Recently a friend and I saw the movie based on the popular young adult trilogy called Divergent. Having read the first book some time ago it was a little difficult to remember what all went on in it, especially little details that dedicated or more recent readers would’ve been angry about the filmmakers missing. The movie stars Shailene Woodley as the main heroine, Tris, and Theo James as Four. Woodley is also in The Fault in our Stars that comes out on June 6th, a day that I think that I will never be emotionally prepared for (really, go read the book). She did a decent job of playing Tris, a shy girl that ends up being a major player of the rebellious faction called Dauntless. If you need a refresher of the plot you can go to my posts here and here. I say she did decently because she just seems like a meek person overall and I didn’t really see her playing a character that risks it all to join a faction that jumps off trains. However, she had nice hair and that’s really all that matters. Theo James played the love interest, Four. I honestly think he was cast because of his sex appeal because that boy was fine. He played the part well, though and I liked how caring he was with Tris even though he wanted people to think he was all tough (typical). Since I haven’t read the book in a while, the movie seemed to follow it pretty accurately but some have said major characters are left out. According to Flixster, the next installment of the trilogy Insurgent is set to come out on March 20th, 2015 so I’ve got a little time to read the other books and find out what happens to the dystopian society that Tris and Four are revolting against (Hunger Games reference, anyone?). The movie theater I work at had a big promotion for the movie coming out. We had faction bowls like they had in the books where people could submit their names to win prizes. We also had a big board where you could anonymously write down your fears. Some people were less-than-intelligent and wrote twitter usernames or inappropriate things but others wrote clever things like “oblivion” or “daleks”. All the employees got to dress up according to what the factions in the book wore. The first day I was Dauntless and I wore leather leggings and combat boots, along with some temporary tattoos I got at Hot Topic that were identical to the ones Tris gets in the book. The second and last day I was Erudite, and I wore a blue dress. A lot of the employees participated and it was a really good promotion overall, regarding participation. Did you go see Divergent when it came out in theaters?
The other day in my English class, we touched on a topic that really intrigued me (and no, it wasn’t food). We were discussing an excerpt by Barbara Ehnreich about television in the 1980s and how it has turned society into couch potatoes. She says that you never see people sitting and watching TV on TV. This makes sense, who would like to watch a show about someone who watches a show? It just wouldn’t be popular or worth watching. Watching TV, Ehnreich says, makes people lazy and it has only gotten worse as the years have gone by. However, my teacher brought up a point that people were saying the same things about paperback books when they became popular. This made me think about what happened in the past, what is happening now, and what will happen in the future. As I said before, in the past paperback books were all the rage because technology hadn’t advanced far enough for us to have the electronics that we do today. People would spend hours reading and getting lost in them, causing others to call them lazy because all they were doing all day was reading, not at all contributing to society. Later on, radio in the 20s and then television in the 50s took the place of novels and became all Americans ever did. Nowadays, it is cell phones, specifically social networking. This all makes me wonder what will happen in the future; what will people be addicted to next? What great new thing can scientists and inventors create that becomes a social phenomena? My only hope is that it will be something that can’t be constructed and controlled by technology. Hopefully we revert back to the basics and realize that this is what we needed all along: face-to-face human contact.
After you’re done shaking your head at my really lame title, you can read the rest of this post about one of my favorite paintings. You may be thinking that this blog is all about books, and that’s where you’re wrong! History is my favorite subject and I’m playing on going to college and majoring in secondary history education. The book I’ve been reading is based off of the mysterious painting by Vermeer called Girl With a Pearl Earring. It was painted in 1665 and the figure depicted is unknown. No one knows if she was related to the artist, or if he even knew her at all. Vermeer’s infamous color scheme of blue and yellow stand out in the painting. The book by Tracy Chevalier is based on this well-known painting, her mind creating a story surrounding the origin of the painting. The mysterious girl is now Griet, a simple Dutch villager who is called upon to be a maid for Vermeer and his family. Vermeer takes a liking to Griet and paints her for a patron that lives in the area. What I love about this book is that it is historical fiction. To create a story out of just one painting takes a special kind of talent. To give curious readers a glimpse into the past is a gift. What I love about this painting is the mystery behind it and the simplicity of the figure. Chevalier’s novel put my curiosity to rest and I am satisfied with the story she has created to put meaning to this painting. Vermeer himself was mystery: he never let anyone into his studio and he only painted thirty or so works. He is well-known for his blue and yellow color scheme that colors the simple figures doing household work in his paintings. He is known to have implemented the technique of camera obscura to create his realistic paintings, with the light always coming from the left, the colors blending to look real. The device is actually a small, dark room that projected an image through a small opening upside-down, showing an image that the artist can clearly see and trace. It was this technique that made Vermeer’s paintings realistic and he himself a master of color. I think more stories based on paintings should be made to give us an idea of the time period and the people that lived then. It would help us understand and appreciate art more as well as history.
So if you have read my blog at all, you know by now that I am a big fan of everything by John Green. I am a proud Nerdfighter, and I can honestly say The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most amazing pieces of literature that I have ever laid my eyes on. And that’s saying a lot. Since I finished Mockingjay, the third and final book in the Hunger Games series, I decided I would reread An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, which I will be blogging about later on in the week. All anyone on Twitter has been talking about recently is the trailer for The Fault in Our Stars, the movie adaptation of the book which comes out June 6th of this year (this is where working at a movie theater really pays off). Hazel Lancaster will be played by Shailene Woodley and Augustus Waters will be played by Ansel Elgort. Personally, I didn’t particularly like Woodley being cast to play the leading lady but hopefully it all works well in the end. The trailer was definitely a tear-jerker, like if you didn’t feel one ounce of emotion while watching it, you need serious help. It seems to follow the book pretty well, but I will probably read it again just to refresh myself before seeing the movie (if I don’t end up bawling through the whole thing). The trailer came out yesterday and it already has over 4,000,000 views so a lot of people are anticipating this movie. Throughout the last year, John Green has been posting things on Twitter and Tumblr about his involvement of the production of the movie and it seems like he had his say in a lot of it, but he seems pretty giddy that his book is being made into a movie, and I can’t blame him for it. Kudos to John Green and all the fabulous people who decided to make this astounding novel a movie. I will anxiously wait until June, but until then I’ll just read some more. What did you think of the trailer?
Recently, I saw the second movie of the Hunger Games series called Catching Fire (like I’ve said before, working at a movie theater has it’s perks.) After I watched it, I realized that soon the next movie would be coming out and I had completely forgotten what happened in the third book. This prompted me to find one of my friends who had the book to borrow it from them so I could refresh my memory for the upcoming movie. This last installment of the series, Mockingjay, is the story of the rebellion of the people of Panem against the Capitol and how Katniss Everdeen leads this rebellion. To me, the story went very quickly and honestly, some parts confused me because I feel like they popped out of no where. In particular, there were a lot of parts in the book where Katniss is hallucinating or just imagining things so it’s hard to keep track of reality. All of the action was sometimes hard for my mind to follow, but this happens often for me when reading. There were also a lot of characters that were hard to keep track of. Some important characters were killed off for no apparent reason, in the most uneventful ways. Personally, I didn’t go all crazy fangirl for the series when it came out. I did obviously read it and I think it’s a great series but it’s not something I dedicate my heart and soul to. What I love about the last book is that people started comparing it to our way of government in America and how people would react if it got out of hand. It’s interesting to see what people take away from books, no matter how extreme. Another thing I liked was the semi-cheesy romantic ending that tied the story together and kind of completed some unanswered questions. However, the writing and diction was perfect for it and that is what made it semi-cheesy. The movie for Mockingjay will be split into two parts. I don’t really understand why since it is about the same size as the previous books in the series, most likely its just for marketing purposes, something I talked about in a previous post. I am excited to see how they adapt the final installment of the series into a movie, since there is so much action and chaos going on. I feel that the movie will help me understand the book because it’s something I can visually see and it will all come together. What did you think of the Hunger Games series?
The argument we hear over and over again is that film adaptations of books never turn out how the reader imagines them. Some small detail is left out, a character doesn’t look how the reader imagined, you nitpick the movie and pretty soon everything is completely wrong! Right? Wrong. Take the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings series for example: those books are loooooooong, as well as the movies. If we included every song that is in Return of the King or every spell in Order of the Phoenix, the movies would be longer than 2 or 3 hours. Scenes have to be cut and directors have the challenge of choosing those specific scenes that aren’t exactly important to the storyline. It’s a good thing that we don’t have the popularity of VHS tapes around today because we would have things like Titanic– a two tape movie that you would have to stop, eject, (probably rewind), and pop in the second tape. However, I do have Gone With the Wind on DVD and it is a two-parter. What I’m trying to say with this post is movies based on books should at least be given a chance. I personally have to read the book before I see the movie. Working at a movie theater makes this difficult but that just makes me want to read more. For instance, I overheard my manager talking one day about Catching Fire and saying how small details were left out and if people hadn’t read the books, they wouldn’t have noticed or cared. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t go to the movie that you have been anxious to see and come out putting it down because it wasn’t exactly to how you imagined it. Everyone thinks of things differently so no one is going to be completely with the outcome. Just be content with the fact that someone made the decision to create something you can see rather than just think about.
Picture from: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/322102-life-of-pi-3d-blu-ray-review/
Let me just start off with an apology: this was one of the few books I read after I watched the movie. All the literary greats can shun me for what I’ve done, and I regret it. My mom always asks me why I read books and then watch the movie, saying ‘it ruins the ending of the movie’. To this I have no words. As you all have read before in my post about reading comprehension, I kind of have to watch the movie if I don’t understand the book, which is usually all of the time. That’s what I love about reading, the mystery that my brain can’t ever figure out.
Yann Martel is a superb author. The style that he writes with is uncanny and I love the way his sentences are kind of choppy, but artful. It just somehow makes him seem intelligent and articulated. The story starts out with an author’s note, describing how he was experiencing some writer’s block before composing this novel and how he came about to writing this one. It is about a man named Piscine Molitor Patel, Pi for short because of some people who teased him in school, and his life on the family zoo in Pondicherry, India and an adventure he endured when he and his family were moving to Canada. Having already see the movie, I knew what was going to happen. (*SPOILERS* but my blog is a never ending spoiler so you shouldn’t be surprised). While on their way to Canada with a majority of the animals, the boat mysteriously sinks, with Pi, a tiger named Richard Parker, a zebra, and a hyena being the lone survivors. Eventually, it’s just Pi and the tiger left, with Pi wondering how he will survive on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with a tiger on board.
What’s great about the dialogue in this book is that it seems that Pi is telling the story specifically to Martel, when he really is just talking to the main narrator. This makes it almost seem like a nonfiction novel, or a biography. So far, I’m really liking this book, but I still regret watching the movie first because now I have a permanent picture of the characters and scenes in my head, so I can’t make up my own.