Thursday, June 10, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Worst Book to Movie Adaptations

Wandering Through the Shelves hosts Thursday Movie Picks. It's a weekly series where bloggers post and share various movie picks every Thursday. 

The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.

This week's theme is Worst Book to Movie Adaptations.

The Divergent series

The trilogy's society defines its citizens by their social and personality affiliations with the five different factions removing the threat of anyone exercising independent will. Beatrice Prior, who later changes her name to Tris, is born into Abnegation but transfers into Dauntless; she must figure out her life as a Divergent, conceal her true nature, and live with the danger of being killed if her true nature is discovered.

I’m pretty sure this was the final nail in the coffin of the YA dystopia genre. The plot and world-building is elementary, but I enjoyed the cast, especially since it tried to be more diverse than Twilight and Harry Potter. The problem was Lionsgate thought it was as popular as The Hunger Games that the final movie should be two parts. Nobody knew where they got that idea since the whole series was panned quite negatively. The most frustrating part is that the final film Allegiant actually adapts the third book so closely until the final moments, but then just goes NOPE. And it leaves it open ended for a fourth movie. But Allegiant tanked at the box office, Lionsgate tried to turn it into a tv show, the cast bailed…and yeah. It's still frustrating to look back on because they could've finished the series in one-go.

Hidden Figures

Three brilliant African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle MonĂ¡e) -- serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.

The book is absolutely wonderful, and I entirely recommend it. My dislike for the film does not take away the importance of their impact. But, I was disappointed by the adaptation. The cast is wonderful but the direction and script is to basic to support them. It's kind of surprising how little sexism is explored since it permeated throughout NASA more than racism. I'm not saying racism didn't exist at all, but segregation wasn't really enacted around the base - to the point that most employees weren't aware (even Katharine and her co-workers) that there were separate bathrooms. So, one of the main plots in the movie essentially didn't exist in real life, and most of the racist characters (Jim Parsons and Kirsten Dunst in particular) are also fictionalized for the sake of the plot. I think some changes could've been the film much more interesting.  Similar to The Astronaut Wives’s Club, I hope a series gets made someday that can go much further with their stories other than making Costner the typical white savior.

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven. Though Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) suspects there are new dangers lurking within the castle walls, Dumbledore is more intent than ever on preparing the young wizard for the final battle with Voldemort.  

My full rant of this is on letterboxd...but the book is my favorite of the series, and this movie doesn't do it justice. The script completely skips over the identity of the Half-Blood Prince and Tom Riddle's background with his family, and focuses too much on the golden trio's love triangles. I'm also not crazy about David Yates's direction for his installment. His vision is too straight-forward for the back-four films, but for this one especially. The genuine shock of HBP was that fans never expected anyone to die, but Yates directs as if we are already in mourning. And that unfortunately sucks the life out of the movie from the beginning when it could've been an intriguing mystery.

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