With Catching Fire coming out in a few months, I've been thinking about film adaptations of books and, although occasional, book adaptations of films. Sadly, I've been very disappointed with some of the adaptations I've seen and read but I've also been very impressed.
The Hunger Games vs. The Hunger Games (2012)
Suzanne Collins created a whole dystopian society with contextual background and managed to merge historical elements with futuristic fantasies which even managed to please my demanding English teacher. This reasonably short book was only 384 pages long but managed to suck you into this dystopia within the first few pages. Katniss is plunged into the Games after her sister, Primrose, is reaped in the games. Belonging to the poverty ridden District 12, nothing is suspected of Katniss but her fire pushes her and -- with the help of her fellow tribute and love interest Peeta, her mentor Haymitch, her stylist Cinna and her escort Effie -- Katniss is presented with sponsors lining up round the block and becomes the target of the career tributes.
This book is a must read, but the film? I'm not so sure. Gary Ross does an excellent job directing this film but it did not match what I expected. This epic book deserved an epic film but did not receive it. As a stand-alone film, it is superb. Unfortunately, a comparison to the book leaves the film in the dust. The fabulous acting from Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Woody Harrelson captured a little of the urgency which has me gripping my kindle too tightly with every read. I think this film and the rest of the trilogy, which are being turned into films, have great potential. I'm really excited for Catching Fire as it's my favourite of the books. I do have a love for Elizabeth Banks as Effie and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.
Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series vs. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)
This whole book series is perfect. Louise Rennison wrote the first in 1999 at the age of 48 and the last in 2009 at the age of 58. I find her age remarkable as I assumed she was about 27 and capturing the voice of a teenage girl so fully because it was about 10 years ago that she was a teenage girl. Georgia is the main protagonist. She is surrounded by the Ace Gang and the Barmy Army. Throughout the book series, she struggles to choose between Dave the Laugh, Robbie and Masimo. Luckily, she has the Ace Gang helping her. The Ace Gang are her best friends which consist of: Jas (Po), her fringed fool of a best friend, Rosie (RoRo), her future Viking bride best friend, Ellen, the Queen of Dithering and Mabs and Jools, who are the boy experts. There is then the Barmy Army who follow Dave and help him. The Barmy Army generally date the Ace Gang; Jools and Rollo, Mabs and Ed, Ellen and Dec, Rosie and Sven, Jas and Tom -- who are better known as Hunky and Po -- and then Dave and Georgia, who aren't dating but are just friends. These books capture the life of a teenage girl perfectly.
The film didn't do it for me. Aaron Johnson was a great actor but didn't quite capture Robbie's characterisation in the way that the books did. There was always something about Robbie that made you go "is this really happening?" He was the only normal character in the book but the film didn't quite do him justice. Georgia Groome is not who I would have cast as Georgia. I did not imagine her at all. That's the same with the other three of the Ace Gang that they included. They didn't include the Barmy Army, except for Tom, Dave and a brief bit of Sven, and the Aces were only Jas, Ellen, Rosie and Georgia. Tommy Bastow had the perfect look for Dave but just didn't portray the character right. Stalag 14 was supposed to be an all-girls school as well. That just wasn't quite right. The soundtrack was really good though!
Beautiful Creatures vs. Beautiful Creatures (2013)
I love dark fantasy romances like Beautiful Creatures. This was one of many books I read over the last three years. One after the other, I read loads of books. My favorites being House of Night novels (PC Cast and Kristen Cast) and Fallen novels (Lauren Kate). I thought those would be the first of my list to be turned into films but it turned out it was Beautiful Creatures that hit the cinemas first. I loved the book. I've read the second and I've got the third but haven't read it yet. Kami Garcia and Magaret Stohl created a whole world of Casters and everything. I was seriously impressed. I fell head over heels for Ethan and I wanted to be Lena. Macon was mysterious and I could see him with Amma, in a way. Aunt Del was so sweet and cute! These sorts of books are whole worlds, created as an escape for girls mainly. Lena was basically who I wanted to be, growing up. Long, black curly hair and I always wanted green eyes! Instead, I was blondey brown with hazel eyes; typical. Southern boy with southern manners, Ethan tries to help Lena and also help himself as he really does fall for her. My comparisons with the film are based on the actual characters and everything; the film wasn't as good as the book but it couldn't be as good as that book because it was just too good to match.
Lena is supposed to have long curly black hair, not medium length wavy (ish) brown hair. She had brown eyes in the film, not green. Her eyes are very important and they completely screwed that up. She just didn't have the main Lena features. Ethan was fine. Macon didn't look how I imagined at all. I imagined this really powerful looking gentleman. He could only be described as a gentleman because he was so refined and polished. Sharing sideways smiles with Lena and really being of southern hospitality without the catches that the Gatlin women seem to have. My main issue was with Ridley. I really think the actress who played Ridley had the right look but without the right look. She looks like Ridley without her qualities but I think Ridley should have had her bleach blonde hair with the cheeky wink and red lollipop. Her too short skirts and too revealing tops were part of her characterization but she didn't just walk around with a bit of lace on. She was too classy for that. I don't think this book was done justice at all.
The Hobbit vs. The Hobbit (2012)
So, when I saw the film I didn't realize it was in three parts so there will be some huge complaints about that. Right, onto my analysis on what's wrong and right with them; I loved the Hobbit when I read it and I loved The Lord of the Rings films. I haven't read the books, much to my shame. The Lord of the Rings films alone set a huge task for director, Peter Jackson, to live up to. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I'm told, was amazing and gripping to read and when I read The Hobbit for the first time, nearly eight years ago, I caught a glimpse of Middle Earth. I got really caught up in the fantasy of it; forever wanting to be an elf. Lord of the Rings was epic. That's how I can really class it; an epic fantasy. Peter Jackson set himself a really high bar after those three films. Having not liked Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean, I watched Lord of the Rings shortly after and could not believe it was the same actor. The legacy of Lord of the Rings was then set and we have had to wait 11 years for the Hobbit. This short book has been long awaited to be turned into a film and even then, this roughly 280 page book has been turned into three really long films. As I didn't know when I went to see the The Hobbit last December, I was really confused by the ending. I remember turning to the guy I went with and saying "I swear the book didn't end like that?" and he just looked at me and went "Um no, this is only the first part."
So being the idiot I am, I was like "Dude, it's in two parts?!" and he just shook his head, held up three fingers and just gave me a really mean look. The book is like 280 pages, why does it need to be in three parts?! And released really far apart? I can understand why The Hunger Games trilogy is three films and the Lord of the Rings trilogy is three films because they are three different books. Martin Freeman is a god of an actor for taking on the task of Bilbo. At least Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis have already played their roles in Lord of the Rings; all they have to do is look fabulous and remember their lines. Andy Serkis doesn't even have to look fabulous; he gets CGI-ed anyway! I think the effects are really good in this film but I'm not an expert so I'm just the sort of person who goes "Hey, that's pretty cool!" I really love Howard Shore's music score. I loved his intricate detailing so I feel he's actually made me appreciate the film more. At least it follows the storyline as well.
Also, the set is really beautiful and atmospheric so that really helps with the panoramic scenes.
Right, so I'm done now. I've given rather deep analytical explanations of why books rule here. I think I can firmly say that I've given good reasoning here and I haven't wasted my time. These are just some examples. I'm happy to do a follow up another time. But happy summer! Anyway!
All my love,
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