Monthly Archives: June 2014

“Breaking Dawn” Movie and Book Review

When I first started reading “Breaking Dawn” I was surprised at how the movie and book… didn’t match up. I was an hour into the movie and only 1/8 into the book, but I was at the same location story wise in both. This worried me that eventually there would be a large portion of book not included in the movie. Strangely, the opposite proved true. The movie had additional scenes that the book did not! This didn’t change the meaning or story at all.
I completely understand why the scenes, two action scenes plus a more elaborate wedding, were added. A movie needs some fight scenes. And the book… deprives of you that. So the action scene at the end of “Breaking Dawn, Part 1” was a much “cooler” way to convey the message of Jacob imprinting on the baby, than how the book just says, it happened and now we are all buddy-buddy with the wolves. Same for the action scene at the end of “Part 2”. The book was kind of a letdown, all talk and no action, if you will. It was a very tense few chapters and you end up feeling disappointed rather than relieved when they resolve things peacefully. Really? All that build up for NOTHING? So I am glad they decided to put in an action scene in the movie.
The book did come full circle. If you’ve read my first review of “Twilight” you’ll see how I believe Bella had no choice but to love Edward. As a predator, he is made to lure people in, people feel drawn and attracted to him. The child Edward and Bella have, take it to a whole new level. She is almost like a siren. EVERYONE loves her; if her super good looks and adorable childlike face don’t win you over, she’ll just touch your face, and mentally make you love her. The book doesn’t say this, but if you think about it, it’s what she’s doing. Did you notice, not a single person can NOT like her?
This brings us to poor Jacob. I get that we are supposed to think that Jacob and Nessie are destined to be together. But… I can’t help but think that little Nessie the siren, would have triggered the imprinting instinct on the first wolf she met. It’s about survival, have you noticed everything about her, promotes her ability to survive? She was doing it from conception, making Bella refuse to give her up, and Bella super suffered for that kid. It would make sense if the kid was working her mojo from inside the womb, since she started working it on everyone else, as soon as she was able. So anyway, imprinting on Jacob, pretty sure Nessie forced that on Jacob so the wolves would be on her side.
It felt wrong how so many of Jacob’s people were turning into Werewolves because there were so many vampires in the area. And they didn’t get to kill a single one. The story didn’t make me feel like it was bad guys (vampires) turning good. And I didn’t feel excited or glad that they (vampires/werewolves) were working together. To me, it was a clever twisted way for the bad guys to make the good guys impotent. Vampires eat people, the Werewolves are supposed to hunt and kill the vampires. This movie; makes it so the Vampires are back on top of the food chain now.
There’s no good morals to be found here. Not in my opinion. As magical as everything is, we could have tried to make all the Vampires into “vegetarians” ie “animal eaters” or something. So the ending of the story wasn’t a complete loss. Instead all the murderous vampires go on their merry way. And we are left with this super awesome siren who makes people love her, prevents werewolves from hunting vampires and, oh yeah, she likes human blood too. GREAT. Happy ending? Not if you ask me.
So… do I recommend this book? No. I struggled through “Eclipse” hoping “Breaking Dawn” would make up for it. But it didn’t. Think about it this way, the two movies that span this book are each 2 hours long and they added in about 30 minutes of material that wasn’t in this book. Everything that was in the book, made it into the movie. So… yeah, the 192,196 word count, 775 page novel… is full of lots of pointless talk and internal thoughts. Cause the entire huge ass book, fit easily into a three and half hour movie. A book that long… shouldn’t have; it should have been six hours at least.

“Eclipse” movie and book review

The beginning of “Eclipse” was very slow and I struggled to get into the story. I think it was because a large amount of time was spent getting the reader spun up on the events from the last two books. Basically the first 100 pages were a drag. I finally had to start skimming the pages or I was going to end up giving up on the book altogether. This is the first time I’ve had that problem with Stephanie Meyer’s books. I never skipped any material in “Twilight” or “New Moon”. But I sure did in this one. I want to say by chapter four things picked up more and I was able to get back into the story.
Again, I am reading this book almost simultaneously with the movie. The flashback scenes with the Cullen family are the only big thing that seems to be out of order. The rearrangement is acceptable though, because the shuffling of things works well to condense down the plot.
My problem… is how Sam and Leah are Werewolves from the get-go in the movie. But they are not in the book. I actually like the dynamics it creates by having them be wolves from the get-go. There was no real reason to drag it out and not have them be. I didn’t think the “awe” factor that the author was trying to create in the book was worth it. So I preferred how they worked this dynamic into the movie from the start instead of saving it for a surprise later.
The book had another “dragging” point for me; a twenty-six page chapter about the ins and outs to why they can’t have sex. I think it wins the award for the longest non-sexual bedroom scene in a book, ever. Very drawn out and boring.
The last chapter in the book truly surprised me. I was worried when I saw that Stephanie Meyer had chosen to change points of view and speak from Jacob’s perspective. This was done in the 3rd book in the Divergent and Fifty Shades trilogies. And both… horribly failed at it. I was expecting the same flaws; either a Jacob that sounded identical to Bella or a strange cardboard-stereotype that seems fake. But no… Meyer got it right and I felt like I was now inside Jacob’s head. And not only that, but for the FIRST time I actually felt connected to a character. During all three of these books, I have been reading them like an emotionless zombie, completely detached from what Bella is going through. But FINALLY, reading the pain that Jacob was going through and getting a taste of the pack mentality, Meyer managed to reach me and make me get a little teary eyed. Consider me impressed.
I still have a hard time recommending this book to people to read. Normally I’d lean toward a recommendation because as the reader you are already two books invested. But… this book really did drag on. If you are okay with saying farewell to the characters after the first two books, I’d so go ahead and quit while you are ahead. You’ll learn some history in book 3 about the characters but honestly… it’ll take you days if not weeks to read it and you’ll find yourself getting bored. I usually finish books in a day, this one took me three… and it wasn’t entirely due to its extravagant length.
I’m hoping book 4, “Breaking Dawn” makes up for book 3. People are telling me it’s the best in the series. So… check out my review on that book and maybe it will help you decide if muddling through book 3 is worth it.

“New Moon” book and movie review

These books are really long… as are the movies. I actually started reading a chapter, then watching a scene in the movie, so that I could take breaks but still make progress, lol. Yes, people told me this process was a bit odd. But the movie and book follow each other fairly well so this was easy to do. There are a few scenes in a different order or combined, something that a person would probably only notice if they were doing this scene/by chapter stuff like I was.
As with the first book, the movie now makes so much more sense. I understand the bond that formed between Jacob and Bella when Edward was gone. And the anguish that Bella feels when Edward is gone is much more vivid. Still… after the reading the entire book, the reasons behind Edward leaving are still just weird. I sorta get the meaning, but the more it’s dissected in the book, the more… stupid and silly it becomes. The comparisons between Romeo and Juliet are frequent in the book. And really, I don’t think they apply to the scenario nearly as much as Meyer wants us to believe.
I was hoping the book would explain the ghostly Edward visions that Bella sees when she is in danger. But… in the book it’s actually concluded that it’s all in Bella’s head. Edward wasn’t reaching out to her at all. Some people who have written movie reviews said comments like, “why doesn’t Edward use this power more?” They obviously haven’t read the book… It’s not a power he has. Bella is just hallucinating.
Another point that I never got is that the Werewolves are only in each other’s heads when they are in wolf form. Totally not what I got from the movies. But it’s stated clearly in the book. And it makes sense, would def help them “talk” to each other when they are in wolf form. And they wouldn’t need this form of communication in human form.
One thing that bothered me was that the wolves can block Alice’s power… but not Edward? I would think if they were immune or blocked one vampire’s gift, they would be able to block them all. Yet another preference Meyer made that I don’t agree with, just like I still think everyone’s powers are a little more excessive than they need to be.
But Meyer did keep her wonderful descriptions in place. I have never been to Italy, so I don’t know firsthand how well her descriptions of the country are. But it seemed very accurate to me. She is definitely skilled at describing her characters and the environments they are in. Again, this is what keeps her books believable, even though the characters are doing utterly fantastical things.
If you made it through “Twilight” I’d say proceeding and reading book 2 in the saga is worth it. But it does drag on with an internal monologue in a quite a few parts, otherwise, no real complaints.

“Twilight” movie and book review

I decided to finally give the “Twilight” Saga books a try. After years of hearing about how good they are and after having read books that I’m told are based on them, fan-fiction rewrites, ect. I cracked open “Twilight” and was… well quite surprised.
The novel is very well written. Even keeping in mind that this was the author’s debut novel, there wasn’t much left to improve upon. Divergent, Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Gray, all books that to me, appeal to the same audience, (granted Fifty took it to the X level) were written sloppily in comparison.
The movie took on a whole new level of meaning for me after I read the book. Scenes that before seemed pointless were now more clearly understood. Characters were more defined and their actions made more sense. The sparkling in the sunlight thing, was still a bit off, but whatever, I get that she was trying to do a “oh shiny” dumbstruck attraction thing.
I did struggle a little with the supernatural aspects of the book. I felt like the powers she was giving people were not believable and to some degree, unnecessary. But Stephanie Meyer did a good job of making the world realistic and believable, by putting in things that we can all relate too. For example, I could tell Meyer has lived in Phoenix and probably somewhere where it rained a lot, and snowed, because she is so graphic at describing it. Unless you’ve lived in a desert, you would never think to comment that the green is what’s wrong in the environment. But as someone who lived for several years in Arizona, I know exactly what she is talking about. I can only hope that the parts of her book that take place in other countries, prove to be as equally believable. When an author writes about a place she has never actually been… you can usually tell. And so far, I feel like Meyer has been to the places her characters have.
And Edward… his personality is not like that in the movie. I can’t believe people didn’t complain more about this. I always thought he was stone cold/serious. But in the book he seems more lighthearted. Almost mean, cause he’s always laughing at people’s expense, even Bella. So he’s kind of a jerk… which is probably why they changed his character up for the movie. Cause… he would have come across as quite an A-hole. In the book it works okay, cause you have Bella’s internal monologue telling you how smitten she is, so you go along with it. Very few of us probably stop to think, no… wait, that’s kind of jerkish and creepy. And even if we do realize this, we also have to the face the fact that Edward can “dazzle” whoever he wants because he’s a predator made to lure in his victims. So even if Bella didn’t want to like him, she kinda has too.
Overall I’d say if you’ve been avoiding the Twilight books because of some bias, like me, who simply didn’t want to read a book that crazed teens drool over. Get over it and give the books a try. Yes, the vampires are different than what we are used too, but it makes the story more original. You will appreciate the movies more, the books are def more put together than the movie. I would say… the movies were wrote for people who had read the books.
This really isn’t a love story… not when you start looking at the details. It’s really about a deadly predator that forces all his victims (humans) to helplessly fall in love with him and one day he decides to “play” with his food instead of eating it because… well maybe he’s bored or something. But it’s still a good read.

Maleficent movie review

I had high hopes for Maleficent. The back story of the evil Disney villain was finally going to be told. And for the first twenty minutes I was tracking, thoroughly engaged. However, I was quickly annoyed at how much narration was needed, the ominous voice telling you the story, kept interrupting the flow… usually you only see that for the first few scenes. (The original animated movie did this, but kept it to the intro of the movie) But the voice kept coming back, making me wonder when the story was actually going to slow down and let the story unravel instead of just giving me alluring scenes and then pausing to tell me what they meant.

I was willing to accept this new style of movie narration up until one flaw that I just couldn’t get over. The King, Maleficent’s friend who has betrayed her, is made out to be someone who hates the fairies and the entire magical realm that they are from. All the humans do actually. He even wants to refuse the three good fairies who come to bless his newborn baby. And his wife has to convince him it’s okay. (which again, why is she okay with this? Her father HATED the magical creatures) But then, suddenly, after Maleficent shows up and curses his baby… the King thinks his baby’s best option is to go live with the three good fairies? Really? This kid means so much to him that he, a king, begs Maleficent on his knees to not hurt her. But then he’s cool with just giving her up for sixteen years to go live with strangers?

And then the three fairies are made out to be completely incompetent in raising her. Which again, why did the dad decide this was the best choice? I get that they wanted to stick with the original Disney cartoon, but in the cartoon the King liked the fairies. And Maleficent was not once raised by these same fairies that now are somehow siding with the king over her? Wha-at? I don’t even know why the fairies went to the event. Did they not know how the king has been attacking their magical realm and that he was the reason Maleficent turned bad?

So the whole relationship between the king and three fairies made no sense. I get that another reason the director wanted to have the fairies raise Aurora was because he needed her to be around Maleficent so they could bond. But, to me, this could have been accomplished by just having Aurora run off occasionally from the castle and go into the woods, where Maleficent is. Boom, done, easy, and no confusing alliance with the fairies. I mean, there were plenty of problems at home that would have made Aurora want to run away once in a while to escape the madness.

If the plot had changed up this problem, I might have been able to hang in there for the whole story and maybe even enjoyed it. But then it just got predictable. “Frozen” already showed us that True Love’s kiss doesn’t have to be a boy-girl in love thing. So it was highly predictable when it was Maleficent’s motherly love kiss that awakens Aurora. The death of the king, by “accident” was also highly predictable. How many times must I watch the hero refuse to kill the bad guy, and then the bad guy attacks and falls to his death as our hero tries to save them? Give me a different ending please.

Now after all that, I’m not saying the movie is bad. Visually it is stunning. And from what I understand the director’s background is in visual effects, so it makes sense that the movie shined in this aspect. I loved the personality the raven was given. And I thoroughly enjoyed the acting and appearance of Angelina Jolie. So if you want to see some amazing special effects and costumes, go see Maleficent. However, if you are a fan of “Sleeping Beauty” and want to see another side of the classic… I’d skip the movie. Really, if you want a movie with plot… Maleficent is not for you. I seriously spent the last hour of the movie annoyed at the stupid narration, that yes, continued, and the unexplained relationship with the fairies and king. If the movie had been longer than 90minutes… I would have gotten up and left.