The Seeker: The Dark is Rising – Movie 2007

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Since I just finished reading The Dark is Rising, it seemed fitting to watch The SeekerThe Seeker is supposed to follow the story from The Dark is Rising novel, not the entire book series.  It only loosely follows the story, however, and changes many of the details.  In my opinion the changes were not for the better, and I felt that they really took away from the story.  A few of my pet peeves:

1. Will is made out to be fourteen instead of eleven, which really makes a difference in terms of attitude.  In the book he’s still very much a kid with a sense of innocence about him; in the movie he’s an angsty teen.  Angsty teens kind of annoy me.

2. Will’s family dynamics are completely changed in the movie.  The number, ages, and gender of several family members have been changed, and the lovingness and general bonhamie enjoyed in their family life is all but eliminated.  Will’s parents are made out be rather indifferent, and his brothers almost bullies.

3. The Old Ones are almost impotent in the movie.  Merriman’s character in particular loses its power and likeability.  Will is made out to be the one who possesses the most power and he’s portrayed as almost a savior.

4. The timeline is greatly condensed in the movie.  Will is given five days to find the signs and defeat the Dark.  Come on–that is so divergent from the book!  Part of the charm of the book is seeing the young characters come into their own over an extended period of time.  That’s completely lost in the movie.

5. The way in which the Dark is portrayed is not very impressive.  The Rider works with his rooks, the help of a witch, and bewitches one of Will’s brothers for a time.  That’s it.  The book has so many more characters who side with the Dark, and more impressive displays of the strength and pervasiveness of the Dark.

6. Major parts of the plot are completely changed.  Not necessarily bad in itself, I just don’t see the point of it.

7. There is an extended scene which uses a strobe light effect.  If you have issues with watching that sort of thing, be prepared.  I couldn’t watch it because it messes with my eyes too much.

Overall, the movie was just okay.  If you don’t care about it following the book, you may be a little more forgiving than I was.

Rated: PG

Rating: 2 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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The Giver – Movie 2014

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Since I’m a big fan of The Giver, I wanted to check out the movie adaptation of the book.  Meryl Streep plays the Chief Elder, and Jeff Bridges the Giver.

I’d say that the movie follows the book quite well, though there are some parts that have been changed and/or expanded.   The Chief Elder’s role and personality have been more fully developed.  Fiona is said to have volunteered most in the Nurturing Center (with the babies), when in the book it was actually with the old.  Asher’s career path is also changed–he becomes a drone pilot.  Jonas’ journey in  leaving the community has been expanded and changed a bit.  There are many other subtle changes to the story that I don’t really need to go into here.

The way in which the memories are transmitted was also changed, but I thought it was for the better.  It always seemed a little creepy to me that Jonas had to take his shirt off and lie face down on The Giver’s bed to receive the memories.

I liked the look of the movie.  It starts out in black and white, as the people in the community see things.  As the movie progresses, colors start to appear until it’s all in color.  I also thought the acting was pretty good.

If you’re a fan of the book, you’ll probably enjoy the movie.  Don’t look for an exact duplicate of the story, though.  The movie does its job of raising the question of the value of experience and memory in shaping who we are.  It made my eyes leak at the end.

Possible Objections:

  • We see an elephant being shot.
  • There is a war scene with people being shot.  It isn’t really gory, but it is disturbing.
  • Jonas’ father is shown euthanizing a baby.  Also quite disturbing.
  • During Jonas’ journey to get past the boundary, Gabe is seen crying and seemingly suffering.  That can be tough to watch.

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Wayside: The Movie – 2005

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I had no idea that there was a Wayside movie out there!  The kids and I watched it a few days ago to compare it to the books.  Though the kids enjoyed it very much, it’s a movie that I will never need to see again.

It’s like the books in that it’s completely nonsensical.  They got that part right.  To give this movie a little more plot than is contained in the books, they changed the story a bit.  Todd is new at Wayside School and is completely bewildered by all of its quirks.  He tries to fit in, but keeps making mistakes no matter how hard he tries.  Todd soon discovers that the classroom he is in, Mrs. Jewls’, was actually designed to be a trash compactor.  Every time the principal uses the p.a. system, the back wall starts to move toward the front of the room.  With the help of Louis and Miss Mush, Todd rescues his class right before they are squashed in their classroom!  The one character that I actually liked was Louis, the yard teacher.  He has a hippie persona in this adaptation.

The cartoon style of the movie is akin to Cartoon Network–with everything being fast-paced and frantic.  I don’t care for that style of cartoon, though I know it’s very popular with today’s kids.  For me, it’s sensory overload.

Possible Objections:

  • There is some gross humor involving boogers and vomit.
  • Mauricea keeps punching Todd as a way to show that she likes him.
  • There is a scene where a box full of toys goes through a wood chipper, which could be disturbing to some kids.
  • There is a dead rat in the kitchen–kind of gross.  It’s shown multiple times.

Rated: NR

Rating: 1 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Glass Virgin – Movie 1995

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Our local library had a copy of  The Glass Virgin on DVD which I watched recently.  I wanted to compare it to the book while it was still fresh in my mind.  I enjoyed the movie quite a lot.  As with the novel, I would recommend it for adults because of the suggestive themes throughout.

The story follows the book very well, only making some minor changes.  The initial scene with Annabella’s father and the other woman doesn’t go as far as in the book, which I think was done in good taste.  I also had a little bit of an issue with who they cast as Manuel, though I think Brendan Coyle did an excellent job.  Manuel is supposed to be tall, dark and lean.  Coyle doesn’t fit that picture very well.

The one thing that I think they shouldn’t have changed is when Annabella’s bum was pinched and she sent the platter of potatoes flying in the air.  That was rather a humorous part of the book, but the movie doesn’t do it justice.  The movie also changed the way that Annabella tried to take her own life.  I don’t think it materially detracted from the story.  Overall I’d say that the movie adaptation was very well done.

Possible Objections:

  1. Annabella’s father punches a female servant in the stomach.  He is also shown carousing with other women, though nothing explicit is shown.
  2. Some mild epithets and offensive language.
  3. A bloody boxing match in which the fighters look pretty beat up.
  4. A couple of times, a man tries to take advantage of Annabella.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Glass Virgin by Catherine Cookson