Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Carrie (2013): Book vs Film

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the new remake of Carrie and actually really enjoyed it. But how does it compare to the original Stephen King novel on which it's based?

For me, Stephen King is one of the greatest storytellers of our time. In Carrie, his first published novel, King proved he could not only get into the mindset of a teenage girl but that he could also go to incredibly dark places and weave a story together at a slow pace, leading to one of the most shocking endings ever written.

In the novel, King switches between the running story of Carrie and the reports done after the fact. Carrie's story is a tortured one. Firstly, she gets her first period and thinks she's dying, then she continues to struggle to deal with all the bullies at school. On top of that, she discovers that she has telekinetic powers. There's also her self-harming, religious fanatic mother to contend with!

It's a lot for her young shoulders to take but King moves fluidly between her 'present day' story and reports of what has come before. There are interview transcripts and reports from people who met her over the years like the neighbour who spoke briefly to Carrie when she was a toddler. There is more information on Carrie's life earlier life and more explanation as to what happened to her now absent father. By switching between the two, King paints a picture piece by piece and with every page, the reader better understands who Carrie is and her sheer strength at having managed to get this far! The story is not just hers but also that of her classmates: Sue Snell, who grows a conscience and decides it's time somebody did something nice for Carrie, and Chris who wants quite the opposite.

The book really builds to the now infamous explosive finale and, after the prom scene, has one of the most chilling deaths ever written - a death which has been changed for the purposes of both this film and the earlier 1970s version.

The main difference between book and film is that the film pays no attention to the backstory, choosing to interweave the key points - namely the relationship Carrie has with her mother - into the present without looking at the reports or stories found the book. The focus is very much on the here and now and, with it, the fundamentals of the story remain.

A massive change in this remake is that the story has been brought forward to our present day. The horrific bathroom scene which opens the story is now filmed on mobile phones and put on YouTube, something they obviously couldn't have done when King originally wrote the story. It works, however, and makes the film feel that much more current. The plot still resonates today so it makes sense to bring it up to date.

Chloë Moretz and Julianne Moore are both equally stunning in their respective roles as Carrie and her mother Margaret. The horror of both the psychological and physical damage Margaret inflicts on her daughter remains for the film, including one shocking use of a Bible! More is also made of Margaret's self-harming and the loving way in which Carrie tries to calm her moods. Moretz somehow manages to be both sweet and innocent and completely terrifying and handles the role with a maturity way beyond her years.

Overall, the film manages to remain loyal to the original but be brave enough to break new ground at the same time. The book remains utter perfection: endearing, horrifying and chilling.

Carrie is out in the UK Friday 29th November 2013. The book is available to buy now.

Book - 5/5
Film - 4/5

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Catching Fire: Book vs Film

*contains some spoilers*

My love of The Hunger Games is not exactly a secret but my enthusiasm for the books means that the films have a far higher bar to reach than others might. Fortunately, the filmmakers behind the first and second film in the series have done such a superb job at adapting Suzanne Collins's incredible novels that I doubt many fans will be disappointed.

Catching Fire sees Katniss and Peeta begin their victory tour and realise that the charade does not end when the tour does. As they struggle to convince President Snow they are actually in love, the lives of all those they hold dear are under threat.

All the major things you could hope to see are there in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Two new additions in the book who immediately became fan favourites - Johanna and Finnick - are captured superbly on screen by Jena Malone and Sam Claflin. Malone is hilarious and twisted and pulls off her spectacular lift scene with apparent ease. Claflin similarly appears to take portraying Finnick in his stride, providing both the charm, heart and cheekiness that Finnick requires - and that sugar cube scene.

There are of course going to be omissions but I find it is more a question of the feel of the piece - and of course the inclusion of pivotal scenes that define the characters. One big omission is that Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) doesn't get the backstory I so loved reading about in the novel. However, he remains a pivotal character in the story and the hilarious way Katniss wakes him at the start is still there for the fans to enjoy.

Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) undergoes one of the more notable transformations for the adaptation - for one thing, he can swim! It was a conscious decision by filmmakers to make Peeta a little less pathetic and 'nice' and it seems to have worked. The bond he shares with Katniss is unaltered and, though they don't really make too much of it, we do see them sleep by each other's side in order to keep the nightmares at bay.

Liam Hemsworth fans might be delighted to hear that he does get his shirt off - though it's not really the sexy scene many fans might have hoped for. His wounded portrayal of Gale, however, will no doubt still send many hearts aflutter.

Overall, the film remains beautifully true to the source text but is strong enough to stand on its own two feet and will appeal to both fans of the book and those new to the stories.

Book and film - 5 FOBLES

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The new adaptation (yes another one!) of Stephen King's Carrie is actually rather good!

I know, shocking. It manages to be faithful to what has come before but be brave enough to be its own film. The cast (namely Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore) are STUNNING and the infamous prom sequence is heart-pounding.

For my full review of the film, check out Filmoria and if you haven't yet read the book - do!

Just don't mess with the girl with telekinetic powers. It's not a good move.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Live Coverage to Air Worldwide of Special The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug event

A select group of Hobbit fans will soon be able to see some exclusive first look footage from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as they take part in a live Q&A with Director Peter Jackson and the cast from four different locations across the globe. The event, which celebrates the second of three releases based on the beloved Tolkien novel, will be taking place today on Monday 4th November at 10 p.m.-11.20 p.m. (UK time) and simultaneous times around the world. The event will also be streamed live online via the video below so even if you aren’t at the event in person, you can still share in the fun – though the extended footage will be edited.

In London, Edith Bowman will be joined by Lee Pace, Luke Evans and the legendary man behind Gollum, Andy Serkis. In New York, Richard Armitage and Orlando Bloom will be answering questions. Evangeline Lilly, who plays new Elf warrior Tauriel will be in Los Angeles and the man behind it all, Peter Jackson, will be in Wellington, New Zealand where all the films have been based.