Movie and Book: Beautiful Creatures

When I initially saw the Beautiful Creatures books, I immediately thought vampires. It was on the wave of Twilight when it was vampire everything. I didn’t realize until the movie came out that it was witches. The movie looking interesting so I decided it was time to read the book.

Beautiful creature book 2

Beautiful Creatures follows the story of mortal teenager Ethan from the small town of Gatlin where nothing happens. Ethan has been dreaming of a girl with a face he can’t see. When he meets Lena, the new girl who has moved in with the mysterious Macon Ravenwood, he knows she’s the girl from his dreams. Ethan slowly gets drawn into a world full of magic, mystery, and danger.

I liked Ethan as the narrator. He was the kind of character who did his best to fit into the small town life but realizing that he did not belong and wanted desperately to get out. The problem for me was the book was SLOW to start. It took 150 pages for him to figure out Lena was a witch. UGH.

After 100 more pages, I genuinely liked Lena and Ethan. But most of all, I loved Macon Ravenwood, Lena’s uncle. His devotion to her is heart felt and he supports her even when he disagrees. The BEST scene is when the recluse Macon Ravenwood visits the school and shocks everyone. If you don’t want to read the book, just read that scene.

Overall, the book was decent. The setting of the South really captured the mystical qualities of the witches. However, I found myself not hooked by the series. I liked the characters enough, but the writing dragged for me too much to want to keep reading the series. The ending was tied up enough for me to think, ‘well what now?’ There was not enough of a cliffhanger for me to continue reading. I would give it a 3.5 out of 5.

Beautiful Creatures movieThe movie started exactly as the book and just as intriguing. The pacing was better considering it didn’t get bogged down by details. Visually, they captured the swampy south so perfectly. Towards the middle of the movie, they started to combine two characters into one which I didn’t like. They at least had my favorite scene of Macon Ravenwood showing up at the school. It was more brilliant in the book, but I was still pleased to see it.

The cast was great. I thought the actor who played Ethan was great. The girl who played Lena was meh. Jeremy Irons as Uncle Macon was fantastic. I didn’t care for Emmy Rossum as Riley. I love Emmy, but Riley’s character is supposed to be blonde!

I would have possibly rated the movie higher, if it wasn’t for the ending. The movie ending did not make sense at all. It was a whole mess of confusion and “WTF just happened?’ moments. The gorgeous visuals of depicting the South redeems it. Barely. I would rate it 3 out of 5.

 

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Movie and Book: Divergent

divergent_bookMy roommate started my interest in the series, and I was thrilled when she gave me the series for Christmas. I manged to read the whole series a month before the movie came out.

Out of all the books in the series, the first one was my favorite. Divergent follows the story of Beatrice “Tris” Prior who lives in a post-apocalyptic Chicago where society is divided into five factions. When they are of age, teens choose to stay with their families faction or to join a new faction. Tris makes the decision to leave her family’s faction Abnegation “selfless” to join Dauntless “brave”, where she goes through a series of trials and tests to see if she belongs in Dauntless. But Tris’ brain isn’t like everyone else’s. She is Divergent.

I loved the premise of the series. I liked the factions and how the author explained them.* Although I have never been to Chicago, it describes a lot of the city and would be familiar to those who know it well. I also liked Tris. She wasn’t a perfect heroine but really struggled to belong to her old faction and then her new one. However, the best character by far is Four. Probably one of my favorite male characters to come out of YA fiction in a while. Edward who? Peeta/Gale what? No, it’s all about Four.

I would easily rate the book 5 out of 5. It dragged at parts but I was still intrigued by the plot and the last 50 pages are intense.

divergent_poster_movieI was excited to see what they did with the movie. I wasn’t sure about the casting of Shailene Woodley (since the only thing I knew her from was that horrible ABC Family show). I was pleasantly surprise though, as she impressed me as Tris. Theo James was even okay as Four. The movie plot was very similar to the book and I thought it set up the story well.

A few scenes were changed in how they were told and the timing was a little different. The biggest change was more scenes with the character Kate Winslet plays-Jeanine. It wasn’t necessarily a bad or good addition to the movie, just a different telling of the story. In reality, the second book has a lot more of Jeanine. It would be interesting to see how they add Jeanine in the second movie.

I would give the movie 4.5 out of 5, just because I have impossible standards for Four’s character. I’m looking forward to the next movies in the series

A lot of really good young adult books being turned into movies, so stay tuned.

*I am TOTALLY an Erudite. Except not a jerk about it.

Movie and Book: Mortal Instruments- City of Bones

I had heard a lot about The Mortal Instruments series. I never got into them, because after the Twilight craze I became very anti-vampire storyline. My roommate started reading them and explained the plot was not all vampires, and I became more interested in checking them out. This was one of those rare occurrences where I didn’t get a chance to read the book first. I ended up tagging along with my roommate when the movie came out, and the movie finally interested me enough to check out the series.

The Mortal Instruments City of BonesMortal Instruments is about a girl, Clarissa “Clary”, whose mother is mysteriously kidnapped and Clary becomes exposed to an underground world of Shadowhunters, werewolves, and vampires. Shadowhunters kill and destroy demons to protect all of humanity, and Clary gets dragged into the middle of it all by the broody, sarcastic, Shadowhunter Jace. Cue the sexual chemistry and sparks.

Despite not knowing a lot about the series, except the basics, I still managed to follow along with the movie story line pretty well. Clary, played by Lily Collins, suited the role. Jamie Campbell Bower simply embodies the sensual, enigmatic Jace. I liked the chemistry between Lily and Jamie (which makes sense since they were rumored as dating while they were filming this movie). By the end of the movie, I had decided I needed to read the book. My main reason: I needed to make sure the surprise twist wasn’t true. I would rate the movie 3.5 out of 5.

The Mortal Instruments City of Bones bookThe author Cassandra Clare definitely comes off as a first time writer in her first book. It is awkwardly written with a lot of bad similes and metaphors. Despite that, she created a really interesting world and characters that kept me reading. I recognized some of the really good dialogue scenes from the book were used in the movie, which shows the dialogue was stronger than some of the plot points.

Although, the movie actually did some different things with the plot that I actually liked better than how they were done in the book. For example, the first monster you meet in the movie is this terrifying demon dog thing. The first monster you meet in the book sounds like a lame slime monster.

There was only one part of the movie that wasn’t clear and that was due to the script, as it was completely different in the book. I enjoyed getting more involved in the history of the Shadowhunters, vampires, and werewolves in the book.

I enjoyed the overall premise of the series more than the actual writing of the book. Clary was often annoying. Jace was definitely the more interesting character that made reading worth it. I would rate the book 2.5 out of 5.

They set up the movie version City of Bones for a sequel, but I’m not sure if it will be made since the first movie only did so-so in the box office. I would like to see how they would have done with the other books in the series.