Never Let Me Go [Book vs Movie]

Wow. I just finished watching Never Let Me Go. And wow. You might remember that I didn’t LOVE the book as much as everyone else. I don’t know what it was about the movie – the actors, the scenery, the score – that triggered what I think most people feel upon reading the book but I am SOLD. Kazuo Ishiguro, I take back any doubts I had about your storytelling ability. I want to read all of your books right now.

Carey Mulligan was wonderful. I was a little afraid Keira Knightly would outshine her but Keira Knightly did a surprisingly good job staying within her supporting character role. And Andrew Garfield was a perfect Tommy. The younger actors were just as good as their older counterparts. The music and the setting were both beautiful and haunting.

The movie followed the book very closely. I am glad that I read the book but I am even more glad that I watched the movie so that I could finally experience the Never Let Me Go that everyone told me about. This is a rare instance where I want to say the movie was better than the book. But  I really think the movie just enhanced the book for me.

Has anyone else seen Never Let Me Go? Thoughts?

Top Fives: 2010 Movies

In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t get to the movies that often and I always feel painfully behind the times whenever I watch an awards show. But I’m going to share with you my favorites anyway.

1. The Social Network

There was a lot of hype about The Social Network. At least 43 people told me how amazing it was before I went to see it. I figured there was no way it could live up to that hype. But it did. It really was amazing. It was thought-provoking, funny, and completely engrossing. All surrounding this intangible Thing that has become a part of our everyday lives. As my husband said when we left the theater, can Aaron Sorkin please write the script to my life and David Fincher direct it?







2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

Best Harry Potter movie yet? I think so. It tracked the book well, remained interesting despite some rather boring parameters to work in (camping, camping, camping), and somehow managed to make me fall in love with Harry Potter even more than I already had. Aside from one scene (the Harry/Hermione vision of Ron’s) I thought it was near perfect. Even at midnight on a school night.








3. Black Swan

There might be some recency effect going on here because I just saw this one last weekend, but I REALLY liked it. It was creepy in a way that I normally wouldn’t like (I do not like being scared at all) and if there hadn’t been ballet in it, I would have passed. But the ballet drew me in. Swan Lake is such a fantastic story and to see it reinterpreted and incorporated into this movie was fascinating. The acting was suburb, especially among the supporting cast. And while I’ve seen some digs regarding the actual ballet, I believed it (thanks to some fancy camera work, I’m sure).






4. Inception

Again, my list is a little predictable with its inclusion of Inception. But it was kind of a crazy-awesome movie. It was original and took a decent amount of mental focus to follow. Good acting, good directing, visually stunning. And what an ending, right?











5. Toy Story 3

I was twelve when the first Toy Story came out. I remember going to the theater to see it and being so late that I had to sit in the front corner and strain my neck the whole time. But I fell in love with Toy Story then and it continues to this day. I may be 27, but Toy Story 3 moved me just as much as the original did 15 years ago. Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the crew are always welcome in my life.

What were your favorite movies of 2010?

Stardust [Book v. Movie]

Time to reprise this feature. I actually listened to the audio of this one so perhaps it doesn’t quite fit the Book v. Movie feature but it’s my blog and I can make the rules.

Book: Absolutely adored it. I figured I would like it because it’s Neil Gaiman and he is basically a genius but I did not expect to fall in love with it like I did. Stardust is a fairy tale for adults, full of witches, faeries, kings, love, and magic. Tristran Thorne, half-faerie, goes in search of a fallen star to bring back to the girl he wants to marry. When he reaches the star, he encounters an unexpected surprise and the journey back to his village is full of adventure, passion, and deceit. This was the fantasy novel I was hoping The Eye of the World would be (plus it’s significantly shorter). The writing was beautiful and the language flowed. I was absolutely enchanted.

Movie: I really enjoyed the movie as well. There were some changes, as there usually are, but I think they worked. I loved the addition of the Captain Shakespeare storyline. I thought the casting was great and I loved being back in the land of Faerie. The book was definitely better, but I’d certainly recommend the movie as well.

Book: 5/5
Movie: 4/5

Julie and Julia [Book v. Movie]

I may be the last person on earth (or at least the blogosphere) to read Julie and Julia by Julie Powell despite the fact that I’ve been meaning to read it for quite some time. While I’m not a foodie like many of you, I did read My Life in France (for law school – weird, right?) and I adored it. But I was disappointed by Julie and Julia.  I didn’t like Julie. At all. I thought she was selfish and whiney and almost stopped reading about a third of the way through. I couldn’t imagine being Eric, her poor husband that had to put up with all of it. I know that people do like her because people read her blog and she must have been just as annoying then, but this book just wasn’t for me.

I did, however, enjoy the movie. The movie feels more like a mash-up of Julie and Julia and My Life in France. I thoroughly enjoyed the Julia scenes (how could you not love this woman?) and I like the movie version of Julie much better than the book (or rather the real life) version. This is one of those rare occasions where the movie is better than the book. See also, Charlie/Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Quick thoughts this morning, but I really don’t have much to say except that I disliked the book and liked the movie.

Alice in Wonderland [Book v. Movie]

This is not the version I have. Mine is from 1960 and therefore impossible to find an image of.

I thought I would start a new category of “reviews” for when I discuss both the book and its movie. Here is the inaugural post.

As I’ve previously mentioned, my book club read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass this month in anticipation for the new movie. On Sunday, we all met at the movie theater, watched the movie (the 3D-Imax version), and then headed over to Panera to discuss.

I have never read Alice in Wonderland before. Which surprises me a little considering how much I read when I was a kid. And I wish I had read this when I was younger because I think 9-year-old Michelle would have really enjoyed it. But 27-year-old Michelle is glad she finally did read it.

Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are nonsense books that contain quirky characters, witty wordplay, and, although it may not seem so at first glance, an underlying theme about growing up. I actually enjoyed Through the Looking Glass more – even though I was the only one in my book club who felt that way. It’s hard to describe these books and they are better experienced than reviewed.

On to the movie. Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland was in fact wonderful. The movie takes place years after the events in the books when Alice is a young adult on the verge of being married. Once again she follows a rabbit through the rabbit hole and is thrust into the role of savior of Underland (what she called Wonderland as a child). The film is visually stunning and the characters are marvelously imagined. There is some artistic license given – the red queen from TTLG and the queen of hearts from AIW are combined into one and the mad hatter (how can you not love Johnny Depp?) is given a prominent role despite his relatively brief scene in the book. Oh, and the costumes are fantastic.

I’ve heard some negative opinions of the film and I don’t entirely know why. It isn’t like the books, so maybe that’s what people were expecting, but I was thoroughly entertained. It reminded me a lot of Hook (one of my favorite movies). Both feature the grown-up version of the main character from the book who must return to the fairytale land of their childhood. Neither remember their earlier adventures and both must take on a role they don’t think they want yet clearly destined for.

I definitely recommend the movie.

Everything Austen #2: Mansfield Park

Back in July, I joined the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word.  You can read about my challenge list here.  So far I have not done a good job convincing myself that I will actually finish the challenge as originally planned (or at all).  It is the middle of October and I’ve only completed two items.  I’m having a hard time getting through Pride and Prejudice and don’t want to push it because I love the book too much.  There is no way I’m going to be able to read both the original and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by the end of the year.  But, I will keep doing what I can and maybe swap out a few books for movies in the end (I feel like a high school student).

I did watch Mansfield Park recently.  I really didn’t care for the book when I read it last year, so I wanted to give the story another chance to gain my good opinion.  I can say that I enjoyed the movie more than the book, but I’m still not in love with it and it is still by far my least favorite Austen novel.

In order to make the movie likeable at all, they had to make Fanny Price likeable.  She drove me crazy in the book and they changed her in the movie.  But by making her stronger, I think they failed to show how much she loved Edmund all her life.

Speaking of, the whole cousins-raised-as-siblings love story didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable as reading the book did.  I actually found myself cheering for them.  And the scene when they are driving back to Mansfield Park and they hold hands and Edmund falls asleep on her shoulder – it gave me butterflies.

A few of the things that I liked best about the book were changed.  Her relationship with her brother – that was changed to her sister.  Sir Thomas’ interest in her when he returns from Antigua was there but not really.  And some of the character quirks in Mrs. Norris’ awful ways and Mr. Rushworth’s self-love.  Also, I don’t remember the slave-trade playing a large role in the book but perhaps I overlooked it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I watched this movie over a period of three days and was getting ready for work or ironing throughout the whole thing, so I may not have gotten the full movie experience.  But I’m glad I saw it and got a chance to reevaluate Mansfield Park.  Perhaps I don’t dislike it quite as much as I used to.