Book to Movie: The Fault in Our Stars

TFiOS movie poster

TFiOS movie poster at The Cathay

I was pleasantly surprised when I checked movie schedules last Friday and saw that some cinemas had limited show times for The Fault in Our Stars. I found that surprising since movies here in Singapore usually do not have the same release date as the US. Since everyone else was talking about the film on Twitter, I wanted to grab the chance to see it as soon as I can. I watched the movie with a couple of friends on Saturday afternoon.

I thought it was a bit weird that Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort were cast as brother and sister in the movie adaptation of Divergent and then they’re cast as a couple in TFiOS. It didn’t bother me that much since Ansel didn’t have that big of a role in Divergent and Shailene really looks different in both films. After watching TFiOS, I can say that both actors did a good job in portraying the two main characters Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. They were believable as teens who have both led difficult lives because of cancer.

I really enjoyed watching the movie and I think it’s a good adaptation of the book. More often than not, the book is better than the movie version but in TFiOS’ case, I enjoyed reading/watching both. I’m not sure how involved John Green was in the production of the film but based on his social media posts, it seemed like he was there throughout the whole process. He was even supposed to have a cameo but the scene got deleted. Maybe the author’s constant presence had something to do with how well the film represented his book. All of the aspects of the book that I liked were also present in the movie, such as the humor, the smart conversations, the slow burn romance that started with friendship and a mutual love for a certain book. I’ve never been to Amsterdam so I loved the scenes that were filmed there, more so because the trip to Europe is a big deal for the two main characters. It’s a once in a lifetime kind of trip for the two of them.

I like it when there’s enough suspension of disbelief or I’m invested enough in the characters while reading a book or watching a movie that I get emotional. I cried when I read TFiOS back in 2011 and I got choked up and teary-eyed while watching the movie last weekend. I also smiled and laughed at certain scenes.

After seeing the movie, I have friends who asked whether I enjoyed watching it and would I recommend that they see it. I told them that yes, I thought it was a good movie but I recommend reading the book first. I do think TFiOS movie can stand well enough on its own but I think it’s more enjoyable if the moviegoer has read the book. It’s a quiet sort of movie that focuses on human interactions and emotions and I believe I was able to appreciate it because I’ve read the book and I was more familiar with the characters. Also, I have this preference of reading a book before watching a movie adaptation of it because I don’t want my reading experience to be influenced by the movie. But maybe that’s just my own thing.

What about the rest of you, did you go and watch TFiOS last weekend? What did you think of it?

TFiOS display at Kinokuniya

TFiOS display at Kinokuniya

Book to Movie: Catching Fire and Ender’s Game

It’s funny because last week I mentioned that I don’t get to see movies that often and yet this weekend, I was able to watch both Catching Fire and Ender’s Game. I haven’t reread these two books recently but I remember loving them when I first picked them up so of course, I was looking forward to the movie adaptations. So yes, I wasn’t able to work on book reviews this weekend because I watched movies instead! Good thing these movies are based on book so I can talk about them here on the blog. 🙂

Catching Fire movie poster

Good thing I had a friend that warned me that Catching Fire is a pretty long movie so I didn’t drink anything before seeing it because I didn’t want to get up in the middle of the movie to go to the bathroom! I thought the movie was done very well, the cast did a great job of portraying their characters. It felt like the whole movie stayed true to the essence of the book. It’s an action-packed film that was also filled to the brim with emotion. I think it’s the kind of movie that people will be able to appreciate even if they haven’t read the book (as long as they’ve seen the first movie). I felt like it took a while to get my head out of the Catching Fire world and I spent the next day searching for videos of cast interviews because I wanted to see more of them. I think JLaw is awesome and I’m pretty sure most of you will agree with me on this one.

Ender's Game movie poster

It’s been years since I read Ender’s Game but I remember thinking that it’s such a brilliant book and I was amazed by it even though I’m not much of a sci-fi reader. I haven’t had a chance to pick up the sequels and I’m wondering if I should do so if they’re going to make movie adaptations of them. Anyway, the Ender’s Game movie was less accurate than Catching Fire in terms of following the events and details of the book. Don’t get me wrong, Asa Butterfield was great as Ender but I was able to empathize more with book Ender rather than movie Ender. To be fair, there was a lot that happened in the book and they can’t include everything in the movie so they just squeezed in the most important events. Also, they had to make it less violent in order to appeal to a younger audience, I guess. I did like seeing the sci-fi setting come alive on the big screen. I had fun watching the kids in action in the battle school and command school. I watched the movie with a friend who just finished reading the book so I’m not sure how the movie will work with someone who hasn’t read the book.

Have you seen these two movies? If you have, what did you think of them? Did you read the books prior to watching the movies? Usually, I make a point of reading books before seeing their movie adaptations but there are so many movies based on books that are about to be released. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with everything so I’ll probably just stick to the ones I’m interested in. I’m currently in the middle of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because I want to read it before the movie comes out. How about the rest of you, do you also read books before watching movies?

Tricksters

I have a confession to make. I’m really behind when it comes to movies and TV shows because I spend most of my free time sleeping, reading or blogging. There are times when my friends would ask me to watch a movie and then I’d say that I won’t be able to join them because it’s a sequel for something that I haven’t seen yet. Anyway, I was really curious about Thor: The Dark World since so many people seemed to enjoy it. I watched the first Thor movie on Friday night so I could watch the sequel with my flatmates on Saturday (note that I still haven’t seen the Avengers, Captain America or any of the Iron Man movies). I’m talking about seeing these movies here on my blog tonight because they are the reason why I wasn’t able to read or blog this weekend. Also, I wanted to bring up something that I’m interested in.

Thor 2

I guess it’s not surprising that I thought Loki was such a great character in both Thor movies, I liked him a lot more than Thor. While I’m not really familiar with Norse mythology, I’ve seen Loki mentioned in other books before as the trickster god. I find gods (or even mortal characters) like that intriguing. I was reminded of how much I liked the trickster god Kyprioth in Tamora Pierce’s Daughter of the Lioness duology and I think most of you know that I’m a big fan of Eugenides, the patron god of thieves in Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst also has a trickster god called Korbyn but I kind of felt like he wasn’t as mischievous as the other two.

Loki from Thor

Image from Tumblr.

I Googled tricksters and found that Wikipedia has a definition of it:

The trickster deity breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously (for example, Loki) but usually with ultimately positive effects (though the trickster’s initial intentions may have been either positive or negative). Often, the bending/breaking of rules takes the form of tricks (e.g. Eris) or thievery. Tricksters can be cunning or foolish or both; they are often funny even when considered sacred or performing important cultural tasks. An example of this is the sacred Iktomi, whose role is to play tricks and games and by doing so raises awareness and acts as an equalizer.

I like how cunning tricksters are and how things will never get boring when they’re involved. Sometimes they’re good guys but they can also be villains and more often that not, it’s difficult to decipher what their intentions are. I brought it up here because I would be interested in hearing about other well-written fantasy novels or series that have tricksters in them since I only know of the titles I mentioned above. Have you read any other books that have trickster characters in them? Or maybe TV shows or movies? Are you interested in tricksters like I am or you don’t really care for them? As always, let me know what you guys think. Hope you all had a good weekend, I felt like it went by so fast.

Movie Review: Tangled

I know I usually don’t post anything non-book-related here on the blog but I couldn’t help but bring up Disney’s Tangled since I thoroughly enjoyed watching it yesterday. A fairy tale retelling with a thief as one of the main characters? Definitely my kind of thing. I’ve been waiting for this movie to be shown here in the Philippines since last year so when I found out that there’s an advanced screening yesterday, I headed off to watch it right after work. I grew up watching Disney’s princesses films so I have a soft spot for those and I’ll watch any princess film that they produce on the big screen.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with Rapunzel’s tale so there’s no need for me to fill you in. I like where Disney went with this retelling, coming up with a reasonable explanation for why Rapunzel was stolen as a baby and kept locked in a tower. Both the main characters – Rapunzel and Flynn – are fully fleshed out and very easy to like. Rapunzel is determined to be capable even if she doesn’t know much about the outside world and she manages to do just that, using her hair as a lasso (somewhat similar to Shannon Hale’s Rapunzel’s Revenge) and her frying pan as her weapon of choice. I’m thrilled by Disney’s choice of a male protagonist because as I’ve said often enough here on the blog, I have a certain fondness for thieves. Don’t get me wrong, princes are appealing and all but charming thieves have more character. There were moments of hilarity, typical in a film for kids, and I found myself chuckling along with the rest of the audience. But overall, I find the whole movie heartwarming and I’m sure there are a lot of things in the movie that adults will also find enjoyable. I highly recommend this film to anyone who’s interested in a fun and feel good movie, especially if you’re a fan of fairy tales. Tangled will be shown in cinemas in Manila by February 2.

Oh and here are the characters promoting reading because of a Read.gov campaign:

Aww isn’t that cute? Click here to watch the trailer, in case you haven’t seen it. LOL at the smolder.

Now I’m more curious about fairy tale retellings of Rapunzel. I’ve only read Zel by Donna Jo Napoli so if you have other suggestions, please let me know.

North and South

Last night, I was trying to work on more items for Bloggiesta when our internet connection started acting up. I couldn’t log on to any of the sites so I decided to put the revisions on hold and just watch North and South, which I’ve been wanting to watch for the longest time. North and South is BBC mini-series based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel about Margaret Hale, a middle class southerner who is forced to move to the northern town of Milton. Here’s a brief summary from IMDb:

This series operates on many levels. At the heart of the series is the tempestuous relationship between Margaret Hale, a young woman from a southern middle class family who finds herself uprooted to the north, and John Thornton, a formerly poverty-stricken cotton mill owner terrified of losing the viability of his business. Around them are class struggles between the workers and mill owners and ideological struggles between the industrial North and the agrarian South.

I can’t remember where I first heard about this mini-series but I’m pretty sure it’s from one of the book bloggers that I follow. I know that both Angie and Chelle are fans and I’m sure there are others out there. I was hesitant to watch it because I haven’t read Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel but you don’t need to read the book to understand the movie. To further cement my decision to watch this, it was brought up in one of my Goodreads group discussions. Since it’s a long weekend over here, I thought it would be good to settle down at one point and watch a movie that I’ve been eagerly anticipating. I wasn’t planning on watching the whole thing in one sitting. It has four parts and each is around an hour or so. I ended up staying up until 2am to finish the whole thing because I wanted more of Richard Armitage. ♥ This movie has a Pride and Prejudice vibe, with the main characters getting the wrong first impression of each other. Mr. Thornton also has the dark and brooding male protagonist down pat. The movie might seem a little grim because of the setting and the struggles of the workers but it has its sweet moments. My favorite scenes include the handshake, the “Look back” moment and the ending. If you’ve seen this, you know what I’m talking about. 🙂

Here’s a hilarious conversation between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton that Angie posted a while back. Now that I’ve seen the movie, I can appreciate it more. Which reminds me, I haven’t seen the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice! I’ve only seen the more modern movie adaptation and of course, I’ve read the book. So maybe I should watch it also before the weekend is out?

Look, I found this wallpaper from this site:

Oh Mr. Thornton! Doesn’t that make you more curious about the movie?