Book vs. Movie: Rebecca (2020)

Hello, my darling readers!
I recently wrote a post talking about how the Alfred Hitchcock movie Rebecca compares to the Daphne du Maurier book it’s based on. Well, it just so happens that somebody at Netflix thought that what we desperately need is another adaptation of this novel, so here we are. Let’s talk about the 2020 version!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

Book vs. Movie:

Ooof, there are a lot of things wrong with this adaptation. It doesn’t work and I can clearly spot why. While they try to keep close to the story, the changed some little yet integral aspects that just take the wind out of this film’s sails. I won’t do another full review on the book since I already did that in the other post I wrote, but I want to highly several of those tiny yet important moments very the story deviates.

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Book vs. Movie: Rebecca (1940)

Hello, my darling readers!
Welcome to a book vs. movie posts I’ve been excited about for a long time. While I had previously seen the film, The book had been sitting on my tbr pile for an extremely long time!

The Plot (as found on RT):

Story of a young woman who marries a fascinating widower only to find out that she must live in the shadow of his former wife, Rebecca, who died mysteriously several years earlier. The young wife must come to grips with the terrible secret of her handsome, cold husband, Max De Winter (Laurence Olivier). She must also deal with the jealous, obsessed Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), the housekeeper, who will not accept her as the mistress of the house.

Book vs. Movie:

I’m often a little hesitant to read old(er) books as they have a tendency to not hold up. For example, Murder on the Orient Express was so rassist, I kept cringing with every other page. This novel was written a hot minute ago, so I feared it might fall to the same fate. However, it turned out that Rebecca is still highly relevant. Sure, it’s set in a different time, but it’s still works today.

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Book vs. Movie: Cursed

Hello, my darling readers!
It took me a hot minute to finally get started with Cursed after it was the talk of the town last year. Well, after I read The Guinenevere Deception I had an Arthurian myth shaped hole in my heart. Cursed seemed like the perfect choice to fill it. But was it, though?

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade. 

Book vs. Movie:

Normally, I try to sit down and write my posts in a timely manner after watching the movie/TV show and/or reading the book. However, I just really didn’t know what to do with Cursed. It took me forever and 15 days to finally sit down to write this, but here we are!

Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with either the book or the Netflix adaptation. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The novel first. This was a weird read and I think I know why. Tom Wheeler, the author, usually writes for TV and film. That shows! Several times throughout the book and especially during the final chapters this felt like a weird in-between of a novel and a script. Neither here nor there. Oftentimes, descriptions or scenes in the chapters were not fleshed out enough and seemed shallow and pale. Something was missing.

On top of that, most of the characters were downright annoying and I just kept rolling my eyes. I wouldn’t want to be lead by any of them, especially not Nimue who at times seemed as dense as a brick. Merlin is always drunk and disgusting, and somewhat of a deadbeat. Then we have Uther who is a petulant stupid child. I just wanted to smack him straight across his face. You can see, none of this bodes well for the novel.

I was really looking forward to Frank Miller’s art. He provided illustrations for the book but even those were mostly irritating. All in all, things were hard to decipher in his drawings, and every single time I was confused about who he’s actually depicting. I could swear the same character looked rather different in each picture.

Long story short, I was very annoyed with the book. I could see a lot of potential but the execution was flawed. However, since the author is a TV writer and many of the chapters felt script-adjacent, I hoped that the adaptation would be better.

Alas, I was wrong. I mean, the show wasn’t awful but I certainly wouldn’t watch it a second time. The weird thing is, all the moments from the novel that I expected to work well on-screen were altered in some way shape, or form – and not for the better. The way the show depicts some stuff (eg. Arthur and Gawain interacting, or Nimue and Arthur *ahem* flirting) felt extremely cringy. If they had to change things, why not make it better???

As much as I love seeing Gustaf Skarsgard again after Vikings, I was irritated that he got cast as Merlin. The wizard is supposed to be old. And the way I understood it in the novel, he also looks old (and somewhat disgusting). So, Skarsgard strayed really far from how I had imagined Merlin and from how he was described in the novel. Furthermore, we get many fay-folk characters. While the make-up department tried really hard to make those look dope, it just didn’t work for me. I can’t put my finger on what exactly it was that seemed off, but what we got just wasn’t it.

I did enjoy the change of plot when it comes to Pym. No spoilers, but at least there was an attempt to provide more depth. That being said, it wasn’t fully successful and I was kind of mad at the end of that particular storyline. The same goes for Iris and Morgana!
Finally, I was almost ready to throw a fit after the first episode when I saw the CGI. There is a scene where Nimue fights off some wolves and boy, this is bad. This is among the top 5 of the worst CGI effects I have ever seen. Thankfully, things look a bit better during the rest of the season, but still, that almost was enough to make me want to quit.

As you can see, there are many things I have to complain about both for the novel and the adaptation. There are so many other shows and books out there inspired by Arthurian mythology, so let’s just focus on those and forget about Cursed. So much potential but all of it squandered.

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

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Book vs. Movie: The Devil All the Time

Hello, my darling readers!
Before we get ready for spooky season with all things horror in October I’m going to use September to bring you some book vs. movie and book vs. TV show posts. To kick off this little mini-series we’re talking about The Devil All the Time. I’ve been curious about this one ever since Netflix dropped the first trailer, and I finally got around to finishing the book and the adaptation!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrifi­cial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial kill­ers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right. 

Book vs. Movie:

Well, that was an interesting novel. The vibe somehow reminded me of Stephen King’s 1922 or And the Ass saw the Angel, though that might be something that only makes sense in my head. 😅 I wouldn’t even know how to explain, it’s just a very specific feeling it got from reading all of those books.
So, what is there to say about The Devil All the Time? Well, first of all, it’s dark. It’s not exactly the kind of novel you go around recommending to people. Pollock has some seriously twisted and fucked up characters in this one. Interestingly, even though we get a bunch of questionable characters, everybody is fucked up in their own way. For example, I got an uneasy feeling from both Willard as well as from Carl and Sandy, but for *very* different reasons. I can’t really go deeper into this without adding spoilers, so let’s just say that I was fascinated!
Another thing I enjoyed is how Pollock weaved together the different story lines. He did a great job with interconnecting everything, especially across time (the books spans over quite a few years).
While this was not an easy book to read, it found it very interesting and well-written. Morever, I kept thinking several times that certain passages would translate brilliantly to the screen, so you can imagine how hyped I was to finally check out the movie!

The first thing I noticed about the film was that everybody got a Hollywood makeover. This was to be expected but it still bothered me. The cast did a great job and they are certainly not at fault here. But Pollock goes to quite some lengths detailling how ugly (or *extremely* plain) some characters are which also influences how they are treated in the story and how they react/feel. But when those roles are played by Mia Wasikowsa and Eliza Scanlen all that gets lost in translation and I just found it to be extremely annoying. By the way, those were not the only two characters where this was the case. But let’s ignore this for now.
In general I enjoyed the casting decisions made for this film (even though I’m still not sure what Robert Pattinson’s accent was supposed to be). However, one role who was really cast to perfection was Tom Holland as Arvin. He always kind of reminded me of a puppy and in this movie he embodies the puppy who got kicked one too many times and bites back. He did a brilliant job!

Generally speaking, the adaptation stays very close to the novel and only features some tiny alterations. For example, the timeline of Sandy and Carl is adjusted a bit to juxtapose them with Willard and Charlotte, whereas in the book their whole stick started a bit later. I read some reviews on the movie where people disliked it for being too dark which I found curious as the adaptation is actually less dark than the book. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of fucked up shit going on, but Pollock made sure to get in knees deep and detailled the exploits of all featured characters in more depth. Sandy and Carl are a good example for that. I don’t want to say much because spoilers, but in the book their story felt so much worse because we heard more of it.
Another slight difference – one which I didn’t mind – is the ending which is also a tad more hopeful in the film than it originally was.

This was a good adaptation. Granted the originally story really lends itself to be seen on screen. To be honest the book wasn’t 100% my cup of tea to begin with, but I nevertheless enjoyed it. The movie sticks very close the novel and impresses with a star-studded cast-list. They did a great job bringing the story to life, but again as I didn’t *love* the source material, I liked the movie but that’s it. It’s good but I’m not sure I’d rewatch it any time soon.

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

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Comics vs. TV Show: The Umbrella Academy – Season 2

Hello, my darling readers!
I couldn’t help but bingeing The Umbrella Academy’s second season. Additionally, I dove back into the comics to see whether I liked our heroes better on-screen or off!

The Plot of the Show’s Second Season (as found on Rotten Tomatoes):

Five warned his family (so, so many times) that using his powers to escape from Vanya’s 2019 apocalypse was risky. Well, he was right — the time jump scatters the siblings in time in and around Dallas, Texas. Over a three year period. Starting in 1960. Some, having been stuck in the past for years, have built lives and moved on, certain they’re the only ones who survived. Five is the last to land, smack dab in the middle of a nuclear doomsday, which — spoiler alert! — turns out is a result of the group’s disruption of the timeline (déjà vu, anyone?). Now the Umbrella Academy must find a way to reunite, figure out what caused doomsday, put a stop to it, and return to the present timeline to stop that other apocalypse. All while being hunted by a trio of ruthless Swedish assassins. But seriously, no pressure or anything.

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Book vs. Movie: Enola Holmes – The Case of the Missing Marquess

Hello, my beloved readers!
Enola Holmes was arguable one of Netflix’s biggest releases of 2020. However, before Millie Bobby Brown swooped into my life to take me on a Victorian journey I had never heard of Sherlock’s little sister. What better occasion to check out the novels?

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

When Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared—on her 14th birthday nonetheless—she knows she alone can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, Enola sets out to the heart of London to uncover her mother’s whereabouts—but not even the last name Holmes can prepare her for what awaits. Suddenly involved in the kidnapping of the young Marquess of Basilwether, Enola must escape murderous villains, free the spoiled Marquess, and perhaps hardest of all, elude her shrewd older brother—all while collecting clues to her mother’s disappearance!

Book vs. Movie:

So, I watched the film immediately when it came out. Then I picked up the novel. Upon finishing that I went to watch the movie a second time just to have some better ground for comparison. So, I’ll start with some thoughts on the film!

When I saw Mills in the trailer I knew this was going to be glorious. Also, Helena Bonham Carter is in this movie, so by rule, this can’t be bad.
Millie Bobby Brown has so much charisma, she’s definitely carrying this entire thing on her shoulders. I loved the dynamic between her and Helena Bonham Carter. Their relationship in the film was amazing!

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