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!


© 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 – Nerve


The novel ‘Nerve’ had the distinct tone of a toned-down horror movie – the film, however, was a completely different creature.

I found the book compelling. I giggled at some of the dares the Players of the app are put through, and my pulse raced in others. I also liked the interactivity of the Watchers. The concept of the game gave me that silly high you get when you do something stupid as a teenager. That thrill of breaking the rules and giving into abandonment. Some of the dares are lame, but it is to be expected for building tension. The film highlighted different motivations for the main characters – redemption, money, or breaking out of the box people keep labelling you with. I found the movie much more thrilling, and the complexity between the cast more interesting with tension and jealousy coming in to play. It also added an air of mystery around the origin and reason for the game, and the introduction of the Watchers (and Controllers). Where the book is fun and innocent, the film is intricate, daring, and foreboding.

nerve-film-vs-novel-pic-02-by-casey-carlisleOur protagonist Vee is a cute, bookish and unassuming girl – very much how I was in high school. She has a strong moral compass which is what kept me reading. She was crapping her pants, but stuck to her morals and always found a solution she could live with. She remained true to this impression in both the film and the novel. I loved Emma Roberts portrayal of her. She nailed the shy yet determined aspect of Vee to a tee. You could also see the uncertainty and excitement come through a lot more with Emma Roberts’ interpretation of Vee.

Ian, one of the men in Vee’s life, felt a little stereotypical, and a lot of eye-rolling went with his story, but by the end of the novel I actually thought he was pretty decent and genuine. The same goes for Sydney, Vee’s bestie for the experience I got reading the novel. In the film we get a more possessive Ian and a self-absorbed Sydney. I felt it added a better dynamic and allowed our protagonist Vee to shine. Praise goes to the screenwriters!


Tommy, the love interest for the book … well I’ll let that one go. He’s a bit of a mixed bag and I think there is still more of his story to tell. This can be said for many of the cast as well. They all have their motivations for joining the game NERVE – to better their lives, to become famous, to have an adrenaline rush… but the snippets into their lives was truly interesting. Like peeking into the lives of strangers, grotesque and fascinating. The movie explored this much more deeply with the interpretation from actor Dave Franco. We get a horrific and tragic backstory for Tommy. Also there is a nefarious element to the game not present in the novel that I felt added something extra – leading up to a more satisfying climax.


The ending for the book, though I loved the intelligence and strategy of it, did not have the thrill of the beginning dares. It devolved into a clichéd Mexican standoff. But I did like the twist ending. I love a bit of cheesy, in-your-face tone the leave the reader/viewer saying WTF? The movie, though still remaining true to the concept of the book, added a layer of social responsibility.

The pacing is top-notch, I found myself reading three-quarters of the book on one sitting, until my eyes started drooping. The storyline isn’t what is so attention grabbing, it’s more like the anticipation of what comes next… and that’s the whole book in a nutshell. It’s done really well for what it is. It reminds me of those campy cult classics people love, where substance is low, but it connects to something primal that we find impossibly entertaining. The movie did it all better, but the storyline felt flawed to start with, but the big screen version certainly redeemed ‘Nerve’ in my eyes. Still cliché, but entertaining.

The whole book was a wonderful satire on fame, and what it costs you. It was also a sanatised poke at all these ‘Saw’ movies… Surprising to find layers like this in ‘Nerve.’ I’m glad the film departed from this element, instead focusing on the core motivations as to why someone would choose to partake in the game, as either a Player or a Watcher.

Jeanne Ryan, had a wonderful writing style. I felt like I was thinking the words as I read them. No grand descriptions or lengthy inner monologues. It was simple and to the point – which is what you need to build tension and move the pace along. The treatment of the film was as equally thrilling, entertaining and funny, though I am confident in saying it pulled it off with greater finesse than the book.

I would have enjoyed the novel far more if we got to get to know the characters better (like the film), had dares with higher stakes (like the film), and more adrenaline inducing scenarios (like the… well you get the point). Additionally, a bigger conspiracy and a bigger peek behind the curtain – and that is in the film! It’s as if the screenwriters read my mind and added all the little things I felt were lacking from the book. Even though ‘Nerve’ is a standalone, it sets things up enough that it could be considered the start of a series. I liked the open-ended tone that both film and novel conclude on. Enjoyable, silly fun.

Book 3.5 stars, movie 4 stars


© 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 – The Girl With All The Gifts


The novel by M. R. Carey got a lot of press on its release, surprisingly the film adaptation entered the market with a murmur. Which is surprising considering the big named actors in starring roles. I was wondering if the film wasn’t going to be all that good since the distributors hadn’t put a lot of funds behind promoting the movie. But it turned out to be more satisfying that I had expected.

The novel starts with Melanie’s point of view. A child in chains and strapped down, locked away in a high-security facility. We get more background and explanation of who Melanie is, and her scope of intelligence in the novel – some of it a little long winded – but both screen and written version project her innocence and curiosity while hinting at some dark danger hiding underneath. I will say that Melanie, and the other children like her, residing in the facility looked healthier than described in the novel. I didn’t get that cute-creepy-fragile-dangerous image from the actor (Sennia Nanua) portrayal of Melanie.


We also get a large helping of scientific and biological background in the novel about the epidemic and about Melanie and her class through the narrative, where in the film we get small info-dumps along the way. I think I preferred the way the movie unveiled the plot, though I felt we needed more of an introduction to Melanie and her cognitive abilities. Who knows, maybe it was there and ended up on the cutting room floor during the editing process.

One major element that annoyed the heck out of me from the film: the music was distracting and off-putting. It didn’t add to the ambiance or add feeling and tension where it was meant to. In my opinion, Cristobal Tapia de Veer did a massive disservice to the film with her soundtrack.

Glen Close added dimension to the scientist (Dr. Caroline Caldwell,) subtle hues that made her character more realistic. I felt the written version of her was too single minded at times, dangerously coming near to reading like a caricature. Gemma Arterton captured Helen Justineau perfectly, her performance depicted everything I’d seen in my head when reading the novel.


There was a certain ‘campness,’ like a B-grade horror film to the book at times, but thankfully I didn’t get any of that when watching the film. Though I will say the soldiers felt more like secondary characters in the film, where they provided over-stylized machismo in the novel that actually had me laughing.

The ‘Hungries’ seemed more zombie-like in the film because of the onmipresent viewer, where in the novel from Melanie’s POV I got more of a rabid dog/monster vibe. I would have liked to see the epidemic steered further away visually from zombies. It was getting there, but didn’t quite match what I thought was being described in the novel.

The film is definitely visually brutal. Maybe because of the changing POV’s and lengthy description in the novel, I didn’t get so much of the gore as I did from the film – the impact lessened by the amount of words in between key events. Additionally, I had a different vision in my head of the fungal ‘trees,’ nowhere near as megolithic as shown in the film. Maybe a little more like something you’d have seen on classic Star Trek episodes on some alien planet.

There were some small plot points in the film that had me going ‘huh?’ I had to flip through the book again to see if I was remembering them correctly… I won’t discuss them here though. I can see how they were included for the tone of the film and while they won’t spoil the ending, they would remove certain surprises. So I’ll say that the overall story of the film is similar to the novel, it just has a few tiny tweaks. And I put that down to M.R. Carey also having written the screenplay.

I liked the tone and perspective of the novel, and how it was based (mostly) in a youngsters mind analysing scientific data; but found the movie more entertaining (minus the weird soundtrack) and paced much better. There is definitely a stronger tie in to the Pandora metaphor in the film – but doesn’t have the speculative ending like in the novel.

On a side note, I’m glad they kept with the original name of the novel for the film adaptation, I know they were tossing around ‘She Who Brings Gifts’ for a while.

It’s a close battle to which I prefer, but I’d say the film only just scrapes in above the novel, based on more realistic depictions of the cast, pacing of the story, and the symbolism throughout – all keeping in the same tone for the film throughout. The novel, while wordy, suffered pacing in parts, and some of the scenes felt forced or unrealistic, though much more creepy than the film.

Go check out the film.

Go M.R. Carey!


© 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 – The DUFF

Mean girls and pop culture clash with friendship and first love…

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This review and comparison comes as a massive surprise for me – mainly because I had such polar opposite emotions concerning each, and the outcome as these two duke it out have bucked the trend…

The novel was both fun and frustrating; where the film was hilarious, engaging and intelligently comedic without being offensive.

I liked the sarcasm and comedy in both mediums. As well as some of the issues it tackled – like slut shaming. And the ending for both was pretty cute too.

My frustration came because some of the characters were stereotypical in the novel, and a little swearing that felt like it was included on purpose to give the book an edge… And its approach to sex. We don’t get any of that in the film. I know many adaptations tend to sanitise aspect of the book for a ‘G’ rating and wider audience appeal, but this time it was a matter of social responsibility. Additionally, the book is very much ‘white-washed,’ where we get greater diversity in the film. *hoorah!*


I didn’t really connect with the written version of Bianca at all – her casual approach to sex at such a young age. It was self-destructive (and yes, that’s the point) but I wouldn’t be comfortable letting my nieces and nephews read this book in their pre-teens unless I could engage them in an intelligent conversation over sexuality and intimacy. It pitched the characters into situations they weren’t emotionally prepared to handle. I’m not naive, I know this situation can be very real and happens in a real high school setting, but I felt as though there wasn’t a strong enough emphasis placed on the decision to engage in no strings sex with a random partner/s. It was fickle and frankly, distasteful. The movie kept the relationships (minus the sex) grounded in something tangible, which added depth and realism to the characters and story line. I appreciated and applaud the topics ‘The DUFF’ tackles.


Bianca spent the entire novel kidding herself – it was so frustrating. I literally shook the book at one point trying to get her to wake up and stop acting like a flake. Which is great that it is so engaging, but all for the wrong reasons. When I got to see her played by one of my favourite actresses on screen, Mae Whitman, I was elated. She was genuine, approachable and socially inept in a geeky-girl sort of way, more reflecting the age when girls grow up and become aware of the social mechanics of the sexes; as opposed to an ugly duckling story.

Wesley was just as bad with his attitude from the book. Seriously, if this is the calibre of teens and role models, I really worry about society. Couldn’t Keplinger have rounded them out with some redeeming features at the start of the book to stop me feeling like I was hanging out with a pair of lame-assess? Thank goodness the screen version, played by Robbie Amell added some boy-next-door qualities, making him likable and a more grounded human being.


I did not appreciate the parental story arc in the novel – it lacked something organic to make it feel believable (for both of the main cast) and the plot twist, though I can appreciate the drama of it all, was not written all that well in the aftermath. The films twist on parental roles only enhanced the tone of the story, and added a much more poignant message to tug at your heart strings.

Keplinger’s writing style is pretty easy, but a little flat. For a teen narrative, and an ironic one at that, I was expecting much more humour, one liners and brilliantly timed coincidence… but there was none of that. We get it in spades with the film. The plot, though interesting and engaging meandered a bit and left the climax with a soft punch instead of some big dramatic event we have come to love in YA. Again, the film resurrected the tone and climax in true (if somewhat spoony) style.

I have already purchased the sequel to the novel ‘Lying Out Loud,’ and hope this will redeem Keplinger for me, otherwise, if I get another lack-lustre impression, I will abandon any interest in any of her titles for the foreseeable future.

The movie adaptation was sooo much more sophisticated, had better comedic timing and pop culture references, and dealt with the DUFF phenomenon in a much better (socially responsible) fashion. I don’t think I want to recommend this book to my friends, unless you’re a big book nerd and curious to see the origins of the screenplay to the Hollywood blockbuster. But a big nod to the movie. It’s everything a fun teenage comedy should be. Film for the win!


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.

Film vs Novel – The Body Snatchers

The alien threat that started a sci-fi movement…

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The Body Snatchers’ has stood the test of time, from being written in 1955, it still managed to draw me in with its creepiness. And as evident, has inspired many screen adaptations, tapping into the audiences paranoia and wonder at the unknown.

The Body Snatchers Film vs Novel Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGiven the different era where the novel takes place, I found I was noticing how many of the characters smoke, and how our protagonist, Miles Bennell was the hero for the love interest Becky Driscoll. While Becky did have moments of her own heroism, she was still, at most times a silent companion and willingly followed Miles’ instructions. Much of that machismo is slowly deconstructed through its various incarnations, with a female lead in over half of the adaptations.

I loved the scientific explanations and long expository paragraphs of the state of affairs in the original manuscript – they reminded me of recordings of radio broadcasts of the 1950’s I listened to as a child in my grandparents lounge room. I could hear the accents and intonation where they sounded ‘proper’ and knowledgeable. It added an old-timey ambience to the story. A respectful gentleness that is absent from much of today’s new fiction. This esteem of knowing gets lost in many of the screen adaptations, apart from the earliest version. The later versions become more sensationalised and heavy on special effects, losing some of the core tension of the original story. Though the latest Nicole Kidman version does try to make a return. Labels as a bit of a box office flop, it was one of my favourite released of that year.

There is a strong sense of the paranoia of the time (in the 1950’s) of the novel, when the country was at war against communism, ‘The Body Snatches,’ taps into that fear to build a scenario where the people you know and love are not what they seem, where your home has suddenly found itself in the grips of an invasion. I’m greatful to say that this theme carries through all incarnations, whether it be sci-fi, horror, or suspense.

While this novel isn’t particularly scary, or alarming, it does possess an aura of the unsettling. An unassuming tension which resonates with the reader long after the book has been returned to the shelf. And I really wish that embodiment had translated to the screen – I think the closest it came was with the tv series ‘Invasion’ starring Eddie Cibrian. I’d discovered this series after it had been cancelled and loved their take on the franchise. Sad to have it canned after just one season.

I have seen all the movie and television adaptations, being the big sci-fi geek girl I am. ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ is one of my cult faves. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read the original script that kicked off this movement. I guess I was scared I’d be underwhelmed. But thankfully not. I really enjoyed this origin that has spurned so many re-inventions. Though, I must say none of those actually mirrored the story completely, and all had different twists and endings. So, while you will already know the premise of the story, there is still an element of surprise with this debut.

For lovers of the classics, old fashioned values, cult followers, and anyone in between, I highly recommend you give the novel a go. Just to see what happens. It has stood the test of time for a reason. Some of the screen adaptations – well, let’s just say they tried. And for the time in which they were released, pretty good. But now I have to try and stop laughing in some, as the over acting and special effects just about do me in. But it’s all in good fun!

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.

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.

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.

Film vs Novel – Total Recall

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

I can’t believe I haven’t compared this trio yet… one of the first books I ever read back in high school when I was mad about all things Piers Anthony.

Now I didn’t picture the Mars landscape or Douglas Quaid quite like they are in the film adaptations, but nonetheless I geeked out over all three. The closest character I’ve come across in the literature to Douglas Quaid would have to be Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt – they both have that rugged, balls-to-the-wall leading man vibe (so if you enjoyed one, you may get a kick from the other.)

The book is certainly true to the classic sci-fi adventure, and is woven with plenty of mystery and intrigue, gadgets and an alien planet… and for the young pimply teen, I ate it up!

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The 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger remains pretty true to the novel, while the 2012 release with Farrell, Beckinsale and Biel is clearly a loose adaptation. Although I can’t fault the special effects and storytelling of the latest cinema release – I was definitely engrossed. But I did miss the traditional ending that brought in a whole other dynamic into the story… because it’s all about the twist!

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I can see how the Farrell version kept with the secret agent/ political intrigue trope and left Mars out of the equation completely to give it an edgier feel and concentrate on the action scenes. Although when picking up the book, the fact it took place on another planet was the big draw card. But still, this mammoth film was able to produce top quality entertainment with some of my favourite actors. I’m just sad I didn’t get to a new experience on many of the other elements this film left out.

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With Schwarzenegger’s adaptation, although cutting edge effects at the time, seems somewhat camp now – and even when I first watched it I laughed out loud… especially the suffocation scene. In the book I remember the desperation as they were losing consciousness – instead I was giggling away at the bulging eyes and comically horrified expressions. I’d could explain the scene more, but given it’s near the conclusion of this story I don’t want to spoil you… and those of you who’ve only seen Farrell’s version will have no clue what I’m writing about. So go read the book, or watch the earlier film adaptation, the original story line will blow your mind!

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Another notable mention – we also got Sharon Stone while still blazing the trail of her burgeoning career (Playing Quaid’s wife).

This franchise is also famous for the three breasted woman (which they keep in both films) although the context in how he appears is completely different in each, illustrates just how different each creation is. So this is by far the most difficult comparison I’ve done to date in picking a winner. Farrell’s film adaptation has the eye candy, SPFX and political intrigue going for it, Schwarzenegger’s remains true to the original story, but loses some of the seriousness of Quaid’s dilemma through the limitation of SPFX, but the performances are great from all actors – (not like now, when all that runs through my head every time I see Arnold is ‘I’ll be back,’ or ‘It’s not a tumour.’)

The novel captured my imagination about being a spy, walking in the shoes of a big action hero, and exploring life on Mars (if only we had a female lead).

Hmmm… I guess it will have to be the novel for the win by a very narrow margin, but really it’s like comparing apples, oranges and a banana! Because really, all of them are awesome!

Total Recall Film vs Novel Pic 02 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.

Film vs Novel – Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List

Love happens in many different ways…

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

After doing a comparison of ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,’ I was keen to give another title by this duo a go… where the book by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn is witty, punchy and just a little emo, the film is like an adorable alternative romantic comedy. ‘Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List’ brings another contrast to the colourful characters Levithan and Cohn are praised for.

Naomi and Elys No Kiss List Film vs Novel Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI honestly liked the movie better than the book. I found Naomi to be whiny and immature, flying off the handle randomly, or failing to see reason – which is the point her character is so interesting… but in the movie, you get a break from her character. Naomi is played by Victoria Justice, and I think I’ve only seen her in some Disney movie, but Justice played Naomi to perfection, I got all the same feels from her performance as I did while reading the book.

Ely, played by Pierson Fode brings some incredible eye-candy. I was literally drooling at the screen. Fode compliments Ely’s character with an aloofness that added dimension to the character that I did not get from the novel. We know he was clueless, but in the novel, he came across as selfish, where in the movie we get to see it’s all in Naomi’s head and Ely is just being Ely.

Other notable performances that excelled my reading experience was Gabriel played by Matthew Daddario and Bruce 2 played by Ryan Ward… maybe it had something to do with the hotness metre blowing a gasket, but these boys really fleshed out the characters. I don’t think I liked Gabriel all that much in the book, but Matthew Daddario totally redeemed him in my eyes. Bruce 2 had the opposite effect, I got a geeky confidence from him in the novel, even though he is an introvert, but the film Bruce 2 felt like a lost lamb falling prey to both Naomi and Ely. I got the vibe of his self discovery from the page – not so strongly on the screen.

Plus, New York, with all of Naomi and Ely’s friends was so much more interesting in bright colour on the big screen – I didn’t get such a rich feeling of subculture from the novel. It is such a short book, and its focus is on Naomi and Ely’s relationship, so superfluous description of the setting would have been a hindrance, so I’m greatful to the film for adding yet another layer to my enjoyment.

The emotion was dialled down a lot more in the movie as well, which I appreciated, leaving me with a more rounded experience from all the cast, other than just Ely and Naomi.

I’d recommend to read the book before the movie, but it is totally the film for the win!

Naomi and Elys No Kiss List Film vs Novel Pic 03 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.

Film vs Novel – Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

I think this film has dyslexia…

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

I loved the novel, and am of the opinion that it is definitely the best of what Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written together. It is gritty, artsy and embodies the soul of New York and garage bands. The characters are all painted with bright colours and flaws making them all loveable in individual ways.

Nick 06

The film captures that same spirit, and while I enjoyed it, was a little taken aback as they mashed some of the sequences of the novel with others. Dialogue came from different people and scenes took place in different settings. I was also disappointed that some of my favourite scenes from the book were not included in the film. Overall I thought the picture was so-so, nowhere near as poignant as the book.

Although the narrative is witty, and such edgy symbolism is planted throughout, ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ suffered from two of my biggest turn-offs in books: the flashback, and excessive embellishment of a scene (otherwise known as mental wanderings). I think if it hadn’t exceeded my expectations in all other areas I would have abandoned it early on.

All of the cast in the movie gave me issue – Kat Dennings and Ari Graynor (Norah and Caroline respectively) felt too mature for this, even though I agree Kat played the lead expertly. I could see how her humour embodies much of Norah’s character, but we never got to really see her shine. Michael Cera was a genius casting choice, although I had pictured Nick much differently, Michael really captured the nonchalance of Nick perfectly. One scene in the book where he and Thom talk about The Beatles and are holding hands was cute, but it got ruined in the movie for me, when, I only presume for comedic purposes – Nick is seen by some passers-by and breaks the hand hold. In the book, Nick really does not care about sexual orientation or being touchy-feely with anyone… dropping Thom’s hand felt like the screenwriters had just flown in the face of everything Nick is (to get a laugh from the audience). He had so many other comedic moments in the story – why not use one of those instead of making him seem homophobic?

Nick (Michael Cera), Caroline (Ari Graynor) and Norah (Kat Dennings) star in Columbia Pictures and Mandate Pictures' comedy Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist.

Nick (Michael Cera), Caroline (Ari Graynor) and Norah (Kat Dennings) star in Columbia Pictures and Mandate Pictures’ comedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

It’s a little hard to compare the story of the movie when it was such a jumbaliah of the written word. I longed to see Norah pushing Nick into the closet, catch more of Norah’s physical comedy and deadpan punchlines… and although the movie was great, it left out so much of what I found endearing. So it’s another novel 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.

Film vs Novel – Bitten

What’s that smell? Blame the dog…

Bitten FilmvsNovel Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

There has never been a clearer winner in a comparison of book to tv show. It’s the show hands down! I found the book laborious and only brief shining moments where I was actually getting into the novel.

My biggest problem in this universe is the treatment of Elena by Clay (and other werewolf males quite frankly). It is dominating and misogynistic. Even though Elena does rally against it, she ultimately gives in time and time again. I understand Kelly Armstrong was using dynamics of canine behaviour for the pack mentality (mostly men) and tried to create an animalistic and unrelenting love between Elena and Clay, but I ultimately found it dominating and abusive. Both the book and tv show left me uncomfortable.

I enjoy other aspects in the television series however, it is watchable, but only just. Having other story lines and other women included in the production help redeem ‘Bitten’ on the small screen. I was a little confused about the book: on the cover it quotes “Meet the Women of the Otherworld,” and well… what women? There was only Elena, and the way she was treated was abhorrent.

Although Armstrong’s writing style is okay, I could not get past the subject matter and it tarnished the entire experience for me.

Bitten FilmvsNovel Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI’m not a huge fan of Laura Vandervoot, who plays Elena Micheals, but she does a commendable job; as does Greyston Holt as Clayton Danvers. Some of the other cast are a little hit and miss, but the overall production of the show is top rate and is certainly a visual feast with plenty of eye candy.

I found parts of the novel to be a little graphic (either sexual or gore by nature) and that is certainly translated to the screen… maybe I’m getting soft in my maturity, but I was skipping forward in those parts both on screen and page.

So the novel is a big thumbs down from me, and I won’t be picking up anything else in this series; and the tv show… average viewing, but neither something I would mention to my friends to partake in.

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.