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:

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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

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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:

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

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Title: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Notable: Book #4 in the Twilight series

Premise:

Edward and Bella are finally married and jet off to Rio de Janeiro to spend a lovely honeymoon together.  Though they didn’t know it was even possible, Bella becomes pregnant.  The entire Cullen family must figure out how to keep both Bella and the baby safe during the pregnancy and delivery, and how to protect the child from the meddling Volturi.

My thoughts:

This is the final book in the Twilight series.  While I raced through the three previous books, this one I took my time with.  I didn’t really want to get to the end.

When compared to the three previous books, I believe that this book demonstrates a notable step up in the maturity factor.  No longer are readers subject to long scenes in which Bella and Edward look for novel ways of stating that they can’t live without one another.  Thank goodness for that!

I enjoyed the story line of this book and to me it felt like it jumped into the complexity of an intricate soap opera.  You have all of these characters with complicated relationships, loyalties, and motivations.  They are all thrown together to defend their families, friends and way of life, and it makes for some socially tangled interactions.  That’s something which most ladies love to imagine!  Many of the characters are challenged in the way they view other “monsters”, and it’s nice to see them overcome their prejudices.

One of the aspects which I most enjoyed was getting to meet all of the vampire allies and to get a feel for what their strengths were.  It’s nice to see some new characters who are not antagonistic, and to witness their interactions with the Cullens.

Finally, I like how Meyer wrapped things up within the story.  Bella becomes a vampire and does a great job adjusting.  Charlie is brought into the secret only as much as is necessary to ensure he can still be a part of Bella’s life.  Jacob gets his happy ending.  And independent vampires and other paranormals score a win in their desire to be free of the repressive rule of the Volturi.  What more could you ask for?  It’s happily ever after for all of our favorite characters.

I recommend Breaking Dawn to all the ladies out there who enjoy a good romantic story with a bit of danger thrown in.  I think it’s best suited to teens and up, as things get a bit violent, especially the farther you progress in the series.


Possible Objections:

  • Violence & some gore
  • Sensuality
  • One use of the d-word

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER TWILIGHT 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:

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

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Title: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Notable: Book #3 in the Twilight series

Premise:

The vampires and werewolves of Forks, Washington face a new threat when Victoria seeks revenge against Edward and Bella.  Though werewolves and vampires are natural enemies, they will have to work together if they want to save their loved ones from the mayhem which is swiftly approaching.  The conflict and constant tug-of-war between Edward and Jacob over Bella finally comes to a head, with Bella making her final choice.

My thoughts:

If you love drama and angst, then this is the book for you!  I just finished Eclipse this evening, and it definitely left me feeling sad.  The ending is so tragic and even though I know that everything will turn out alright in the end, I still feel so sorry for poor Jacob.

It seems to me that this story revolves less around action and more around relationships and feelings.  It completely capitalizes on the love triangle between Jacob, Bella and Edward.  Their feelings, motivations, guilt trips, selfish actions, fights, and hissy fits are all on glorious display for the reader to bask in.  It feels like watching a soap opera from up close.  Personally, I would have liked a bit less of the angst, squabbling and indecision, but I can see how it would appeal to a younger audience.

The steaminess quotient definitely jumped up a notch with this book, compared to the first two.  With the talk about marriage, Edward and Bella are more forward in their physical relationship than they have been in the past, though there isn’t anything explicit.  Even Jacob gets his turn to smolder in this book!

The relationship between Edward and Bella is still one of (what I think is) unhealthy co-dependency.  I get that young people like this idea that there is one person out there who is your soul mate, and that it would kill you if you had to part with them, but I can’t keep my brain suspended in the clouds like a teenager can.  My mind craves a bit more realism in their relationship, and for their characters to realize that you can’t completely depend on someone else to define yourself or your happiness in life.  Sigh…I know that won’t be coming in the next book, though.

Despite that criticism, I loved the book and couldn’t put it down.  It’s just so juicy and full of drama!  I think the conflict and uncertainty in the relationships makes the story so engrossing, and that’s what makes it so addictive.

I recommend Eclipse to all the ladies out there who enjoy a good romantic story with a bit of danger thrown in.  I think it’s best suited to teens and up, as things get a bit violent, especially the farther you progress in the series.


Possible Objections:

  • Violence
  • More intimate scenes & discussion of sex after marriage; also a sexual assault is alluded to
  • A few uses of the d-word

 Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

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Title: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Notable: Book #2 in the Twilight series

Premise:

Edward has left Bella, thinking that she will be safe if he isn’t a part of her life.  Bella just can’t cope without him though, until Jacob Black brings some sunshine back into her life.  Just when life is starting to settle into a new normal, all heck breaks loose.  The vampire Victoria seeks revenge for the killing of her mate, hikers go missing in the woods, some kind of giant animals are on the prowl, and Jacob is avoiding Bella.

My thoughts:

Once I get reading these books, I can’t put them down!  This one took me about a day and a half to read.

I like this book even more than the first one!  I think it’s because Bella and Jacob’s interactions are much more down-to-earth and comfortably familiar than when she interacts with Edward.  Her relationship with Jacob is based on friendship and that’s simply more satisfying to read about.

I was also fascinated with the werewolf culture and getting to know those characters better.  Jacob Black is, of course, a wonderful and likeable character, but he’s backed up by others at La Push whom I’d like to know more about, as well.

The part where Bella and Alice go after Edward is…different.  It almost seems like a different story altogether because the vampires are so very absent from most of the rest of the book.  I think their reunion is a bit unbelievable; Bella just a little too needy and ready to forgive.  If I were in her shoes I’d be stinking angry.  I like the bit about her powers though, especially since I know how that will play out in a later book.

The way that things end with Bella and Jacob is very sad, but since I already know the story line, I’m not too heartbroken.  It just seems like poor Jake gets the short end of the stick.  He did what was right and was a faithful friend and in the end he gets slighted.

A favorite quote: “I was like a lost moon–my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation–that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity.”  (p. 201)
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I recommend New Moon to all the ladies out there who enjoy a good romantic story with a bit of danger thrown in.  I think it’s best suited to teens and up, as things get a bit violent, especially the farther you progress in the series.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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Title: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Notable: Book #1 in the Twilight series

Premise:

When her mother remarries, Bella Swan moves back in with her dad in the tiny, morose town of Forks, Washington.  She thinks life there will be dull until she meets the enigmatic and gorgeous Edward Cullen.  He fascinates Bella and she can’t help but try to unravel the mystery surrounding him.  To her great astonishment, she finds that he is equally intrigued by her.  But will their irresistible attraction end in heartache or joy?

My thoughts:

I had already read this book several years ago.  I was absolutely engrossed by it back then, and it still keeps me riveted today.  Even when I knew what was going to happen, I was still on the edge of my seat.  I guess that’s the sign of a good story!

I don’t know how Meyer did it, but she concocted a thoroughly engrossing and satisfying love story with Edward and Bella.  I think it might have something to do with the forbidden nature of their relationship, and the way that they ease into each new step very slowly.  The romantic build-up is quite slow and of course that’s like sweet torture for the reader.

Meyer’s writing style is really to my taste, as well.  Just like J.K. Rowling kept her Harry Potter stories going along at a nicely measured pace, Meyer does the same.  You’re propelled quickly through the story without it feeling like any kind of burden or work on your part.  I’ll confess that this series is one of my favorite contemporary romance stories.

I only have a couple of criticisms.  The first one is really related to my own stage of life right now.  Since I’m older and well past my teenage ideas of all-consuming love, that aspect of the story is a little annoying to me.  I’m more into the idea of steady love which is based on friendship, respect and trust.  I’m sure most preteens and teens swoon over the I’ll-die-without-you love sentiments contained in Twilight, though.  My second criticism is that towards the end of the book (and throughout the rest of the series) Edward and Bella get a bit annoying in their dialogue.  You can only read, “I can’t live without you” and similar sentiments so many times before your mind rebels.  You want to shout at them to grow up a bit and say something more original or have a normal conversation.  Even with those couple of criticisms though, I love the story.

I recommend Twilight to all the ladies out there who enjoy a good romantic story with a bit of danger thrown in.  I think it’s best suited to teens and up, as things get a bit violent, especially the farther you progress in the series.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

 

Confessions of Shopaholic – Movie 2009

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Last night I watched Confessions of a Shopaholic, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name.  I hadn’t even known that they had made it into a movie, until quite recently.

As a very quick synopsis, the story is about a young lady named Rebecca Bloomwood who absolutely loves to shop and would like nothing better than to write for the well-known fashion magazine, Alette.  She tries to climb the corporate ladder by starting at a magazine entitled Successful Saving, but runs into many hurdles brought on by her own reckless spending habits.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed the book, but it’s been almost a year since I’ve read it, so many of the details have slipped away.  That’s probably a good thing when watching the film adaptation of the book, because I didn’t get caught up in comparing every little thing to the book.  I had a general gist of what was going to happen, but the story was just there for my enjoyment.

Even though it’s been a year since I read the book, I could tell that they had taken some liberties with the original story.  However, I don’t think that the changes adversely affected the story, so much as created their own alternative story.  There is still the love interest, Becky’s awful spending habits, the extremely awkward situations, and a day when she must reckon with the mess that she has made.  However, most of the heavy and serious stuff is taken out of the story.  Maybe that’s why they changed some major plot elements–so it would be more of a fluff story.

I think that I liked the movie version of Becky better than the book version.  It probably has to do with the fact that Isla Fisher is completely likeable and charm seems to ooze from her pores.  I’m not sure how I feel about the changes made to Becky and Luke’s relationship in the movie.  I suppose they wanted to simplify and condense it, instead of making it develop over a period of time, as it did in the book.

I have to say something about the animated mannequins here.  At first they kind of creeped me out, but as the film progressed they started to make sense.  Since shopping is such an integral part of who Becky is and since it is a magical experience for her, I think that the “living” mannequins were a good choice.

The film is fairly tame.  There’s one instance of the b-word, at least one instance of the a-word, lots of leg and cleavage exposure, and a drinking session with her friend while they go through credit card bills.

I recommend this movie to teens and women who want to watch a feel-good romantic comedy.  While it’s not the best I’ve ever seen, it is one that I wouldn’t hesitate to watch with friends.  If you’re hoping for it to accurately reflect the book, you will be disappointed.  Look at it as a cousin of the book.

Possible Objections:

  • a handful of bad language
  • some ladies show lots of skin
  • a drinking scene
  • a cat fight

Rated: PG

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC POSTS:

An Amish Harvest: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Amy Clipston, Vannetta Chapman

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I have never read an Amish romance novel before, so decided to try one out and see what all the fuss is about.  An Amish Harvest is a short book which consists of four novellas by four different authors.  The stories all revolve around the Amish way of life.

Because the stories are by four different authors, you will notice some differences in writing style and word usage.  The styles are all similar enough that it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.  The first story has to do with an Amish widow and an English (what the Amish call non-Amish people) widower; the second is about a man and woman who bond after an accident; the third tells the story of a couple of young people who are different from others in their community and find understanding in one another; the last one is about a mystery and how a couple of middle-aged people bond during the shared experience.  Please, don’t ply me for details–it will ruin the stories for you!

I enjoyed the first two stories very much.  They were engaging and the characters were likeable.  The third story was pretty good, though it was missing a certain something to make it sparkle.  I didn’t enjoy the fourth story at all.  It seems like the characters weren’t very endearing and the plot was not engaging enough.

I feel like this book would appeal to women who love a wholesome love story.  It’s a fun, short read that could fill up a couple of cozy evenings on the couch.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review, which I have provided here.

Northanger Abbey – Movie 1987

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I’m trying to catch up with these movies!  The pile of Jane Eyre adaptations really threw me for a loop!  Well, today we’re talking about Northanger Abbey.  This version stars Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Morland, and Peter Firth as Henry Tilney.

I was not wowed by any of the characters in this movie.  They all seemed lacking in one way or another.  Catherine was young, naïve and happy.  At times her emotions were not nuanced enough and came across as shallow.  Henry Tilney didn’t get a lot of screen time, and when he did it was difficult to discern his feelings and motivations.  I think they wanted him to come across as somewhat of an enigma, and in that they thoroughly succeeded.  Isabella Thorpe was silly, simpering, flirtatious, shallow, and constantly seeking flattery.  Her method of speaking was inane.  John Thorpe was creepy and lecherous.

There were a couple of characters whom I liked.  Elinor Tilney’s acting was natural, which made it a wonderful relief.  General Tilney’s character was strange, but well-played.  I like how Robert Hardy gave him a very distinct manner of talking and behaving.  He was more eccentric than forbidding.

This adaptation added a character who was a bit strange–General Tilney’s friend from France and her young servant.  If you watch the movie, you’ll see exactly what I mean about her being like a neon light stuck in a film about table lamps.  You just want to say, ‘Huh?’

The look of the movie was alright, but there were a few things that were off.  Look closely at the ball scenes–there is a profusion of tall feathers.  I think it was a little overboard.  You can also see the 80’s style enter into some of the hairstyles and clothing.  And please don’t get me started on the cheesy 80’s music.  Oh Mylanta–saxophone music and mermaid singing!  Are you kidding me?

The beginning of the film is rather strange–starting with Catherine’s daydream of a Frankenstein-like villain preying on a young, helpless heroine.  Catherine’s dreams continue throughout the movie, changing as she meets new characters.  They are melodramatic and feed right into her overexcited imagination, which has been fueled by sensational gothic novels.  The end of the film is not quite to my liking.  I take issue with Henry and Catherine having a make out fest before he has even proposed to her.  Not realistic at all.

In closing, I don’t recommend this film to anyone.  View it at your own risk and be prepared to laugh heartily or groan as appropriate.

I’m curious now to get my hands on an authentic gothic novel to see if they are really that sensational.  Let me know if you have any recommendations!

Possible Objections:

  • The d-word is said several times.
  • Mrs. Allen is shown sewing through her fingers in one of Catherine’s dreams.

Rated: NR

Rating: 1 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Emma – TV Mini-Series 1972

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It took me two nights to finish the last Emma movie in the stack.  It stars Doran Godwin as Emma, and John Carson as Mr. Knightley.  This one is not for the faint of heart–it’s over 4 hours long!

Godwin was technically a decent Emma.  She recited all of her lines well and had great enunciation.  She also had the air of a lady about her.  However, there was an aloofness to her character which I thought didn’t fit Emma well.  The numerous instances where she was downright rude to her father were so out of character.  It also seemed like Godwin was a bit old to play Emma.  Carson was a respectable Mr. Knightley.  His behavior, language and manner all fit.  I just wish his character had been a little more charming, or something that would make the viewer care about him.  He also seemed a little old to me.

I don’t know why this should bother me, but I thought Harriet was much prettier than Emma.  For some reason I think that Emma should be quite pretty.  Emma’s sister was downright annoying–there really is no nice way to put it.  Her voice was grating and I couldn’t take her character seriously.  In fact, there were several characters who just didn’t seem to fit their intended role, including Mrs. Weston and Frank Churchill.  Jane Fairfax was quite an enigma.  Most of the time she seemed to fit, but there were a few instances when she had major emotional outbursts that were mystifying and ridiculous.  Jane’s piano playing and singing were subpar, as well.  I suspect that some of these acting issues stemmed from the use of stage actors who were perhaps unused to acting for TV.

Mr. Woodhouse was an interesting character in this version.  He was quite active and sprightly, though worrying about everybody’s health all the while.  Something that I thought didn’t fit is that he was largely ignored by Emma and Mr. Knightley.  That simply isn’t true to the book at all.

The costumes were alright, though some looked chintzy.  There were a few frocks trimmed with white feather boas that caused me some consternation.

The overall plot of the story was fairly faithful to the book, with only a few scenes left out or changed.  The dialogue was also very similar to the book, though I did notice some additions.

Probably the biggest letdown was the scene in which Mr. Knightley declares his love to Emma.  It was so devoid of real emotion that he could have been talking about what he had eaten for dinner that day.

So, I would not recommend this version unless you are one of the most stalwart Jane Austen fans on the planet.  You’ll be bored.  😦

Rated: NR

Rating: 1 Star

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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Jane Eyre – Movie 1973

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I never thought I’d be so glad to be done watching Jane Eyre (though I discovered that there is still one version I haven’t seen yet). Last night I finished the version that stars Sorcha Cusack as Jane, and Michael Jayston as Mr. Rochester.

The film quality is very good, especially when you consider how old it is.  There was something amiss in the look of the movie, however.  The 70’s intruded in clothing and hairstyles, and even some props.  In one of the scenes at Lowood, all of the girls are distinctly seen wearing dresses with long zippers down the back.  In the pajama scene when Rochester’s guests assemble in the hall because of the nighttime scream, the 1970’s take over.  The women’s robes are all shiny fabric and gauzy necklines.

The dialogue is mostly true to the book, however, there were a few parts that were added or changed.  If you’re looking for an adaptation that is most like the book, this would be the movie for you.  It is very long and hits on all the major points of the book, sticking quite faithfully to the original plot.

The characters were mostly well done.  Adele was charming and likable, and her accent was believable.  Rochester was surly, impatient, and commanding.  Jayston did a great job in his role as Rochester, and it was easy to see his interest in Jane throughout.  Cusack was a fairly good Jane, but I felt there was something lacking in her performance.  Maybe it was a flatness in expressing emotion at times.  For some reason, I was particularly gratified by the kitchen scene between Jane and St. John’s servant, Hannah.

There were only a couple of things that really bugged me about this movie.  The first would be Jane’s somewhat shallow evidence of her attachment to Mr. Rochester.  Nothing in her performance really made me believe that she felt strongly about him.  The second thing is very trivial.  For some reason I couldn’t take my eyes off of Sorcha’s eyebrows.  You’ll know what I’m talking about if you watch the movie.  It was a distraction to me.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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Northanger Abbey – Movie 2007

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Last night I got to watch my first adaptation of Northanger Abbey.  Felicity Jones stars as Catherine Morland, and JJ Feild as Henry Tilney.

I really enjoyed Jones as Catherine.  She did an admirable job of exhibiting the qualities that make Catherine Morland–young, naïve, romantic, overactive imagination, awestruck.  Feild was a wonderful Tilney.  He was likeable, playful, honorable, and looking for a young and unspoiled woman to love.

Northanger Abbey is a gentle parody of the genre of gothic novel.  In the movie we get to see Catherine’s gothic daydreams–full of highwaymen, cruel villains, helpless women, and mysterious old castles.  Her fevered imagination starts to have an effect on how she interprets real-life events, much to her own mortification when she suspects somebody of murder (but that comes later in the story).

In her everyday life, Catherine begins to get a taste of city life when she is asked to accompany her kindly neighbors to Bath.  There she meets Henry Tilney, whom she begins to like.  She also makes friends with Isabella Thorpe who is set on marrying Catherine’s brother (though only for his supposed money).  When Isabella’s brother believes that Catherine will also inherit a good deal of money, he tries to snatch her away from Mr. Tilney’s company and influence.  The final part of the movie has a quick ending and things end up well for both Henry and Catherine, as well as Henry’s sister Eleanor.  Although it was anticlimactic, it was satisfying nonetheless.

I think that this adaptation is a very fair rendition of the novel.  Since the book is relatively short and the plot fairly straightforward, it makes translating it to film a little easier.  Some of the dialogue was changed, but I don’t think it detracted from the story at all.  I would recommend this movie for teens and up because of some suggestive content.

 

Possible Objections:

  • Mr. Thorpe says the d-word several times.
  • Isabella is shown in bed, implying her having had relations with Captain Tilney.

 

Rated: NR

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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