Film vs Novel – Fallen

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Where some angles fear to read.

I read the book over three years ago, and wasn’t overly impressed, but was interested to see if the movie could improve on my opinion.

On the surface, ‘Fallen’ is a thrilling story about forbidden love. And I enjoyed all the supernatural elements in the novel, though its execution was burdened with over-used tropes glutting the YA market. The movie did little to fix this, the characters still felt two dimensional, and it even managed to create a worse insta-love scenario between Luce and Daniel.

The whole age-old mythology of angels vs demons and reincarnation lost its edge.

The story itself is interesting, although nothing new or surprising, and if it hadn’t been such a lumbering read I would have rated it higher. You could predict the plot easily and I was a little disappointed how the climax (battle) of the book took place off screen. There were some unique devices within the novel, like the use of shadows to glimpse a window into the past, I really liked how this was done. But amnesia and flashbacks are two of my pet hates in a novel – they are cliché and overused.  The film watered down the story line so much – dropping out the roles of certain characters that teach and interact with Luce to the point that I just about wanted to puke. The reason/role the school of the Sword and Cross was also omitted. By the end of the film, I felt like I’d only gotten half of the story. The film failed to do a lot of the set up established in the novel, and did a gross disservice to ‘Fallen’ in my opinion.

The SPFX, especially that of angel wings, was pretty impressive though – it was my favourite aspect of the movie. ‘Fallen’ is aesthetically beautiful and melancholy. The visual tone is executed really well. But that old saying about polishing a turd…. with such a problematic story to begin with, there wasn’t a great deal you could do with it and remain true to the original novel. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded if it had a much darker, biblical tone, given the characters some depth and attitude that wasn’t steeped in an ancient battle of good and evil.

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Having said that, there were some scenes that felt like an ‘80’s music video : lighting effects, camera pulling in and out of focus, hair blowing in the wind… cue the ‘Heart’ soundtrack.

Luce, the main character, was too insipid for me in the novel. She reacted to the circumstances around her, and lacked strength. I can understand what Lauren Kate was trying to convey with this story, but neglected to give her main cast any sort of edge. Similarly Daniel and Cam, fighting for Luce’s affection, were equally two-dimensional. Both had strong chauvinistic attributes and I failed to connect with any of the characters or their love story. The film managed to give Luce an edge I was hoping for – I actually liked Addison Timlin’s portrayal of her. Daniel was played well by Jeremy Irvine (*swoons*), but I still found his character too aloof and brooding to care about. Cam felt much more dynamic on the screen (played by Harrison Gilbertson.) I had mixed feelings in the novel with him being painted as the tempting villain, but in the film, a layer of genuine concern of Luce’s well-bring shone through.

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Lauren’s writing is easy to read, and I enjoyed her style – she just kept losing me. I feel if you cut the book down to half its size to ensure the pace pulled you through the story, Luce would have been seen as a survivor rather than someone who simply endures. By the end of the novel I was more interested in the periphery characters: they had powers and attitude that stirred my curiosity. In the film I sat there blinking at the screen when the end credits rolled – I did not know what was going on with the periphery characters at all. And Penn – what happened there? Blink and you miss it, and none of the cast seemed concerned or affected by what went down.

Many of the reveals in the novel are slowly released, where in the film, much of it is dumped on the viewer in the first fifteen minutes and I was left wondering where the story had to go. If it weren’t for the digital effects I would have gotten really angry.

I do know the studio bought the film rights for all the books – and some sequels could help redeem this series, because this movie debut did feel like the first instalment of a series or a tv pilot… so there may be more to come.

Given the movie managed to interest and entice me much more than the books, it definitely surpasses the written version; though I felt it missed out on some important elements of interest from the books – and the pacing was a little off.

But if you love epic love stories, and angels, and don’t mind a passive protagonist then you will love this book or film. I had rated the book two stars on Goodreads, and in comparison, I’d rate the movie 2.5… an improvement, but still, no cigar!

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. 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.

Film vs Novel – Odd Thomas

Some people have a hidden darkness inside, and others are just evil in a human suit!

Film vs Novel Odd Thomas Review by Casey CarlisleQuirky. That is the best word to describe this story – in either book or movie form.

Being a huge fan of Dean Koontz, I find his books comforting in a familiar way, he always has interesting characters, and most of the time it’s easy to visualise a movie created in your minds eye straight from his easy read narration. If I had to rate the book, I’d have given it three out of five kisses. While it was not anything new (with elements of previous stories evident in it’s composition,) left me feeling like I’d read it before. But it is darkly comic and filled with witty banter to keep you grinning from start to end.

The movie, in turn, remained true to the tone set in the novel, although more upbeat and focused more on the irony so that it would have broader appeal. If it had included a lot of the darker aspects in the book – like the backstory of Odd’s  parents – I can see how it would have not only interrupted momentum, but killed the delicate tone of the film. So too would the inclusion of Ghost Elvis – in the novel he complimented the narrative well, but if transposed onto the big screen, would have been seen as camp.

A new aspect to Odd’s character, psycometry, was introduced in the film production as a tool for presenting information to the viewer, and this by no means subtracted from the experience. I can see how it replaced the information dumping and internal monologue from the book. It was a very clever way to get the information across without distracting from the fast pace of the story.

Odd Thomas Review Pic 4 by Casey CarlisleThe special effects in the movie by far surpassed the visuals I’d dreamt up as I read the book. The addition of one of my favourite actors, Anton Yelchin, had me jumping with joy  – he is such delicious goodness! The person I’d imagined from the printed page had been much more clean cut and nondescript, so Yelchin’s interpretation of Odd greatly enhanced my appreciation for ‘Odd Thomas.’

Odd Thomas Review Pic 2 by Casey CarlisleHis co-star, Addison Timlin as Stormy was great in the role, however the version I had in my head was a little more sexy–girl-next-door; but that comes down to personal preference on physical attributes and her performance embodied everything that Stormy was in the novel right down to the tenor of the dialogue (and charades) of Odd’s journey to save the town of Pico Mundo.

It’s a pity that the film production was marred with contractual and budgetary problems, delaying it’s release and marketing campaign, leading to  straight-to-DVD release in some countries. I felt it deserved more fanfare, the issues surrounding production and release consequently hobbled any chance of the franchise being picked up… This adaptation is one of the better creations in the world of book-to-movie transitions.

I’d have to say that in comparing the value of both the book and the film it’s a strong tie with me. While the movie was a visual feast, the novel delves into the underlying darkness and its insatiable thirst to pollute everything around it.

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.