Books on Screen: Carrie

Courtesy of spinoff.comicbookresources.com
Courtesy of spinoff.comicbookresources.com

As I may have mentioned in the past, I love Stephen King.  Needless to say, I have seen the 1976 movie “Carrie,” featuring Sissy Spacek.  There is a 2013 adaptation of the cult-classic, which will release on Oct. 18, which features Chloe Grace Moretz as the title character.

Carrie is King’s first published novel, released in 1974.  Since then, the story has become a totem for most horror buffs.  Because most of the novel is actually written in articles, letters and book passages, it makes it more interesting to the reader.  However, it does give a reason to wonder how much of the book actually comes through in the movie.

The movie is definitely in King-fashion.  Lots of blood, black humor and simple situations that turn terribly wrong.  For those of you that don’t know the story, Carrie revolves around a high-school girl who’s growing up.  In school, she’s a shy wallflower, whom everyone teases for not understanding her development into an adult.  At home, her religious mother coddles her, turning her back into a little girl.   Carrie begins to rebel, and the relationship between the mother and daughter begins to change.  When the students at her school take a prank too far, Carrie’s telekinetic powers are awakened, and she is able to exact her revenge.

Personally, I think the movie is pretty strange.  After all, why would you make fun of someone just because they don’t know how they’re going to change, especially considering the type of household that she was raised in.  I think it does bring up a lot of interesting issues to think about, including bullying.  I’ll be really interested to see how the remake version turns out.  From the trailers, I’m willing to bet that there are more fires, more violence in the way she kills her tormentors and of course, more blood.  I really hope that they don’t overdo it because it just gets tiring after a while.

The 2013 remake of Carrie will be released Oct. 18 in theaters everywhere.  Until then, happy reading!

-Lauren Pirc, Asst. Blog Editor

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Books on Screen: The Great Gatsby

Courtesy of collider.com
Courtesy of collider.com

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most well known novels of all time.  It’s consistently used in many English classes, and will make its debut on May 10, 2013.

The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway is lured into the world of his friend’s neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Soon, however, Nick begins to see through Gatsby’s front and realizes the underlying problems, ultimately leading to obsession, madness and tragedy.

With an all-star cast, there has been a lot of anticipation for this movie.  Leonardo DiCaprio will take the role as Jay Gatsby.  Coming off of his role as a rich plantation owner in Django: Unchained, I have a feeling that he will do very well in the role.  Tobey Maguire will star as Nick Carraway.  While I’m a little bit skeptical about this choice, I am hoping that because of his absence from most major movies since the flop of Spider-Man 3, that his return will be welcome.  I just hope that his acting will live up to the expectation and that he will fully envelop the character.

Overall, I’m really hoping that the movie will be good.  I never really got into the book that much.  Maybe because I was in high school, and I just didn’t understand the language at the time.  Maybe some day I’ll revisit it and really try to focus on understanding it.  We’ll see how the movie goes over first and what happens with the characters.

Go see this movie when it comes out in theaters May 10.

-Lauren Pirc, Assistant Blog Editor

Books on Screen: Adaptations That Need to Happen

There are always those books, games or musicals that we wish would be made into stellar movies.  Here’s a few on my list of adaptations that need to happen.

BioShock

Courtesy of bioshock.wikia.com
Courtesy of bioshock.wikia.com

I talked a lot about this game in Fictional Friday, so I won’t delve into the story too much.  But this game leaves a lot of opportunities for movie adaptation.  Just imagine, seeing the Big Daddies and Little Sisters brought to life.  A fan can only hope that they aren’t CGI’d beyond belief.  Who should be the main character?  Well, I feel like a lesser known name might actually be helpful in this case.  It’d have to be someone that could be in the 2 related stories, but it’d also have to be someone who has a sense of humor and action at the same time.  Get someone like Joss Whedon or Christopher Nolan to direct it and bam, it’ll be all good.  If they were to get Michael Bay, or James Cameron, I’m pretty sure there’d be a riot, not to mention a severe debt and many Transformer references.  So BioShock.  Do it right.

Wicked

Courtesy of gemm.com
Courtesy of gemm.com

The book by Gregory Maguire was made into a famous Broadway musical that has swept the nation.  With the recent re-imagining of Oz: The Great and Powerful, it’s only right to have Wicked made into a movie.  I honestly wasn’t all that impressed with Oz, but I think that Wicked could be made into a great movie, especially with the resurgence of musicals.  As far as who to cast, I think going with people that can actually sing is the best way to go.  Lea Michele has played the witch in the musical, so maybe casting her in the role would make sense.  For Glinda, I’m not really sure who I’d choose.  I think a new face or someone from the musical would be good to have in the cast.  I think there are so many amazing things that they can do with the movie in order to integrate the book and the musical better, and I hope that this will happen soon.

Batman: Arkham series

Courtesy of fanpop.com
Courtesy of fanpop.com

One of the most iconic superheroes of all time currently holds two of the best trilogies in two separate platforms.  Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Series put a new light on the hero and was a great achievement for fans everywhere.  The Arkham video game series holds a similar notoriety in its own right.  The Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games have already gained so much of a following and there is a lot of hype for the third installment of the series.  If a movie were to be made of this, it would be amazing.  Get Christopher Nolan or Joss Whedon or maybe even Spielberg to direct it and it would be great.  I’d also say to keep Michael Caine as Alfred, but recast pretty much everyone else. Seriously though, it would be an amazing addition and it could lead to some potential Justice League action.

What are some adaptations you’d like to see?  Let us know in the comments!

-Lauren Pirc, Assistant Blog Editor

Books on Screen: The Hunger Games

Courtesy of novelnovice.com
Courtesy of novelnovice.com

With the end of the Harry Potter and Twilight series, fan-nerds all over the world are going crazy over The Hunger Games.  The movie is set to be a trilogy, marked after the books, with the second movie set to release this November. 

Overall, I thought that the movie adaptation was really successful and followed the movie pretty closely.  I thought that the beginning could use a narrative exposition rather than having the audience read the entire thing.  I was also disappointed that the mayor’s daughter didn’t make an appearance, forcing Katniss to find the mockingjay pin through a less meaningful route.  They also never really explained the marketplace in District 12.  It was just kind of there, and it lost its effectiveness as an important place. 

Let’s talk about casting for a minute.  I think Jennifer Lawrence was good as Katniss.  She had the look down and everything, but I wish she would’ve shown a little more expression in her face during certain situations.  Liam Hemsworth makes for a great Gale, but Josh Hutcherson is not someone that I’d have pictured for Peeta.  Peeta is supposed to be a tall buff guy, and Josh is shorter than Jennifer is.  Gale and Peeta are also supposed to be the love interests to Katniss, but clearly Gale should be the choice, even though she eventually chooses Peeta.  I was pretty disappointed with him, but he does an okay job acting the part.  I was also kind of disappointed with Cinna.  I think the person who played him was fine, but in the book, it seemed like Cinna was a lot more outgoing, whereas in the movie, he was very understated. 

Although I had a lot of complaints about the movie, I also think it was fairly true to the book.  I just think that it was hyped up so much that we expected too much of it and were ultimately disappointed because it didn’t meet all of our qualifications.  I hope that the sequels will be better and continue to grow, but we’ll have to wait until November to find out.

-Lauren Pirc, Assistant Blog Editor

Books on Screen: The worst of them all

So far in this series, I’ve talked about adaptations that I really like and that have been really successful.  In this post, I’m going to explore a few adaptations that didn’t really shine and are just…not that good.  Please note that these are in no particular order and that there will be some pretty big spoilers.  You have been warned.

Twilight series

twilight
Courtesy of twilightguide.com

I wanted to talk about this one first just to get it out of the way.  The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer took terrible books and turned them into terrible movies.  The writing in the book is terrible, but then again, does it really need to be good if the main target is the teenage girls that are craving for this type of a story?  Probably not.  The dialogue and interactions in the movie are terrible, if not borderline offensive.  There’s a YouTube channel that compiled an uncut video of  just all of the staring sequences in the series, and the video amounted to 26 minutes.  In the second movie, 90 percent of it has Bella being depressed the whole time, and then she saves Edward from flashing a crowd of people.  Seriously, that’s pretty much the entire movie, and it’s such a complete waste of time.  They also decided to follow Harry Potter’s lead and split their final movie into 2 grueling movies, each 2 hours apiece.  The last movie introduces so many people that it’s difficult to keep track of any of them.  Plus, Bella names her child Renesmee…seriously, if I ever run into a child with that name, I’ll probably die a little bit inside.  Although, I guess it is better than Apple or Blanket, but still.  One of the biggest problems that I have with this series is the ending of the last movie.  Making  the entire battle just conveniently be a vision?  NO!  If you’re going to kill the vampire government, at least have the guts to do it, don’t make it into one of the most overused and disappointing scenarios ever.  The last thing that really bothers me is that when they introduce all of these people that are actually interesting, you don’t get any character development or backstory whatsoever.  I would really have loved to know more about Alice or Emmett, or even the other 20 vampires that they decided to introduce in the last movie.  Overall, the books and the movies are extreme disappointments, and I’m glad the series is over.

The Last Airbender

Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org
Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

If none of you know about this movie, it’s most likely because of the name.  Avatar: The Last Airbender is a book turned Nickelodeon cartoon turned to massively bad movie.  M. Night Shyamalan directs this movie, and unfortunately, it seems like he just used the Spark Notes version when he was researching it.  They changed many of the pronunciations of the character’s names; I mean, how hard is it to get their own names right?!  It wasn’t even the side characters either, it was the main cast!  The effects were terrible.  Earth-bending a rock into the air made it seem like a styrofoam prop on strings.  Anything that would even be remotely cool about this movie tends to be dulled down by the bad acting and the poor effects.  Also, where is Momo?  The crazy flying lemur buddy barely makes any sort of appearance in the movie, when he’s probably one of the most likeable characters.  While it had been planned to make more movies after this one, The Last Airbender flopped so badly that it doesn’t seem likely to advance. 

The Green Lantern

Courtesy of en.wikipedia.com
Courtesy of en.wikipedia.com

When I saw Green Lantern was getting his own movie, I was excited.  Ryan Reynolds was cast as the lead, and he’s pretty decent.  But the movie was terrible.  I think one of the biggest things that killed it was the CGI effects.  The suit pictured onto his body, the evil particle villain, the green energy creations…it all just kind of looked substandard.  I feel like this was due to some budgeting issues.  There is a LOT of CGI in this movie, and it doesn’t come cheap, but if you have too much of it in places where it’s not needed, then it just looks cheap.  The Green Lantern really does look cheap.  Even the guy with the big head (his name is escaping me) could have been done up a lot better than how he looks.  The acting also could have been a little bit better, but I feel like even if it was, it still would have been overshadowed by the terrible effects and the other flaws in the movie.

What are some adaptations that you hate?  Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

-Lauren Pirc, Assistant Blog Editor

Books on Screen: Harry Potter

Courtesy of pricepar.com
Courtesy of pricepar.com

One of the most iconic books on screen adaptations has to be the Harry Potter series.  After the first book, I was immediately hooked on the series.  The concept was just so fresh at the time and really expanded my creativity while reading it.  When I found out movies were being made, like all of the other fans, I was ecstatic.  To me, the adaptations have been the most successful and true to the original than any other adaptations, while still exceeding my expectations.

Now, I know what you’re saying, “They didn’t show all the parts from the book in the movie!”  Well, yes, but they’re trying to cram 500-800 pages into a movie that’s a little over 2 hours long.  You’ve got to trim the fat and cut the lines.  Does it still make sense without those parts?  Pretty much.  There’s some background about certain characters that is lost in the process, but it honestly doesn’t detract too horribly much from the story itself.  Could the movies make a little more sense to someone who hasn’t read the books?  There’s always that need, but questions are answered for the most part.

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Books on Screen: Les Misérables

Trailer courtesy of DanceOn.

When something becomes as popular as Les Misérables, many people tend to forget where it originated.  This popular musical, now movie, was originally a novel, written by Victor Hugo in 1862.  This book is traditionally well over 1,000 pages, and has five volumes that mark the progression through Jean Valjean’s life.  The novel has been criticized as having a lot of points that are used to argue a moral point or display Hugo’s knowledge without really advancing the plot.  However, current versions have been cut down to show the story and get rid of the more taxing reading.

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