It’s been a while…

As the headline says, it has been a while. My first post in… (actually, I can’t be bothered looking at the date of my last post) a few months, at least. So just a few musings…

AVATAR: It has become the highest grossing movie of all time. I honestly don’t know what all the fuss is about. Went to see it in 3D, which was barely a redeeming factor, because there totally could have been more stuff coming out at you. The storyline was barely existent and very reminiscent of Pocahontas. I agree that the CG animation is amazing and if Avatar wins Oscars for its special effects, good on ’em. However, if it gets best picture, which is highly likely, I will be ashamed of the entire human race. I like movies which actually have a plot and storyline, flashy blue aliens just don’t do it for me. But, I can understand why people are going to see it in their droves – as James Cameron says in January’s issue of Empire: “Controversy is more interesting than agreement. Controversy fuels curiosity.”

BIG DAY OUT: A week before I was to drive to Auckland I was very much contemplating selling my ticket. Until about 9pm I still wished I had. But then Muse took the stage. A-MAZ-ING. I loved seeing them play super massive black hole live and the amount of energy they exerted on stage was addictive to watch and listen. A redeeming act to the hot, sweaty, un-exciting, day that was the Big Day Out. Oh and Rise Against were rad to see again, but the sound on their stage was unbelievably shit making it difficult for them to be amazing.

UP IN THE AIR: Two words: George. Clooney. And another: SWOON. Personally part of me wants to live like his character Ryan Bingham – nothing in my backpack because I burnt it all (you’ll get this reference if you go see the movie) and I totally want one of those awesome 10 million miles cards. What could be better than flying all around the US and staying in totally sweet hotels and getting paid for it? Anyway, it’s about a company that fires people, that is the business. So with the economic down turn, their business is booming. Anna Kendrick plays his protege of sorts Natalie Keener. She proves she is so much more than Twilight and will probably still be making movies when K-Stew has used up all her Twilight fame. Definitely worth a watch, if not several.

MY SISTER’S KEEPER: I was so frikin’ angry they changed the ending. HOW DARE THEY. Bad Hollywood etiquette. Changing a novel’s end to make it more film worthy. BAD HOLLYWOOD, BAD.

THE INFORMANT: WTF? Adds new meaning to Matt Damon (said in that retarded-team-america way). What a fucking idiot. Has an Austin Powers feel to it, but ultimately the movie is just bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: ZOMG. So good. 19th Century period England where they all fight zombies and were taught by ninjas. BRILLIANT. And of course there is Mr Darcy. Set to be turned in to a movie with Natalie Portman as Elizabeth. Can’t wait. Everytime I watch the 2005 film version of P&P I keep expecting zombies to jump out.

GLEE: TV Programme: amazing. Soundtrack No 1: amazing. Soundtrack No 2: amazing. Can’t wait for the second season. It’s like High School Musical but for adults. Oh and Cory Monteith who plays Finn is 28. Playing a 16-year-old. That’s just weird.

ANNOUNCED GIGS: Pixes announced a side show at The Powerstation on the 11th March and it sold out in 2 minutes. I didn’t even have a chance. However I have better things to do then, like The Backstreet Boys concert that’s happening at Vector. Then Cobra and Gaga. It will be a busy weekend. Paramore gig transferred locations to Waitakere Trusts Stadium in order to open up some more tickets because it sold out on the day and then the extra tickets sold out too. I am lucky enough to have one. Weeee! But still, gig’s now out west and not south, still does not make travel easy.

FALL OUT BOY: Chatter all week about Fall Out Boy officially breaking up because of some tweets sent by Pete and the gang saying they quit. Every band has to have a break at some point and that is what they are doing. They’ve recorded CD after CD and done nothing but tour for the last seven years. They’re on a break and they don’t know how long it will last. I’m going to take the come-backs-are-very-popular route. It gives me hope.

And hopefully this set of rants will have reinstated the weekly rant-athon and more regular postings.

Lisa out.

Books into movies – when will it stop?

It seems these days more and more films carry the catchphrase “based on the novel by [insert author’s name here]”. An increasing trend in Hollywood to turn best selling books in to a film version. More like Hollywood has run out of good ideas for movies so have to rely on best selling authors to provide them.

We all know it happens, the biggest franchises in recent years are Harry Potter, Twilight, and of course Lord of the Rings. But it goes deeper, it seems that every second movie out these days was originally a book. The Lovely Bones, The Time Travellers Wife, My Sister’s Keeper and Where The Wild Things Are – one of the best known children’s books – are all gracing the big screen over the summer.

But if we go back in movie making history it is a trend that has been growing in popularity. Pride and Prejudice – with several versions – Minority Report, Chocolat were all books before movies.  Even Shakespeare has had his fair share of work made into movies, mostly with a modern twist – 10 Things I Hate About You, O and Romeo and Juliet has been done numerous times. The two most well know: the 1968 version and Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 version.

Even the majority of Disney movies are based on the original fairy tales by The Brothers Grimm – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. But the original Cinderella contains much more violence – the stepsisters cut off their toes to fit the glass slipper and a bird pecks out their eyes, leaving them as blind beggars. But obviously being Disney it has been sensored for a younger audience.

Disney has also done an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, which has now being remade by Tim Burton. Then there’s Willy Wonka or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – books that have been made into movies and then a remake of the movie! And what about the comic books? I could go on forever naming movies that got their start in fiction.

Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Dode, Angels and Demons,The Bourne trilogy, The Devil Wears Prada – I think you get my point.

Where does it end? First sensoring for a younger audience, then changing small details, which ultimately leads to changing crucial parts of a story to make an easier film.

Now of course these books have amazing stories, but do they translate well to the big screen and do the story justice?

Graeme Tuckett of The Dominion Post put it best, “What works on paper has a way of falling over in an embarrassing mess on its way to the screen.” He is referring to the recently released The Vintner’s  Luck, which has not been getting the best reviews. In fact author Elizabeth Knox was extremely upset over Niki Caro’s (Whale Rider, North Country) film adaptation saying it departed from her original story a lot. Strike one for Hollywood.

This is exactly where film adaptations will be heading if Hollywood’s behaviour of taking books and making them into movies continues. In fact it has already started.

Personally I have not read The Bourne trilogy of books – I have them, just never read them. I like the movies, they are done well, but they are nothing, and I mean nothing, like the books says my father. In fact, he says, the only consistency with the books and the movies is that the lead character is named Jason Bourne. Strike two for Hollywood.

Now take Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for example. The makers have always done well to incorporate the long books in to two-and-a-half hours of movie. But there are some aspects that just grind my gears. At the beginning of Half Blood Prince, Harry is cursed on the train by Malfoy – in the movie, Luna Lovegood finds him, but in the book it is Tonks.

Now this is where it really bugs me – Tonks is in the movie, she appears at Christmas at the Burrow – would it have been so hard for them to stick to the book and have Tonks find Harry? It would make more sense and would allow the storyline of The Order of the Phoenix at Hogwarts to continue from the previous movie. The Order plays a big part in the fight agains Voldemort – there is a whole book called The Order of the Phoenix, FFS. So wouldn’t it have been better to carry this storyline on in to Half Blood Prince?

It wouldn’t be that hard for Tonks to appear on the train and say she was posted at Hogwarts for extra protection to students. And her appearance to find Harry would be more believable than Luna finding him. Firstly, Tonks searching the train can be explained with the extra security story line. With Luna, why was she still on the train in the first place? Why didn’t she get off at the same time as the other students? Secondly, Tonks fixing Harry’s nose would be more believable because she is an auror, therefore her knowing the spell to fix a broken nose and doing it sucessfully fits, she probably has had to fix a few of them in her time. With Luna fixing it successfully, when would she have practised? When a student is hurt at Hogwarts, they go to Madame Pomfrey, and Luna wouldn’t be able to fix them in the summer, as students are not allowed to use magic outside of school.

It is the small inconsistencies which lead to the major plot deviations. It would be relatively easy for them to follow the book. A similar situation happened in The Goblet of Fire – Neville gave Harry gillyweed instead of Dobby, in this situation it works better because there would have been extra animation time etc to incorporate Dobby, and in the book Rowling set it up so Neville had the answer anyway, therefore it is not a major deviation. But it is a slippery slope they are on.

If Hollywood are going to make books into movies, they need to make sure they follow the main points of the book and highlight the main plot lines. Case and point – The Twilight Saga. The movies follow the books very closely, if they were to deviate from the books, fans would not appreciate it and would ultimately lead to a flop – as shown with The Vintner’s Luck.

It does not seem like this new found trend is going to let up any time soon. Marian Keyes’ book Rachel’s Holiday is set to become a movie along with Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. We also have TWO Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies to come as well as Eclipse and – as much as they say it’s too difficult, it will happen – Breaking Dawn. And of course there is talks of Tin Tin and The Hobbit.

Maybe Hollywood has been onto something from the beginning – fiction authors always make better stories than screenwriters any day. Strike three and you’re out.