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  1. #11
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    Thanks for your thoughts on this, @Metis. I'm excited to see it when it's finally released in my country. Ava DuVernay is a force of life.

    I think I'll get around to listening to the audiobook too.
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  2. #12
    Noncompliant Yuurei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metis View Post
    That's a good point; I never thought of that. I must have taken it for granted. That's probably part of the reason I could relate to the book when I was little, because of the young lady being the main hero of the story. Although Nancy Drew had that too, but when I read Nancy Drew books, she was way older than I was.
    I'm sure I would have loved it as a little girl too but I just never discovered it somehow. Will probly see the movie. Thanks for reminding me.
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  3. #13
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    I loved the book series as a child and still, yet, as an adult. The trailers seem to be very focused on the fact that Oprah is in it, which is a bit of a turnoff. Nothing against Oprah personally, I just never see her inhabit another character other than herself, so it takes one out of the moment when she appears on screen in movies. YMMV. Which contrasts to the main point of the books which are the children meeting and overcoming conflicts to the triumph of both self and world.

    I plan to see this in the theater at some point, but unless I see an amazing, thoughtful, and glitter stricken review, I will wait until it's a bit cheaper.
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow as White View Post
    I loved the book series as a child and still, yet, as an adult. The trailers seem to be very focused on the fact that Oprah is in it, which is a bit of a turnoff. Nothing against Oprah personally, I just never see her inhabit another character other than herself, so it takes one out of the moment when she appears on screen in movies. YMMV. Which contrasts to the main point of the books which are the children meeting and overcoming conflicts to the triumph of both self and world.

    I plan to see this in the theater at some point, but unless I see an amazing, thoughtful, and glitter stricken review, I will wait until it's a bit cheaper.
    Yeah, Oprah was distracting.

    I'm not sorry that I went to see it in the theater. I also think it was a good choice of a story to adapt into another movie. Ava DuVernay did a good job.

    It's like Life-of-Christ movies, or Greek Tragedies adapted to film: Everyone's going to have a different vision of it, and in this case, I think she was true to the story in spirit, for the most part, with the exception of inflating Oprah (literally and figuratively), and the annoying Happy Medium thing.

    I didn't care for the fact that so many moral lessons were spelled out in added speeches by the characters, but I get why that would be done, and I thought the moral lessons they were spelling out were ones that fit; in other words, I don't think that the movie put words into the author's mouth, with the added speeches. I think the author of the book probably would have liked both adaptations. (I'm sure she saw the 2003 one.)
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  5. #15
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    I did read the book and enjoyed it, but I have not seen the movie. What worries me is that the trailers make it look like a vapid Oprah-filled CG fest, which is seemingly reflected in some reviews.

    Maybe I'll see it. Most likely I won't.
    ~Spec

  6. #16
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    Having seen it, I almost fell asleep on some parts. I didn't go here by first choosing, but as a hang out with a friend I met on the Internet..

    Bleh.

    It was boring, unoriginal and trope in many ways. And you guessed it, entirely predictable.

    Sorry I'll put my haterade away.


  7. #17
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    I love this book so much, and after seeing the trailer I decided not to see the movie, because it just doesn't look how it looked in my head when I read the book, and I like the version in my head.

  8. #18
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    Been a fan of the book from a young age (I think I bought my first copy when I was in 4th or 5th grade). L'Engle is interesting, her writing style seems very simplistic in some ways but the concepts themselves are more idealistically complex than her style brings across. I think "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" was my favorite when younger (of the main three books) but "A Wind in the Door" in adulthood became the one that resonated the most with me.

    Anyway, I have not yet seen the movie. I was anxious about it once I heard who was cast in it, and then the reviews left me kind of ambivalent about seeing it right away. I don't mind at all the recasting based on race and such, it's simply Oprah is larger than life with her own life philosophy that I feared would overshadow the film; and that seems to be one of the problem issues. I don't really understand why she was cast in that sense. The book was about concepts and a personal (rather than larger-than-life) touch



    and I also feared that L'Engle's views on actual love and the spiritual underpinnings and acknowledgement of one's own humanity would be undermined by a kind of nebulous positivity thinking and fuzzy broad acceptance. I've seen some analysis of the film that suggests this was the case, like about some of the lessons Meg learns and how there are flaws that are part of her own humanity rather than simply being negative messaging from culture. It does sound like there were a few strong performances in the film, at least, so I still plan to view it... but not at theater pricing. I'd be kind of surprised if they decided to film any more of the series; the other books also I don't think are as marketable / filmable.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"
    "You can't take a picture of this, it's already gone." ~ "Six Feet Under"
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  9. #19

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    I've simply heard too many negative things about it, and those things that would likely ruin the movie for me. As such I won't be going out of my way to see it. I was hopeful though.

  10. #20
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    ... I rented this yesterday from RedBox to give it a proper go since I hadn't seen it yet. I will update later with full comments, but... you can kinda guess... I only could get through half of this film yesterday and will force myself to watch the final 45 minutes tonight so I can take it back before deadline.

    It was just really difficult to sit through. I'm having to process it both as an adaptation (which it's not a very good translation of) and as a work in itself (which is slightly better, but I'm bored to tears). I'm not sure how this happened, as it's Disney, the director has done good work elsewhere, and some of the actors have talent. I am currently blaming the screenwriters + the mismatch of concept vs set/screen design + CGI. I know Jennifer Lee is highly touted nowadays due to her success with Frozen and Wreck it Ralph, but... this kinda seems a mess.

    I wish the actors had gotten a better vehicle for their talents (including the two kid leads, for Meg and CW).



    EDIT:

    Okay, overall thoughts on the film:

    - Their hearts were in the right place. But I felt like neither the director nor the screenwriters really understood the material... and I am saying the director because of the direction the visual art aspect / CGI was allowed to go and because the director is responsible for the vision of the film. (Her directing of the actors, whatever she did, was fine.) I tried to evaluate this film on two levels -- as an adaptation, and as an original film. As an adaptation, it's really kind of bad. As an original film, it's merely mundane. It's also directed very much towards young children, whereas the book can be enjoyed by any age range.

    - The visuals/CGI really detracted from the overall film, dwarfing other elements and not really gelling. Even the set designs were far too expasive and rich -- single mom who can afford a picture perfect house and expansive property while taking care of two kids. It was too much. It adds to story if you show a family who is more modest/struggling... which would be in the premise of the film, because Mr. Murray has disappeared and Mrs. Murray is on her own. But really -- I wish the film had had a much smaller budget because they would have been forced to focus on STORY and character, rather than getting caught up in how the film looked. There are also sequences that serve no purpose except to be "exciting" (like the pointless storm on Camazotz that is just an obstacle to surmount but has no bearing on anything). To go along with this... the music reflected black culture nicely I guess (in a cable-TV kind of way) but didn't really emotionally support the scenes it was laid on top of, much of the time.

    - I really did not like the three witches/angels (or however we'd like to define them). I tried to be very open due to the non-confirming casting, but I really didn't care for any of them as written and portrayed. Here's a few thoughts. Old women who are eccentric works far better than young women who are eccentric; it just scans very differently. The motives of the Trio are never really clear aside from "Oh, let's be warriors for Light" (whatever that means). They seem petty and/or callous in some ways, and not in interesting ways but in limiting ways -- which is bizarre if you know their backstory about how they are celestial bodies who made great sacrifices in the past. Like... humility is a prime factor for all three, but the movie versions seemed to be lacking this. Too much glamour. Too much glitz. They abandon the kids of Camazotz ("oh, we are fading and can't leave if we try to take you, so... see ya, kids!" Damn, but the Trio would NEVER abandon children even at cost to themselves... Mrs. Whatsit already gave up being a star in her fight against the Darkness.) Their dialogue was so damn vague and fluff that it could not define their character or their goals, really, beyond the vacuous.

    - Much of the movie lacks emotional impetus. i was actively bored / didn't care about much at all in this film. The only moments I felt something involved Storm Reid (Meg) and Chris Pine (Mr. Murray). The opening five minutes was great because i felt like they were trying to actively tie to the end of the film, where "love" is the tie that binds and saves. Also, when Meg finally finds her dad -- I teared up, they were both great. But that's an actor thing, not a script thing.

    - It's never clear why Charles Wallace goes into IT, exactly. He's doing math problems and I guess Red tells him he's "special" but for some reason that's enough? It was like, uh, what just happened? Here are things where I dont' like comparing to the source, but L'Engle ALWAYS had convincing reasons for characters to do what they were doing. The book really sets up how Charles is very precocious, and he's told that only he can go into IT because of his brain being structured properly, and how they can't rescue Father unless he goes in... and Charles believes he is so smart that he chooses it and thinks he can come back. It's totally what an intellectually precocious character would do -- but because he's a kid, he doesn't realize it's still beyond him. So he actively, consciously, chooses it. This undermines the next part, which is...

    - the conclusion of the book, where Meg "saves" CW. Like, it was kinda like "love" -- but they made IT so generically "evil" that it just really didn't work. I couldn't even tell when it was over, really. There's a few good ideas in that sequence (like Meg's beautified twin), but man they really needed a decent writer to coalesce a lot of the fluff and give it substance. I dunno. It just was so boring and arbitrary and cliché.

    - the villification of Mr. Murray. Again, getting back to L'Engle, she made Murray human and flawed while not unnecessarily villifying him. Here, they had to make him actively "abandon" Meg against her will, so his shame is that he leaves with Calvin and she stays. I'm fighting hard to not compare to the book, but the thing is... if the book actually does something well, WHY CHANGE IT and make it worse? Murray is still head strong, in the book. He tries to tesser them out but can't because IT is too strong and he's not as powerful as the Trio, so Meg is almost lost and he can't bring CW without killing him. When Murray tries to go back, the Trio tells him he cannot do it -- he's not capable, he's too limited -- but Meg has what he lacks. And then he fights with them over it, because he loves his daughter and even vilifies the Trio (who acknowledges his pain), but Meg accepts the decision and goes... a beautiful act of courage. And he shows courage as a father by letting her go finally. It's a man needing to learn to let go. The whole book is built on these little shows of "love and humility," so when you realize that love is Meg's secret weapon, it's an epiphany you should have known all along. The film treats love as an object or external thing almost, I dunno, and it's simply not nearly as cohesive.

    - Calvin's kind of a waste of a character in the film except to adore Meg. He fails the reverse Bechdel test. he's not totally important in the book either but he's far better realized.

    - A lot of the secondary characters are really flat. jenkins, for example. That guy is actually important -- he plays a HUGE role in the second book, A Wind in the Door. And he's far better sketched out in the book. Here he's a bland kinda admin principle who doesn't really understand team dynamics nor expresses much authority. Like... just, eh. I can't really tell you who he is, where in one scene in the book I totally know the guy.

    - The Camazotz sequence. What the heck is actually on Camazotz, if the suburbs aren't really real, and the beach really isn't real, and...? What exactly? There are no stakes, if we can't tell what's real. This was another case where the large budget was detrimental; they did weird things simply because they could.

    - Story theme. L'Engle was really about how zealous rationality can stamp out creativity and individuality. This was a big deal at the time, with the onset of machinery and science as the new evolution of man (CS Lewis was hitting this kind of thing too in This Hideous Strength). Meg is disliked because she is an individual. Jenkins sees her as a misfit because she can't conform to the school structure. The Murrays live on the offskirts of town. The Trio is a bunch of oddballs who are also unique wonderful and powerful. CW is a genius who puts people off because he can't be in a box even if he tried. The thing is, Meg feels ashamed because of her lack of conformity -- yet she's stubbornly unable to conform. Anyway, this is why Camazotz is so structured -- it is humanity compressed into a small box and made to conform. Evil is slavery to conformity based on the severely "rational," where humans are reduced to cogs in an efficient machine. This is why IT is a brain... and sure I accept changing the image (it could have simply been something very mechanical and computerized, forcing everyone into its binary 1's and 0's so to speak), but they really changed the nature of the film to something more vague, which resulted in issues with the resolution of the film. Basically, they needed a skilled writer to take any theme changes and really hone the script to focus on it.

    - This was another issue with expunging all the Christian thought out of it. They could have still kept the clarity of the ideas, but instead they "fuzzed it all up" to something without real substance.

    Just kind of disappointed, but not really surprised. It's a hard book to capture despite its simplicity. The Trio in the book is so endearing, esp Mrs. Whatsit. You want to cry when they go to explain to the kids at the end why they need to leave again... and there's not enough time. Here... not much. I really don't care about any of them because I don't even know who they are.
    Last edited by Totenkindly; 06-13-2018 at 08:56 AM.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"
    "You can't take a picture of this, it's already gone." ~ "Six Feet Under"

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