06 February 2015

"Seventh Son": Book vs. Movie

Legendary Pictures
Back in early December, my family was standing in line at the movie theaters when a trailer for Seventh Son played on the lobby big screen. Intrigued, my son wanted to know more about it. I knew only a little, having noticed a while back that its release date was rescheduled several times. That night I looked it up, found out it was based on a book (naturally), and downloaded a sample for my Kindle. It hooked me right away. I purchased the full book, pictured below, and finished it that night.

The movie arrived in theaters today, but the critic consensus is not good: an embarrassing 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. (This weekend's other epic genre film, Jupiter Ascending, has a 22%. Both are far outdone by - wait for it - The SpongeBob Movie, at 74%.) Between the terrifying book it's based on, the amazing cast, and the exciting trailer, one might wonder how the film could be that bad...release date warning signs notwithstanding.

This isn't a review of the film, as I haven't seen it yet. The thing is, as soon as I compared The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch (otherwise known as The Spook's Apprentice) with the trailer that exposed me to it, I knew the filmmakers had taken huge liberties. Granted, I have yet to read the other twelve books in Joseph Delaney's YA dark fantasy series, so I wouldn't know if the movie draws on them, too. While it stands to reason that an adaptation will make the story and characters its own - and watering down a book for movie audiences is practically axiomatic today - it's concerning if it repels people from the source material instead of attracting them to it. The trailer worked on me and my son, but maybe the full movie would have the opposite effect. While not meant to discourage anyone from seeing the movie (which, again, I haven't), here are three important differences hopefully proving the book is worth your time:

21 December 2014

Final "Hobbit" Review: "The Battle of the Five Armies"


Tradition! For the past two years I've watched and reviewed The Hobbit movie installments as part of my holiday break, so I knew I had to finish with the third and final part, The Battle of Five Armies.

My Unexpected Journey review (which I now realize was actually written on Facebook, not here) was a summary of my thoughts while watching the film. My Desolation of Smaug review was the same, plus a transcript of my second son's enthusiastic commentary. (You can read both here.) This year I convinced my elder son to join us by suggesting he bring a blanket to hide under, which is what he normally does at home. (For him, a security blanket isn't so much a specific baby relic as it is any random screen against scary things on TV. For the record, he's a bigger fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings than my other son.) At the last minute my daughter begged to come, too, effectively making it a whole family affair - not to mention earning us a few looks and comments for bringing such young children to this movie. Don't tell anyone we did a LotR marathon last New Year's.

As expected, our daughter wasn't scared, but bored, and proved something of a distraction - mostly because of how much I worried she was being a distraction. I may have missed a few things as a result. Also, aside from a few enraged outbursts from my son about neglecting to warn him who would die (I did, by the way; we read the book this year), I was the one providing most of the spoken commentary. I'm sure this was mildly irritating for my brother, but sitting next to him in the theater was another requisite of this three-year limited tradition.

So, on to the summary! It probably goes without saying, but beware of spoilers.