ABEA Day 4: Book to Movie Adaptations

Today’s ABEA topic is book-to-movie adaptations. Book-to-movie adaptations are one of those things where they either get it right or it’s completely wrong. Some movies follow through with the book almost to a T, only having to change up a few plot points for movie purposes and really bringing the book to life for the reader. Others… well, they just suck.

So here I want to just talk about a few of my favorite adaptations, as well as some of my least favorite.

Favorites

  • The Harry Potter series. Though I’ve only read up to part of book four, the adaptations of the books are really well done. I find that the inner witch in me loves it. Though there’s major differences between book and movie three, I found that the first two really stuck to the story well.
  • The Fault in Our Stars. I found this to be very faithful to the book with a few minor plot points changed or missing. The lines were directly from the book and everything that happened was just wonderful to see. I loved it.
  • Divergent. Despite there being several major things that were changed from book to movie, I really enjoyed the adaptation. I thought it incorporated a lot of elements from the book into the movie and we really got to see what being in Dauntless was like and how living in that society was.

Least Favorites

  • Blood and Chocolate. It wasn’t even the same story as the book! I could understand making the characters older for movie purposes, but major plot points were changed, there was bad acting, and it was just… ugh. I hated it.
  • Insurgent. Okay, so I did a whole review rant about this movie and how horrible it was. So… go read that if you really want to know my thoughts.

So, some of these adaptations either hit it and really showed the true nature of the characters, had awesome CGI and storyline, and was as faithful as could be to the book. Others… yeah, no.

Now, as for books I’d want to be made into a movie or TV show, I believe I did posts on each, here and here.

As for upcoming shows/movies that I’m excited for:

  • Shadowhunters. This is a TV show based off of Cassandra Clare‘s The Mortal Instruments series. Everything is looking so awesome so far, from the beautiful cast to the set pictures we get every day, everything looks so awesome so far. I’m really excited to see how this adaptation plays out considering the movie was a flop.
  • Mockingjay Part 2. I haven’t read the books yet, but it’s one of my goals this year to read all three before the final movie comes out. I’ve loved The Hunger Games franchise since the release of the first movie and so I am excited to see how it concludes in the last movie.

I think what makes a faithful adaptation is not only the actor’s portrayal of the character they are playing, but also on the director, producer, screen-writer, etc. They are the ones that make the book come to life, and they have one chance to really impress fans of the book. It’s either a hit or miss, and sometimes it’s on the actors’ part or sometimes it’s the graphics, other times it’s the story and script.

What are some of your favorite book-to-movie adaptations? What about least favorites? What would you like to see be turned into a TV show or movie? Let me know!

Stardust Movie Review

stardustmovieThe other day I watched the movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s “Stardust,” and I have to say, it was pretty dang enjoyable. The movie, like the book, follows a young man named Tristan who is trying to win his true love’s heart. When they see a shooting star together he vows to bring back the fallen star to her in turn for her hand in marriage. She agrees and Tristan sets off on an epic journey through faerie to get the star.

When he sets off with a candle his mother (whom he’s never met) gave him in a letter, he soon finds out that the star is not actually a big hunk of rock, but rather a young woman with a bit of an attitude.

But the thing is, Tristan isn’t the only one looking for the star, Yvaine. A witch wishes to steal Yvaine’s heart so she can become young and beautiful again; and a son of a king needs to find the necklace that Yvaine now wears in order to claim the crown.

It’s an epic tale with lots of funny moments, romance, and a tale that you won’t soon forget.

It was definitely very reminiscent of the book. It started out a bit differently than what had happened in the book, but the same type of plot was still there: boy manages to sneak past the wall that separates the regular world from the magical, goes to festival, gets a woman pregnant. You know, the usual. But it’s a really fast scene and it felt kind of rushed to get to the main story. Let me talk about some of the difference I noticed as I was watching this book-to-movie adaptation:

  • The beginning, as stated above, was different and kind of rushed.
  • There was no little faerie man to help Tristan out at the beginning or to explain the Babylon candle.
  • Yvaine’s leg didn’t really seemed to be broken, but more like sprained because they never splinted it or anything in the movie.
  • The sequence of events happened differently, too, such as when the witch set up the inn and when they met the pirates in the sky. I believe these two things happened in reverse in the books (I could be mistaken, though).
  • We never got to see Tristan’s “mother” or sister at the beginning.
  • Saltwater Sal didn’t actually die in the book.
  • There was a whole fight at the witch’s manor, which I don’t recall at all from the book.

I mean, this was a pretty good adaptation, in my opinion. I think it was a bit more humorous from the book, but I really enjoyed it.

Now, as for my opinions on the film itself:

  • You could tell when there was CGI and when there wasn’t. Oh my, the CGI. Called it every time.
  • The actors all did a great job portraying their character, and I especially loved Captain Shakespeare. He was a hoot.
  • The added battle scene with the witches was needed, I think, in terms of how the movie flowed. It didn’t hinder it at all, in my opinion, but added to it.
  • The comedy was great and added a light and airy feeling to the movie where I felt the book was more serious.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and thought it was a good adaptation. Of course there were some things that could have been added or changed around, but it was faithful through most of it.

I give this movie a rating of 8/10 stars and highly recommend it for anyone who’s read the novel.

Insurgent Movie Review

Insurgent movie poster. Source: MTV

Insurgent movie poster. Source: MTV

There will be spoilers! If you have not read the book nor seen the movie, please come back when you do!

Please read my reviews for all the books and the Divergent movie before continuing on, too, please.

Veronica Roth‘s second installment in the Divergent series, “Insurgent,” opened last weekend and I went to see it with my husband. Frankly, I went in with kind of low-medium expectations. The first movie was pretty good, following the book decently, but the trailers I had seen for the second movie didn’t really impress me at all.

Well, frankly, it reached my expectations. Actually, it was worse than my expectations.

It started out kind of strong. The group was in Amity just trying to get by and hide from Jeannine and her lackeys and all of that. But from there it just kind of went downhill.

I’m just going to list everything I found wrong with it from book to movie, then comment on everything else afterward.

Book-to-Movie Adaptation Impressions

  • Where the hell was Tris’s PTSD? For a great majority of the second book she was so overcome with grief and shock and horror over having killed her friend, Will, in the first book that she literally could stand to touch a gun. And yet within the first five minutes they have her 1) wielding a knife at Peter like she’s a freakin’ ninja, and 2) she’s carrying a huge gun and shooting at people like it’s nothing. Um. Uh. No. I was so peeved within the first five to ten minutes of the movie when I realized they weren’t going to play with her PTSD. Just. UGH.
  • The Factionless on the train was cool and everything, don’t get me wrong, but for some reason it just came off weird. And then when they went to the warehouse… Where the hell did they get all of this technology and gear to make it by? They were supposed to be living in run down shacks and stuff, and yet there were no such things lying around anywhere in the movie. I just… okay, I could see how it worked visually for the movie, but in terms of book-to-movie? Nu-uh.
  • Tobias’s mother could have been his sister. That is all. I seriously felt sexual tension through the screen and it was extremely uncomfortable. Literally the whole theater laughed quietly at the fact that the actress playing his mom was literally probably two years older than him.
  • Where the hell did the box thing that had to be unlocked with Edith Prior’s message come in? I don’t remember that in the book at all. I thought it was just on a chip or something. And the whole beating the simulations thing? Yeah, cool in concept, but it didn’t exist in the book.
  • Where was the uprising and take over by the Factionless? That was a MAJOR part in the book and they cut it out completely! Not. Happy.
  • Also, WHY was the entire population going for the fence? It was only supposed to be like… five people or something. I just… NO!
  • I did like Caleb’s betrayal as it was portrayed in the movie from the book. Good job.
  • Peter was the highlight of the whole movie. Good job, Miles Teller, for being such a great actor and portraying Peter beautifully.
  • Oh, and wasn’t it supposed to be Tris who kills Eric, not Four? Like, where was the retribution for Tris? I just. I don’t understand.
  • Remember when Edith Prior’s name was mentioned at the end of the book and all hell broke loose? Yeah. Where was that in the movie? The projection didn’t even mention her name. It was supposed to set off some events in the last book.
  • OH. My biggest problem from the movie: TRIS was supposed to kill Jeanine. NOT Evelyn. What. The. Hell. That was another MAJOR part from the book where Tori was supposed to catch Tris and there would have been a trial, etc. *unleash the fury*

Okay, I think I got all of my frustration out. If I missed anything, it’s because I’m choosing to forget it.

Now let me comment on specifics of the actors, CGI, plot, how they’re going to move forward, etc.

General Movie Impressions

  • Shailene Woodley was a great actress, as always, playing really good at emotions when in Candor and other intense parts. Her chemistry with the other actors was great, too.
  • Naomi Watts (Evelyn) was too damn young looking. Pick an older actress, or do a better makeup job.
  • The CGI wasn’t as realistic in this movie as the last one. It looked artificial and felt artificial. Before, I felt like it was believable, like what was happening and being used was actually happening to the characters. But this time? No.
  • The acting in general seemed forced. They all seemed uncomfortable in their own skin, like they were trying to force the scenes out. Like I said, Miles Teller did a fantastic job portraying his character and loosened up the strain a bit.
  • The fight scenes were so fast and so blurred together that I could never see what was happening. Who hit who? What just happened? I couldn’t figure it out.

They took a lot of liberties that I was not happy with. They could have made the movie so much better, they could have shown what really happened in the book and included some flair here and there no problem. But this movie was a hot mess.

Despite all of these complaints, I did still enjoy it for the separate entity that it was. Yes, there were a crap ton of problems, not just with the fact of how far they strayed from the book, but the quality of the movie, the CGI, and the acting, too. But I could still see decent films developing after this; I just hope they don’t suck as much as this one.

My overall rating for this film: 5.5/10 stars.

Do I recommend seeing it? Sure. If you want to see it, go for it. Do I recommend going in with high hopes? No.

Did you see the movie? What are your thoughts? Let me know.