Friday, July 4, 2014

Books vs Movies: Ender's Game & The Book Thief


There's nothing better to do on a rainy weekend than sit (or lie) back and watch a couple of good movies.  Luckily this weekend, two movies I have been waiting for some time arrived.  Strangely they offered me two completely different experiences for Books vs Movies.

I adored the book Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) so I was very excited to see the movie.  The whole concept of game playing, battlefield and political manoeuvring was fascinating, as was the way the story was told.  The fact that the adults were using the children and manipulating them (but that some of the children were too clever for them) added to the package.

Unfortunately the movie just didn't live up to expectations.  Huge chunks of the story were missing and I would be extremely interested to hear from people who haven't read the book, to see if they could follow what was happening.  Yes, the special effects were great (would love a go in the weightless battle room), and some of the characters (especially Ender) provided some depth.  But overall, they were cardboard cut-outs, moving around a game board that I found difficult to fathom.  I missed the relationship he had with his sister and even his brother, both of which were side issues in the movie.  This was just one book that just doesn’t seem to have translated well onto the screen.

On the other hand, I struggled reading The Book Thief (Markus Zusak).  On the face of it, the tale should have enthralled me.  WWII, children's experience, Death narrating the story.  But despite several attempts it was a book that just did not grab me and I have never finished it.

The movie was astounding.  I LOVED it.  The casting was exceptional and the story proceeded with empathy and feeling as each character played their part and fitted together to form a whole bigger and better than its parts. I grew to love them all - Liesel, Max, Rudy, Hans and even Rosa. Yes, we did lose some of the novelty of Death being the narrator as this was only evident briefly at the beginning and intermittently before concluding the movie.   But somehow that didn’t matter.  And it means that there will be something added to the experience when I go back to read the book.

Mixed experiences but a lovely lazy weekend.

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