Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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A film adaptation too far

I enjoy watching films and I love reading books. It is normal that films would take a lot of their ideas from books and create adaptations. There is a theory that there are only seven stories in terms of plot. Everything usually follows these storylines and embellishes them to create something different.

I usually have nothing against film adaptions. I quite like watching them, and I tend to enjoy them because I wholeheartedly accept that it will never be as good as the book. Sometimes a film will surprise me, usually it doesn’t. But it’s okay, you’re imagination has no limitations. Film still does even with all the special effects.

There are some film adaptions I wish I could remove from my brain together. The Golden Compass was probably the WORST book to film ever. Not just because the books are magnificent but because it seemed clear that the book had not been read properly by anyone in charge of said film.

It makes me angry just thinking about it.

You may or may not have heard that Life of Pi has been made into a film and is being released in the UK on Thursday 20 November. This is worrying me a great amount.

Life of Pi is the best book I have ever read. It resonated deeply with me and it is unafraid of tackling heavy subjects whilst crazy events take place. It is a phenomenal read and a book I am consistently recommending to people.

Yann Martel was able to truly capture the reader’s imagination and I think the story is made to be read, envisioned and felt rather than seen. The film will never, ever live up to the book. I do not doubt that the film will be good and enjoyable at the very least. A strong story will usually always make an enjoyable film. But I can’t help but feel this is a film adaption too far.

Nothing is off limits in Hollywood. Creativity knows no bounds (nor does the greed of financial want) but some things are better left in their original forms. The way they were intended to be. I am no traditionalist but I can’t help but feel that Life of Pi is just one of those books, one of those narratives, that works better and is more effective when everything is not handed over on a silver platter.

It’s hard to describe a book that makes you think, leaves you guessing and makes you feel like something in the world has changed once you’ve finished reading it. I know a film can do the same but it isn’t the same.

Reading a book is personal. You will read it in a different way to how others will. You will see the characters, hear their voices, experience their trials and tribulations in a different way. Reading is a far more personal journey which is why people are so attached to their books. I doubt there is anyone that treats their DVDs in the same way that you would treat your books, not because of how much they cost but because of what they mean to you.

A film cannot do this in the same way as a book. It’s just the way it is.

Life of Pi is very much one of those books that is personal. Maybe because of the way it is written or the way Pi speaks to the reader in the novel. A film adaptation will lose this, it will lose the storytelling aspect, the effect of having to imagine such an incredible journey. It’ll all be there for you to see, you don’t even need to think about it. Just watch and go home. Nothing changes.

I hope I’m wrong. The trailer does look brilliant and I’m sure the film will be a box office hit but I can’t help feel that it’s just one film adaptation too far.


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Females according to the entertainment industry

Women make up approximately 50% of the population. If you’re not a woman, then through the process of elimination, it’s fair for me to assume you’re a man. I appreciate that some people do not consider themselves to belong to a certain gender. However, I’m not talking about those lovely people.

Women are every bit as complex as men. We’re humans, half the time we don’t know how we feel and we change our minds as often as we brush our teeth. In reality then we can all agree that women and men both reach the same levels of complexity because after all: we’re all people. But I’m confused because, according to the majority of the entertainment industry and a lot of women’s magazine (I don’t read enough men’s magazines to make a fair judgement) there are only a limited number of women. All seem to have been made to not seem ‘threatening’ to their female counterparts or ‘intimidating’ to their male ones.

Since my course doesn’t start until September and there’s only so many application forms you can fill before wanting to repeatedly bash your head against the wall until it, or you, breaks; I’ve been watching films. I like films. Films make me happy. The representation of women in films however, doesn’t make me as happy.

Females according to the entertainment industry are pretty one dimensional. Even if they have a ‘hidden’ side to them, it’s easily uncovered by a sexy male lead and a candlelit dinner.

So here are the females according to the entertainment industry, in particular rom-coms. If you believe you are completely like any of these women then stop selling yourself short. If any guys reading this believe that some of their female friends are exactly like the women I’m about to describe: don’t be ignorant and stop selling them short. Enjoy the list. Don’t let your brain explode with the frustration.

The teeny tiny woman who eats more than an obese man

This lady is skinnier than a healthy thirteen year old. Yet she is filmed in many of the films’s scenes stuffing her face. She’s usually eating something that would make Beyonce gain weight within a few minutes, even with the Single Ladies dance. You never see her actually finish a meal and you hear her family and friends mention her eating habits several times during the film; heaven forbid she should stop wearing children’s clothes. Anyway squealing ensues, she takes a big bite out of something, eats with her mouth open, and then the scene cuts and we go to the man that she will eventually kiss with her skinny lips as he wraps his arms around her super small, almost non existent, waist.

The best friend that would have a personality if she had her own life

Ah the best friend! She doesn’t have a life, has a hopeless love life and is more interested in the many dramas of the main female than her own life. She talks about sex, is always friggin’ hilarious with her brilliant one liners. She’s not as good as the main female character obviously, heaven forbid that women can be friends and equals. This Best Friend gives pretty good advice and yet, by a viewers calculations, her life is empty – as empty as her head.

The whimsical fairy type girl

Firstly I would like to point out that, in the real world, this girl does not exist. She only goes for obscenely boring and miserable male lead characters and shows them once again the beauty of a life. Like a child, only grown up so it’s not weird to fancy her. She is quirky and weird for weird’s sake. She’s like a fairytale character and decides to do spontaneous things on a whim. She is free, cannot be pinned down and apparently happy (although it’s just an assumption rather than actually implied). She doesn’t seem to have a home, a background or a family. But who cares? She’s only a woman. In real life she would be homeless, in a mental institution or a cartoon.

The workaholic 

This woman is very, very serious. After all, career women are very, very serious. She does not have a boyfriend because who would want someone that cared about her professional progression so much? She always has her hair tied up to make her look very, very serious. She does not smile and she’s a little bit socially awkward. Obviously the most important thing about the workaholic is that she is unsatisfied about her fabulous life. Why? Because she hasn’t found love. Duh! Oh and it is also important to remember that the workaholic does not know how to have fun.

The arty farty and child type

I’ve put these two in the same lovely bold heading because there’s not much to say about these two types of females. A lot of women in rom coms work in an art gallery or paint. When she actually talks about art, which is very little considering how much she loves it, you realise she (nor the person that wrote her script) understands anything about art. And that’s coming from someone who knows very little about art. The child type is the woman who teaches very little, cute but annoying children. The children all love her, mainly because she never gets to teach them. They’re either playing or when the lesson begins she’s interrupted by the main male character. These women are ALWAYS interrupted at work: not like they’re doing anything important anyway.

How my brain feels at seeing women portrayed as one dimensional dolls in films that are targeted at a female audience. What kind of sicko does that?


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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the best books I have ever read. It is pure luxury, captivating descriptions, beautiful characters and a story so good I kind of wish it were true (even the sad bits). I have read this book at various points in my life, when I’ve been feeling lonely and homesick; excited; happy; bored; loved up and each time it still speaks to me. If books were made of gold, this one would be one big, magnificent lump of the stuff. It’s indulgence, sophistication and intrigue. The Great Gatsby is one of the best stories ever written. I won’t hear of any disagreements to what my stubborn mind takes as fact: The Great Gatsby rocks.

One of the hundreds of Great Gatsby covers around. I like this one though, not sure why.

When I heard that there was a modern adaption of one of the books I love coming up, I felt nervous. Most book lovers do when they hear something they read is coming out in film form. It’s a nervous time. Nothing beats our imaginations, in our heads anything can happen, everything can be created; even the imperfections are perfections in their imperfect way. When I heard The Great Gatsby was going to be made into a new film (coming out this Christmas) I was more nervous than I’d normally be.

Hollywood likes to change things, adapt it, make it more fancy and more OTT than it needs to be. F. Scott Fitzgerald already has that in The Great Gatsby, it’s already all of that and more. How can you really get better than what Mr Fitzgerald has written? Any grander and you’re too close to the ridiculous to be able to dispute it. The intrigue that Jay Gatsby creates is so well balanced, that the clumsily majority of Hollywood were, in my opinion, at serious risk of breaking the whole thing into millions of beautiful crystal pieces.

I watched the trailer today after reading The Great Gatsby not so long ago that it’s still fresh in my mind like the smell of newly cut grass. I was apprehensive and YouTube took ages to load intensifying the whole thing for me. Damn technology. After watching the trailer, I’m no longer nervous – just very, very excited. Those three minutes gave me butterflies (sad but true), it looks brilliant and from the little we get to see, the film adaption seems to be sticking pretty close to the story itself. YAY!

In a word it looks magnificent. The director is none other than Baz Luhrmann. He has directed things such as Romeo + Juliet (the one with Leonardo DiCaprio), Moulin Rouge and Australia and all those films are awesome, I am only expecting wonderful things from this. I’m so excited for it that, wait for it, I am actually looking forward to winter coming. I never thought I’d say that. I feel like I’ve cheated on summer a little by saying that but it proves my excitement.

The casting, in my humble opinion, is pretty good too. I think Leonardo DiCaprio will make a great Gatsby (pun unintended), and Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan as Nick and Daisy respectively works really well. Carey Mulligan seems to exude the same sort of naive intelligent innocence that I think Daisy shows in the book. Honestly, seeing this trailer has made my day; and they say Friday 13th is unlucky!

I do recommend that if you haven’t already, read the book before you watch the film. The Great Gatsby is honestly a brilliant read and you’ll find yourself going through a range of emotions in a very short space of time. After all, The Great Gatsby is a skinny book. It packs a punch though, and if the trailer is anything to go by so will the film.

I could wet my pants with happiness. Here’s the trailer, enjoy.

 


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I watched Twilight

I watched the second film in the Twilight franchise last weekend. I have been deliberating ever since if I should talk about it as I know there are a LOT of fans out there that would probably strongly disagree with my views regarding the film. But I realised I couldn’t not talk about it, not because it’s so good that it needs promotion (it gets enough of that) but because I’ve never seen a movie where absolutely nothing happens in such a bland way.

I should say that I have read all the Twilight books. They’re not great but I guess I can appreciate the appeal a story like that would have on the audience. Meyer’s writing leaves a lot to be desired I feel, but if you’re a reader you tend to also have an imagination; therefore the books can be forgiven if they’re not as great as some of their other fantasy-young adventure counterparts. A film however takes away that imagination aspect because it gives you the images. A film hands you the story on a silver platter, if it’s a good film it’ll make you work for the platter and even then won’t give you the whole thing. Twilight, New Moon doesn’t do this but I feel it’s important to point out anyway.

The book is the weakest in the collection anyway but I was intrigued to watch the film when it was on TV purely to see why it had divided opinion so harshly. Well, I watched it. It was boring, worse than the book in fact. Which is strange because from watching some of the actors in other films I believe they’re okay, some good, actors. I think it was a combination of the wrong music for the atmosphere they were trying to create, bad scripts and wrong timing on the part of the actors as well as a really poor delivery of almost every line. Fair enough they didn’t have much to play with but surely that would mean they would have scope to create something brilliant. The CGI wolves weren’t very good either, although I agreed on their size: werewolves are big, they just shouldn’t look like they belong in a CBBC cartoon.

I know many loved the films but when you’re a fan, you make that thing like family be it a band an actor – whatever. You love it and accept it, warts and all. Twilight, New Moon is definitely one of those warts. I was never moved, not when Edward leaves Bella or when they’re reunited. It doesn’t help that I find Kirsten Stewart’s character really bloody annoying. What kind of self respecting woman behaves like such a zombie. You want him, go fight for him or get a hobby and move on. Don’t just sit in a room, do something! Which shouldn’t include trying to kill yourself so you can hear his voice, or see his face. Geez.

The fact is Twilight, New Moon is dull. The most emotion I was able to give to the film was when I realised I still had an hour and a half left. I’m no quitter and watched it until the end but I wasn’t happy. The film just seems to be lacking that something that makes you take something from it; be it a thought, an idea, a feeling; I don’t know, something.

Twilight, New Moon just shows you a depressed eighteen year old that has a fear of ageing (could be because of society, as well as her want to look as young as her 100 and something year old boyfriend). She is stupid enough to believe he is leaving her even though he says he loves her all the time. This means one of two things: she thinks he’s lying about loving her which means she’s happy dating a liar and she’s happy to love someone that she doesn’t think loves her back. That’s weird. I know love makes you do stupid things (I’m one of those suckers in love) but come on! That’s just ridiculous.

In the books, obsession rather than love is depicted, at least in the second book. I don’t know if this was done on purpose or if it was accidental to make Bella such a needy individual but still, that’s the way it is. The film isn’t able to conjure feelings of love or obsession – friendship is barely made clear.

The reason I know it’s a bad film and why I know I will never be watching it again is quite simple. Firstly nothing happens, which is obviously something that you hope won’t actually transgress in a film: nothing. Secondly, it’s boring. Everything is bland, like it was created by uninspired people who wanted to get to the better books. Nothing stirs anything in you, it doesn’t move you, it’s just there. A moving picture on TV saying something that goes in one ear and out of another. Lastly I don’t feel anything for this film, I don’t hate it and I don’t like it. It’s that bad that it hasn’t actually stirred an opinion in me (arguable considering I wrote this post though). I don’t really know what to think of it. It’s just there, a film I watched. In a word, it’s just meh.

So yeah, um I watched Twilight.