Maybe this is the literary movie of the year?

Well, another well-known novel is made into a movie this year. Like The Great Gatsby and Les Misérables, it’s a book that I haven’t read – but plan to read even though I don’t own this one.

Take a look at this amazing, 6 minutes long trailer. Unfortunately, I can’t embed it since it has been taken down from youtube. But click the link and watch the beautiful trailer to Cloud Atlas, the novel by David Mitchell, starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving and with Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant and many others. It premieres in October and after watching that trailer, I really have to get my hands on the book and read it and then watch the movie. It looks fascinating and stunning and I really can’t wait to read it and watch it!

Is this just the year for making movies out of great books? This could make for a very interesting Academy Awards next year!

Official site.

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Literary movie of the year?

Or at least the one, I’m most excited about.

Oh yeah, baby. Look how beautiful this trailer is? It’s so gorgeous!

And yes, I know Les Miserables is out this year too and The Great Gatsby as well – but I haven’t read either of these (yet – I own both of them), and I have read Life of Pi and I know that Ang Lee, the director, is able to make extremely beautiful and aesthetically pleasing movies – as this trailer is a proof of.

So I’m excited. This one, I have to see! In a cinema! So grandparents, get ready. When this one comes to a theater near me, I’m going!

Anybody else excited?

The Hunger Games – the movie

For the first time in a couple of years, my boyfriend and I was at the cinema last night and actually got to see a movie, eat popcorn and candy and drink cola – all the things one should do when going to the movies. And of course we chose this year’s probably most talked about movie – The Hunger Games.

I’ve read several reviews of this movie and most have been favorably, some even stating that the movie was better than the book.

Our impression was a bit different. Even though we both enjoyed the movie, we didn’t feel that it surpassed the book. Now, it’s been a while since I read the book but my boyfriend just read it, so we could discuss it from both these points of views.

Like some of the Harry Potter movies as well as The Golden Compas, this movie benefits from having read the book first. There are some things that are not quite clear in the movie, since it only has a bit more than two hours to tell the entire story. I feel that  for instance the character of Haymitch Abernathy, while perfectly portrayed by Woody Harrelson, changes from being not willing to help Katniss and Peeta to suddenly doing everything in his power to help them. If you haven’t read the book, I’m not sure you will pick up on him being a drunk and not only just enjoying a few drinks on the ride back to Capitol.

Also, the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale is only hinted at in the movie – it isn’t really elaborated on. I guess this will be one of the things we’ll learn more about in the the following movies.

I also missed getting to know more about the tributes. Only a few tributes are more than just future deaths. We don’t have any clue about who they are.

Also, I felt that when Peeta decides he wants to be trained alone, it’s not explained but just put in there to make his announcement of his love for Katniss more effective – but it doesn’t make sense in the movie version that he makes that decision.

I found one of the truly creepy things about the book was towards the end, when the mutts come and they each resemble one of the falling tributes. They didn’t in the movie and I missed that. I did hovewer love watching the gamekeepers at work – I found that to be so effective how they can change the fate of a tribute so easily but starting a fire, bringing down a tree etc.

So the movie is definitely worth watching. The aesthetics and visual qualities of Capitol are truly incredible and striking. They are so avant-garde and the people of Capital behaves so outrageously in their celebration of the games, that the difference between the outer districts and the Capitol really comes through. For them, it’s only a game, the highlight of their year, while to the people of the districts who give up the sons and daughters, it’s a question about life and death.

One thing the movie did exceptionally well was put focus on how much of the Games are decided outside the arena by how many gifts the tributes each got but also – and especially – by how President Snow and the gamekeepers saw fit to have the Games played. This political part was so interesting to follow and the movie nailed this. I’m looking forward to seeing more to Donald Sutherland as President Snow in the following movies.

Also, the character of Rue played by Amandla Stendberg was so sweet and innocent. You really felt for this little girl being put into this arena and it was very believable that Katniss started to take care of her – and that Rue took care of Katniss first. Katniss’ sorrow when Rue dies is portrayed beautifully, her singing of the lullaby as well as taking the time to bring flowers to the dead Rue is heartbreaking.

In fact, this movie contained some wonderful performances by several actors. As stated earlier, Woody Harrelson was perfectly cast. I thought Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was great as well and the little we saw of Liam Hernsworth’s Gale worked too. But my favorite of all was Stanley Tucci. Now, I have had a lot of respect for Stanley Tucci since seeing him in Murder One but he’s so amazing with his blue ponytail in this movie that the scenes with him are some of my favorites. He was just so good! What we did get to see of Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket was great too – she was perfectly dressed for the part and played it so well.

Bottomline is that I was greatly entertained by the movie, I was happy to see it – but the books are better.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood – the 2012 BBC adaption

In honor of the Dickens Bicentenary, BBC created an adaption of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Well, not only an adaption, in fact they had crime writer Gwyneth Hughes finish where Dickens left off. The BBC version comes in two parts – the first part is (mostly) based on Dickens’ own words, the second part is (mostly) based on Gwyneth Hughes’ ideas about how it should all come together in the end.

Before you read one, I must give a warning – there will be spoilers below. Spoilers regarding both the book as well as the tv series. I’ll try to keep them to a minimum but there will be some.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, part 1 (as written by Charles Dickens)

Now, I’ve just finished reading The Mystery of Edwin Drood so my impression of it is very much at the front of my mind and there are differences between my impressions of the characters and the BBC version’s impressions. For instance, I find Edwin Drood to be more of a silly young man, eager for his fun, in the tv series than in the book – also, he doesn’t go to Mr. Grewgious, instead Mr. Grewgious goes to see him after having talked with Rosa, which makes rather a huge difference in the way Rosa and Edwin each see their relationship (but which will make sense after watching episode 2). I find Rosa more resourceful from the beginning than she is in the book and maybe Helena Landless less so. And the Princess Puffer actually gets to confront John Jasper in this version before she warns Edwin.

The opium-induced dreams John Jasper keeps having where he strangles Edwin Drood, is shown from the very start in the tv movie where I don’t believe we’re giving insights into these visions that early in the book. Also, his fondling the silk scarf he wears, is also pointing to him being the guilty part.

For Neville and Edwin’s walk together on that fateful night, they don’t go down by the river as in the book, they go to the cathedral – which actually makes more sense given John Jasper’s late night walk with Durdles. And – very surprising – we get to see the murder of Edwin Drood so there’s no doubt as to who did it – one should think.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, part 2 (as written by Gwyneth Hughes)

So it’s not as much Edwin’s who’s missing in the beginning of part 2 as his body – opening up the mystery if he’s really dead or not. But the ring, the ring which is so important since Jasper John doesn’t know about it’s existence, is found by the young boy, Deputy, and then given to Durdles – hinting strongly that Edwin Drood is in fact dead.

So what we know is that John Jasper, being heavily influenced by opium and alcohol, is the one who strangled Edwin – but maybe he didn’t strangle him enough. In this, Hughes seem to follow the defense in The Case against John Jasper for the Murder of Edwin Drood where no one has any doubts that Jasper had both motive and intent to kill his nephew but where the entire defense rests on the idea that Jasper, because of his opium addiction, didn’t finish the job – even though he thought he did.

But all we have as evidence for the murder of Edwin Drood is the ring found by Deputy and Jasper’s memories – which are muddled, to say the least. This second episode has more twists and turns than I would have ever imagined and it is perfectly wonderful and is definitely one serious attempt to solve The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It shows us who Dick Datchery is, it tells us what happens to Helena and Neville Landless and who they really are, it solves the murder of Edwin Drood. Although not in the way it is expected. Or at least that I expected.

In Conclusion:

Although there are some discrepancies between the novel and the tv series, these are what you expect. This tv series has done a great job of bringing to life Dickens’ last mystery. My only real complaint is that as I understood it, the first episode should be as it is written by Dickens – and although I accept the minor changes as being necessary when bringing a book to life on the tv screen, I think the ending with it’s changed location and especially with the showing of the murder, is not what Dickens wrote and therefore, should have been left for part 2. If you’re not familiar with the book, I would not be surprised if people would wonder what all the fuss was about since clearly, Dickens has shown the murderer. That’s the only let-down I find in this otherwise excellent first episode.

Parts of episode 2 are also taken from the book, so clearly, it was impossible to sustain a clear divide between the book and what Hughes has written when translating it into this other medium which is a shame since the idea of first showing exactly what Dickens envisioned and then letting someone continue it for him – in his spirit – was an excellent one.

After having watched both episodes, I must say I’m in awe. Hughes has clearly stepped up to the task and has written a finish to this mystery that is so excellent that I was left speechless and just staring at the screen at times. It’s not what I had imagined, my solution was so much simpler, but I think this is more in the spirit of Dickens with twists and turns and long lost relatives and more.

I very much enjoyed watching this mini-series and I recommend it to everyone. BBC does excellent period dramas (my favorite is still Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth) and this is another example, not to be missed.

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