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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Book vs. Movie: The Turning/Turn of the Screw

Hello, my darling readers!
Today I bring you my thoughts on the latest adaptation of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw that I watched. I was curious to see how this one would turn out, so let’s find out whether it was a hit or a miss!

The Plot (as found on RT):

Kate Mandell takes a job as a nanny for two young orphans at an isolated Gothic mansion in the Maine countryside. She soon learns that the children — Miles and Flora — are emotionally distant and unstable. When strange events start to plague Kate and the siblings, she begins to suspect that the estate’s dark corridors are home to a malevolent entity.

Book vs. Movie:

A while ago I wrote a book vs. TV show posts when Netflix dropped The Haunting of Bly Manor. After I was really excited by the show I read Henry James’ novella, and boy how I hated that little piece of writing. I had *a lot* of issues with the story per se and James’ writing style, I’d recommend checking out the post linked above as I don’t want to go into to much detail here again. Let me just say I disliked the story because it didn’t make much sense. There were too many questions that never got answered or explained. The characters were annoying at best and I honestly couldn’t be bothered to care for a single one of them. The novella has it’s flaw but as Netflix has shown us, it does give building blocks for a potentially intriguing adaptation.

I didn’t expect that much from The Turning but I hoped it would also mark an improvement in comparison to the original story. Turns out, it’s just almost as bad.
Where to begin? So, the story is updated a bit, transferring it into 1994. It’s rather easy to pinpoint the exact point in time the story is set in, as they established the year in the laziest way possible. In the first minutes we see a TV report on Kurt Cobain’s suicide. It’s like they wanted to add a cart somewhere saying ‘1994’ but also wanted to be a teeny-tiny bit less obvious about it. The 90s vibe is mostly established through clothing that Kate wears and by a poster in Miles’ room. Apart from that it could have been set last year had they given the phone a more modern look. Especially the language threw me off at times. For example, was ‘cool’ a thing that people already said a lot in 1994? I always thought that’s more of an early 2000s thing? The soundtrack was one of the few things I liked about the film, but while they tried for a grunge aesthtic overall, the music didn’t exactly mirror that. I feel like some of the songs also sounded a lot more modern than the time they were going for here. Honestly, if they hadn’t shoved the year this is supposed to take place in in our faces at the beginning of the film, I wouldn’t even have cared. Because, believe me, this is the least of our problems here.

Remember when I said the original story didn’t make much sense? Well, neither does the adaptation. Why are the ghosts there? What’s the idea? How/why are they trapped? Why only those two? What the heck is Mrs. Grose problem? What is up with Kate’s mum? What on earth was that ending? Or rather complete lack thereof?

I am willing to believe that to a certain degree this is to blame on the re-writing process the script went through. Apparently, the first rewrite changed the script so much that it was entirely different from the original idea and the director was replaced. I’m curious how the movie had turned out had they gone with that script instead…
The film mostly relies on jump scares and while some scenes are intriguing, everything feels disconnected, almost as if there were parts missing in-between.

It doesn’t help that again the characters are supremely annoying and you simply don’t care for any of them. The little girls seems decent at first but it soon turns out that both she and her brother are little monsters. Again, there is one scene almost at the end where I had hope that we’d get some depth on Miles but no such luck. Mackenzie Davis is beyond bland in this and it’s like she isn’t even trying.

What a disappointment this film was. I already hated the novella and this movie certainly is not an improvement on any of it. The only good thing is that watching the adaptation takes less time than reading the thing. But honestly yeet both out the window and just watch The Haunting of Bly Manor instead.

Did you prefer the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments!

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Book vs. TV Show: Shadow and Bone

Hello, lovelies!
Earlier this year it finally happened! Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels were finally adapted into a TV show and Netflix released the episodes. I was insanely excited about this, so let’s see whether it lives up to all the hype!

The Plot (according to RT):

Based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone finds us in a war-torn world where lowly soldier and orphan Alina Starkov has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free. With the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha. But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be one and the same and that nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive.

Shadow and Bone on RT and Goodreads

Book vs. TV Show:

So, let me say right away, this is a pretty good adaptation! I really enjoyed watching what we got so far but there a still a few things I need to criticize. But let’s start with the things I did like!

The casting is spot-on. Literally every character has found a perfect actor or actress to portray them. I honestly don’t know how they managed to pull this off but I couldn’t be happier about it. This was actually one of the main things I was concerned about for the adaptation as the casting can really make or break how it turns out. So, I’m very glad that they really nailed it.

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Book vs. Movie: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Hello, my darling readers!
I’ve talked about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood a while ago – naturally I had to see the film the moment it came out. But guess what, Tarantino decided we aso need a book version of the story. So, let’s see how that turned out!

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

RICK DALTON – Once he had his own TV series, but now Rick’s a washed-up villain-of-the week drowning his sorrows in whiskey sours. Will a phone call from Rome save his fate or seal it?

CLIFF BOOTH – Rick’s stunt double, and the most infamous man on any movie set because he’s the only one there who might have gotten away with murder. . . .

SHARON TATE – She left Texas to chase a movie-star dream, and found it. Sharon’s salad days are now spent on Cielo Drive, high in the Hollywood Hills.

CHARLES MANSON – The ex-con’s got a bunch of zonked-out hippies thinking he’s their spiritual leader, but he’d trade it all to be a rock ‘n’ roll star.


Hemlock Grove on Goodreads

Book vs. Movie:

I’m gonna keep my thought on the film short, as I have a full-lenght review over here. I enjoyed it a lot (I’ve seen it multiple times) but I completely understand why it doesn’t work at all for some people. Tarantino gave us a film that captures the zeitgeist of the late 60s. If you know a thing or two about Hollywood in that time you’re going to have a field day spotting all the little hints and references. But if you are not familar with that period and it’s MVPs, you’re going to be very bored. The action doesn’t pick up until the last half hour. But it’s a three hour movie so it takes a long time for it to get exciting.

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