Film vs Novel – Fallen

Fallen Film vs Novel by Casey Carlisle.jpg

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 – Now is Good

Now is Good Film vs Novel by Casey CarlisleNovel also published as “Before I Die”

 

You never decide to die – but you must decide to live!

I was recommended this book and film from fellow blogger belleofthelibrary when I happened across her book review. At first I really didn’t want to read another sad and depressing book, considering The Fault in Our Stars sent me into a funk for nearly a week. But, Now is Good is slightly different. It’s gritty and sarcastic. Both film and novel make no apologies for Tessa, our protagonist’s actions. Yes it’s sad, but it’s the most realistic reaction to getting sick with a terminal disease I’ve read so far.

You do go a bit mental. You do feel bipolar and swing to extremes. And you live the time you have left without abandon.

The film suffered as many screen adaptations do – sanitised to fit into a ratings category. The more risqué scenes cut or buffed over. I can’t say I didn’t mind it though, cancer is quite confronting. And so are some or the situations in the novel. The film succeeded with excellent pacing – all of the omissions from the written version, and the reveal of Tessa’s bucket list was much more poignant. The book, I found to be a little long in parts, and I nearly put it down – but believe me the last quarter of the novel is well worth the struggle. It’s raw, graphic, and a true representation what Tessa goes through (believe me, I’ve experienced most of it).

The ending of the film lacked the punch that the novel did – I’d say the film is almost melodic, where the novel is like a car horn – alarming and something you read with wide eyes.

I liked Adam (Tessa’s love interest) in the big screen version the most, he felt substantial and worthy of Tessa given the suffering she bears on strong shoulders. His written counterpart reflected a more realistic picture of teen males: slightly aloof and misunderstood and totally redeems himself towards the end.

With Tessa, however, I preferred the novel version. You really get into her head and experience her life. The movie felt a little choppy in comparison, and at times, I had trouble understanding her motivations. There is also so many more one-liners and witty observations in the book.

Now is Good Film vs Novel Pic 05 by Casey CarlisleDakota Fanning did a brilliant job depicting Tessa, especially given the script. I lost faith towards the end though; but due to production and make-up than Fanning’s performance. After reading the book and comparing, you’ll get what I mean. They opted for ‘pretty’ rather than the realism that plays through the novel. On a side note I kept listening for her British accent to falter… an added dimension to the film. J

The discovery of Jeremy Irvine playing Adam nearly flipped my wig! Talk about delicious! He has serious acting chops too. Irvine added a dreamy quality to Adam, where in the book he’s described as average and goofy (even though Tessa sees him as a love god). I also found out he’s playing Daniel Grigori in the screen adaptation of Lauren Kate’s Fallen, and am really interested to see how that film turns out when it is released later this year.

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A bonus is the casting of Kaya Scodelario as Zoey… I don’t think they could have chosen anybody more perfect for the role.

I’d say both film and novel are on a fairly even par, but definitely prefer the book for its dark comedy and balls-to-the-wall narrative.

And yes, bring your tissues.

Now is Good Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

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.

Book Review – ‘Fallen’ by Lauren Kate … written by Casey Carlisle.

Where some angels fear to read.

ImageThe first book in a YA supernatural series promising something “dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, ‘Fallen’ is a thrilling story about forbidden love.”

                My overall impression of this book was mixed with unrealised potential. I did enjoy to story, but it failed to reach my expectations.

Having been recommended by a number of friends, I finally succumbed and bought the book. The cover and blurb hinted at an angsty romance with plenty of action and drama… well it did play out between the pages, but with a rather lukewarm execution.

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 and 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 – because they are cliché and overused.

With so many books being turned into movies these days (as this one will be), I’m interested to see what will come of ‘Fallen,’ because it may quite possibly turn out much more entertaining than the book.

Luce, the main character, was too insipid for me. 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. I don’t mind reading this type of genre from time to time; the all or nothing stakes for an indescribable passion between two people. But ‘Fallen’ fell down on this aspect.

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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. But the end of the novel I was more interested in the periphery characters: they had powers and attitude that stirred my curiosity.

Another aspect of ‘Fallen’ which didn’t play well with me, only from personal taste, is that I’m not too fond of stories involving angels. It humanises the divine and mixed drama into religious beliefs. Sometimes it can be done really well (as was with Cassandra Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments because the angels were a story telling devise, not a character trait) and sometimes not.

But if you love epic love stories, and angels, and don’t mind a passive protagonist then you will love this book.

 Excited over the premise, disappointed by the execution and it gets 2 out of 5 kisses from me.

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© 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.