One Day – Two Hours I’ll Never Get Back

Posted in Badaptation with tags on August 30, 2011 by danakenedy

One Day is yearly snapshots into the lives of Dexter and Emma from their early twenties to late thirties. We get a look at their ups and downs, missed chances and bad decisions over the years.

I adored the novel. I laughed out loud several times and cried like a little girl who got her pink My Little Pony stolen.

It worked wonderfully on paper. The juxtaposition of character development each year was shocking and brilliant when presented in neighbouring chapters.  However, on screen it made for a choppy film.

When turning the pages, it was an epic romance about two people growing up together denying their love for each other.  In the theatre, it ended up being a slightly boring love story about two twenty-five year-olds who look twenty-five for twenty years.

The problem, I believe, is scriptwriter David Nicholls who just so happens to be the author of the novel. The movie was a close adaptation. Very close.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with that if it works. But it didn’t.

He seemed scared to alter his precious story, resulting in a lengthy, jumpy mess.

He didn’t have the outsider’s look at the story. This was his creation, his baby, and he probably wanted to keep the story as similar as possible to the book.

Playing the two leads are Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.  The pair were decent as Emma and Dexter when they were not on screen at the same time.  Together, I couldn’t buy the romance.  It seemed so wrong that these two should date, though while reading I couldn’t wait for them to end up together.

Upon learning Lone Scherfig would take the helm, I relaxed, thinking the movie would be a masterpiece.  She did such a breathtaking job with An Education – one of my favourites – but I felt none of her brilliance in One Day.

However, the flow from late 80s clothing to 2011 was seamless.  To see the change in pop culture and fashion in each snapshot was a visual aspect I didn’t experience while reading, so props must be given to costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux.

One Day is a wonderful example of an author who writes a successful book and then hi-jacks the movie production.  A fresh set of eyes may have saved the project – if only Nicholls hadn’t commandeered it.

Something Borrowed: It’s a wedding pun. How hilarious.

Posted in Badaptation on July 13, 2011 by danakenedy

Something Borrowed.  A book with the theme: It’s okay to sleep with your best friend’s fiancé if she’s a bitch.  A book where the ‘Man of our dreams’ is an asshat and strings along both girls, yet the author still puts him on a pedestal.  A book where the characters are unlikable and unrelatable.

And to top it all off, it was a dull read as well.  Instead of itching to find out what happens next, I kept counting down the pages until it was over so I could read something worthwile.

The movie was much better for the sole purpose that it takes less time to watch than to read the book.  However, I’d avoid both.  Life is too short to spend time and money on Emily Giffin’s creation.

Ginnifer Goodwin plays Rachel, the lead girl who sleeps with Dex, Darcy’s husband to be.  Now, I love me some Ginnifer.  That girl is adorable and gorgeous, so why did they cast her as a girl whom everyone describes as plain, average and scruffy?  You have to back up your dialogue.  Just because you say it, doesn’t make it true.

I can understand if her appearance was altered to make her look those things, but she looked fantastic.  Far more gorgeous than Kate Hudson (Darcy, The Hot One), who looked about 45 and in dire need of some AA meetings.

The flat dialogue was made even worse by the bad acting.  Every time someone spoke, it sounded like they were reading from a script, not feeling what their characters were feeling.  Nothing about the script was new or refreshing; it was so conventional that my boyfriend was able to predict the dialogue before the actors spoke the words.

Pretty much every Chick Lit/Chick Flick set in New York includes a scene where everybody takes a trip to The Hamptons.  Yay, how original!

Really, it was just an excuse to have musical montage of a group of 30-year-olds acting like 18 -year-olds drinking without parental supervision for the first time.  It also created the opportunity to give more screen time to one of the most awful and disgusting characters I’ve come across: Dex’s friend Marcus.  

I wish burning the pages he appears in would abolish him from my memory and the movie.  Unfortunately, that didn’t work, so they cast the always annoying Steve Howey – Van from Reba.

To get a picture of Marcus’ character, there’s a wonderful (sarcasm) scene where he tells Rachel how he can’t “get it up” when thinking of her because he associates her with failure.  She finds it charming and giggles.

I just can’t believe people watched the final cut of this film and said, “This is great!  It’s finished.  Let’s release it.”

The only good feelings I have about Something Borrowed were the fantastic chocolate cookies I had to eat halfway through to stop my brain from hurting and the Radiohead song that played near the end.

Save a few hours of your life before you waste it like I did and stay away from both the novel and film.  Perhaps stay away from Emily Giffin altogether.

Twilight: more appropriately titled Stockholme Syndrome

Posted in Badaptation on June 16, 2011 by danakenedy

My overall thought of this movie: A big giant LOL to the power of LMAO.

Generally when a book is laughably horrible, the movie tends to better.  You don’t think it could get any worse.  So, since Twilight holds The Worst Book Ever Award from yours truly, I figured it was about time I sit down and watch the film.  I thought maybe – a small, tiny, miniscule maybe – it might redeem my hatred of Stephenie Meyer’s abysmal contribution to the literary world.

My theory was proven wrong, this movie was worse than the novel.  It was just an all around bad.  And not the good kind of Big Trouble in Little China bad, the I can’t believe people were proud to attach their names to this project bad.

The novel is written in first person point of view, meaning I got to read what Bella was thinking.  All.  The.  Time.  If anything, I thought the movie would be better because of the lack of narration, except there was narration.  Far more than any movie that isn’t told in flashbacks should have.

Let’s look at the two leads: Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen.

Kristen Stewart is devoid of any facial expressions except looking drunk and Robert Pattinson sounds like an actor who is trying to cover up his accent with another… Oh, wait.

Because both Bella and Edward were such flat, two-dimensional characters in Meyer’s novel, these poor actors had nothing to build off.  Though that could have been fixed with a great director who understood the book and had a feel for what these characters were going through.  Too bad they never found this fantastic director.

However, Kristen Stewart does have a scene-stealing performance.  Near the end, she has a fantastically convincing orgasm.  It’s just a shame Bella was actually supposed to be in pain and not experiencing sexual climax.

Near the end, there is a dramatic scene where Edward has to suck vampire venom out of Bella. Then the drama turns to hilarity because a song starts playing.  A song where the singer sounds like a drunken trucker who was just given a microphone and is unsure what sound he wants to make next so he makes them all at once.

I just learned that this drunk trucker singer is in fact Robert Pattinson.  Oh, look what the YouTube Gods just blessed me with:

The whole film was a fail fest.  It felt cheap and rushed, like they couldn’t be bothered to do more takes of scenes that needed reshooting or find the right music to evoke the correct emotional response.

So many things were silly: vampires looked photoshopped due to their paleness, the shimmering sound in the sunlight, weird and unflattering camera angles in the ‘say it’ scene, disconnect between background music and what’s on the screen, and Pattinson’s “I feel… Very… Protective… Of you…” line.

I hope those who are fans of the novels are smart enough to realise this was a cheap adaptation shot just to make money off the fans.  If these filmmakers actually cared about the novel they were filming, they would have put more effort in their work.

Movies should differ from the book

Posted in Harry Potter, opinion with tags , , on April 26, 2011 by danakenedy

Orginally written for the The Chronicle. Do movies always have to follow the book religiously? I don’t think so.
—–

Walking out of a movie theatre, we’ve all heard the phrase, “That was nothing like the book.”

Moviegoers tend to judge adaptations on how closely the film follows the book, but does the movie always have to be the same? If it’s different than the novel it was based on, does that make it a bad movie? I don’t think it does.

Films and novels are so different that to use every scene in a novel would be nearly impossible. Much information is embedded within the pages of a book, but a movie only has about two hours to translate all that onto the screen. Cuts are inevitable.

Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park

A movie can be great, yet also differ from the book.

Look at Jurassic Park. It is one of the highest grossing movies in history, yet it was vastly different than Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name. People lived in the movie who should have died, characters were disregarded, subplots removed and new storylines added.

Yes, as an adaptation it is horrible, but as a movie it is amazing. The combination of a stellar cast, strong direction and tight screen writing amounted to its success – not how rigorously it followed the novel.

Part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released in November of last year. While the main plot followed the novel closely, the smaller subplots were altered, added or removed.

Most notably missing was Remus Lupin’s plea to join Harry, Ron and Hermione on their quest to search for the remaining horcruxes.

However, the deletion of smaller storylines like that makes room for new scenes that weren’t in J.K. Rowling’s novel. If that scene was kept in the movie, then there may not have been enough room for standout scenes like Harry and Hermione’s awkward dance. It was adorable and was a great addition for character development.

I may be in the minority, but I love when new scenes are added. It is like a slightly different version of my favourite book.

Cast of BBC's Dirk Gently

The BBC recently made a TV movie of Douglas Adam’s novel Dirk Gently Hollistic Detective Agency. Like Jurassic Park, it was different – completely different. Character relationships changed: siblings became unrelated and romantically involved instead of brother and sister.

Also, the major plot point of the novel was altered drastically so the film focused on a new plot that was a creation of the screenwriter’s, not Douglas Adams’.

However, I don’t ever remember laughing so much. It was hilarious and captured the spirit of Douglas Adams’ random humour flawlessly.

People need to separate books from movies; they are two different mediums. A scene in a book may not translate well onto the screen for it can take chapters for plots to unfold. Removing the fluffy subplot serves to make the pacing of the movie smoother.

A movie is essentially a filmmaker’s interpretation of a book, and everyone’s interpretation differs. What the director sees may not be what you see. It’s no use getting your panties in a knot over something so trivial and abstract.

If you were truly offended by an adaptation, just wait 15 years until another director gives it a try.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has arrived

Posted in Radaptation with tags , , , , on November 27, 2010 by danakenedy

The beginning of the end has arrived. Part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hit theatres worldwide on Nov. 19.

I was worried it would fall flat, ruin the conclusion of the Potter phenomenon. Thankfully, it was not disappointing. Yes, scenes were cut that will inhibit character development of secondary characters, but it was tastefully put together.

Several actors stood out more than others and they were not the three main characters.

First, Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) managed to win at life more than he usually does. Despite his disappointingly limited screen time, he still made my inner fangirl squeal at his arrogant drawl.

Secondly, Bill Nighy, who plays Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour, was brilliant. His twitchiness was perfect for the part of a man who knows he is marked for death.

Lastly, Rhys Ifans plays Xenophilius Lovegood and is more than fitting for the role. He was the perfect equilibrium between pleasantly insane and desperate.

I was impressed with how true they managed to stay to J.K. Rowling’s novel. Also, there were additional scenes that were not in the book, but I felt they added to the films development. Harry and Hermione’s dance scene was wonderfully awkward and shows how close the two are.

Potter fans will be pleased with this film. The hard part will be waiting for part two to be released, but when it does, that will be the end of Harry Potter.

I don’t know if I will be able to come to terms with that.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Will it be epic?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 12, 2010 by danakenedy

Part 1 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will hit theatres on Nov. 19. A tiny part of me doesn’t want this movie to come out. Once it does, there will be only one more Harry Potter film left and then the franchise is over. Finished. Forever.

I grew up with Harry Potter. I spent my childhood, teens, and adult life reading and rereading the series. J.K. Rowling unknowingly shaped my future; if it weren’t for her books, I wouldn’t be reading and I most certainly wouldn’t be writing. I owe her everything.

I am excited and terrified at the same time for its release. Deathly Hallows contains such an epic, emotional story line. Will the filmmakers do it justice? Will it get the special treatment it deserves? Or will it fall to pieces, making the conclusion of the series anti-climatic?

It’s all in filmmakers’ hands. It is a tough job to take such a beloved book and turn it into a movie that the majority of people will love. The series has been treated well thus far. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Humber College film school graduate and professional filmmaker Chase McConnell has some opinions on adapting a book into a movie. Click to listen to the interview:

Movies to books: why they fail

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 6, 2010 by danakenedy

Image by Dana Kenedy

Books get turned into films quite often.  However, the transition from movie to book isn’t as frequent.

When I read a book, it gets personal.  I see what the characters see, feel what they feel; it’s almost as though I become the character.  A good book will keep me reading until the end, but a great book will cause occasional panic attacks because I think what is happening in the novel is happening to me.

After reading a great book, I will wallow in self pity because it is finished.  I had invested so much time turning those hundreds of pages and now it’s over.  That’s just not fair.

Image by Dana Kenedy

With movies, there is a disconnect between the characters and me.  When one is done well, I will feel sympathy/hate/joy for said characters, but it’s never as involved as it is with books.  Perhaps it is because I spent only two hours watching a movie and seven hours reading a book?

When authors try and take something that’s already disconnected and write a novel with it, it seems forced, empty, and ridiculously bad.

All the popular fandoms have them: Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, even Back to the Future. And I have read several novelizations from each of them.  The writing is horrible, the characterization is bland, and the plots are generally predictable.

So, maybe it is easier to draw from emotions in a book than it is from a movie.  Or maybe I’ve just been unlucky with movie to book transitions.

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