t have much basis. But somehow, it worked better in the film. R’s love for Julie wasn’t just because he ate her boyfriend’s brain—it developed on its own, and we knew it.

Even if zombies aren’t your thing, go read it. And see it. I promise it’s not gross brain-eating all the time. R may be undead, but he’s adorable.

Book vs. Movie: Anna Karenina

Category : movies

Anna Karenina is transformed into a film about once a decade. The 2012 version, starring Keira Knightley as Anna, is the twelfth version. Twelfth. That doesn’t include various TV adaptations/radio programs/operas (what I wouldn’t give to see the opera version).

Needless to say, this is a fantastic story. (Though I may be biased, seeing it’s in my top ten books.)

I guess you kind of run out of ideas after a while, and you work your hardest to make the next installment “fresh” and “new.” The 2012 version is my first foray into the Anna film versions, and I must say… it was a little weird at times.

It was kind of a play/movie crossover. At times, this worked for it. It literally took place on a stage. And the direction was done very well—a wall would come down, a character would open a door, and it would lead onto a whole different stage. It’s a little difficult to describe, but trust me that it looked cool.

But the “looking cool” overshadowed the plot a lot of the time. It almost felt comedic in the beginning, and people actually walked out of the theatre. But the comedy aspects are all Anna’s brother’s doing. He’s a great character, and he was depicted well.

In regards to the Anna/Karenin/Vronsky drama? It was beautiful. The best parts of the film were when Anna and Vronsky met, when they committed the social taboo of spending dance after dance with each other at the soirée. I could watch that one scene over and over again.

I was a tad over-critical of it while I was in the theatre. Honestly, I was getting bored near the end and was just waiting for the conclusion. But it was really well done. It’s a beautiful film, and it captures the affair like it should. Now, I just need to check out the older adaptations. How I missed the 1935 Greta Garbo version is beyond me.

Book vs. Movie: Perks of Being a Wallflower

Category : movies

As a general rule, I’m less critical of books-turned-movie when the author writes the screenplay. He knows the story best, after all, and he gets to pick what goes into a 2ish-hour time slot.

First off, the casting is perfect. Charlie is awkward and adorable, and his friends are just as you imagine them. Patrick is the lovable goof-off; Sam is beautiful and charming. Even Mary Elizabeth, who comes off as a little clingy and weird in the book, is adorable. Her relationship with Charlie makes more sense on the big screen.

Content-wise, a lot was cut out. It had to be; there’s so much going on in this book. But my one complaint—which I think is kind of a big deal—is that Sam never tells Charlie not to think of her “that way.” It gives the story a different atmosphere. In the book, he’s constantly telling himself not like her (even if he obviously does). But in the movie, there’s even a time he plans to ask her out (of course, she has a boyfriend at the time).

I know, it’s a minor thing. But it does change a few things later on.

Overall, though, the film is wonderful. Pardon the cliché, but it brings the story to life. It could have been five hours long and included everything from the book and I wouldn’t have noticed. And, like the book, I could watch it ten times over and love it every time.

Perks of Being a Wallflower Trailer

Category : movies

Like many of my generation, Perks of Being a Wallflower was the book that defined us. It may have been years since I’ve experienced Charlie’s life, but it’s remained with me. And when I watched the movie trailer, it brought back all those happy memories of the first time I read it.

The film will be a little more light-hearted than the book (less sexuality and drug themes), but I still expect good things from it—especially knowing that Stephen Chbosky, the author, is the scriptwriter and director.

Guess who will be re-reading this book over the summer?

Book vs. Movie: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Category : movies

I’ll freely admit that I’m a little slow when it comes to keeping up with movies. I was so excited to see this in theatres, and when I finally checked up on tickets… it was already on DVD. Oops.

Thus, I experienced Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the film version, in the comfort of my bedroom. And it’s a good movie. A little slow sometimes, but it has everything the general public needs for entertainment—emotional scenes, and a little drama, and a happy child/parent relationship.

But it’s not the book. At all. The movie focused on 9/11 a lot—I mean, a lot—and while that was certainly important to the story, it doesn’t require that much explanation. This is Oskar’s tale, and it’s just impossible to translate Oskar to the screen. There are images interspersed through the text, and in one section Oskar is ranting and the text literally overlaps itself until you cannot read it anymore. The book itself is a work of art.

In that case, I didn’t expect it to be the same. You can never take someone’s inner monologue and properly translate it to film. And I’m not saying the movie was bad; it was all right, for a movie. But if you’re looking for it to be a substitute for reading, please don’t. The book is beautiful in its own way, a way that I’ve never experienced before, and the movie is… a movie. It’s not that special, and that’s what upsets me most.