Tag Archives: film adaptations

(Andrew Niccol’s adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s _The Host_, March 2013)

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When people think of Stephanie Meyer, the first–and likely only–thing they think of is the Twilight series. But Meyer also wrote another book–The Host–that is, in my opinion, far superior to Twilight. While it is similar in genre to Twilight–it’s another supernatural lover story, but with aliens instead of vampires–the characters are much more believable and self-sufficient. At the end of March, a film adaptation of The Host  directed by Andrew Niccol was released.

The Host takes place in a not-to-distant future where our world has been completely overtaken by an alien race. Unable to survive on their own, these parasitic aliens are inserted into a “host” on each new planet they occupy. The “soul” known as Wanderer has successfully lived on eight planets and is revered among her kind. Earth shouldn’t be a problem for her…except for the fact that her new human host–Melanie–refuses to fade away. As Melanie begins showing Wanderer memories from her life of the rebel humans she lived with, Wanderer is bombarded with a series of human emotions that make her question whether her kind’s actions are moral.

I thought the movie was very well made. It was a very good interpretation of the novel and was a fairly accurate adaptation. There were definitely parts of the movie I found kind of stupid, chiefly the communication between Melanie and Wanderer, but in all I was very pleased with the way the film turned out. The casting was amazing, even though some of the characters weren’t exactly how I pictured them.

I really loved this movie and recommend that people see it. It’s primarily a love story so it might appeal more to teenage girls than anyone else. If you do see the movie, just have fun and don’t over think it!

(_The Hunt_ by Andrew Fukuda, January 2013)

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At the end of Andrew Fukuda’s first book, The Hunt (read my review here), Gene and the remaining “hepers” (humans) run away from the vampire society in which they lived in search of the mythical land Gene’s father told them about. The sequel, The Prey, begins with the humans sailing down towards the mountains, still chased by vampires who will stop at nothing to find them. When they finally find sanctuary with a colony of humans hidden in the mountains, Gene and the humans think they may finally be able to stop running. But it quickly becomes apparent that all is not as it seems, and Gene and Sissy band together to discover the truth. As they begin to search for answers, dangers from both the bloodthirsty vampires as well as the elders of the human colony are lurking behind every corner.

I’ve had so much fun with this series. Both books have been filled with twists and turns and scary questions about humanity. This series is definitely very similar in structure to many other teen postapocalyptic/supernatural novels, but Fukuda really creates a world unlike any other. His vampire society is haunting and terrifying, both because of the cruelty and creepiness of the vampires, but also because of their similarities to humans. I really love that Fukuda writes about vampires in a more traditional monster role. While I’ll admit that I was very into Twilight when it first came out, the supernatural love stories of today are beginning to become very boring. So, it was very refreshing for me to read a vampire story in which the vampires are indeed scary monsters. That said, the vampires that haunt Funkuda’s series are anything but traditional. As I talked about in my reiveiw of The Hunt, Gene has to learn to hide his human emotions while learning a bunch of wacky vampire ways of expressing emotions: for example instead of laughing when they find something funny, the vampires scratch their wrists.

I wasn’t able to put down either The Hunt or The Prey. I battled exhaustion to read “just one more chapter” and read during every extra moment I had. They may not be my absolute favorite books, but are definetly up there on my list and I cannot wait until the last book in the trilogy comes out. It’s a story that I think many teens would enjoy, but stay away if you don’t like being scared because, as author Becca Fitzpatrick says in her blurb, “this book will bleed into your nightmares”.

“The World is a Stage…” (Joe Wright’s Film Adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s _Anna Karenina_)

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Most people know the story of Anna Karenina: there have been endless adaptations and the novel is mentioned in books like How to Read Literature Like a Professor. But Joe Wright’s new film adaptation of the novel is one worth seeing. Whether or not you know the story, this new adaptation is sure to enchant.

If you’ve ever picked up a copy of Anna Karenina, you know that it is a very large and daunting book. Like Les Miserables, it is such a large and complex story that it is difficult to imagine it being confined into a two hour movie. And while this new adaptation of Anna Karenina does not cover everything that happened in the book, it did a very good job of telling much of the story in such a short amount of time. While I myself haven’t seen any of the older adaptations, my mom told me that this is one of the only adaptations to tell Levin’s story. (For those of you who have not read the book, even though Anna is the title character, the story is only half hers, with the other half being about Levin.) The casting wasn’t exactly as I imagined, but I ended up really liking it. The most unique thing about this film is that almost the entire story is told on a stage. From the stage itself to backstage and to the rafters above, the setting creates a film unlike any other.

While the latest film adaptation of Anna Karenina hit most theaters in November, it only came to Missoula this month. We were finally able to see it yesterday and I highly recommend you do the same! It was a visually stunning film as well as being a really great adaptation of of huge and complex book.

Pop Culture Post: Please Don’t Judge Me for This Post! (_Breaking Dawn Part 2_ Film Adaptation, November 2012)

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Everyone seems to have really strong feelings either for or against the Twilight Saga, but I’ve remained fairly neutral throughout the series’ run. I have read all of the books and seen all of the movies and can say that I enjoyed reading and watching the series. I wouldn’t have attended the midnight premiers and probably won’t ever reread the books. So, from someone who has pretty neutral feelings about Twilight, here is my review of the latest, and final, film.

Breaking Dawn Part 2, the long-awaited conclusion to the Twilight Saga, premiered about a week and a half ago. The previous film ended with the “new-born” vampire Bella (the protagonist of the series) waking up after giving birth to her half-vampire daughter, Renesmee. The first part of this film was focused on Bella getting used to her new vampire lifestyle; one scene even involved her tackling a mountain lion! But Bella and Edward’s happiness is soon thwarted when another vampire reports their half-vampire child to the Volturi (the ruling vampires). The remainder of the film follows the Cullens’ (the main vampire family) attempts to gather other vampires to help convince the Volturi not to kill the child. The climax of the film is the standoff between the Cullens and the Voluturi, which ends in a huge plot twist that I, even having read the book and knowing how it would ultimately end, didn’t remember.

I liked this movie much more than I have liked the others. You can really tell how much time and money was poured into making these films into the phenomenon they are today. The costumes, the sets, even the helicopter aerial shots make the films a truly amazing experience. And while the story and the acting may not be of the best quality, they’re still enjoyable to watch. 

As for whether I’m “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob”, I never really liked either of them. If anything, I’m “Team Mike”, a human who plays one of the smallest roles in the series. Mike is the guy that Bella brushes off, even though he is caring, not brooding, and a much safer choice!

Pop Culture Post: (BBC’s _Sherlock_)

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Everyone knows the iconic Sherlock Holmes. But would Sherlock be the same in modern-day London? BBC sets out to answer that question in their show Sherlock. In the show, Sherlock is a consulting detective bored by the world and people around him who seeks out high-profile cases that will challenge him intellectually with the help of his “flatmate” John Watson. While the characters are very similar to the original characters, the new angle makes each of them have slightly different quirks and back stories. For instance, Dr. Watson served in Afghanistan and Sherlock doesn’t smoke a pipe but is instead addicted to nicotine patches. The actors who portray Holmes and  Watson are Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, both British actors who will be starring in The Hobbit.

I think the reason this show is so successful is that it takes something that we all know and tweaks it enough that it’s exciting, but also manages to keep that same loveable duo recognizable. It does the same with the mysteries they solve as well, taking well-known cases and keeping to the general plot line, but making it entirely their own. Some of the mysteries adapted include A Study in Scarlett, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Final Problem, and the iconic Hound of the Baskervilles.

Currently there are two “series” (seasons) of three episodes out (and available to watch on Netflix instant!). While six episodes over the course of two seasons may not seem like much, each episode is an hour and a half of high quality television. It’s like watching a movie instead of a show, which makes it even more exciting. And while I highly suggest watching all of the episodes, you can watch almost any episode on its own without back story. So get on Netflix instant or drive out to your local video rental store and watch BBC’s Sherlock.

An interesting fact: Sherlock became so popular that CBS created a show called Elementary which is about Sherlock in modern-day New York. I haven’t seen it personally but haven’t heard super good reviews about it. One different angle Elementary takes is having Watson portrayed by female actor Lucy Lu.

Pop Culture Post: “You Win or You Die” (_Game of Thrones_ TV Adaptation, 2011)

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Since Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, helped his friend Robert Baratheon seize control from the Targaryens, the kingdom of Westeros has enjoyed relative peace. Then the “Hand of the King” dies under mysterious circumstances, and Eddard is asked to leave his Northern home to replace him. But once Eddard Stark reaches the high court, he quickly realizes that danger lurks around every corner, and that people will do anything for power. After a nine-year long summer, “winter is coming” and the kingdom will never be the same.

After hearing about how much people loved Game of Thrones, I decided to  give both the series of books and TV series a try. Game of Thrones is an elaborate fantasy story whose primary plot line is the struggle for power. It’s a lot like a more complex, more adult version of Lord of the Rings. There are almost too many characters to keep track of, and the problems they face are endless. I still don’t know who exactly I’m supposed to be rooting for; nothing in this series is ever black and white.

In terms of the TV series in relation to the book series, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more accurate adaptation of anything. I’ve only read the first book and seen the first season of the show, but was really impressed by how well the TV series followed the novel’s plot line. And the characters–those that I could keep straight anyway–were well cast. The characters are realistic because they are not easily categorized as good or evil–with the exception of the Lannisters, who, for the most part, are downright nasty–and therefore most people can find someone in the show to relate to. It’s a show I would suggest that fantasy lovers watch for sure, but even people who aren’t into fantasy will probably enjoy it.  So if you don’t mind some gore and, well, nudity, give Game of Thrones, either the book series or the TV show, a try.

It’s Finally Here! (_The Hunger Games_ Film Adaptation, March 2012)

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Here is my first ever video review. Be warned there are spoilers of the general plot of the book so don’t watch unless you’ve read the book! I went to the midnight premier of The Hunger Games and really enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed, but thought it was really well done.

Pop Culture Post: Why _Pretty Little Liars_ is so Addicting (_Pretty Little Liars_ Book Series by Sara Shepard, 2006, and TV Adaptation, 2010)

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I recently caught up to the television show Pretty Little Liars to see why everyone loved it so much. I expected a cheesy, teen soap-opera which is exactly what I got… but, unexpectedly, I became completely hooked after the first episode. The series first aired in the summer of 2010 on ABC Family and is currently in its second season. I liked the show so much that I immediately began reading the eight-book series by Sara Shepard, which came out in 2006. Though I’ve only read the first book, I’m hoping to read the rest of the series when I have more time.

Pretty Little Liars is the story of four best friends in Rosewood, Pennsylvania. For one year (according to the TV show) or three years (according to the book series) after a girl named Alison–Ali– disappears, her four best friends Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna haven’t spoken and have refused to talk about what happened the night Ali disappeared. But when their junior year begins and someone new moves into Ali’s old house, the four of them realize that they can’t keep pretending nothing happened. And when each girl begins to receive messages from the mysterious “A” with information only Ali would know, Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna will have to come to terms with their pasts to figure out what exactly happened to Ali the night she disappeared.

I know it sounds predictable but it is impossible to stop reading/watching. All of the main characters have many secrets and struggle with complex moral issues. (For example, Aria’s dad had an affair with one of his college students, which Aria and Alison found out about before Ali’s disappearance. Aria is reluctant to tell her mom because she knows it could ruin their family.) The mystery of what happened to Alison and who “A” is, coupled with the drama of a soap opera make for one unforgettable storyline that most teen girls will not be able to resist.

Pop Culture Post: Who Doesn’t Love _The Outsiders?

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Last night I went to see my high school’s production of The Outsiders and was, once again, wowed by what a powerful story it is. I had read the book (published in 1967) about four years ago and saw the movie (released in 1983) around the same time and had been as deeply affected then.

If you don’t already know, The Outsiders is the story of a group of “greasers” in the late 1960s. All of them have some sort of family trouble, so they become reliant on each other’s company. This reliance is made clear by the ongoing war between the greasers–who tend to be poor and have family issues–and the “socs”–who are rich and spend their spare time jumping greasers.

One of the things that makes the story so powerful is that S.E. Hinton wrote it when she was only fifteen or sixteen. This gives the story a much more genuine and believable feel because Hinton must have gone through or seen social issues similar to those she writes about to be able to paint such a vivid image of the relationships in the book. I think that The Outsiders should be required in schools because it still continues to remain relevant in our society today.

The movie is a must-see. It was the first big film for many actors who are popular today, including: Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, and Matt Dillon. It was only  Tom Cruise’s second or third film and he played a very small role in it, but being a part of that film has helped lead to his success today.

I hadn’t remembered how much I had enjoyed the story of The Outsiders until I saw the play last night. There were parts where I was almost drawn to tears because of the effectiveness of the story’s message about friendship and family. I think that The Outsiders was a wonderful choice for the Hellgate Players. This is the first play I have seen at Hellgate that deals with issues that teenagers continue to face.