Ella Enchanted — Movie 2004

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A short while ago I watched Ella Enchanted after having finished the book.

If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

I watched the Ella Enchanted movie before reading the book, so I already knew that I would like the story.  Even though I really enjoyed the movie, I was surprised by how much the story had been changed from the book.  Ella’s movie father is much, much nicer than in the book.  The other major difference is that Char and Ella’s love interest is developed in the movie in a way that it never is in the book.   Also, Char’s evil uncle was completely fabricated for the movie, but we were really gratified to see Cary Elwes in the role.  He must have had fun hamming it up and it reminded us of his performance in The Princess Bride.  The other change which made the movie so much fun was the way it melded modern and old-fashioned, including in costume, dance and singing.  Yes, singing!  Yes, a Queen song!  What more can I say?

Anne Hathaway had a huge part in making this movie the success that it is.  As we all know, she is a superb actress and this film showcases her abilities, even at a young-ish age.  Just like in the book, Ella is a feisty and opinionated Cinderella-type.  Hathaway puts just the right amount of wit, sass and charm into Ella to make her one of the most likable princesses out there.

I recommend Ella Enchanted to everybody who enjoys a good fairy tale.  My boys watched it with me, and even they conceded it was a good movie.

Rated: PG

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER ELLA ENCHANTED POSTS:

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Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden

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Title: Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden

Premise:

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert (siblings) want to adopt a boy who can help them with work on their farm, but through a mistake they end up with a girl instead.  Anne Shirley is nothing like what they expected, but she wins their hearts and they decide to keep her.  This is the story of Anne’s childhood and its defining moments.

My thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of Anne Shirley since I was a kid, so this graphic novel really had me excited!  I was also kind of afraid, too.  What if it was done poorly?  What if they didn’t capture Anne’s spirit and humor?  What if they butchered one of my all-time favorite stories???

I’ll lay to rest those insecurities right now and tell you that I absolutely loved this book!  The format is, of course, different from the original, but it still manages to capture the magic of the story.  The graphic novel focuses on simplified and essential dialogue, pivotal events, and the emotions/reactions/feelings of the characters.  A lot of detail was necessarily cut out, but the essence of the story came through loud and clear.  I’ll confess that it made me cry a couple of times.  The story ends on a hopeful note, with Anne and Gilbert finally reconciling and the hint of love in the air.  *sigh*

The artwork is really nice.  There are plenty of charming and lovely vignettes, and a wonderful color palette.

I recommend Anne of Green Gables to fans of the original book, and to elementary-age kids as a good introduction to the story.

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Ninja-rella: A Graphic Novel by Joey Comeau

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Title: Ninja-rella by Joey Comeau

Premise:

Cinderella has a happy childhood with loving parents, but one day her mother dies.  She copes by spending all of her time practicing sword fighting.  Her father eventually remarries, but then he too dies.  Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters treat her like a slave and make her life miserable.  It’s Cinderella’s dream to serve as the Prince’s bodyguard, but if her stepmother won’t let her go to the ball, how will he ever see her awesome ninja skills?

My thoughts:

This is a really fun retelling of the classic Cinderella story.  Put aside any thoughts of romance–this young lady is totally focused on a career as a ninja!  Cinderella’s fairy godninja comes through and makes a way for Ninja-rella to get to the ball–even wielding a fancy glass sword.  She ends up defending the prince against some would-be assassins and he hires her as his personal bodyguard.  Wishes really do come true!  😉

I think my favorite part of this book is the illustrations.  They have a very Asian-inspired feel about them, but in a childish, cartoonesque way.  At the end of the book there’s a page with some interesting tidbits about the original Cinderella tale, and a few questions about the visual aspects of the book to get children examining the artwork.

I recommend Ninja-rella to kids who enjoy fairy tales and unique retellings of classic stories.  This one gets a thumbs-up as being highly appealing to kids!

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Phantom of the Opera – Movie 1943

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This is the second movie version of the Phantom of the Opera that I’ve watched.

If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

I was very surprised to find out that this movie strays far, far away from the original Phantom of the Opera story.  I’d say they took the Phantom theme and decided to tweak it into their own alternative version of the story.  In this movie, all elements of the plot have their beginning and end in Christine.  The Phantom becomes nothing more than a miserable old man whose mind is broken by adverse circumstances.  It’s difficult to feel much horror at his actions when all you want to do is take the poor man and get him some psychiatric help.  I really missed seeing the diabolical character of the Phantom in this movie.

Personally, this wasn’t my kind of movie.  The plot and acting are just a little too campy and dated for me, but I could see my mother loving it!  I just need a little more out of my heroine than the ability to act cutesy and sing like Snow White.  That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the movie, I’m just not their target market.  I must say that the filming and color were amazing.  The sets and costumes were great, too.  So…my conclusion is that this would be a great movie for some people and for others (like myself) it’s a decent movie that you’ll only need to see once.  Oh, and if you don’t like singing, this is not the movie for you.

I recommend Phantom of the Opera to ladies who enjoy classic romance movies and don’t mind a fair bit of singing.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Help – Movie 2011

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Yesterday I watched The Help, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  It was awesome!

For those of you who have never read the book, this is a story about a young lady named Skeeter who wants to become a writer, and the relationship she develops with a couple of maids in Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights era.  All of the women will be in grave danger if they are caught as they work on their writing project — sharing what it’s like to live as a black maid in the South during that time period.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

I was already a fan of the novel, so I was a bit nervous to see how they had translated it to the big screen.  I’m happy to say that the movie adaptation of the book was strong.  I think a large part of the movie’s success is in its amazing actresses.  Whether they are good or bad, all of the ladies played their parts really well.  Even Hilly, the bat-sh** craziest of the Southern belles, excited a certain fascination in me.  She’s one of those characters you love to hate.

The movie was shortened and simplified somewhat from the book, but that is nothing unexpected.  I don’t think the essence of the story was damaged in any way.  I was glad to see that they took out the scene in which Minny and Celia are accosted at Celia’s house.  I thought that it was out of place in the book, and it would have been even more mystifying in the movie.

The true artistry in this film is the message it shares.  Viewers are shown a story of love, acceptance, betrayal, and hatred–and asked to come to their own conclusions.  Who was right and who was wrong?  Can relationships based on respect, compassion and a desire to do what’s right, overcome the color barrier?  Should we take a risk in working with someone different from ourselves, even at the risk of getting burned?  This message needs to be heard today, just as it did during the Civil Rights era, because our country’s racial issues certainly haven’t gone away.

I recommend The Help to all adults and possibly some mature older teens.  Even if you’re not a history buff, it’s still a wonderful story worth watching.

Possible Objections:

  • A moderate amount of bad language
  • Racially offensive language

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Breaking Dawn – Part 2 – Movie 2012

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Last night I watched Breaking Dawn – Part 2, the movie adaptation of the second part of the book by the same name.  And I’m finished with the Twilight movies!!!  Thank you Lord, I made it through!

Lucky viewers get to meet Bella–the baby vampire.  She takes to her new role like a fish to water and finally gets to meet her baby girl, Renesmee.  Unfortunately, the Volturi catch wind of this new super-human child and believe it’s their duty to destroy the danger.  The Cullens race to gather witnesses to Renesmee’s human development, hoping it will stop the Volturi from carrying out their swift “justice.”  Jacob and the pack side with the Cullens to defend Renesmee, since she has been imprinted on by Jacob.  Who will survive in the final showdown?  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

I remember enjoying the Twilight movies when they came out, but now that I’m going back and watching them in quick succession, they’ve lost their sparkle for me.  First, I’m comparing them to the books, and they just don’t measure up.  Second, the movies weren’t that well done.  For a fan who isn’t afraid to point out the flaws in a franchise, there is plenty of cannon fodder in these movies.

I feel like this movie could have been really interesting.  It features a very tense situation and lots of cool and interesting vampires, but the acting and chemistry of the characters was subpar.  I don’t care how dramatic and beautiful you are, you still need to put emotions into your lines and interact with the environment and other characters around you in a believable manner.  It seems like Edward, Bella and Jacob actually lost some of their acting ability in this movie.  Don’t ask me how.  Bad script?  Lame lines?

Now let’s talk about the CGI.  It was painful to watch.  The wolves are just kind of meh, but I can deal with that.  The CGI baby was frightening.  I think they were just trying to give her more intelligent eyes, but they didn’t look at all natural.  Her hair was creepy, too.  It’s too bad that baby Renesmee’s CGI was so poorly done because it takes away from your ability to really believe in the story you’re seeing played out in front of you.

As far as the conflict with the Volturi goes, I think that was probably the most satisfying part of the movie.  There is a lot of theatricality packed into that snow-covered clearing as two formidable supernatural groups poise for battle.  My absolute favorite part of the movie is something that didn’t even happen in the book.  –SPOILER ALERT–  When they show the battle between the Cullens, etc. and the Volturi–THAT IS THE BOMB!  A-MA-ZING fight scene!  Unfortunately, it’s a haha–got you moment when you realize it didn’t really happen after all.  In reality Aro and company go home and everyone else lives happily ever after.

I’m sorry, but my brain rebels against that kind of conclusive ending.  You’re vampires, for goodness’ sake, not librarians!  There is danger involved in that kind of lifestyle.  Whatever–I guess it was an easy way to wrap up the series.  I suppose it’s just difficult to accept such a fairytale ending for a series which has been rather dark throughout the rest of its history.

To sum up, I’d say this movie is on par with the other ones.  Just okay.  The fight scene at the end is awesome, though.  Maybe you should watch it just for that.

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you will enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence, blood & gore
  • Suggestive sexual content & partial nudity (though you don’t actually see the private bits)

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Breaking Dawn – Part 1 – Movie 2011

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Last night I watched Breaking Dawn – Part 1, the movie adaptation of the first part of the book by the same name.  I’m almost to the end of these movies!

Bella and Edward finally wed(!) and jet off to spend a relaxed honeymoon in the tropics.  While Edward follows through on his promise of intimacy, it comes with some unintended consequences.  Bella becomes pregnant, and the entire Cullen clan scrambles to keep Bella healthy, and do their best to help her survive the birth of the fast-growing fetus.  When Jacob and the pack find out that an unknown supernatural being is developing inside of Bella, they feel it is their responsibility to get rid of the abomination.  Will Bella and the baby survive?  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

I really like that they opened with the wedding scene.  It looked absolutely beautiful and felt like the culmination of Edward and Bella’s relationship.  Unfortunately, I was rather put off by the emotions displayed by the couple during their wedding.  Pattinson did okay, with his subdued emotions possibly indicating nervousness.  Bella, on the other hand, looked like she was attending a funeral.  Nary a smile crossed her lips as she spotted her true love and walked down the aisle.  Dang girl–if it’s that painful, why get married at all?  It seemed very unrealistic to me and turned the wedding into just another awkward scene.

Bella’s ubiquitous lack of emotion came through in the rest of the movie, as well.  I can’t even complain about it anymore.  It’s just so bad and takes away any concern you might have for her character.  How can you care about a character who doesn’t excite any compassion in you?

Of the J/E/B trio, I’d have to say that Jacob is my favorite character.  He acts in a way that is at least familiar to the rest of us.  Which is to say, he displays the emotions of a normal human being.  Let’s not mince words though, his imprinting in this movie was slightly creepy.  Never mind the fact that he was in love with the mother of his new love, this new love interest is a baby.  I know there is an explanation which is supposed to clear the way and make it okay, but I can’t get over the fact that they are showing romantic attachment between adults and children.  Too icky.

One of the more disturbing things in this movie is the amount of blood and gore, especially when you compare it to the previous movies.  This one blows all the others out of the water.  Bella’s nightmare the night before the wedding is very disturbing.  Also, the part in which Bella finally goes into labor is very bloody and rather grotesque.  I tell you this not to dissuade you from watching the movie, but to warn you that it might not be appropriate for younger viewers or those with a touchy stomach.

There are also some very suggestive scenes between Edward and Bella.  While the nudity is tastefully done, it doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination.  I wouldn’t be comfortable with my preteen watching those scenes.

While I enjoyed the movie, the plot was a bit simple to make it terribly satisfying.  Essentially it’s the conundrum of a girl getting pregnant and how that is dealt with.  If you’re not into relationship drama, this movie could quite possibly drive you insane.

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you will enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence & gore
  • Lots of blood (especially during the delivery)
  • Suggestive sexual content & partial nudity (though you don’t actually see the private bits)

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Eclipse — Movie 2010

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Last night I watched Eclipse, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name!

The vampires and werewolves of Forks, Washington form an uneasy alliance when they face a threat from an unknown source in nearby Seattle.  Bella is once again in the sights of a malevolent supernatural creature, and both the Cullens and Quileutes put their lives on the line to protect her.  Edward and Bella come to a new understanding in their relationship, and Jacob continues to vie for Bella’s hand.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

I can’t believe how long it took me to get my hands on this movie.  I wanted to review it when the book was still fresh in my mind.  Unfortunately, I probably missed some of the differences between the book and the movie because of the long interim.

The movie jumps right in with the action going on in Seattle.  I must say that they amped up the vampire on human violence in this movie.  The previous movies have fairly quick and non-gruesome killing scenes, but this one takes it to the next level with the newborn vampires attacking people.  I was startled and kind of looked away during the part with the mauling and the burning car.

Edward and Bella seemed to have more of a natural relationship; not quite as sappy as in the two previous movies.  That was a relief, however, there really didn’t seem to be a lot of chemistry between them in this movie.  Am I the only one who thought that?  It was nice to see them come to a concrete decision in their relationship.  Bella’s demand for after their marriage seems a bit petty and hormonal, though.  Such a teenager!

I really liked Jacob in this movie.  He was more mature and intentional in his pursuit of Bella.  He genuinely loves her and offers her a life which any woman would prize.  It’s too bad she loves Edward more.  You can’t help but feel bad for Jacob and root for him as the underdog.

It was also nice to get more of Jasper’s and Rosalie’s backstories.  Rosalie’s story was particularly disturbing, and I’m glad that they didn’t get any more explicit in that scene.  It was bad enough as it was.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie adaptation, but I still prefer the book.  There were some very cool parts–the vamp/wolf chase scene with Victoria, and the Cullen and Quileute training scenes in particular.  There were a few scenes which were just okay and I found my mind wandering and a yawn escaping my lips.  All in all, it’s not my favorite Twilight movie.  Sorry!

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you will enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence (including a strong suggestion of sexual violence)

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

The Phantom of the Opera – Movie 2004

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Last night I watched my first film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.  Let it be said though, that this film is based on the musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber, not the original book.  If you’re looking for a movie that closely mirrors the book, you’re going to be disappointed.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of musicals, I sat through this one without a problem.  It was so well done that I was willing to put up with a ton of singing just so I could see the story played out.  Gerard Butler was an amazing Phantom and I thought that Emmy Rossum made a very believable Christine.  Their singing was a joy to listen to.

The look of this movie was absolutely magical!  The costumes and sets were perfect and added a wonderful richness to the tapestry of the story.  I thought the Phantom was a little too handsome in his role (when compared to how the book described him), but I’m not going to complain too loudly.  Apparently he’s extremely talented with prosthetics and hairpieces in this version.

As far as differences between the movie and the book, I hesitate to get too critical.  I’ve never seen the musical before, so I can’t comment on how closely this version resembles the original.  It definitely strays from the novel, but that’s what I expected.  There are many changes which push the story even further into the realm of fantasy and theatricality.  Candelabras being held by moving arms originating from the walls?  Oh, yes.

My biggest criticism of the film is that there are a couple of scenes which were shot in such a way as to make you dizzy while watching them (a fight scene and the mirror room).  That is a no-no for me.  If I wanted to feel motion sickness, I’d go take a ride on a roller coaster.

I recommend The Phantom of the Opera to all the ladies out there who enjoy a love story combined with a musical.  If that isn’t you, this movie might be a little over the top for you.

Possible Objections:

  • Brief view of a man’s nude backside (blink, and you’ll miss it)
  • 1 instance of the d-word
  • Some mild sensuality
  • A hanging which is a bit graphic

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA POSTS:

New Moon — Movie 2009

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Last night I watched New Moon, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name!

After a disastrous birthday party in which Bella is almost killed, Edward decides that it would be safer for her if he were not a part of her life.  Abandoned by her true love, Bella is swallowed by depression.  Her friend Jacob Black starts to bring a little light back into her life, though he is hiding a secret of his own.  And though Edward tried, Bella is still in danger.  Will Edward and Bella be reunited, or will Bella fall for her best friend, Jacob?  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

Overall, I would say that this movie is on par with the previous one, Twilight.  It’s a must-see if you’re a fan of the series, and an okay movie if you like paranormal romance in general.

Let’s just jump right into my criticisms.  I really like the look of the Cullen family, but especially in the scenes where the whole family is interacting together, they are way too unnatural.  That is rather a disappointment because in the books you get a sense that this is a family that is warm, loving, and really watches out for each member.  For some reason that warmth and family atmosphere did not translate through in the movie.  That’s too bad.

My second criticism is over the slight changes made to the original story.  In the movie they make it seem like Carlisle doubts whether vampires have souls, when in the book he actually does have faith in an afterlife.  Also, they manufactured the scene where Victoria is hunting Charlie, and Harry Clearwater saves him by essentially sacrificing himself.  Maybe they wanted to make Harry’s death tie into the vampire theme a little more, instead of somebody dying of natural causes?  There were several other changes made to the story, most of them seemingly slight, but they add up over time to produce a story which kind of rankles if you’re a big fan of the book.  I’m not a huge fan of changing a story when translating it to film, if there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for it.

Finally, my biggest criticism is how they changed the romantic tension between Jacob and Bella.  The book is quite clear that Jacob is very interested in Bella in a romantic way, but she never seriously entertains the idea of getting involved with him romantically.  All of those almost-kisses in the movie are completely made up, and I think it complicates their relationship in a way that isn’t true to the original story.

There are also some things which I really liked!  Edward is still sultry and amazing.  I enjoy his acting style and think he really nailed the sexy vampire thing.  Jacob is amazing, too!  He is warm, intense and down-to-earth–just like Jacob is supposed to be.  Finally, the werewolves were very cool!  I pictured them a bit larger in my head, but they were still impressive.  I love the whole new mystical side which is added to the story with the wolves.  Grudgingly, I’ll add that Stewart displayed more convincing emotions in this movie than in the previous one.  Perhaps she’s just a very subdued kind of person.

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you would enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Twilight — Movie 2008

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Let’s talk about Twilight, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name!

Bella Swan moves in with her dad, starting over in the town of Forks, Washington.  There she encounters the enigmatic Edward Cullen and they fall for each other.  However, Edward is hiding a dangerous secret that could put their relationship in jeopardy.  Will Bella decide to stay with Edward, and if so, will she be safe?  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

So I watched Twilight the other night and decided I should review it before moving on to the next movie in the series.  Unfortunately, I remembered it as being better than it was.  Sad face.

I love the story overall, but there were a few things in the movie that I didn’t care for.  The first thing I have to mention is Edward and Bella’s first interaction in Biology class.  It was bad.  Just bad.  They both spoke and acted like they were a bit slow mentally.  I get it that this was their first real conversation, so it was bound to be awkward, but why make it downright painful to watch?

This brings me to my second criticism.  Robert Pattinson does okay in the displaying-real-emotions department, even sneaking in some humor at times.  However, Kristen Stewart did not pull it off at all.  Her emotions were flat, and sometimes completely unbelievable (as in her response in the hospital scene when Edward talks about leaving).  Stewart’s lack of real emotions grated on me throughout the movie.  Also, there were too many “slow stares” between Edward and Bella.  Just staring at each other does not a passionate scene make.

On a more positive note, there were some things that I absolutely loved about the movie.  It’s fun to see such a fantastical story come to life in front of your eyes.  I really enjoyed the scene where the Cullens are playing baseball.  It was a nice way to showcase their abilities.  Also, Charlie, Billy Black and Jacob all did a fine job in their roles.  It really makes a difference when you have good supporting actors.  I couldn’t get over how young Jacob looked–like a little boy!

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you would enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

A Walk in the Woods – Movie 2015

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Just the other day I had the privilege of watching A Walk in the Woods, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  I managed to rack up $5 in library fines in the process, but by gum, I did it!  Another aside — I had to find a time to watch it when little ears wouldn’t be around to hear all of the f-bombs that I knew I’d be hearing.

For those of you who have never read the book, this is a story about an older man’s quest to hike the Appalachian Trail.  He and a friend use the opportunity to have one last hurrah, as it were.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

First, you should know that I absolutely loved the book!  That means that I was starting from a place of already being in love with the story and the author.  When following a beloved story with a movie, it can be difficult to live up to the high expectations that the reader/viewer already has.

As you know, something is lost when you translate a book into film, and this was no exception.  The movie left out the charm and wit of Bryson’s storytelling, as well as his asides on topics such as the National Forest Service, etc.  If you’ve read the book, this is a nice way to visualize the story and see the embodiment of the characters.  If you watch the movie without reading the book, just know that you are getting the short end of the stick.  The book is so much more complex, nuanced, clever and lovely.  Another thing that just doesn’t come through in the movie is the stink, sweat, toil, fatigue and monotony that was a part of the trail life.  For all of those juicy details you’ll have to pick up the book.

I didn’t care for the way Bill’s wife was portrayed in the movie as being unsupportive.  In reality she was actually very supportive and helped Bill with many aspects of the journey.  However, I think they may have changed her character to give the story some conflict.  On the other side of the coin, we have Katz whose character was magical.  Nick Nolte was a wonderfully grizzled, unsophisticated and crass Katz.  I loved his way of talking and that he threw in the expletives in an unobtrusive manner.  Katz’s dry, sardonic sense of humor comes through really well, too.

There are a few objectionable aspects to the film which you should know about.  In one scene we briefly see Nick Nolte’s derrière from afar.  There’s also regular talk about things of a sexual nature, including a short scene with implied fellatio.  Other than that, the foul language is the most pervasive objectionable aspect.

I recommend this movie to adults who enjoy a low-key, humorous movie about aging.  While the story isn’t anything to write home about, the delivery is amusing.  I feel like a group of older friends would get a kick out of watching this together.

Possible Objections:

  • Brief partial nudity
  • Sexual references
  • Lots of foul language (mostly from Katz)

Rated: R

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER A WALK IN THE WOODS POSTS:

12 Years a Slave – Movie 2013

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I finally got around to watching 12 Years a Slave, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  The first two copies which I requested from the library were scratched, so I couldn’t watch the entire movie.  Copy number three was the charm.

Just to review, this is the story of Solomon Northup, a free man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South.  If you want to know more about the specifics of the story, check out my book review.  The movie follows the book quite closely.  There were a few changes, most of them minor and not detracting from the main story at all.  Of course some things needed to be condensed to keep the length of the movie reasonable.  A benefit to watching the movie over the book is that you lose the old-fashioned language in which the book is written.  The movie emphasizes the events, so you don’t get bogged down with the dated and sometimes awkward language.

My thoughts:

I think that this movie was done wonderfully well.  It’s such a heartbreaking story and that is exactly what it does to you when you watch it–it breaks your heart.  The actors were phenomenal–even the ones you hate do a great job in their role.  Chiwetel Ejiofor, the actor who played Solomon was amazing.  I fully felt that he was Solomon and thought that he conveyed the complex feelings of the character realistically.

There are a few things I should warn you about if you are thinking of seeing this movie.  The dehumanizing and violent treatment of the slaves is very disturbing.  There are a few scenes of graphic violence which show blood spraying and the skin split open from whippings.  There are also a couple of hanging scenes.  I had to unfocus my eyes a few times because I couldn’t bear to just sit there and look at that for more than a couple of seconds.

12 Years a Slave is emotionally raw and it will leave you feeling that way by the end of the movie.  Of course I cried.  You’d have to be a stone not to.  Although it’s painful to watch this type of movie, I think it’s our duty to try and more fully understand the history of our country–even the ugly parts.  We have to learn from our past mistakes.

I highly recommend this movie to adults.

Possible Objections:

  • Nudity
  • A couple of sexual scenes
  • Foul language, including racial epithets
  • Violence, some of it quite graphic

Rated: R

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER 12 YEARS A SLAVE POSTS:

The Fault in Our Stars – Movie 2014

Fault Stars - Movie

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I feel like I’ve just had my butt kicked emotionally by this movie.  The Fault in Our Stars is the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  I loved the book and I’m glad to say that I loved the movie, as well.

First, the main characters (Hazel and Gus) were cast and acted extremely well.  I was fully convinced that they were the real characters and that their story was true.  There was such a wonderful spark and connection between them which really came through in the movie.  It doesn’t take much to imagine that they really are in love.

I don’t want to completely ruin the story for somebody who hasn’t read/seen it before.  In a nutshell, the story is about two teens who have cancer.  They fall in love and learn how to deal with their circumstances.  Their family and friends also learn how to deal with it all.  That is the very vague explanation.  I have left a lot of good bits out of my explanation–bits that you should find out about by reading the book or seeing the movie (or both).

This story explores the complexities of life, death, what makes a life worth living, friendship, love.  It hits deep on several topics and imparts new insights and feelings in the viewer.  This is one of those rare stories that helps you focus again on the important things in life.

A couple of my favorite parts of the movie are when Hazel and Gus are talking while Isaac is freaking out on Gus’ trophies in the background (hilarious!), and Gus’ letter to Hazel at the end.  That letter was amazing and it perfectly wrapped up the story.

I would highly recommend this movie to both teens and adults alike.  It is an amazing story about life, death and love, that will break your heart–in a good way.

Possible Objections:

  • A mild sexual scene
  • A bit of strong language

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER THE FAULT IN OUR STARS POSTS:

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Heaven is for Real – Movie 2014

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I watched Heaven Is for Real, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  It’s the story of Colton Burpo’s visit to heaven while he was on the operating table for a ruptured appendix.  This young boy was not expected to survive because toxins had been pumping into his body for five days, but he miraculously pulled through.

The movie adaptation diverged from the book in a few places.  The beginning symptoms of Colton’s illness and subsequent doctor visit are simplified so that you don’t get the same sense of seriousness that you do in the book.  I thought that part should have been truer to the book.

Also, the way that Todd’s church and the community were unsupportive was fabricated for the movie.  There were also a couple of antagonists thrown in–Nancy and the psychologist.  I suppose these elements were added so that there would be some additional obstacles and challenges to overcome.  They did add some drama to the story which wasn’t present in the original.

I also have a nitpick about how Todd’s wife dressed.  I’ve known several pastor’s wives, and her clothing was entirely too revealing to fit her character.  I guarantee you that pastor’s wives in the Midwest do not dress like that.

Overall, I thought the movie was okay, but it’s not one that I’ll ever need to watch again.  It seems like it was constructed in such a way as to take the viewer on an emotional roller coaster, and that’s exactly what it did for me.

Rated: PG

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER HEAVEN IS FOR REAL POSTS: