Book vs. TV Show: Nos4a2 (Season 1)

Hello, my darling readers!
I finally got around to checking out a novel (and its adaptation) that has been on my radar for such a long time. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son. 

Book vs. Movie:

I’ve had Joe Hill’s novel on my radar for the longest time, even since before the show was announced. However, somehow, I just never got around to reading it, even though I enjoyed everything I’ve ever picked up by him. Well, I finally found some time in my schedule, and all I can say is that I loved the book. It is dark, it is twisted, it is spooky, it is smart.

Joe Hill does an amazing job weaving this story that spans the course of so many years, feeding the reader bits of information, always leaving you wondering, wanting more. Writing horror stories really must be in his genes, but I have to say I think I prefer his writing style of his father’s (Stephen King). Even though the novel comes with quite a hefty page count, it never drags on or feels too long. Hill really enraptures the reader and leaves you unable to put the book down.

I swear, I was hooked from the first chapter on. That was enough to give anyone the chills! The story is super creative and I don’t think I’ve ever read or seen anything quite like it before. There’s also something in the construction of Hill’s characters, something in their development that I really enjoy. I can’t put my finger on it, but he sets himself apart from other writers in that regard as well. Furthermore, I think I need to give him a shoutout for actually writing women well. The protagonist is female and I didn’t have any cringe moments! (looking at you, menwritingwomen reddit)

Reading the book I immediately felt that it would make for a great TV show. There are many elements to the story that I expected to work great on screen, so I was very excited to watch the adaptation.

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Book vs. Movie: We have always lived in the Castle

Hello, guys!
I finally had time to read this Shirley Jackson book, which I was mainly interested in because from the first pictures I saw for the film, I was intrigued. But since I like to read the novel first, the movie sat on my to-watch-list collecting dust. Well, the novel was finished, the movie was watched, so here we are now!

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead…

Book vs. Movie:

I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about this. I can definitely say that I liked the movie better than the novel, but I wasn’t too much into either, to be honest. I know many people love Shirley Jackson’s books but so far, their charm seems to elude me. This is the second novel of hers that I read, and once more I am intrigued by the idea, but the execution just doesn’t hit the spot for me. Maybe it’s simply that her writing style doesn’t work for me. Because, by all means, I should have loved this book. Quite often the main character is such a mood! But ultimately, I ended up finding her irritating and annoying in the novel and wished we wouldn’t spend so much time in her head/her thoughts.

I was, however, really curious how this would turn out on screen. The story has the potential for a great adaptation (and Sebastian Stan’s in it), so I had to check that out as well. First of all, I immediately liked the film better, precisely because of what I said just before. We don’t spend so much time with Merricat’s thoughts. Also, in the book, it struck me as odd that everybody in the village would have such a deep-rooted hate for the sisters. In the movie, there were at least tiny attempts in giving some characters a reason to dislike them (e.g. a guy who was rejected by her sister). Another thing that the adaptation does a better job with is Charles. I get what Shirley Jackson wanted to accomplish there, what kind of person he is, his character. Maybe it’s just Sebastian Stan, but in the film, this character seems so much more intense, and also so much more charming. I can see why Constance would fall for him. In the book, he just seemed like an utter twat every single minute of every day.

While, overall, the adaptation kept fairly close to the book except for minor changes, there is one major plot divergence at the end. SPOILERS AHEAD

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Book vs. Movie: Wild At Heart

Hello, my darling readers!
Today we’re going to talk about Wild at Heart, one of my favorite pictures ever, and the book it is based on. Let’s see whether the books gets me as excited as the film!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

After serving prison time for a self-defense killing, Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) reunites with girlfriend Lula Fortune (Laura Dern). Lula’s mother, Marietta (Diane Ladd), desperate to keep them apart, hires a hit man to kill Sailor. But he finds a whole new set of troubles when he and Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe), an old buddy who’s also out to get Sailor, try to rob a store. When Sailor lands in jail yet again, the young lovers appear further than ever from the shared life they covet.

Book vs. Movie:

I think my movie review for Wild at Heart was one of the first things I ever posted on this blog. It’s by far my favorite David Lynch film and one of my all-time favorites in general. But for the longest time, I didn’t realize that it’s based on a novel! So, naturally, I had to read it and see whether I would enjoy it as much as the film. Spoiler alert: I did not.

Let’s briefly recap why I love the movie. First of all, Laura Dern is absolutely impeccable. I love every single thing about her in Wild at Heart and I honestly couldn’t imagine anybody else playing the role. I’m a bit more variable on Nicolas Cage, but he was an interesting choice, and he does a good job. It’s a cool twist that Laura Dern’s IRL mum also plays her mum in the film (and even got nominated for an Academy Award). In general, the cast is super impressive. Those of you who have watched a Lynch production or two (especially Twin Peaks) can play “do I know this cast member” as you’ll see many familiar faces.

The story is super weird (as is customary for David Lynch movies) and it doesn’t entirely feel like it makes sense. It’s just a crazy trip, but it works. All the mentions of Wizard of Oz definitely add to that. But again, it’s fun to try and spot all the references, I swear I notice a new one every time I watch the film. Wild at Heart has a very unique vibe and it’s great.

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Book vs. TV Show: The Witcher (Season 2)

Hello, guys!
I binge-read all the Witcher books right after season 1 came out. You can imagine how sad I was that season 2 was delayed. Well, it’s finally here, so time to compare it to the novels!

The Plot for Blood of Elves (as found on Goodreads):

For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf.

Geralt of Rivia, the cunning assassin known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world – for good, or for evil.

As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt’s responsibility to protect them all – and the Witcher never accepts defeat.

Book vs. TV Show:

Guys. Guys. GUYS. I hope you were just as excited as I was when the second Witcher season finally dropped. I know the first season wasn’t without its flaws but I had a great time watching it, so – of course – I binged the second one the day it came out.

What I can say right off the bat, I know many people had *a lot* of issues with this season, but I enjoyed it. Sure, I bitched about a bunch of stuff while watching it, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. We started off with an adaptation of one of the short stories. Since in the book Ciri wasn’t in that, they had to rewrite it a bit but overall this was amazing. The acting was great, the CGI on point. Two thumbs for that. We certainly were off to a great start. Not just in terms of the show but just in terms of book-to-screen adaptations in general, this was really well done!

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Book vs. Movie: Dune (2021)

Hello, my darling readers!
After taking a closer look at David Lynch’s take on Dune a few days ago, we of course also need to check out the latest attempt at adapting Frank Herbert’s novel!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…

Book vs. Movie:

So, after reading the book and watching the David Lynch adaptation, I was really hoping for this to be a step up. I am happy to report Denis Villeneuve did not disappoint. While reading the novel I kept thinking that this would look stunning on screen but considering just how expansive the first book (the only one I have read so far) is, this is not without challenges. While I enjoyed the story, the book did drag on a bit at times, and I just didn’t like it as much as I had expected.

One of the biggest challenges an adaptation of Dune has to overcome is depicting all the sci-fi stuff, the creatures, and the world described in the book. The David Lynch movie failed almost ridiculously in that regard. But, to be honest, it never really stood a chance. Now almost 40 years later technology offers new options and actually gave the filmmakers a decent shot at bringing this story to the screen. In this take on Dune, the CGI is absolutely on point. Just about everything looks flawless and I think they did a tremendous job bringing Frank Herbert’s creation to life.

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Book vs. Movie: Dune (1984)

Hello, my darling readers!
To kick off a month full of book vs. movie and TV show reviews we’re going to talk about Dune. Well, first we talk about the 1984 adaptation before we move on the new adaptation later this week!

The Plot (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

In the year 10191, a spice called melange is the most valuable substance known in the universe, and its only source is the desert planet Arrakis. A royal decree awards Arrakis to Duke Leto Atreides and ousts his bitter enemies, the Harkonnens. However, when the Harkonnens violently seize back their fiefdom, it is up to Paul (Kyle MacLachlan), Leto’s son, to lead the Fremen, the natives of Arrakis, in a battle for control of the planet and its spice. Based on Frank Herbert’s epic novel.

Book vs. Movie:

I am a bit torn on the book. First of all, it took me a month to read. If I really like a book, I usually gobble it up within a few days at the most. The thing is, I wanted to like Dune but I just had a hard time getting into it. I already identified one problem that definitely contributed to that. See, I read this on my e-reader. However, the novel comes with a rather substantial appendix. An appendix that is necessary, considering how many new terms the author came up with. But going through the story on an e-reader meant that I didn’t flick back and forth as that’s just annoying, so the appendix was pretty much lost on me, which also means that I was a bit lost reading the book. That means, if you want to read Dune, get yourself an actual copy instead of a digital version, it’ll make the reading experience a lot more enjoyable.

The story is split in three parts with the first essentially being a very long prologue. Herbert spends a decent amount on the world-building and situating the reader in the story. Although it was necessary, I still wanted it to be shorter so we could get on with the story. Considering that technically I desperately needed all the explanation I could get since I didn’t check out the appendix, this is a bit of contradiction, but here we are.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Herbert’s story. I enjoyed his world and his characters but I just wanted him to get on with everything a bit faster. That’s true for the entire book and not just the first part.

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