Books & Movies

So, I’ve been wanting to write about this kind of thing for a while. You’ll have to indulge me for a bit. It’s all completely and totally my opinion, but hey, that’s the point of this blog thing anyway.

I have finally read and watched enough of these books and movies to have a justifiable opinion on each of them. 🙂

As a preface, I am generally of the opinion that when you have a book and someone decides to make a movie out of it, the book is usually better, regardless of how good the movie is. It’s just kind of the way it usually works out. I’m sure there have been exceptions along the way, but that’s been my experience. The books/movies that I mentioned earlier are all parts of 3 different series’ (I assume that’s how you pluralize that word) and one of them is just one book with two different movie adaptations. They are as follows:  Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Pride and Prejudice. The last one looks kind of funny in a list with those others.

Jumping right into it…

Harry Potter… Oh, where to start. I am seriously in love with this series. I remember back when the first movie came out. My mom and brother had been reading the books and they said it would be one I liked, but I was skeptical. I decided I’d watch the first movie and I’d think about reading the books if I liked the movie. Well, I LOVED the movie. I think I was sold as soon as I saw Hogwarts come on the big screen the first time. I know I read the first 4 books within a week – and then pre-ordered the 5th and 6th book. For the 7th and final book, I was one of the crazies that was in line at WalMart at 11:59, right before it was ready to sell. I know I read it in 2 days and cried like I’d never cried before. It sounds silly, I know. I came across this quote on Pinterest the other day. I don’t know from where it originated, but it went something like this, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. A non-reader lives just one.” It is so very true. If you are someone who thoroughly enjoys getting lost in a book, then you understand what I mean when I say that you feel like you become part of the story. So, back to the books. I was utterly swept away by the plot, the characters, the scenery, and the writing! I love good English writing! I love reading books where you don’t have to worry about grammar issues and if you do come across them, it’s more than likely because the author was writing a part of a character’s dialogue. Literally, everything about this book series has been so incredible for me. And the movies! Now, of course, all these books are better than the movies because of all the detail and all the different story lines that are not always presented in the movies. However, these movies are quite good to stand alone. I know plenty of people who have never read the books, but have seen every movie and loved them. I have a confession though. I tend to be a bit of a book snob in that case. It rubs me the wrong way when someone says they loved Harry Potter but haven’t read ANY of the books. I can certainly appreciate that they like the movies. The movies are great! But don’t come to me telling me that you’re a big ol’ Potterhead when you can’t tell me who really ratted out the DA to Umbridge, or who Teddy Lupin was snogging at the end of the series.

Twilight… Well, I can say I jumped the bandwagon here. There were so many people who were reading it and talking about it, and to be honest, I’d never heard anything about it. It was 2008, so all of them had come out by then. Apparently, I was really late in the game on this one. So I read the first one. I got pretty caught up in it, so I bought the rest of them. I loved the story. It was really easy to read. Not taxing on the brain or anything, so I was able to breeze through them. Obviously, it wasn’t the best thing I’d ever read. No, that title is shared by all of Jane Austen’s novels and the Harry Potter books. It was a fluff series for me. The characters needed some more development, of course, but I liked the plot. I have always been intrigued by vampire stuff. I don’t really know why, but it’s just been one of those things that I like. I do have to say though, I really did NOT like the second book, New Moon. The whole depression/catatonic state that Bella went through was way too real for me. I may not have ever actually gone through something like that, but I have seen it happen and I just hated that he walked out. I mean, I wanted to throw the book at the wall when he left. So, I confess that whenever I pick up the series to re-read it, I skip over that part of the book. The writing was mediocre though. When they tell you that it was for young adults, they could probably reduce that to pre-teens in terms of difficulty level. The subject matter, of course, is not appropriate for pre-teens, but it would definitely not be a hard boo for them to follow. The movies in this case have left a lot to be desired. They’re not the worst movies ever, but they definitely aren’t the best. The first movie was really not good. It felt too disjointed and for some reason, the director didn’t think it was necessary to include that Edward actually said “I love you” to Bella. It is plainly in the book, and I personally felt like it should have been in the movie. The other movies have so far been better. It’s like they get better with each one. Nowhere near as good as Harry Potter, of course, but good enough for entertainment value.

The Hunger Games… I’ll admit that I’m a little new to this one too. To be honest, I was definitely not interested in picking these up at first. I wiki’d them and read the plot lines for each book and really just wasn’t impressed. It took my brother getting it for his iPad and loaning it to me via my kindle for PC to even read the first one. I have read all of them since then, but I can say that I really have a hard time figuring out my opinion on them. I kind of liked them, but it just seemed like so much was going on all the time and it was really disjointed all throughout the series. Too many loose ends didn’t get tied up. I understood that the heroine was basically in survivor mode the entire time. She never really “got” the whole romance and love thing because she’d been living with hunger and fear of dying from hunger all her life. I understood that though Gale was someone who would have been strong for her, Peeta was the one that represented hope of a better life. I can’t say I didn’t like them, but I can say that I wasn’t impressed. I don’t think they are as great as people were making them out to be. Her writing was just not great. It wasn’t awful, and to be honest, I think it was a bit better than the Twilight stuff in terms of writing. Now, at this time, they’ve only made the first movie of the series, but they will make the others. I watched the movie for the first time last week. I have to say, this is one of the times where I liked the movie better. It seemed like the writers of the screenplay took the biggest and most important parts of the book and made them flow together the way they probably should have in the books. I liked it very much and will probably watch the other two when they come out. I can’t say I’ll re-read the books though.

Lastly, Pride and Prejudice… You don’t honestly thing I’m going to say anything bad about an Austen novel, do you? If you do, you would be completely wrong! I had never read this until after I saw the 2005 movie with Kiera Knightley and Matthew McFadyen. I got so swept up in that movie that I just HAD to finally read the novel. I loved it so very much. The writing is superb and the character development is unparallelled. It is a literary classic for a reason, for sure! My main point here was to compare/contrast the tv/movie versions that I’ve seen. As mentioned above, I had seen the 2005 movie, but I kept hearing that I really should watch the 1995 BBC miniseries version with Colin Firth. I, of course, was in agreement. I love Colin Firth. So, I FINALLY got to watch it a month or so ago. It came on A&E (I think) one week. I did like it very much and I was VERY pleased to see that the 2005 movie version had a lot of the same dialogue. The 1995 version was not that much longer, so there wasn’t a lot of stuff that they didn’t put in there. I did have some issues with the ’95 version though. Not adaptation issues, but more like casting issues. The only actor whose name I know is Colin Firth though, so don’t expect me to list the names here. Colin Firth, of course was a wonderful Mr. Darcy. I am inclined to prefer Matthew McFadyen’s version, but the first one was very good as well. My real issues were with the ’95 casting of  Jane, Caroline Bingley, and Lady Catherine. According to the actual novel, Jane was supposed to be the beauty of the Bennett girls. All of them had their own beauty, of course, but Jane was supposed to be more beautiful than all of them. Well, whomever they have cast in the ’95 version did not meet that standard, IMHO. She was lovely, but I thought their Lizzie was much prettier than their Jane. The girl they cast as Jane in the ’05 version was much lovelier. I don’t even know where to start with Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine. These women were kind of vindictive characters and really majorly concerned with rank and stuff. The woman they cast for Caroline did not fit that role for me. I don’t think she did a good job and she certainly didn’t look the part. She was rather ridiculous looking. Lady Catherine was equally ridiculous looking. Not only that, but she didn’t sound nearly as dignified and self-righteous as she should have. It really looked like she was just play-acting. Now, Dame Judi Dench (who played Lady Catherine in the ’05 version) was all about her regal self. She did that part some justice. She wasn’t made a Dame for nothing! All in all, both versions were accurate representations of the novel, based on the dialogue that was included, but I have to say I was just so taken by the ’05 version that I do believe it is my absolute favorite.

And that concludes my book/movie review. 🙂 I know it was long and it’s okay if you didn’t even finish reading it. This has just been something I wanted to write about for a long time and I finally had the perfect opportunity.

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