Film vs Novel – Sahara

An action hero to rival James Bond that I’d love to see more of.

Sahara Film vs Novel Review by Casey Carlisle

I loved both the film and the book (maybe the book a little more) The Dirk Pitt Franchise is something I’ve indulged in for nearly twenty years – with a taste for action, marine adventures littered with historical facts, and scientific information, Clive Cussler hits the right spot. Dirk Pitt has the swagger of James Bond, but the ruggedness of Indianna Jones. I only wish that a film franchise was born from these great novels.
Yes, the stories are very ‘Hollywood’ – fantastical and a little sexist, but it has a certain comical charm mixed in with the outrageous adventure stories. Sahara does not disappoint – Although I tend to love the novels more focused around underwater adventures, this one had the usual espionage and plot for world domination and equally nefarious baddies.
Casting choices for the movie felt strange to me – I pictured Dirk Pitt with more of a rugged handsome sea captain of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stature, and Al Giordion was always described as a short, stocky Italian man with a head full of black curly locks… and well Penelope Cruiz… I’m not a fan. So I went into the film with trepidation, but my passion for the Dirk Pitt series transposed into the film and saved it from total disappointment.

Sahara Film vs Novel Review Pic 1 by Casey Carlisle

Steve Zahn, who played Al Giordino has to be the stand out performance – not only did he make the character his own, but managed to capture the essence of Al. There were always those comical one liners and moments in the novel that Steve played out beautifully. A total unexpected surprise. Al Giordino 2.0!
Something that I have never said when comparing a novel to a film, is that the pacing and action scene are pretty well matched. Movies tend to overdramatise with explosions, soundtracks, special effects and camera angles – I felt this remained respectful to the storyline and didn’t make it too cheesy (although there is an amount of cheese in Dirk Pitt novels, and I love that irony… think James Bond, we expect a certain amount of predictability and campness.)
You don’t get to glean tid-bits of information from the film as you do in the book – I know I had mentioned in my comparison of Outlander by Diana Gabaladon that they had become a little tiresome and longwinded in her books; Cussler keeps his factoids simple and concise, enhancing the adventure further as Dirk Macguyer’s his way out of sticky situations.
The movie also lost a bit of that tongue-in-cheek comedy with the action scenes the book had (but I can understand why – Sahara would have turned into something like The Pink Panther and lost its edge)
I’d recommend this if you enjoy action adventure stories – think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, think Goonies (shout out to Speilberg!). And even though it’s pretty close, I must say I prefer the novel… the Dirk Pitt on the written page was much more impressive.

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle
© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Book Review – Hourglass

Hourglass Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

One hour to rewrite the past…
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants to be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organisation called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her to help prevent a death that never should’ve happened?

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I was fascinated with Hourglass from the get-go. Unfortunately I didn’t get decent chunks of time to read this in a couple of sittings like I wanted to – moving across country had me consuming sometimes single pages at a time before having to abandon it for more serious real life issues.

 

The premise is great, and with a common thread of things being revealed as not as they first seem, I was surprised and delighted many times throughout this novel. The only predictable aspect to this book was the love story – everything else came at me from left-field.

 

The narration is bang-on, not too old or young in relation to the main character, with just the right amount of naivety and swagger. Emmerson brings a delicate strength as the protagonist amongst a plethora of sporty, balls-to-the-wall types littering YA of recent times.

 

One aspect of Hourglass that did annoy me somewhat, was the typical brooding and angsty love interest of Michael – not that I don’t like these types of male leads (because I love them) – it was the motivation behind his behaviour felt a little weak (upon the reveal… but don’t worry, no spoilers here).

 

Pacing was great. At first I was concerned that there would be many long descriptions of Emmerson’s visions from the first two encounters, but thankfully, they remained brief as the story just kept getting better and better.

 

A sucker for science fiction novels grounded in real theoretical science and physics, Hourglass played with concepts in a way that didn’t feel tired or overdone. But it’s not heavy on the sci-fi part, it’s more like a love story / mystery with science fiction elements.

 

Although not really comparable to titles like The of Unbecoming Mara Dyer by Michele Hodkin and The Host by Stephenie Meyer, the storytelling elements are similar, so if you enjoyed those, I recommend picking up Hourglass.

 

The first in a series, I’m definitely aching to begin the sequel Timepiece!

Hourglass Book Review Pic 1 by Casey Carlisle
Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When do you write? How do your write?

Where dou you write by Casey Carlisle

Hermit writers, coffee huggers, napkin scribes… we all have our own way of spanking our inner moppet.

I have colleagues that can write anywhere, but for me that only happens when I’m in ‘the zone,’ a sink hole could open up and suck down the entire block and I’d be none the wiser. Unfortunately those moments (of manic writing) aren’t so frequent.

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If I have my earphones and cell phone, while listening to whatever playlist I’m in the mood for, it enhances my ability to shut out the world and focus. The tram on the way to and from work was the best place for me to utilise some downtime. Sometimes in the park, library or a café. I think without music I’d lose the best tool I have in helping me to write. (Secretly – having the earbuds in helps block out the flatmate and his frequent nonsensical blurts, and other noises *cough-farting-cough*. He loves to think out loud and constantly pulls me from the narrative I’m creating.)

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Now it’s all about the nature fest!

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Comfortably set up in my new digs, offering frequent trips outside the study – or just the magnificent view – inspire me… a natural spring, view of the beach, discovering edibles on the property macadamia, avocado, orange, mango, brazilian grape (jubuticaba), paw paw, and lemon fill my nose with cool fresh scented mountain air, energizing me to work (and tempt me into adding more to the garden beds – who knows I could develop a green thumb and live self sufficiently? Here’s hoping 🙂

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My new soundtrack while at the computer consists of wildlife – ducks and ibis on the spring, kookaburras laugh every evening, colourful rosella parrots, frogs galore (tiny ones) and a multitude of insects… such a change from the city. There is less noise to block out and I’m finding focus easy.

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With the warmer weather, I’m more inclined to be found outdoors, scratching on a pad with an old fashioned pen. I’m a little wary at times because I spotted a snake yesterday, weaving past and up into a tree. I had visions of happily scribing away before a ninja tree snake descended from above. Bonsai!!

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The sky is so clear at night and I can see far more stars compared to the Melbourne skyline. I’d love to perch on the balcony and tap away at the laptop, but until I get a screened enclosure, I’ll have to skip it. The mosquitoes are like an itchy death squadron and I’m covered in ugly red bumps.

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So, for now, I keep to the study and coffee shops (and maybe poolside at my Aunty’s house) until I make a few changes. And who knows, the beach is fifteen minutes away and there are so many quaint places of interest close by. Next time I feel claustrophobic a short drive and a change of scenery…

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Where is the best place you find your muse? Do like to shut out the world or be in the thick of it?

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Do you always use a computer to write, or switch it up with an old fashioned typewriter or pen?

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.