Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a 2013 urban fantasy film directed by Harald Zwart, starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, and Jemima West. The film is based on the first book of The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare. The story takes place in contemporary New York City and is centered around a 16 year old girl, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), who has believed for her whole life she and her mother were completely normal. Then one night when she goes to a club for her birthday with her best friend, Simon Lewis (Robert Sheehan), Clary believes she witnesses a boy get murdered by three people covered in tattoos. The next day two men come to her house looking for a special cup which her mother (Lena Headey) is hiding. To protect this secret Ms. Fray drinks a potion that puts her to sleep. Just before poisoning herself Clary’s mom calls her daughter and tells her to stay away, but she doesn’t listen and runs home. Once there, she finds what appears to be a dog which ends up attacking Clary. She is saved by one of the tattoos people from the night before, Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower). He kills the dog and explains to Clary that what just attacked her and the boy he stabbed in the club were actually demons. Jace explains to Clary that he is a Shadowhunter, and the two start the search for Clary’s mother and the secrets she has been hiding. This leads Clary down a path where she learns about the hidden world full of supernatural beings and a past she can not remember. In this blog post, I will be looking at how the adaption keeps, changes, and enhances certain aspects of the original story. 

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: The BFG

                     

The BFG is a 2016 American fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, and stars Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill. It is based on the 1982 children’s novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The film takes place in the mid 1900s where a young girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is living in an orphanage in London. One night when awake during the “witch hour,” when things like the boogeyman come out, she sees a giant (Mark Rylance). Realizing he has been seen, the giant grabs Sophie from her bed and takes the 10 year old girl with him to Giant Country. When they get to the giant’s house Sophie tries to escape, but to keep her with him the giant mixes a nightmare and gives it to Sophie so she will see what happens if she leaves. After Sophie wakes up she agrees not to leave the giant, and the gaint tells her about himself, how he can’t always say what he means, he is the smallest of all the giants, and that he catches dreams to give children. Sophie convinces the giant to show her Dream Country and while catching dreams the giant says he was once called The Big Friendly Giant. Hearing this Sophie decides to call him the BFG. After Sophie accidentally catches a horrible nightmare called a “Trogglehumper,” the BFG takes her back to Giant Country. Fearing that Sophie isn’t safe with him, because the other giants eat humans, he takes her back to the orphanage. He soon takes her back to Giant Country though and the two come up with a plan to stop the man-eating giants. In this blog post I will look at the changes made to the story and Sophie’s character when the novel was adapted into a film.

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: Rebecca

Rebecca is a 2020 British romantic thriller film directed by Ben Wheatley and stars Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas. The film is based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, author of many other popular adaptations like My Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn, and the short story The Birds. Rebecca starts with the main character, Mrs. de Winter (Lily James), talking about a dream she had the night before about going back to her home, Manderley, which the audience is left to assume is no longer standing. The events of the film take place in the past and are examined through the memories of Mrs. de Winter, starting from her time in Monte Carlo as a lady’s companion to the rich and old Mrs. Van Hopper (Ann Dowd). Eventually the 20 something year-old meets the older Mr. Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), and widower, and the two start a friendship that eventually turns romantic. When the future Mrs. de Winter’s employer tells her they are leaving the hotel, she goes to see Maxim to say goodbye. Not wanting to lose her, Maxim asks the young woman to marry him. They honeymoon in Europe and then Mr. de Winter takes his new bride home to Manderley, where she quickly begins to feel uncomfortable. This is mostly due to the head housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas), who was incredibly loyal to the first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca, having known the dead woman as a child. Though she tries to make an effort to adapt to her new home, it soon becomes clear to the second Mrs. de Winter that she is unwelcome in Manderley and that her husband is keeping secrets from her. In this blog post I will examine the main character, the second Mrs. de Winter, and look at changes made to scenes between the Netflix original film and du Maurier’s novel. 

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: Interview With the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire is a 1994 American gothic horror film directed by Neil Jordan and stars Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and, Kirsten Dunst. The movie is based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Anne Rice. The movie starts in present-day San Francisco California where the main character, Louis de Pointe du Luc (Pitt), is being interviewed by a reporter Daniel Molloy (Christian Slater) at nighttime. Louis claims to be a vampire but Daniel does not believe him, until Louis starts telling his story. The vampire’s story starts in 1791 Louisiana after the death of his wife in childbirth, which has thrown him into a deep depression , making him want to die. One night while drunk he is attacked by the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt (Cruise), who sees Louis’s dissatisfaction with life and gives him the choice to become a vampire. Louis accepts but soon comes to regret his decision when he finds out that he must kill humans to survive. Instead, Louis chooses to drink on animal blood. Lestat persistently attempts to make Louis feed on humans, which causes them to get into a fight. After their altercation, Louis starts to aimlessly walking the streets of New Orleans intending to leave Lestat. During this he discovers a young girl named Claudia (Dunst) whose mother has died of the plague, and being unable to resist anymore he feeds on  her almost to the point of death. Lestat finds Louis doing this which causes the younger vampire to run away in shame, but seeing the effect on Louis, Lestat takes Claudia back to their home and turns her into a vampire. He tells Louis she is their daughter now and therefore can not leave them, so the three live together for many years until Claudia begins to realize that she will never age. This makes her curious of vampirism and resentful of Lestat for changing her, which sets in motion a number of events including multiple attempts to kill Lestat, as well as Claudia and Louis’s travels in Europe. The whole time the story is being told the audience is also seeing bits of the present with Louis and Daniel, who is slowly starting to believe that the man is truly a vampire. In this blog post I will be looking at how the filmmakers changed the character of Louis and certain parts of the story.

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: Practical Magic

Practical Magic is a 1998 American romcom fantasy film, based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman. The film was directed by Griffin Dunne and stars Sandra Bullock, and Nicole Kidman as Sally and Gillian Owens, respectively. The movie starts with Sally and Gillan’s Aunts Francis (Stockard Channing) and Jet (Dianne Wiest), telling their young nieces about the first witch in their family, Maria, and how she cast a curse that caused any man who loves an Owens woman to die. This is what happened to the girl’s father, because of this their mother died of heart break, leaving Sally and Gillian to the care of their aunts. In their aunts’ home they learn the craft, but also have to deal with their peers making fun of them for their strange family legacy. As Sally and Gillian grow up their paths diverge from each other. Sally ends up falling in love, getting married, and having two daughters (Evan Rachel Wood & Alexandra Artrip), but Sally’s husband ends up dying because of the curse. Gillian on the other hand runs away, and has a series of bad relationships. Eventually the sisters come together again when Gillian’s boyfriend Jimmy (Goran Višnjić) becomes abusive, setting off a chain of events that lead to many changes in their lives. In this blog post, I will be looking at changes made to the characters and plot when Practical Magic was adapted to film. 

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 fantasy film co-written and directed by Andrew Adamson. The film is based off of the 1950’s novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. This story centers around four siblings named Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley) who have been sent away to life in the countryside of England because of WWII. They are living with the strange Professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent), who’s large home is filled with many interesting things. One day when the children are playing hide and seek the youngest, Lucy, finds herself in an empty room with nothing but a wardrobe to hide in. The wardrobe is a doorway into the fantasy world of Narnia, where Lucy meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy) who tells her all about Narnia and the Witch Witch who tyrannically rules over the Narnians.

When she returns to “our” world, Lucy tries to tell her siblings what happened but none of them believe her. Later that night Lucy sneaks out of her room and goes back to Narnia through the wardrobe. Edmund follows her into the strange land realizing she has been telling the truth, but when they get back he tells their siblings that Lucy was just making it all up. A few days later, when they are trying to hide from the strict housekeeper, the children wind up in the empty room and have no choice but to go in the wardrobe. The four siblings escape and find themselves in Narnia. Soon the Pevensies find themselves playing a large part in stopping the White Witch in the coming war. In this blog post I will be looking at how the film changed the beginning of the story, and how it sheds light on different facets of the Pevensie children. 

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 romantic drama directed by Ang Lee and stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway. The movie starts off in the year 1963, when the main characters Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) and Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) are hired as sheep herds that summer. Throughout the season they have an amicable relationship, but it isn’t until one night of drinking that their relationship starts. Jack makes a pass at Ennis while they are sharing a tent and initially Ennis is hesitant about the situation, but eventually gives in and the two men have sex. Afterwards, Ennis tells Jack that he isn’t gay, believing that he does not want to have sex with the other man again. Despite this the two end up having a passionate sexual relationship for the remainder of the time they are employed together. It isn’t until after the two men part ways that they realize they had also formed a strong emotional relationship. During their four years apart, Ennis and Jack both end up with wives (Williams & Hathaway) and children, but later the lovers reconnect and start an affair lasting almost 20 years. The film is based on Annie Proulx’s short story of the same name, originally published in The New Yorker on October 13, 1997. In this blog post I will be analyzing the characters of Ennis and Jack between the two mediums; as well as how the beginning and ending of the film is different compared to the original story. 

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) is a fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and is rated PG. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson who are a trio of actors that have become widely recognizable since being in the Harry Potter film series. The story is about a boy whose parents are killed by an evil wizard, who also wants to kill Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). For the first decade of his life he grows up living with his neglectful and mental abusive aunt and uncle. Eventually he is accepted to a prestigious school where he learns to use the magic he was born with. Harry must learn to use his powers in order to protect himself and find the secrets hidden in his school. Along the way Harry meets his best friends Ron Wealsley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson).  Most people know the story of Harry Potter, so I won’t take too much time talking about the actual events of the movie in this post. Instead I will look at some changes made, which would only be recognizable to those who were readers of the original book by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower poster
https://imdb.to/3eqGk3U

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Stephen Chbosky and stars Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. The movie takes place in 1992 and starts with the main character Charlie,  played by Logan Lerman, writing a letter to an unknown person because they seem like a good person and someone who won’t think Charlie is weird, unlike others his age. Charlie is about to go into his first year of high school, but because of his depression, anxiety, and the recent suicide of his only friend, Charlie thinks he won’t be able to make any friends. On the first day of school, the only “friend” Charlie makes is his English teacher Bill, who becomes a mentor and confidant for him throughout the movie. At the first home football game of the school year, Charlie ends up sitting with seniors Patrick and Sam, who are step-brother and sister. Meeting Patrick and Sam set the tone for the rest of Charlie’s freshmen year, in which Charlie learns about himself, the people in his life, and what really happened in his past. This film is based on the 1999 book of the same name and was also written by Stephen Chbosky. Charlie is the main character and narrator of both the movie and the book, he has many mental health issues that stem from him being molested by his aunt as a child and other traumatic experiences throughout his life. It is important to note that the whole book is told in an epistolary form, with all letters Charlie writes recounting the things that have recently happened to him. The movie and the book are incredibly alike, even more than Room from my last post, in that all the characters are the same and the order of events is mostly consistent with the story’s original medium. That being said, of course, like all adaptations there are things that have to be taken out or changed to fit with the medium of film and it’s time constraints. 

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Spangler’s From Sentence to Screen: Room

room movie poster
https://imdb.to/2RaDLsP

Room is a 2015 independent drama film directed by Lenny Abrahamson and stars Brie Larson, Jacob Trembly, Joan Allen and Sean Bridgers. The movie starts off with narration from the main character, Jack, a five-year-old boy telling us about himself, his mother, and where they live. Jack and Ma are in a backyard shed called Room which is where they live and where Jack was born. The young boy has never had any contact with the outside world and believes only he and Ma are real and alive. The other person Jack is aware of, though has little interaction with is a man he calls “Old Nick”, who Jack believes is only half real because he doesn’t live in Room. Viewers of the film understand that “Old Nick” is not a good man, as most nights he comes into Room, when Jack is supposed to be sleeping, and rapes Ma. Not long after Jack turns five, Ma comes to the decision that the two of them need to escape in order to get away from “Old Nick” and live a normal life. The movie is based on the 2010 Emma Donoghue novel of the same name. In this blog post I will be analyzing the character of Jack and the scene where Ma tries to kill herself; looking at how the film is different between the mediums and how it affects the story for both book and movie.

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