Film vs Novel – Warm Bodies

A zombie tale with heart

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Warm Bodies’ was marketed as the ‘Twilight’ for zombies, and being such a lover of the paranormal, YA and film with supernatural themes, it was the movie that first got me hooked on this story.

Warm Bodies Film vs Novel Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleSuch a unique little love story. I liked how the symbolism eluded to (more strongly in the book) that they weren’t actually zombies (in the traditional sense). Merely a symptom of something bigger that was wrong with society. (We all know how zombies were meant to symbolize consumerism in the first place).

One big difference between the film adaptation and the novel that lost some of the interpretation in the film, was the quasi-civilization/ society of the zombies in the novel, and the Boneys weren’t so comical and less of a threat. The older generations in this book, (i.e. Julie’s Dad and the Boneys) stand for something about the old world… and alternatively our protagonist, R, and his love interest Julie stand for something new.

The people, much like the earth, is dead or in a state of decay (hence the zombies) – it is hope that changes things… as illustrated by Julie’s Mum, Peter, and Julie’s Dad to an extent.

I did think towards the end the characters jumped around all over the place a bit too much when reading the novel – it was difficult to picture the landscape because lengthy descriptions would’ve ruined the pace. In that respect the simplicity of the film was much easier to follow. Like the set of the stadium: where in the film it was the backdrop for the culminating battle and Julie’s secret place; and in the book it was the fortress that kept the humans alive containing all their shanty houses.

Dark irony and comedy was kept from book to film, which I’m greatful for Isaac Marion has a brilliant sense of humour. Also, I would normally be against superfluous profanity but in the novel Julie’s swearing added some humanity to the bleak monochromatic landscape. I was kinda glad her potty mouth didn’t make it to the screen, I doubt it would have made the same impact. Plus, you know, ratings and classifications…

I really appreciated the build in the relationship between R and Julie – some reviews (and the film to an extent) give the impression of instalove, but in actual fact, if you pay attention in the book, they grow from friendship, to trust, to fondness, to love and hope. Peter (Julie’s unfortunate ex’s) brain is merely a catalyst of what is already inside of R, and the dreams/flashbacks are the conduit for R to work it all out and come to terms with his actions and what is happening to him/the world.

Warm Bodies Film vs Novel Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleR, played by Nicholas Hoult in the film adaptation did a commendable job. The right amount of stoicism and humour. In the novel he gets married and adopts two zombie children, again there is important symbolism here, but this mini arc was completely omitted from the film.

I also noted that the film failed to show how R slipped up a number of times in his attempt to ween off eating brains.

R’s change was more gradual in the novel, like his growing affection for Julie. Comparatively the majority his transformation was in a single scene during the movie, a knock on R’s head somehow the catalyst. In the novel, R was also a bit more damaged, a stab wound to the forehead, but the film opted for a more cosmetic treatment – a bullet would in R’s shoulder is what bleeds after the “change.” (Pfft – there’s a change of life joke there somewhere)

Julie, (Teresa Palmer in the film) goes through some changes in the novel that did not make it to the big screen. Like when eyes change colour after a kiss, resulting in Julie getting infected, but fought it off (and I’m guessing was forever changed?) It certainly adds another layer to the novel.

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A notable performance in the film for me was M, played by Rob Corddry. He’s not an actor that I particularly like in some movies, but he was spot on in “Warm Bodies.”

One massive disappointment was that the Boneys came off as camp in the movie. Showing them as always malicious, where they were old zombies stuck in their ways in the book, leaders in the zombie community.

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A little gripe I had with the story as a whole, was the amount of daydreams and flashbacks – although they each dropped a small nugget of wisdom, they were getting a little tired in the plot. Surely there was another method to impart the need to know bits that still captured our interest?

The movie remained true to the tone of the novel and I enjoyed the comedic moments better. It also had better pacing, though losing some of the importance and layers of the book, coming off a bit cheesy – though that still worked for the tone of the film.

But I have to say I liked the novel better – it skims a fine line between philosophy, the soul, and the meaning of life.

 

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Now this is where the film and book hugely digress: the final battle! Zombies did not come to the aid of R and Julie as in the movie – it was R and Julie’s union that released some sort of energy wave that dispersed the Boneys… the zombies were all in hiding. Somewhat corny, but fit the theme of the book. I definitely loved the action scenes in the film though.

The novel also depicts Julie’s Dad being killed by a Boney, failing to have a change of heart – depicting the old way of things dying (as the Boneys themselves do).

In the movie it is love and human connection that heals, where in the book it feels more like the will to live and hope (love is by and by something to live for). Both saccharine sweet and like a nice warm hug. Both a satisfactory conclusion.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 – Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

A paranormal cat and mouse with great potential.

Hunting Lila Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 318

From Goodreads:

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever.

After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organization called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.

In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realizes that she is not alone—there are others out there just like her—people with special powers—and her mother’s killer is one of them…  

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Hunting Lila’ is a fun adventure with a group of individuals possessing psy(chic) abilities pitted against a military group – and Lila is caught in-between. Certainly a great premise, and a very enjoyable novel, but it fell a little flat for me.

It’s hard to place why it felt unremarkable – quite possibly it was a little too busy – with so much going on in plot and sub-plot, where character development became secondary.

There was also an element of instalove between Lila and Alex – I found that kind of infuriating. But he was a nice piece of eye candy to read about.

The story had an air of the superficial as well – everyone was gorgeous, everyone was a hero – whether they had special abilities or military training and gadgets, a lot of the ordinary and the relatable just wasn’t there.

Plus, half of the cast intrinsic to the story line were introduced in the second act.

Now that the yucky stuff is done and dusted, let me share what I appreciated about ‘Hunting Lila:’

I loved the different types of psychic abilities – telepaths, astral projectors, a psychokenosist, telekinetics, sifters, all reminding me of the graphic novel (and subsequent film adaptation) ‘Push.’ This had a very strong X-Men Origins vibe.

Lila, our protagonist is very relatable in the beginning and I felt all of her choices during the actions scenes made complete sense. It was the decisions pertaining to her love interest that had my hackles up. Lila is cute, spunky, somewhat naive and has the potential to be a great character and force of nature. She does tend to flounder a bit and I’m excited to see where Sarah Alderson takes Lila in this trilogy.

Jack, Lila’s brother added a fun dynamic into the romance between her and Alex, as well to the bait-and-switch scenario.

But I think ultimately, the military aspect felt unrealistic, as did the change of heart Lila comes to – I hungered for more angst and tribulation for her predicament.

The twist at the end was a great surprise amongst a sea of predictability. This would fall more into my ‘guilty pleasure’ category, and something I’m on the fence about recommending to others. While I enjoyed ‘Hunting Lila,’ and there is certainly a lot to revel in, it didn’t have that spark.

I have a hunch what is going to happen in the second book for this series, and I will pick it up as I am still interested to see where this story will go. Let’s hope that it is even better than ‘Hunting Lila’ and redeems the author in my eyes. Bring on ‘Losing Lila!’

Overall feeling: A bit of a love/hate relationship for me.

 Hunting Lila Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.

Book Review – Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A steamy beginning to a sultry saga.

Shadows Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Romance

No. of pages: 179

From Goodreads:

The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane.

Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in.

Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence…and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself. 

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This is the prequel (novella) to the Lux series, dealing mostly with Dawson and Bethany. I felt like it was the best written book I’ve read in the franchise to date.

Shadows Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThere wasn’t a saturation of heavy petting, the pace and story line moved along at a great pace throughout.

Plus the bonus of learning about the story arc leading up to where ‘Obsidian‘ kicks off the series is a wonderful addition to the franchise. I’m always down for more Daemon goodness J

There are some ironic nods to what happens in the series to bring a smile to your lips, and I love Armentrout’s style with dialog of the youngsters, her turn of phrase is current and comical in places.

It also sets up Daemon’s attitude towards humans much more effectively than any other book in this series, and I can totally relate to his rude obstinate behaviour towards Kat starting in ‘Obsidian‘ now. So that was a plus to redeem him and his behaviour, because Daemon really fitted into the bad boy trope… at least this is deconstructed a little.

On a side note – Daemon and Dawson in the same room shirtless – it’s just too much!!

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‘Shadows’ brought all the feels, passion, love, fear, determination, frustration, and conflict… everything to make this a stand out tale – a must have for anyone who loves the Lux series. Highly recommended.

Overall feeling: Just brilliant!

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.

Book Review – The Queen’s Army by Marissa Meyer

The Queens Army Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 18

From Goodreads:

It is time. The boy must leave his family to serve in the Queen’s army. To be chosen is an honor. To decline is impossible. The boy is modified. He is trained for several years, and learns to fight to the death. He proves to the Queen—and to himself—that he is capable of evil. He is just the kind of soldier the Queen wants: the alpha of his pack.

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Continuing on with finishing up all the novellas in the Lunar Chronicles, ‘The Queen’s Army’ wasn’t really as satisfying as I expected.

While I enjoyed this story, and it was interesting to get a glimpse into a soldier’s perspective of the Lunar Queen’s armed forces, it did not shed a whole lot of new information about the story or characters. It bridged a little of the gap, but didn’t enhance my experience of the Lunar Chronicles so much.

And it was barely longer than a chapter in its entirety, so there is little to add… it wouldn’t hurt anyone to give this one a miss, but if you are obsessed with the Wolf Pack and its origins, then this is one for you.

Overall feeling: sniff… snuff… sneeze…

The Queens Army Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.

I’d love to have a boyfriend… but I’m too fat right now.

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A writer can live a very sedentary life, and because of that, the weight can sneak on if you are not vigilant… a little bit here, a little bit there – no fuss. Until one day when you can no longer buckle your jeans or get your favourite dress over your thighs. That’s the point where you feel like you’ve been slapped in the face, and it makes you feel ugly.

Damn girl – why you eat so many cookies at the computer!?

Now I’m not one to weight shame anyone. I think my body is beautiful. But when nothing in your wardrobe sits right, and movement feels a little off, it’s hard to feel confident. There’s that little voice in the back of your mind telling you at you are not desirable, that people are going to look at you and quickly turn their head away in distaste.

Where the hell does that come from?

Well… me!

I'm too fat right now Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleMy clothes don’t fit – buy new clothes, shopping is always fun. Or hey, get a bit fitter… get out, walk, jump on the treadmill. Start cleaning up your diet, eat real food by eliminating processed food or anything that comes in a packet.

So that’s my new goal over the next few months – to love myself and treat my body with the respect it deserves.

This is not measured in what number is on the scales, or on my dress size. It’s measured in how I feel when I wake up, when I walk out the door. I want that “Hey there world, I’m here!” feeling back.

I’m at the age where a part of the weight gain is hormonal, so ideals of a stick thin body shape I had in my twenties is totally unrealistic. I actually like having some curves.

This stigma of weight and body shape hasn’t come from other girls, magazines and the entertainment industry. It’s come from how I feel about myself – we are all our own worst critics. So, like the writer I am, I’m changing the narrative. Instead of saying I feel fat or ugly, or nothing looks right; I’m going to re-invent myself right at that point in time to find out what would make me feel better – and do it1 Find clothes that are more flattering, add some bling, accentuate my better assets. Skip the chocolate biscuit. Spend 20 minutes walking… it’s not about making myself look pretty for someone else, it’s about being comfortable and confident about myself.

I'm too fat right now Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleBecause, in all honesty if my dream guy (or girl) came up to me and asked me out right now, I’d start a mental list of all the things that are wrong with me that I need to hide – and that is not healthy!

So I’m stopping that destructive thought pattern. I’m going to start being the person I want to be. You don’t need validation from others, or have a cutie pie on your arm to be attractive. Beauty comes from the confidence to be yourself.

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That’s how I’m going to lose weight – by shedding the negativity.

And remember the quality that most people find attractive is a smile 😀

 

 

 

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.

Book Review – The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

A unique definition of a relationship.

The Lovers Dictionary Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 211

From Goodreads:

A modern love story told through a series of dictionary-style entries is a sequence of intimate windows into the large and small events that shape the course of a romantic relationship.  

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With the appetite for something different, I grabbed a copy of ‘The Lover’s Dictionary’ knowing it was narrated in a unusual layout – each chapter written as a definition of a word. All of it pertaining to a relationship.

What a novel idea (pun intended).

It felt like flipping through someone’s photo album, getting snippets of people’s lives, each frame a small story in itself, of just a brief feeling or word…

I liked the concept, it made it an engaging read.

There was a lot of humour and emotion interspersed throughout, and some half- conversations planted to mislead, and then back track, so you are never quite sure what really happened. It changes time and POV to really keep you on your toes.

On the whole it is really a bunch of moments of a young gay couples encounters eloquently told in tiny entries (say that fast 10 times).

I garnered a lot of insight about the characters and their relationship, and even their views on the world. But what I didn’t get was a story line, this is more like a stream of consciousness.

At the end I felt like I missed the pay off. Although it does wrap up nicely, it is anything but a traditional book. A welcome break in my usual diet, but a little disappointing. Commendations on the work as a whole though.

It’s a quick read as some chapters are only a word or sentence long… could be completed in an afternoon.

Overall feeling: That was different…

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The Lovers Dictionary Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.