The Twilight Saga…

Okay, you knew this was coming… Twilight. The series has been an undisputed hit. Both the books and the movies have brought in millions and millions of dollars and the final movie, Breaking Dawn pt.2, hasn’t even been released yet!

I will state, right here and now, that I have loved the books since they came out. I swear I was one of the first in my high school to be seen carrying around the hardback copies of the novels. I even credit myself with introducing my friends to the series and getting them addicted. I’ve gone to the midnight premiers for each of the films but I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself obsessed.

I will go to my grave defending the books. However, I will not say the same for the films.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past four years, here’s a brief description of the four books from about.com:

Twilight

Twilight book cover

Twilight is told by 17-year-old Bella Swan, who moves from Phoenix to the small town of Forks, Washington, to live with her dad for the remainder of high school. There, she meets Edward Cullen and his family, who possess an other-worldly and irresistible beauty and grace to which Bella is drawn. Twilight is the tale of Bella and Edward’s burgeoning relationship, brimming with standard teenage drama alongside the unexpected, because, after all, Edward and his family are vampires. These undead friends have chosen to deny their urge to drink human blood, instead slaking their thirst with the blood of animals. Bella soon finds out, however, that not all vampires in her life are constrained by such scruples.

New Moon book cover

New Moon

New Moon is the continuing story of Bella Swan’s unusual life in Forks, Washington. When her vampire boyfriend, Edward, suddenly leaves, Bella is heartbroken in a way only a teenager can be, leaving time on her hands to develop a friendship with Jacob Black, another boy with a strange family background.

Eclipse

Eclipse book cover

Eclipse opens with teenager Bella Swan and her vampire boyfriend Edward reunited after their tortuous parting in New Moon. Bella’s eventual transformation into a bloodsucking immortal is now guaranteed, yet all is not well in the drizzly town of Forks, Washington. Her best friend, the werewolf Jacob Black, harbors a generations-old vendetta against vampires in addition to unrequited feelings for Bella herself. To top it all off, a plague of murders in nearby Seattle points to an impending vampire threat.

Breaking Dawn book cover

 

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn is the fourth and final novel in the The Twilight Saga by American author Stephenie Meyer. Divided into three parts, the first and third sections are written from Bella Swan’s perspective and the second is written from the perspective of Jacob Black. The novel directly follows the events of the previous novel, Eclipse, as Bella and Edward Cullen get married, leaving behind a heartbroken Jacob. When Bella faces an unexpected situation, she does what it takes to undergo the ultimate transformation and fight the final battle to save her love.

My Opinion

Like I said before, I love the books. Absolutely love them. In fact, I would say that when they were just coming out, I was obsessed. I’ve calmed down a bit since then, but I still love them.

I’ve always been fascinated by vampires and werewolfs and those types of things, so it was really cool to me that these kinds of characters were being portrayed in a way that young adults could relate to. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I would picture myself as Bella, going through all of these adventures with a hot vampire.

I agree with Eric Hughes when he says, “Aimed at young adults (who are preferably female), the series puts a twist on standard vampire stories by featuring a young human girl who falls head over heels for a being who usually would like nothing better than to feast on her insides. Instead of fearing Edward, Bella loves him. And instead of moving through time without any sense of emotion, Twilight’s lead vampire finds himself oddly attracted to the chick, too.”

My favorite book of the series is Eclipse. The relationships within the series go through some serious changes which are captivating to read and kept my attention through the entire story.

On the other hand, I thouroughly did not enjoy New Moon. Pages after pages of Bella’s depressed state of mind just wasn’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very postitive aspects of the book, but the whole depression thing came close to ruining it for me.

The Movies

I hated the first Twilight movie when it came out. Robert Pattinson was not what I pictured when I thought of what Edward would look like. I guess that’s what happens when you are so invested in your images you came up with when reading. At this point, Pattinson has become so synonymous with the role that I’m used to it.

I was able to accept Kristen Stewart as Bella as far as looks go, but I could have played the role better than she did. The stuttering fool she portrayed Bella as in Twilight just irked me.

In fact, the acting as a whole in Twilight wasn’t great and the whole series has pretty much let me down. I will say the films have been getting better so who knows how the last installment will be.

Overall, the films, as far as storylines go, have stayed true to the books. I think that those who have read the books prior to seeing the movies will be left with a “meh” feeling but the movies can stand on their own.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Book vs. Movie

Hi again!

Today, I’m reviewing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and how the book compared to the movie.

Book CoverMovie Poster

SUMMARY OVERVIEW

Barnes & Noble give this overview of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry, an orphan, lives with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley.

One day just before his eleventh birthday, an owl tries to deliver a mysterious letter—the first of a sequence of events that end in Harry meeting a giant man named Hagrid. Hagrid explains Harry’s history to him: When he was a baby, the Dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, attacked and killed his parents in an attempt to kill Harry; but the only mark on Harry was a mysterious lightning-bolt scar on his forehead.

Now he has been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the headmaster is the great wizard Albus Dumbledore. Harry visits Diagon Alley to get his school supplies, especially his very own wand. To get to school, he takes the Hogwarts Express from platform nine and three-quarters at King’s Cross Station. On the train, he meets two fellow students who will become his closest friends: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

Harry is assigned to Gryffindor House at Hogwarts, and soon becomes the youngest-ever Seeker on the House Quidditch team. He also studies Potions with Professor Severus Snape, who displays a deep and abiding dislike for Harry, and Defense Against the Dark Arts with nervous Professor Quirrell; he and his friends defeat a mountain troll, help Hagrid raise a dragon, and explore the wonderful, fascinating world of Hogwarts.

But all events lead irrevocably toward a second encounter with Lord Voldemort, who seeks an object of legend known as the Sorcerer’s Stone…

Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

BOOK REVIEW

I first started reading the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was ten (before the film version was released). Honestly, I wasn’t able to get into it the first time. To me, the beginning (up until Hagrid first arrives) was just too slow. It wasn’t until after I had gone to see the film that I picked the book up again and read the entire thing.

I loved the first book so much, I got the next few (the first three or four had been published by that time) right after and spent all my free time reading them. I still love the series and have read all of the books at least two or three times.

My favorite part about the Sorcerer’s Stone was the details J.K. Rowling included. Her writing let me envision what the characters, houses, castles and classrooms looked like. I especially liked this because the main characters (Harry, Ron, Hermione etc…) are 11 and when the movie came out and I started reading the book, I was also 11. I’m not going to lie, I imagined myself on that train to Hogwarts with them. I thought it was the coolest thing that my age correlated with theirs.

The book has so many characters and sub-plots throughout it that it’s almost impossible to get bored but at the same time, it’s not confusing. I can recall reading other novels with so many sub-plots you can’t keep them sorted in your mind and almost get lost. Rowling wrote these books in a way that you’re never confused about what’s going on in the story.

MOVIE COMPARISON

I have to start off by saying my favorite part about the movies is that they knew they would keep the same cast throughout all of the movies. Throughout the series, there have been different directors, different looks and different locations but the cast has been a constant.

Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson

I really like the Sorcerer’s Stone film. Especially as a kid, I remember being afraid of the troll and Fluffy, being memorized by the different creatures, and let’s not even talk about how scary I thought Voldemort was. I still enjoy watching the movie. The only downside is that now I can pick up on some of the unpolished acting of the younger cast. I will say, however, that the acting has gotten better with each film. (Let’s be honest though, Daniel Radcliffe has never been very good at crying on camera.)

There are quite a few differences between the book and the film. The Wireless Wizarding Network and Open Book Society mention a lot of the differences on their pages. Of course, scenes, characters and some details from the book have to be left out of the film version for times sake but the main differences I noticed were no Peeves the Poltergeist and less Neville Longbottom.

In the book, Peeves and Neville both have much larger parts. Peeves is constantly mentioned in all of the books of the Harry Potter series. I use to have a HP computer game and he even had a big part in that. I find it strange that there are a lot of extra ghosts floating around in the movie but no Peeves.

Neville has a larger role in the adventures in the book than he does in the movie. In the book, he goes into the Forbidden Forest and meets Fluffy but in the film, he’s always stuck in the dormitory.

Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom

  All in all, the movie was very true to the story. J.K. Rowling had a big part in the production and I have no doubt that helped to keep the movie close to the book.

I would recommend all of the Harry Potter books and movies to anyone who enjoys an escape from their everyday life.

NEXT TIME

I’m not quite sure which book/movie I will be reviewing next week. I guess you’ll just have to be surprised!

Jenna

Memoirs of a Geisha: Did the movie do the book justice?

Hello again!

Before I get into my review, I just have a quick update. In order to speed things along, I’ll be reading books that I’ve already seen the movie version of. This way, I can get more reviews done in less time! YAY!

That being said, I would still like any suggestions of books and movies I should review. I’ll just have to watch the movie first 🙂

Now, onto the good stuff…

Book vs. Movie

As I said in my firs post about Memoirs of a Geisha, I had already seen the movie when I decided to read the novel. I loved the movie, and I still do. It does a very good job of giving the audience a view into the mind of Chiyo (later known as Syuri) and all the complex feelings and emotions of a geisha.

Memoirs of a Geisha DVD Poster However, I was extremely pleased that the book gave even more insight into the mind of                    Chiyo/Syuri and the world of the geisha.

I really enjoyed reading about the fashion of the kimono and all of the tradition and rules that come with the life of a geisha.

As Erin Miller says in her review, the book is better than the movie (which I have found to be the case in many situations). Be that as it may, I still love the movie and would highly reccomend seeing it and reading the movie, in any order. I think anyone who enjoys learning about other cultures will really enjoy this pair.

Favorite Scene

I suppose “favorite” isn’t the best way to describe this scene but it definitely had a strong effect on me. It’s the part of the novel (and movie) where Sayuri’s virginity is auctioned off. As Mel u. says in her blog, The Reading Life, no one in this part comes out looking good.

The most disturbing part about this, to me at least, is that Sayuri is only fourteen years old when her virginity is auctioned off. I could not imagine having to go through this, especially at that young of an age.

Interesting Fact

What I found most interesting was actually in the translator’s note at the beginning of the novel. Though Memoirs of a Geisha is a fictional story, the translator’s note is told by the fictional Professor Jakob Haarhuis and makes it seem as though the story could be real. John Morley explains it more in his article Working Woman.

The translator’s note gives an account of an older Sayuri dictating her life to Haarhuis. This stood out to me because, though I knew geisha do exist in other parts of the world, I never really gave much thought to their background stories or where they end up when they become to old to work any longer.

I really like the part the author added in about Sayuri asking him to not release the story until all of the men she had mentioned had died. I thought that was a sweet touch giving another aspect of the character’s personality.

Coming Soon

These next two weeks, I will be posting about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Once again, feel free to comment with any questions or suggestions.

See you next time,

Jenna