Film vs Novel – ‘Firestarter’

Firestarter Film vs Novel by Casey Carlisle

Firestarter Film vs Novel Pic 07 by Casey CarlisleYou certainly get a feel for the 80’s. So many references. The novel was a nostalgic read. The film is comparatively in the style of horror movies being produced in the early 80’s as well, though it has some great special effects for its time.

As much as I loved this book – the protagonist Charlie, the paranormal ability of pyrokenesis, the antagonists in The Shop – ‘Firestarter’ felt like a long read. Normally I fly through books like this, but it took me over a week to reach the end. I was continually needing a rest as King went off in tangents and titbits of backstory for secondary characters. It brought the pacing down somewhat. But I appreciated all of that extra information – it really fleshed out the world and characters… so it was a tug-of-war for me between liking Kings writing style and getting bored with it. In the end the amazing writing and subject matter won out: you can always skim the uninteresting bits. As far as the film goes by comparison, there is no let down in the pacing, no chance to tear your eyes off the screen. The action is kept going from start to finish, with a few flashback scenes (as in the novel) for context and backstory, though with parts of the original story cut for time constraints, some things don’t make the best sense.

Some scenes were more gruesome than I expected, but upon completing the novel version of ‘Firestarter’ I kind of wanted more. More horror. More action. But I guess it would have been unrealistic with a child as the protagonist – that kind of action would have twisted her into something monstrous and broken or dead inside. The movie obviously omitted some on-screen deaths and gore to keep it in a marketable ‘M’ rating.

Firestarter Film vs Novel Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleThe depiction of Charlie in the novel felt intelligent beyond her years, but still had the innocence of youth in her view of the world. It was phenomenal to read about the psychic powers growing within her, (and those of other characters.) You get a small character arc with Charlie, but because the narrative takes on many points of view and encompasses many characters, there is more going on around her. I think that was another thing slowing the pace down for me – following some of the other characters just wasn’t as interesting. The film version of Charlie, played by Drew Barrymore comes off as more of an obstinate child at times.

With all the training Charlie is meant to have up until the scene where the movie opens, this alludes that Charlie can pretty much control her powers, but the Airport scene depicts her as not being able to control her ability or not wanting to use it. Not matching the narrative of the novel at all. This scene from the film also tips The Shop off about her ability, yet in the novel it is kept in question up until well over halfway, where she uses this fact as a bargaining tool with the scientists trying to test her.

Firestarter Film vs Novel Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleCharlie’s powers are meant to be effortless to use (depicted in the novel,) but the heavy breathing, sweating, use of a wind machine to dramatize Drew Barrymore’s depiction of the pyrokenesis – and how she repeats “Back off” to switch it off, make the use of her ability a little clunky and awkward for the film. Charlie never vocalised her ‘cool-down’ in the novel, and her ability was used easily – hence the training.

When Charlie was in with The Shop, they drugged her to inhibit her use of her ability, yet in the film, even though they knew of her ability, they did not use this method of control. Instead may of the scientists walked around in hilarious looking thermal suits.

Additionally, in the film with Charlie befriending Rainbird, she confides just about everything and never draws her own conclusions to his deception. Where in the novel she is much more intelligent and mistrusting. She also gets a note from her father informing her of Rainbirds true intentions, leading to her forming a plan of escape. I wish we had seen the more aware and strategic version of Charlie on the big screen. Even after the first demonstration of Charlie’s power in the film, while everyone is distracted she walks back into her room… where in the novel she takes the opportunity to find her father. Dumbing down her character was detrimental to this film. Even with all these issues in context and story Barrymore’s portrayal of Charlie is epic. A true testament to her acting chops at such a young age.

Andy (Charlie’s Dad) was the dedicated loving father, nurturing and supporting Charlie, instilling right and wrong, ‘Firestarter’ is as much his story as hers. I feel that we don’t get as much character development as we could because this is essentially a cat-and-mouse chase story, tumbling from one escape to the next.

Firestarter Film vs Novel Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleThe biggest difference to the written version to the one played by David Keith in the film, was how his ability was portrayed. It was meant to be mental dominance, yet somehow he manages to affect phone booths to extract coins, and change television channels without the use of a remote. Was he meant to have different abilities in the film? The dramatization of Andy using his ability felt overacted. Grabbing his head, a bloody nose. Even though thie is typical treatment for the time of its release, I wasn’t sold. In the novel he got headaches, disorientated, and exhausted. Using his ability is said to give him mirco-aneurisms, a blood nose was overkill. Leaving Charlie to take the lead in taking care of him and ensure their safety.

Another aspect explained in the novel was the ricocheting of Andy’s ability, it’s set up in the narrative, and shows a history and line of progression – in the film however we get a scene around one character seeing snakes with no context.

Rainbird is the quintessential antagonist from King. He manages to paint interesting and layered bad guys that still give off an aura of pure evil. It’s easy to see why so many of his novels get the film treatment. With the native American Indian background, it felt like a foreshadowing of diverse writing that we see today – even if there are colours of stereotyping and discrimination (as too in dealing with transvestism.) Villainising minority groups in the time ‘Firestarter’ was published was commonplace.

Firestarter Film vs Novel Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

As for the depiction of Rainbird in the film: George C Scott is not Native American, I think I was offended by this more than any other change for the movie adaptation (thank heavens he wasn’t in blackface.) Additionally, there was no setup, no backstory to build this iconic antagonist. The film left Rainbird feeling two dimensional. The same thing happened to The Shop’s spies near Charlie’s Grandfathers cabin – no set up or backstory – there was no context to validate why they were even there. In the novel they lived at the place for months, in the film, days.

The final battle scene at the Barn has some major differences. We get all the Hollywood treatment of Charlie puffing and shooting fireballs, evaporating bullets for the film. When the horses are set free, none get shot or catch on fire like in the novel. The special effects of some of the bad guys catching on fire is a bit hilarious as they just stand still screaming. Umm, I’d be running and failing, rolling on the ground. But I did like how one guy gets blown in to a tree fully ablaze from Charlie’s psychic blast.

Firestarter Film vs Novel Pic 06 by Casey Carlisle

The novel shows Charlie taking out the entire compound (and people), where the film has her exhibiting much more restraint in carnage. The book suggests Charlie’s abilities extend much further than pyrokenesis, but the movie keeps her psychic power within the confines of a Firestarter.

The novel ends on Charlie contacting the ‘New York Times’ – a reputable newspaper; but the novel has her going into the offices of the ‘Rolling Stone’ because it was the only publication independent of the reach of The Shop to have her (and her Father’s) story published.

The writing of the novel is somewhat dated. The references are solidly entrenched in the 70-80’s. Technology, attitudes… it was nostalgic in a way, and also had me thanking god we’ve evolved from that place. Stephen King has a resounding writing style – descriptive and distinctly dry and masculine. Though he has a tendency to repeat things a number of times. And a perchance to long drawn-out exposition. This had me skimming a page or two. It also slowed down the pace and I was frequently putting the book down for a rest. While I enjoyed the film, it does not stand the test of time and fails to compare to the book.

I won’t comment on predictability – I’d read the book and seen the film before, plus it’s such a well-known story the plot was all but spoiled long ago. Looking forward to the film remake currently in development to see how they modernise ‘Firestarter’ and tie it into the Stephen King universe at large. It’s rumoured for a late 2019 to a 2020 release. I hope we will get to see Drew Barrymore return and possibly play the role of Victoria McGee, Charlie’s mom. Fingers crossed.

Firestarter Film vs Novel Pic 08 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. 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 – ‘Queens of Geek’ by Jen Wilde

Reading, Vlogging, and Book Conventions…

Queens of Geek Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 262

From Goodreads:

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

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I really enjoyed this book, it’s full of geek culture, diversity, and is totally kitsch. ‘Queens of Geek’ kicks off in great style and I could see great potential in the direction of the plot, but for me its conclusion travelled on the side of self-declarative cuteness rather than difficulty and drama. For some reason I wanted more, but that by no means alludes to a poor reading experience: instead I immensely loved the tone of identity, and the treatment of mental illness and sexual orientation.

I rounded ‘Queens of Geek’ up as a bit too contrite. The lovey-doviness between the couples too saccharine sweet, I either wanted some passion, some erotic tension, or some angst – none of that was translating.

Charlie was a fun character. Identifying as bisexual and dealing with her ex and a new love interest at the Con brought tension and some interesting altercations. Especially while trying to juggle her public persona at the same time.

Queens of Geek Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Taylor was a bit boring for me. I loved how she struggles with anxiety, and way she tries to overcome her mental illness and finding support from new and old friends… but I wanted something else of interest about her other than this. I thought it was going to be her blogging – like we’d get some wit, humour, and great content that way; but it only resulted in a few journal-esque entries. As much as I thought Taylor was cute – and faced a lot of challenges, I wanted something other than her mental illness to stand out to me.

Jamie, the third friend in the trio and Taylor’s love interest – insert geeky, Labrador, floppy-haired BFF with secret crush here – I mean could he be any more stereotypical and non-descript? I was egging for some fights, some tension, some misunderstandings. He felt like a prop rather than another person in the plot. The only thing he did on his own was buy merchandise.

I love the angle for diversity and all the nerdiness of a Con rolled into a novel. A blogger, and vlogger, and an actress on the rise, characters dealing with mental illness; there is a lot to love about ‘Queens of Geek’ and I applaud Jen Wilde for writing such a cool novel – I just wanted her to take it further. I put this down a lot not only because I’m not a big fan of alternating P.O.V’s but also the pacing was a little slow.

The cover art is a great concept and what really attracted me to picking up this after a few glowing reviews from fellow bloggers.

Overall a masterful little gem that is a definite recommend for the YA reader- especially if you are one to geek-out over conventions.

Overall feeling: Cutesy-wootsey.

Queens of Geek Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Queens of Geek Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. 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 – Never Never Part 3 by Collen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Recovering your past is never never what it first seems

Never Never Part Three Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery

No. of pages: 92

From Goodreads:

Together, Silas Nash and Charlize Wynwood must look deeper into the past to find out who they were and who they want to be. With time ticking down, the couple are in a race to find the answers they need before they lose everything. Can they regain what they once had? And will it restore who they once were? 

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I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this final instalment of the Never Never series after loving the first two books so much. It had all the mystery, sass and heart of its predecessors, but there was something lacking…

For one, Silas remembers. And though it is a key point in the plot, at first it felt like a cheap storytelling tool. But this argument only stands if you look at ‘Never Never part 3’ as a book – not the third part of one book. Colleen Hoover was contractually restricted from co-authoring with another writer outside of her publishers catalogue, so this method of three small novellas was a work around.

Another aspect was the solving of the amnesia mystery. Although I didn’t hate it, it lacked some punch. We had all this angst and conspiracy theories being thrown about in the first to instalments, so it would have been fantastic to still include some of these elements. Or alternatively, leave something unsolved or open ended, give one of the elements its own subplot.

Many characters and theories (like the voodoo angle) were completely ignored in part 3, which were the things that had grabbed my attention in the first place, so I felt a little ripped off that I was left hanging. (Me loves some paranormal storiesJ)

Ultimately, the conclusion felt “nice.”

Though, I will say I lurved the character development. Especially that of Charlie. We see a different version of her in each book. Every time her memory is taken, that whole nature vs nurture aspect comes into play in forming her personality. There are certain traits that are intrinsic to her character, and the others grow from her experiences. It was captivating to read her reactions each time she woke with a clean slate and how those first events shaped her opinions for the next 48 hours.

If this series ever gets a bind up, it will be a completely different reading experience, and I am planning to re-read these end-to-end again at a later date to see if my opinion differs to the initial read. Great, quick paced novel with a paranormal element I’d recommend to all my friends.

Overall reaction: Where was the rest of it?

Never Never Part Three Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Never Never Part Three Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

 

© 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 – Never Never (Part 1) by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

You can find love in the strangest of places… no matter who you are.

Never Never Part 1 Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery

No. of pages: 159

From Goodreads:

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. 
Complete strangers since this morning.
He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.  

Page border by Casey Carlisle The author’s names alone had me picking up this title – plus it is a short novel, great for reading after some of the thick, heavy series I’m in the middle of at the moment without killing any momentum. ‘Never Never’ turned out to be exactly what I needed.

I nearly only gave this 3.5 stars because of the overdone aspect of amnesia in a story line, and the fact that the book resolves little… but I also liked that we don’t find out what exactly is going on, but uncover even more that needs to be sleuthed out.

Never Never Part 1 Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleCharlie and Silas really are different people from who they were sans amnesia – it is important to realise just how much memories make us the person we are… and how much it doesn’t. And we really get a sense of that here.

I loved the mystery, and how they both tried to uncover answers without spilling their own secret. Each fumbling along in unfamiliarity, it kept me on the edge of my seat. The only thing they have to go on is their gut feelings. Because of this, you see a lot of their true natures shine through.

There is plenty of intrigue here, and an obvious shiz-storm of a situation they had left behind… which they will have to deal with at some point.

I loved that this is a book on its own… like a prelude movie, or teaser.

One aspect that wasn’t so great was the insta-love trying to assert itself. It wasn’t exactly like that, but the undercurrent was looming in the periphery and, thank goodness it wasn’t all out unsubstantiated passion, we merely get a hint, we know there is a history, but it’s tied up in the mystery, so I managed to get past it.

I really appreciated the writing style – it was both melodic and edgy, really fitting the target market, but also with a touch of sophistication. I am really looking forward to the rest of the series, and jumped online and ordered ‘Never Never Part 2’ right away… part three is yet to be released (next year) but something I’m definitely adding to my collection.

Overall feeling: Wondrous and magical

 Never Never Part 1 Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Never Never Part 1 Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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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.

Book Review – On the Fence by Kasie West

A little on the fence about ‘On The Fence’ but ultimately enjoyed this cotton-candy contemporary.

On The Fence Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 296

From Goodreads:

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

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On The Fence Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleFor a fun contemporary romance, Kasie West is quickly cementing her place as one of my top go-to authors: interesting characters and stories that are like a warm hug.

I liked how Charlie was an athlete – I was starting to get over alternative, quirky, coffee addicts that have been teeming YA of late. Also, the family dynamic of Charlie’s all-male family added a great dynamic, how the men in her life are protective of her whether she is aware of it or not; and how they rough-house with her as well.

Her fathers, attempts at raising a daughter, while commendable, did come across as a little cliché, I was wondering where the doting father went – he was too stand-offish and left me wondering if he was a good father at all. But he manages to redeem himself in my eyes.

Charlie was a good character to relate to, although at times I felt she was too immature, and her behaviour insulting to herself and her brothers (but sometimes her brothers deserved it.) There were also some trite moments that annoyed me, and I felt, did not need to be in the book. But I won’t talk about them here, because – spoilers!

On The Fence Book Review Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleI did take a little issue with the fact how the book step up Charlie (and her missing a female role model as her mother passed away when she was young) in knowing little about fashion and make-up as somewhat deficient in being female. I did not see her as anything less, or nothing other than a strong female role model in herself. It rubbed against my sensibility that an interest in the superficial world of clothing and facial products has anything to do with being female or acceptance by other female peers. But with that said, it was cute and fun (politics aside).

Braden was a sweet boy-next-door character, and again, very typical of this genre, but I liked his tenacity and acceptance of Charlie for who she is, without all the trappings of fashionable accessories.

On The Fence Book Review Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

Some of the midnight conversations at the fence were touching, and others pointless and contrived. With such a poignant image defining the book, it would have been good that all these interactions were kept embodying the soul of the novel – as some of Charlie’s talks felt immature and irrelevant. But this is only a very small part (and my opinion), and the nocturnal blatherings are a fantastic part of the story and one of my favourites.

I really enjoy Kasie West’s writing style, and have not come across a book of hers that I have not liked. They are luscious uncomplicated reads, yes predictable, but quick, well-paced guilty pleasures that don’t come off too kitsch.

Overall feeling: Cute but average.

On The Fence Book Review Pic 06 by Casey Carlisle

On The Fence Book Review Pic 07 by Casey Carlisle

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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.

Film vs Novel – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Quietly confronting

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlilse

Comparing Chbosky’s novel to the cinema release is a bit like comparing apples and oranges… the book used the adjunct of a sole point of view from an unreliable narrator, where the movie delved more into the development of personal relationships.

Although, I have to admit I appreciated the viewing experience much more than I did reading the novel. It basically came down to two points: 1. Some of my favourite actors playing the lead roles (and it doesn’t hurt that they are complete eye-candy); and 2. The journal/letter writing tone of the book felt somewhat disconnected and distant from the story.

But that is me nit-picking, I definitely enjoyed both versions of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Both mediums managed to portray that there is something ‘off’ with our main protagonist/narrator Charlie (played outstandingly by Logan Lerman). He is anxious and told to be suffering from PTSD, but we never get the full story (that comes later).

The movie really let imperfect and damaged characters shine – I did not get that so easily in the novel. Chbosky makes you work to get to learn about the inner workings of the cast; whereas in the film they bask in their quirky individualism, and it’s only later that we learn why they behave that way.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Film vs Novel Pic 07 by Casey Carlilse

I pictured Sam very differently in the novel to how Emma Watson played her on the big screen, however Watson was an outstanding casting choice and certainly captured that elusive air which Sam existed in.

The symbolism in the novel really hit the nail on the head, and I felt it lost a little in translation to the big screen, but definitely visually dynamic. Especially the tunnel/bridge scenes in the back of the truck with the teens.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Film vs Novel Pic 06 by Casey Carlilse

I’d love to do more in-depth discussions over apparent differences, but given the story is all character driven, I’d just be listing spoilers… and I definitely don’t want to detract from anyone’s enjoyment of either.

There is a lot in both the novel and film, it’s quiet and unassuming. But that went to its detriment in my own experience, making it feel a little flat.

Where the film is poignant and idiosyncratic, the novel was deceptively insightful and layered, but both worthy of checking out.

But it’s definitely the film for the win!

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© 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.