The Book Thief & Paper Towns Movie Reviews

Here are two quickie reviews of two movie adaptations of two books that I read recently. Since I read the books, I figured I better finally watch the films. I never really enjoy a movie much after reading the book and, in the case of one of these, I pretty much hated the book so I wasn’t hoping for much from the movie. Here we go!

Paper Towns (2015)

Directed by Jake Schreier

Based on Paper Towns by John Green

Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Jaz Sinclair

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After an all night adventure, Quentin’s life-long crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends follow on the journey of a lifetime.

My Opinion:

I did a very short review of the Paper Towns book HERE (I rated it 2.5/5). Full of hateful characters, I didn’t enjoy the book very much. The main boy (played by Nat Wolff in the movie) was okay but a bit bland. The girl he loves (Margo, played by Cara Delevingne) & his best friend (who is a sexist little shit & calls all girls “honey bunnies”) are annoying as hell. Seriously, Margo isn’t interesting & mysterious – she’s a bitch. But I liked the story, which involves Margo’s friends trying to track her down through a series of bizarre clues she’s left behind.

Once I’ve read a book, I always try to watch the movie adaptation but it’s never that exciting to me since I already know the story & get a bit bored. This one is a pretty straightforward & faithful adaptation. If you like the book, you should like the movie. I think this is a rare occasion where the film is better & I’d say it’s mainly down to them making Margo seem a little more human & less hateful. I also thought Nat Wolff did a good job as Quentin & made the character less dull than in the book. If you’re interested in the story, I’d actually recommend watching the movie & skipping the book as the book doesn’t really flesh out the characters any more than the film does and the movie doesn’t leave out anything important (from what I can remember).

Even though I’m WAY past “Young Adult” age, I still really enjoy reading/watching YA stuff as I can still relate to most of it. Trust me – when you get old like me, it’s very likely that it’ll still feel like you only just finished high school yesterday. It’s a traumatic time in life & I remember more from that time than I do from when I was a twentysomething. However, Paper Towns was one I couldn’t relate to at all. Maybe I’m finally out of touch? Or maybe John Green just doesn’t quite capture what teens are really like? The characters didn’t feel real to me, unlike the ones in things like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (fantastic film & book!). But that one was set in my own era of high school with an awesome soundtrack while Paper Towns is set now & the characters refer to things from their own youth that mean nothing to me (like singing what I assume is the Pokémon TV show theme tune). No, I think the characters are weak and are the real reason I can’t connect with Paper Towns. At least the movie improves on the book slightly so I can’t give it a low rating as it’s a good adaptation and I think plenty of teens/twentysomethings probably really like it. But I’d recommend other YA stuff to people my own age before I’d recommend this one.

My Rating: 6/10

The Book Thief (2013)

Directed by Brian Percival

Based on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer, Heike Makatsch, Barbara Auer, Roger Allam

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is about a young girl living with her adoptive German family during the Nazi era. Taught to read by her kind-hearted foster father, the girl begins “borrowing” books and sharing them with the Jewish refugee being sheltered by her foster parents in their home.

My Opinion:

I reviewed The Book Thief novel HERE (along with all 14 books I read last year – I ranked this one my 8th favorite out of 14 & rated it 3.5/5). Unlike Paper Towns, this book had strong characters & I really cared what would happen to them. The book was actually let down slightly by its unnecessary gimmick (it’s narrated by Death aka The Grim Reaper) and did feel overlong. I really liked the book but didn’t love it like I was hoping, despite loving the characters. Still, I’m glad it got the characters right as that’s really important to me.


In this case, I’d definitely recommend reading the book before watching the film. It’s a good adaptation with fine performances but they’ve had to leave things out (as to be expected with a long book). The characters are just so richly developed in the book, which rarely gets captured as well in a film. They did come close, however – both Sophie Nélisse (Liesel – the main character) & Geoffrey Rush (Hans, her foster father) are fantastic & exactly as I pictured. Emily Watson (Rosa, her foster mother) & Nico Liersch (Rudy, her best friend) are also very good but have far less time spent on them than in the book. Rosa is a complex character so it will have been hard to capture this but I was most upset with how little we got to know Rudy in the film as I absolutely loved him & his beautiful friendship with Liesel in the book. Ben Schnetzer (as Max, the Jewish refugee they’re hiding) was also very good & as I had pictured but, again, he sadly doesn’t get enough time devoted to him in the film.

Luckily, the movie leaves out quite a lot of the Grim Reaper’s narrative. It’s done well & not distracting, whereas it kind of threw me out of the story every time they came back to it in the book. But don’t let that criticism talk you out of reading the book as I’d definitely recommend it if the story interests you. I’m not sure how to rate this movie… I thought it was quite good but, knowing the novel is better, I couldn’t help but be just a little let down despite great performances & some perfect casting. If you’re someone who really doesn’t like to read, then by all means watch the movie instead & probably add an extra point to my below rating. It’s a good film & they’ve done the best they possibly could with a somewhat difficult novel to adapt but, ultimately, the film doesn’t deliver the same emotional punch as you don’t get to know some of the characters as well as you do in the book.

My Rating: 6.5/10

**Okay, I admit to knowing the Pokémon song very well now since my kid has become addicted to the show….

And here are some of the best Pokémon we’ve caught (I love annoying people with this!) 😉

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Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) Review

Warcraft: The Beginning (2016)

Directed by Duncan Jones

Based on Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment

Starring: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky, Daniel Wu, Glenn Close?!?!

Plot Synopsis:
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.

My Opinion:

I really didn’t fancy going to see this movie at all but the hubby kind of wanted to see it and, well, I never really pass up the opportunity to go to a movie… So I went! I have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever about Warcraft so I figured it would be best to just go in totally blind & see what I thought. You know what? The movie isn’t bad. I was worried as I mentioned the other day that I’ve never seen such a wide gap between public opinion at IMDB (7.9/10) & the metascore (the opinion of critics – a very low 31/100). I’m usually somewhere between the two scores but I’m closer to public opinion on this one. Critics never really rate fantasy highly anyway so screw them – if you like this sort of thing, give it a go! I enjoyed it just fine.

I’ll admit that the thing that interested me the most was watching another film from David Bowie’s son. I thought Moon was great and Source Code was entertaining but not perfect. I’d say the same of Warcraft – it definitely has its issues but I found it entertaining. I think I may have even enjoyed it a little more than Source Code. The characters were pretty strong (for a fantasy movie based on a game, anyway) and it has me interested enough to watch a sequel if one gets made. It doesn’t have me interested enough to explore the story/game at all but I do actually hope there’s a sequel.

The movie starts off with the orcs & I thought I’d find the look of them really distracting but it didn’t take long to get over that. I think the movie looks pretty good – it’s not like the orcs look any weirder/cheesier than creatures in the Lord Of The Rings movies. We got a good story involving that orc dude in the above photo & I like that – I want to give a shit about characters in movies. I think this movie did a pretty good job in developing several key characters (considering that there are quite a few to get to know) & giving us some good back stories plus loads of potential for more to come in any sequels.

Yeah, I said “that orc dude” up there because the one thing I really struggle with when it comes to fantasy are all the damn names. Here are some examples from this movie: Gul’dan, Durotan (chieftain of the Frostwolf clan!), Draka, Orgrim Doomhammer (lol! that last name kicks ass), Sir Anduin Lothar, Khadgar, Medivh, Garona, Daenerys Stormborn, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, blah blah blah. Okay, I threw some extra shit in at the end there. I did feel like I do when watching Game Of Thrones – the hubby must get so sick of my “Who the hell is that dude?!” questions. There are orcs, there are humans, there’s a sexy half orc/human, there are these cool wizard dudes (my favorite! I love cool wizard dudes!), there are kings, queens, chieftains, cool scary beasts & birds that the orcs & humans ride, Glenn Close (!), and an adorable uglycute orc baby. And they all go to war. And use cool blue & green magic. And I was never really sure what was going on and I sure as hell still don’t have a clue what any of their names were. Meh – it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s meant to be a bit of fantasy entertainment & I think it does achieve this quite well. The very low critic ratings are unfair.



The wizard dudes were the best. Or whatever they were called as I don’t think they were called wizards…

Besides the wizard dudes, I also really liked the sexy half human/half orc (Paula Patton), the main good guy orc dude & his family (okay okay – I looked his name up! it’s Durotan played by Toby Kebbell), the human king (Dominic Cooper) & his family, plus the main good guy human (Travis Fimmel). I’ve never seen Fimmel in anything before & he’s fine but I was distracted by him being this weird cross between Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison and Richard Tyson as the bad guy in Kindergarten Cop



Summary:

Ignore the snobby critics – if you like this sort of genre, I don’t see why you wouldn’t like Warcraft. It has all the elements I expect from a fantasy film plus characters I liked & storylines I enjoyed. What more can you ask for? No, it’s obviously no Lord Of The Rings but it’s a decent movie based on a game. Hell, it’s probably one of the very best “game movies” as most of those are complete & utter shit. The one thing I’ll say is that it could’ve used slightly more comic relief – the movie has a small amount of this (mostly with the young wizard, who was probably my favorite character) but a little more would’ve helped me warm to the characters a bit more. I’m not gonna lie – this is a movie I probably won’t remember a thing about in a couple of years. But, hey, it does the job. And I do want a sequel.

My Rating: 7/10


I did like the hero’s eagle thingy. I want one.

Is There Anything After The Credits? Nope! Not at the end or even halfway through. So go have a pee!