[Book Watching] Summer hits and misses – The Host, The Hobbit…

The Host

hostWith this release, all of Stephanie Meyer’s books have officially been made into movies. When I got the book, I had very low expectations, and Host-the-book exceeded them by far (okay, low bar, but you know). Unfortunately, this meant that I went into the movie expecting a good movie. That it had Saoirse Ronan, who’s played the lead in Hanna and The Lovely Bones, and a great trailer soundtrack by Imagine Dragons didn’t help at all.

The movie floundered in all the places I would have expected, if I had turned on the critical thinking sector of my brain for a half minute or so before stepping into the theater. (I hadn’t). The movie struggled to convey the difficult relationship between Melanie and the alien inside her head, didn’t have the time to show the gradual and difficult way that Wanda finally achieved acceptance, and had to speed through a lot of the emotional relationship angst that I found both so incredibly annoying and riveting in the book. I say, see it if you land on it while flipping channels or scrolling around Netflix, but don’t agonize too much if don’t.


The Hobbit

the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-movie-poster-1.jpgI am still unconvinced that we need three movies to cover a 300-page book, especially when almost all of the battle scenes in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey dragged on just a bit too long. That said, I will totally grant that squishing it all into one movie would have been just as bad in the opposite direction. The Hobbit was entertaining, pretty, and a lot of fun in IMAX 3D – though less impressive when I watched it on a regular screen later. The special effects, as always, were great and the extra  scenes they brought in from outside The Hobbit flowed well with the story.

I give it three canaries. Totally worth seeing once, but maybe not twice.

Beautiful Creatures

beautiful creatures.jpgI picked up Beautiful-Creatures-the-book with the knowledge that the movie was coming out in less than a month. And when I put it down, I thought, “well, gosh, how in the world are the movie people gonna pull this off?” If you’ve read the book (or our review of it), you probably know what I’m talking about. There are plots within plots, and a lot of the emotional brunt of the story is all inside small-town misfit’s Ethan’s head.

Still, the movie pulls it off – mostly by cutting characters and snipping away at pivotal scenes. But this strategy means that what is left holds together in a coherent storyline with only a few questions left unexplained. I was pretty impressed. And what the movie couldn’t do with the original story, it more than made up with the great acting.

I gave the book three canaries in my review and Meg stamped it with four. The movie? I’d say it’s a five+++ for entertainment, though if you like your movie adaptations sticking close to the source material, you’ll probably be docking a couple canaries for faithlessness.

Future Book Watchings…

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013) Poster

After a surprisingly terrible TV spot and trailer campaign, I’ve gone from kinda wanting to see this movie to not-really-maybe-after-it-comes-on-cable. More frustrating, though, is the fact that I can’t seem to get my hands on the book. I have access to three libraries. You’d think at least one of them would have The City of Bones the book. But nope.

Still, I need to get my act together, because it looks like the movie version of Cassandra Clare’s second book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Ashes, is in pre-production, to be released 2014.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) Poster

Now, I enjoyed the flash and action in the first movie, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, but I have it on good authority from my focus group (a very disappointed little brother) that the first Percy Jackson adaptation left a lot to be desired.

Still, I’ll be giving Sea of Monsters a go just as soon as I can convince the little children in my life to come with me to give me the excuse I need.

What about you? Have you seen any of these movies? What did you think?

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3 thoughts on “[Book Watching] Summer hits and misses – The Host, The Hobbit…

  1. (I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free, so pardon my vagueness.) I haven’t seen any of the movies you’ve listed, but I have read City of Bones, which I give about a 3 based on a twist that happens towards the end. With that, I wonder if they are going to keep some events in the movie, skip them, or cut out part of the twist. I don’t think I will be paying to see it in the theater.

    For Percy Jackson, I have read both books, and saw The Lightning Thief. And I agree with your brother. More than once in the book certain things were stressed that Percy shouldn’t do, yet they cut that out & more than once he saved the day doing those very things. So I most likely will wait for Sea of Monsters to arrive on netflix, if I do decide to watch it.

  2. Good to see you back!

    I thought The Hobbit was pretty dreadful. Jackson’s need to invent characters that were never in the story. To “re-introduce” characters that were only in LotR. The F/X sequences were dreadfully overdone and made the film feel like a video game. There were a few good scenes (Bilbo and Gandalf, Bilbo and Gollum), but I thought this film was overall a large disappointment.

    I would have loved to have seen what Guillermo del Toro would have done with the material.

    • Thanks! Great to be back.

      I suspect my first and positive impression of The Hobbit was largely due to the whole IMAX 3D With Family experience. Flashy 3D and surround sound will make most anything fun. When, later, I tried to watch The Hobbit on my TV screen, I got bored and turned it off somewhere around the troll scene.

      ! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only person who sometimes thinks “video games” when watching movies! Often, I find myself watching chase scenes or the boss battles and my brain automatically translates it into how it would work as a game. Final level boss transforms into his third and final form! Go, hero, go!

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