Adaptation Report: Gone Girl

In anticipation of the release of the Gone Girl movie I made sure to put the novel in my September TBR list to ensure that I read it before the release of the movie (check out the review I did for Gone Girl here) . Having done that I was able to see the thriller the night it was released – far enough away from when I finished the book to not be annoyed, but still close enough that I remembered most – if not all – details of the plot.

My thoughts? Well, I think I may have actually enjoyed the movie more if I hadn’t read the book first and I sort of wish I hadn’t. Shocking, I know.

One of the things that this story thrives on is the twists and turns, and since I read the book what was lost for me was that experience of surprise the rest of the theatre felt. It was the one time knowing too much hindered my enjoyment.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie was good – a  very good adaptation; I just felt a bit left out. I should say this though – waiting for the crowd’s reaction to everything was great. The number gasps the lady let out next to me was amazing and hilarious.

The film was beautifully shot – in typical David Fincher fashion – and stayed pretty close to the novel, only small changes, though that is probably because Gillian Flynn actually wrote the screenplay. Much like with Perks of Being a Wallflower, having the author writing the screenplay definitely pays off; it’s one of the reasons why I have so much hope in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies JK Rowling is working on.

It was a good movie. Other than me losing the surprise appeal of the plot, the only thing I really didn’t appreciate was them making Nick Dunne more likeable. In the books you hate Nick; you actually think that killing Amy is something he can and would do. They made Nick more likeable and they didn’t make Amy nearly as believable as she was in the book. Mind you, this is coming from me who read the book – I’m not sure what people who didn’t read it thought.

While I did have a few issues here and there, I found the overall film to be enjoyable. It’s a good movie for an older crowd (there is nudity) of both genders. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike gave amazing and chilling performances. So whether or not you have read the book I definitely recommend this psychological thriller.

Adaptation Score: B+/A-. Great adaptation, but I think I would have enjoyed it just a little bit more if I hadn’t read the book.

Adaptation Report: Mockingjay Part One Second Teaser

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Before I start this (overly excited) blog post can we just take a minute to discuss how perfect the marketing team for this movie is? I mean, everything is perfect. Like I said in my previous post about the first teaser, they are making us members of the Capitol and we are eating it all up.

In the first teaser I was waiting for the signal breach from District 13, but of course it was too soon for that – but we got to see Peeta which was just as exhilarating. This time around Snow has, not only Peeta by his side, but everyone’s favourite rock star victor – Johanna Mason (and a whole bunch of peacekeepers).

This propaganda  piece was about the “unity” of the Districts, when the signal is interrupted by Beetee. Take a look at the second teaser in all its glory below (I know I’ve taken multiple looks):

“The Mockingjay lives!” OH YES SHE DOES!

I really have nothing but praise for the marketing team over at Lionsgate – they know the material, they know the audience, and they are just rolling with it. It’s perfect and everything we could possible want.

My hat’s off to you, marketing team.

The next promo is 100% going to be even better than this one. I really do think we are going to get Katniss in full Mockingjay attire – it’s the only way they can go now that the connection has been breached.

I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a movie in a long time, and this is probably due to how good Catching Fire was. The fact that Mockingjay is going to be two parts actually bodes well for the series because it can stretch out the story more as the last book was definitely rushed. This means MORE ACTION AND MORE DEVELOPMENT! AH! I just can’t wait.

Who is as excited as I am for the next teaser AND the movie release in November?

Adaptation Report: Divergent

This is a bit of a throwback Thursday type post since I watched Divergent way back in April, but since I’m just starting my blog now I wanted to make sure I got this down. Since I did watch the movie so long ago my memory is about shifty so please feel free to let me know if I’m not remembering things correctly. Here we go:

When I realised just how close the release of Divergent was and I still hadn’t read the books I decided to power through them as fast as I could – which I did (read my review of the series here). This meant by the time the movie was released I was totally pumped to see the movie, especially since the first book was my favourite and the movie was so hyped.

I happened to be in London for the London Book Fair the weekend the movie came out in the UK so myself and a few friends made our way to the theatre near our hostel to watch the movie. We were all so looking forward to it…and uh..we weren’t the happiest leaving the theatre (though we did run across streets yelling ‘DAUNTLESS’ when we got out).

It wasn’t bad, but I certainly didn’t think it was good either.

I had a lot of issues with what was cut from the story – and yes, I do understand that certain things need to be cut for time purposes, but some stuff that wasn’t included, I think, really hurt the plot.

Other than them not casting Uriah in the first movie (biased opinion as Uriah is one of my favourite characters in the whole series) the one thing that really annoyed me was that they didn’t develop Al’s story line properly – it didn’t get the justice it deserved. There was no indication of all his suffering in Dauntless; they never showed how he would cry every night or really any of the big indications that he was depressed. I feel like the audience who hadn’t read the book didn’t really understand the full reason for his suicide – they got the short term causes (what happened with Tris) but they never learn everything that we do about how depressed he was in Dauntless. It’s almost like wanting to know what caused the first World War and only learning about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand not any of the long term reasons. The way his character was handled wasn’t something I was too fond of.

I also thought the movie overall was just a bit…blah. I didn’t find myself completely entranced the way I was with the book. Sure it was full of action, but I didn’t find myself caring.

I’m wondering if it had anything to do with the way I ended up feeling about the series on a whole…it’s definitely possible.

Also, they changed the ending didn’t they? I watched the film a while ago, but I’m almost certain I remember the ending being very different in the book. I think I need to watch it again to make sure I’m not going crazy.

One thing that I did enjoy in the film was the casting of Four. I think that Theo James had the right edge to him to play the strong, mysterious side of the character…not to mention he is ridiculously handsome (*cough*). I wonder if he is going to be able to play the sensitive (and really annoying) Tobias as well – we shall have to see.

Speaking of Four, his relationship with Tris was really rushed in the movie. I loved how their relationship developed in the books because I guess there was just more time for them to get to know one another and build the trust. This is probably due to it being a movie so it needed to be more compact, but the relationship in the movie seemed rushed.

As someone who isn’t necessarily the biggest fan of Shailene Woodley I think she managed the role of Tris relatively well (I prefer her performance in The Fault in Our Stars). She definitely understood the character, I just thought that sometimes the action bits and fights were a tad awkward and forced.

Miles Teller was a great Peter though – a little shit that has the ability to show redeeming qualities…sort of – and the actor who played Eric was great as well.

Like I said before, I didn’t hate the movie; it was okay. I will obviously continue to watch the movies as they come out, but I think I won’t go into them with such high expectations like I had with Divergent.

I rate this adaptation 3 out of 5 stars on the adaptation front and on an enjoyability scale.

Was I alone in my disappointment? Let me know in the comments or via Twitter (@throughpgs)

Adaptation Report: First Mockingjay Part One Teaser Trailer

I had a really shitty night last night so when I woke up this morning after maybe an hours sleep the Instagram post that said there was a special announcement from President Snow available on Capitol TV was just the thing I needed to literally propel me out of bed to get my day started (*cough* turn on my laptop so I could watch the video *cough*), and I was not disappointed.

The video is all white – eerily white – and you have Snow sitting on quite a majestic chair reciting all sorts of Panem propaganda…but then you notice another body standing next to the chair. I knew exactly who it was and had to hold in a scream.

Peeta. Capitol tortured, probably not yet hijacked, Peeta Mellark. I literally gasped and wanted to cry all at the same time.

LOOK AT THIS PERFECTION:

You really have to hand it to the guys over at Lionsgate who are marketing the SHIT out of this movie, and doing it so well. So, so well. They are bringing to life the Capitol and we are eating it up like we are part of it (scary to think about it that way, isn’t it?).

Honestly the only thing that would have made this teaser better would have been a flicker of the screen and a glimpse of Katniss in the Mockingjay uniform. I think I would have stopped breathing if that happened.

I have high hopes for this movie after the greatness that was Catching Fire. Since they have two movies to play with the overly packed and very rushed final book can potentially be given a much better pace and allow the story to flow much smoother…perhaps develop the story a wee bit better.

Basically, November 21st needs to happen immediately, and if not that at least a full length trailer.

What did you think of the little teaser? Let me know in the comments below!

Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem forever

Adaptation Report: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Do you believe in love at first sight? I didn’t think I did until I watched The Hunger Games: Catching Fire because OH MY GOD IT WAS ACTUALLY PERFECT.

I know that you all know this already since this came out ages ago, but as I said previously I’m going in order of books/adaptations I have experienced since moving away and this is next on the list so deal with it!

I don’t think I’ve ever left a theatre so satisfied over an adaptation since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2 (another adaptation I was super satisfied with will be coming up at some point, okay? Okay). It was the type of movie that made me fall in love and crave the books again even though I’ve already read the series multiple times…so that’s what I did – I re-read Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

And you know what? I was even more pleased with the movie after I re-read the book because LINES FROM THE MOVIE WERE TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE BOOK! WORD FOR WORD! Okay, time to calm down.

In all seriousness, when you watch something that is taken from a book you read and loved so much it means the world when dialogue stays intact, casting is perfect, and the storyline isn’t too drastically altered. Knowing that Francis Lawrence is directing Mockingjay Part One and Two makes me so hopeful that he can take the (overly rushed) final instalment of the series to a fantastic finish – hopefully giving it the time to develop it needs since he gets to play with two movies (be still my beating heart).

We need to talk about casting for a minute here – no, not about Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and the rest of the original cast that returned because we all saw the first movie and knew we had nothing to worry about when it came to greatness from this group.

It’s the newbies.

Jena Malone was cast as the oh-so-fiesty Johanna Mason, a fan favourite in the books, and she ROCKED the character. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone complain about that casting. She brought Johanna to new heights and really sold her attitude perfectly. Also, the elevator scene. Perfection.

And then there was the casting that everyone was looking forward to – the casting of Finnick Odair. At this point almost every fan had input on who they thought should play the bronzed, godly victor and in the end the role went to Sam Claflin. I was into it right away – right age, right look, it looked really promising. Others weren’t convinced…until they watched the movie. Claflin was Finnick – he brought to life probably one of the most liked characters in the series.

The casting directors for these movies seriously need an award, a medal, a cookie, or something. ANYTHING.

I think the one thing I wish was included in the films was Peeta taking charge when training for the Quarter Quell. A lot of people came away with Peeta being a very weak character in the first film, when that is so far from the truth. Adding in him as a leader would have enforced how important Peeta is to the story and how strong and smart his character is.

Well since this is a report I need to give this a grade. This adaptation definitely deserves a solid A in my opinion. Here’s to hoping Mockingjay gets an A+…and we get a bloody trailer soon.

Where does Catching Fire rank for you when it comes to movie adaptations? (And more importantly) how long do you think Lionsgate is going to make us wait for a Mockingjay trailer? Let me know in the comments below!

Bonus points if you can guess what adaptation I alluded to earlier.