“Why Won’t You Talk?”

A long time ago — probably sometime around or shortly after I started taking film history classes — Mek and I talked about how neat it would be if someone made a new silent movie. Then, in 2011, The Artist came out.

dance1

And I was like, “You bastards, that was my idea.”

Continue reading

Posted in SLIGHTLY LESS EPIC REVIEWS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“What A Day, What A Lovely Day!”

I knew I’d watch Mad Max: Fury Road because I’d already seen all the other Mad Max movies — and, well, Tom Hardy. Hardy won my heart in Inception (him and JGL, anyway), so I’m always excited whenever he pops up in something I actually have interest in. Plus, my Twitter feed has been blowing up about this movie since it first came out, and I just knew I’d have to see it for myself. So, on Monday, I finally did.

cover1

The action. Oh, you guys . . . the action in this movie is godamn glorious.

Continue reading

Posted in SLIGHTLY LESS EPIC REVIEWS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming Soon-Ish: Teen Wolf, Scream Queens, and Zombie Kids

Teen Wolf

SEASON FIVE IS COMING!

I will not apologize for my excitement. I am content in being a total fangirl about this show, even though it often operates on shaky logic and last season wasn’t its strongest. Fifth season, like third, will be divided into two halves, and there’s a pretty strong chance that this will be the final season, so. My time for fangirl squee is limited.

A lot’s going on this trailer, and it’s hard to make sense of most of it. Lydia doesn’t seem to be having an easy time of it, poor girl. (Though maybe she’s faking whatever insanity thing is going on to do undercover detective work at Eichen House. That could work for me.) Then again, no one really seems to be having a great senior year. There appears to be some friction between Scott and Stiles, which I could totally approve of. And if it’s about this new wolf guy, then I’m firmly on Stiles’s side, because yeah, I absolutely don’t trust that dude, either. (Also the whole trust everyone/trust no one thing seems to be a pretty perfect representation of their two characters. Me gusta.)

“Watch Your Pack” is not my favorite of the Teen Wolf season slogans . . . but I’m still pretty excited by this trailer. Damn it. Why isn’t it the end of June yet?

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Ah, the Dylan O’Brien project I’m considerably less interested in.

I guess I could watch this for mockery purposes, but I have no immediate plans to, since the first one was basically just two hours of missed opportunities and failed potential. Although, Thomas does look pretty angsty in a shower, a shot that’s often reserved for women. (After trauma, male protagonists grow angsty facial hair, while women cry naked and alone. I don’t actually think Thomas will start crying here, but if he did, I’d almost be a little impressed.)

There are many, many generic action shots. I suspect O’Brien is contracted to run and nearly get killed by a closing wall/door in each film. And Aidan Gillen is here too, playing our Probably-But-Possibly-Not-Totally-Evil Antagonist. Only I think he’s going for an American accent, which, well. It’s not working for him. This was a problem in the first movie too, where only one of a handful of British kids got to keep their English. It makes even less sense here; after all, we all know villains come from Europe! Let him just be Irish, for the love of God.

Scream Queens

All right. I know I’ll have to give this one a try.

I have a feeling the tone is going to bounce all over the place in this show. Like I’m getting satire for the most part, but then there are scenes like the one with the rent-a-cop screaming — that shit seemed straight out of the Scary Movie franchise. And while Emma Roberts and Abigail Breslin are perfect as Bitch Queens from Hell, I’m already not wild about the ridiculously nerdy pledges, like Lea Michelle or, worse, Random Candle Wax Eating Girl. I mean, really? Really?

Based on that trailer, I’m rooting for Keke Palmer and Jamie Lee Curtis to survive. Unfortunately, I worry that’s not very likely.

Cooties

This trailer kind of reminds me of Recess Pieces, a comic book with an awesome premise that I, ultimately, didn’t like as much as I’d hoped. I kind of feel like that’s going to be the case here, too. I’m all for teachers on the run from their zombie students, and I did laugh at Rainn Wilson telling us, “This is that scene.” Still, the “I’m gay!” line came off as particularly awkward and uncomfortable to me, and I’m worried that this is a one-joke movie that’s going to get old thirty minutes in.

Still, I wouldn’t mind being wrong about that. Zombie fourth-graders automatically make me smile, and I’m a fan of both Elijah Wood and Alison Pill. One way or another, I’m sure I’ll get around to seeing this. Whether it’ll be good or not, though, that’s another story.

And finally . . . Nina Forever

. . . I actually have no idea what to say to that. But if you’d like to try the trailer out for yourself, just be warned: it’s definitely NSFW. Like, even more so than the movie about killer kid zombies.

Posted in COMING SOON-ISH | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2015 Season Finales – The May Report Card

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS, SPOILERS EVERYWHERE

Agents of SHIELD

shield bobbi

“She had a good heart, Phil. It was just torn out.”

Agents of SHIELD has done a lot of completely awesome things this year, especially with Fitz, who — like Cisco in The Flash — has somehow made the jump from being my least favorite character to my absolute most favorite character. That being said, I did struggle quite a bit with May in the back half of the season. In theory, I like the idea of May feeling betrayed by Coulson (an obvious reversal from last season), but in actuality, I never really bought her fury with him, nor did I buy her distrust of Skye or the Inhumans in general. Even when they brought in her Bahrain backstory, I didn’t buy it, and I think it’s because I agree with my sister: May’s suspicion of powered people — suspicion bordering heavily on prejudice — doesn’t really feel like something she’s been carrying around since before the show. It feels like something that abruptly appeared in Season Two for maximum drama. So when May (who I usually like) turns into kind of an asshole, it comes across as both annoying and artificial.

That being said, May vs Skye and May vs Coulson? Thankfully not a huge part of this action-packed two hour finale, so I was free to enjoy all the other awesome things that happened. Like Mac cutting off Coulson’s hand, I mean, holy SHIT. That was huge. I really like the turn with Cal; more than that, I’m impressed with it. I didn’t think I’d buy any kind of redemption storyline, and then I did. I also liked the reveal with Jiaying — turning her into a full-fledged villain made her about 18 times more interesting. The fight scene between Ward and Bobbi was great; also, Bobbi getting herself shot to save Hunter, May tricking Ward into killing Agent 33, and the moment with Jemma at the end — yet another holy shit moment. I will confess that I don’t care about Jemma and Fitz going on a date because I don’t ship them even a little, but that ending . . . Marvel, you bastards.

Theories on what’s going to happen to Jemma? I want to hear them.

FINALE GRADE: A
SEASON GRADE: B+

Elementary

elementary

“We both know it’s just a matter of time. So why not just cut to the chase?”

All this season, Elementary has been building to two likely possibilities: a) Sherlock relapsing, and b) Sherlock’s father coming to town. I wasn’t sure if the relapse was going to happen or not, but I was dead certain Sherlock’s father would appear, either in this episode or teased for the next. What I’m saying here is, ha ha, I’m awesome. Kudos for me. (Also, casting time — who do you want to see as Sherlock’s dad?)

I think I actually like that the relapse happens off screen, and I definitely like that it happens after Alfredo is found safe. It’s more of anti-climax, which works great because Elementary foreshadowed that shit way back in Episode 9. (I guess there is some debate whether it happened at all, but — yeah, I thought it was pretty clear.) I do wish Joan had a little more to do to wrap up her character arc this season, but I know it wouldn’t have fit well in the finale. (The penultimate episode, though, absolutely could have been hers.) The stomping scene, too, is pretty brutal, effectively bursting the quiet tension that had been building the whole episode.

I liked Season 2, but it did end on a down note for me — apparently, it did for a lot of people. Overall, I think I’ve enjoyed this season much more, especially with subplots that I didn’t think I’d get into (Kitty, namely — I was surprised by how much I liked her story and its resolution), and it definitely ended on a high note for me. There’s been a lot of focus on character, which I’ve really enjoyed, and I’m surprisingly excited to see how Season Four goes.

FINALE GRADE: A-
SEASON GRADE: A-

The Flash

flash

“Screw the future.”

Oh, The Flash. The Flash has done many things right —  a fun, joyous tone, an arch-nemesis who’s amazeballs, excellent character relationships (well, for the most part), etc. Hell, I was even okay with the Grodd episode, and I was wildly not excited about bringing in a telepathic gorilla. (In general, I’m not excited about apes as villains. I have a hard time taking it seriously.)

But I’ve struggled a lot with The Flash too, and I feel like my geek squee for the show has suffered considerably as a result. Iris, of course, is the biggest problem. And yes, her story has finally gotten a little bit better — but I can’t help but feel like the writers don’t have any idea why she was so maddening in the first place, and that leads me to worry about where her story will go in the future. (Seriously, no one even came close to a reason to keep her out of the loop. And that line where Joe’s basically like, ‘I’m the boss of Iris, Eddie, until you marry her, and then you can be the boss of her?’ Ugh. The level of disgust some people are having for GoT right now is honestly the level of disgust I had for that line.)

And while it’s to a much lesser extent, I think Caitlin is another problem because a) I don’t entirely buy the actress and b) her storyline, such as it is, is boring as hell. When I mentioned the character relationships/dynamics I liked above . . . well, Joe and Barry are great. Barry and Wells are great. Cisco and Wells are great. To an extent, even Iris and Eddie are decent. . . but Caitlin? She has one scene I really like with Cisco, and beyond that, not much. Caitlin and Barry do little for me. (Especially with that whole ‘you’re a hero so you deserve my body’ line, UGH.) Caitlin and Wells do little for me. Caitlin and Ronnie do NOTHING for me. There are a lot of superhero shows on TV right now, but The Flash and Arrow seem to collectively have the worst female character representation problems. I’m tired of it.

But moving on. The finale itself was pretty enjoyable. I don’t know if I ever thought Barry would actually save his mother, but I’ll admit, I was kind of hoping there would be big timeline changes anyway, like Barry goes back to the future and all kinds of things are different, like the real Harrison Wells is still alive (Tom Cavanagh, I don’t want to lose you!) and Caitlin Snow is now a villain (because maybe then she’d be interesting). I’ll also admit that my brain just doesn’t understand time paradoxes at all, so while I understand that Ancestor Eddie shoots himself to write Reverse Flash out of time, I’m still a little lost on why writing Reverse Flash out of time doesn’t pretty much scrap the whole season too. Also . . . if Reverse Flash is from 120 years in the future and he hates Barry Allen for . . . Reasons . . . does that mean Barry Allen is also alive 120 years from now, or did Reverse Flash go back in time (without losing his speed force) to 2024 and that’s when he started hating Barry Allen for . . . Reasons. (Seriously. I know Reverse Flash is supposedly Super Dead now, but I kind of need these Reasons to eventually be explained, or I will consider it a Problem.)

Also of note:

A) CISCO IS A METAHUMAN. This is the best news ever. (I was seriously getting concerned they weren’t going to address why he remembered things when no one else did.)

B) Aw, poor Eddie. That was sad. I’ll miss your not-American rasp.

C) While I’m glad some people brought up opposition to The Big Plan . . . I wish someone had brought up stronger opposition. Like if I was there, I’d totally be the asshole bringing up the Butterfly Effect. “Yeah, it’s cool you can save your mom, Barry, but what if Nora Allen falls asleep at the wheel two years later, and I’m in the other car, and I DIE. Is it worth it THEN, Barry?” And seriously, when a world-eating black hole is a possible consequence to going back in time to save a woman who’s been dead, like, 15-20 years? Nope. Nope, it’s not worth it. Somebody needed to say that.

D) “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is a terrible wedding song. Didn’t you people watch The Stand? This is the “happy music” they play during the Apocalypse when pretty much everyone is dead. Why would we choose this as background music for Caitlin and Ronnie’s wedding? Was “Rains of Castamere” too optimistic?

FINALE GRADE: A-
SEASON GRADE: B+

Person of Interest

poi

“I didn’t know how to win. I had to invent new rules.”

I think “YHWH” might have been one of Person of Interest’s weaker season finales — but that says more about the strength of the finales over the past four years than the weakness of this one particular episode. Actually, “YHWH” is a pretty solid episode that manages to, once again, find a new way to reboot the concept for next season. I will always admire how they do that, and wish more TV shows would do the same. But while the majority of the episode is good, I don’t know if I’d say it’s brilliant — until the last ten minutes or so anyway.

For me, “YHWH” is all about two moments: a) when Dominick and Elias (NOOOO, Elias!!!) are unceremoniously taken out by Samaritan, and b) the Machine finally talks directly to Finch, calling him Father and asking for forgiveness. Oh. Oh, that whole scene just hurt. STOP TRYING TO BREAK MY HEART, PERSON OF INTEREST.

(Also, it’d be great for my soul if someone would rescue Control. She doesn’t exactly deserve it, and I wasn’t at all surprised she completely got outfoxed by Samaritan, but — please, please don’t let that be the last we see of the amazing Camryn Manheim. She is the best. It’s enough that we lost Enrico Colantoni, isn’t it?)

PoI will have a shortened fifth season (thirteen episodes, I think) which almost certainly means there will be no sixth season. Honestly, I’m okay with that — as much as I love this show, I’m not sure it would naturally stretch past five seasons anyway. I don’t know where you go past Samaritan, and really, I’d rather end on a high note. I just hope they can get the balance right for the fifth season. My biggest criticism of Season Four is that things felt rushed at the end, and that Shaw’s sorta-return felt very unbalanced. I almost wish we hadn’t seen her at all after the gloriously heartbreaking “If-Then-Else,” because while the concept of Brainwashed Shaw is interesting, the execution really seemed off.

FINALE GRADE: B+
SEASON GRADE: A-

The Blacklist

blist

“I’ll be playing right into their hands.”
“You’re already in their hands. The only thing they haven’t done is close their fists.”

Oh, The Blacklist. At Mekaela’s urging, I started watching this show on Netflix, and it was, for some time, an enjoyable guilty pleasure. Right now, though, everything just seems to be on a downward spiral.

The best thing I can say about the season finale is that it at least sets up an interesting premise for third season: Red and Lizzie on the run, Ressler hunting them down, and Cooper — presumably — out of a job. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy half the stuff it took to get there. I haven’t been very impressed with the last handful of episodes — for starters, can you believe no one’s been in a car accident in months?! Months, I say. But more importantly, the Lizzie/Tom stuff hasn’t been working for me at all since he came back from playing Nazi — he’s suddenly become the most boring version of Fake Tom ever. How? How did this happen? I was promised a damaged, twisted relationship between two complex characters and got . . . this. As such, their maybe-we-should-sail-away-together bullshit obviously did nothing for me, particularly because it took up a 1/3 of the episode and seemed really inconsistent anyway. (We can just go! No, you can’t go! Wait, why are you going?)

Also: Samar and Aram had virtually nothing to do, the extended car commercial chase scene was beyond lame, and Lizzie’s twitchy ‘I Look Like I’m About to Seize Out’ performance before killing Other, Not-Love-Interest Tom seemed like a strange acting choice. (And as much as Lizzie annoys me, I usually like Megan Boone.) The revelation that Lizzie killed her father was interesting — assuming it was even her father, or that he actually died from the gunshot would — but it was also pretty obvious from the second Red dramatically announced himself as a sin eater. I wish it could have been a bit more subtle. Which, admittedly, subtle is not The Blacklist’s bag. Still. I want better.

FINALE GRADE: C+
SEASON GRADE: B-

Arrow

arrow

“That is remarkably ruthless and cold-blooded. I approve.”

And talk about your downward spirals.

Oh, Arrow. There are things about this season that I’ve really enjoyed: Roy’s fake-out death twist. The automatic hilarity of putting Oliver and Ray in the same scene. Thea finally finding out who the Arrow is — and her reaction when she does. Laurel’s response to Thea’s confession. In fact, Laurel was SO MUCH BETTER this season — I’m a long way from calling her my favorite character, but she had some good moments, and I actually enjoyed her relationship with Nyssa. (Why did Nyssa go back home again?) If only she hadn’t kept Sara’s death from her father because yeah. That was awful and took way, way too long to come to fruition.

But Arrow’s third season also had a lot of problems, and most of them have revolved around Felicity. Which sucks because I LOVE Felicity, or used to. Once they officially made her the Primary Love Interest, though, things went to hell, like the Arrow writers couldn’t possibly imagine how to portray a love interest who’s actually a person and has reasonable responses to things all at the same time. I want to be happy that Oliver and Felicity finally got together and drove off into the sunset, but I’ve just been so annoyed with their bullshit that I couldn’t even bring myself to care. Which, again, this sucks. Oliver and Felicity are my OTP. You have ruined my OTP for me, Arrow. I didn’t even know that was possible.

Other problems in the season: Ra’s failed to be an intimidating villain in any way, the flashbacks grew stale because they stretched out way too long, and I wanted to knock Diggle and Felicity’s heads together in the last few episodes. Particularly Diggle, actually, because as stupid as Oliver’s plan was, I didn’t buy Diggle’s betrayal. I think I might have bought it if Diggle hadn’t been immediately pissed when Supposedly Brainwashed Oliver kidnapped Lyla, like he blamed his friend for being brainwashed in the first place. I needed his anger, instead, to come from realizing he’d been manipulated by his best friend — although I also feel the need to point out that Lyla isn’t a civilian, wasn’t hurt, and Diggle and Felicity held important information back from Oliver too, like just a few episodes ago, and they absolutely didn’t need to. (Also, seriously, I don’t understand why everyone in “Al Sah-Him” was all like, “Oliver can’t get brainwashed! Brainwashing doesn’t exist!” when Roy killed a cop last season and Thea KILLED SARA. Seriously, WTF.) I found the tension between the three of them extremely artificial, and I hated it.

Let’s see, what else — I like Thea becoming Speedy, but I wish that whole subplot had actually been given some considerable time on screen. (And we better talk about her whole tainted soul thing next season, or I will call bullshit.) The Big Fight between Ra’s and Oliver was extremely underwhelming. The Flash cameo was funny but felt ridiculously rushed and kind of unnecessary. I guess I did predict Malcolm might become Ra’s, but come on – it’d have been way more awesome if Thea had become Ra’s instead, right? Right.

Basically, I feel like I need to write a whole Season Three fix-it fic, at this point. That makes me sad.

FINALE GRADE: C
SEASON GRADE: B-

Posted in TV STUFF | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Coming Soon-Ish: Jem, Supergirl, Lucifer, and Legends

Jem and the Holograms

Now, I didn’t actually watch the 80’s cartoon. My sister did, but I’m a few years too young for it. We did have some of dolls, though: Jem, Rio, and Storm — well, Stormer, I guess. We never called her that. Also, young, suave Rio in this movie is particularly hilarious to me, since our Rio was kind of an ugly doll with purple hair and no legs. In our Barbie games, he tended to be a villainous and/or scheming millionaire who would very often get murdered to start the plot. I was sure Google would help with the visual assist, but I can’t seem to find the dolls, or at least, not the right ones. Anyway, I didn’t think I really had any particular expectations for this movie — I certainly wasn’t expecting soapy murder mysteries with shocking death traps, sadly — but I guess I figured there’d be, like, holograms? The Misfits? Some kind of an action scene?

Instead, Jem and the Holograms appears to be a two hour version of “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt — or a remake of Josie and the Pussycats, but without Alan Cumming, Rosario Dawson, attempted murder, or subliminal messaging. Basically, it looks like suckiness. And I can’t help but be disappointed that the music isn’t, you know, even vaguely punk. I’m not saying I needed the Sex Pistols here. But this is just so . . .ugh.

Crimson Peak

I’m still not hugely interested in the plot of this one — newly married woman, duplicitous husband, spooky house, blah blah blahcakes — but I have to admit some of the shots look fantastic, and the fashion. I don’t even want to see this for Tom Hiddleston. I want to see this for Mia Wasikowska’s costumes. They’re so awesome. Pretty dresses and bloodshed. That’s what I’m interested in.

Although, honestly, I’d be at least 20% more excited about this movie if our heroine looked like she might actually have something of a personality instead of just being a terrorized blonde woman in a big white dress. That’s not a knock to Wasikowska, because I think she’s a hell of an actress. But if her character has actual character traits, and ones that aren’t, like, virtue . . . well. Let’s just say I’d be surprised.

Supergirl

I have incredibly mixed feelings about this.

People have been comparing this trailer to the Black Widow skit SNL recently did, and honestly, it’s not hard to see why. I automatically want to support any female-lead superhero show because I know so many women, myself very much included, who love superheroes and comic books and action movies, and it pisses me off that Hollywood won’t take us seriously. I want to be supportive, but in this new era of Superhero TV, I watch this trailer and think, “This isn’t what I want from a female superhero show. I want badass fight scenes, hard choices, interesting characters, explosions. I don’t want boy drama and lattes and oh, I can’t remember my name because you’re hot and I’m a girl, hee hee hee, whoops, look at me trip now.”

That all being said . . . what I want from a female-led superhero show probably isn’t what a Supergirl show should be about. Supergirl has, to my understanding, always been a considerably lighter character than many other DC players, and I genuinely like Kara’s enthusiasm here and how she pretty much embraces being different and powered and awesome. I like that she isn’t hiding her true nature from either her sister or best friend (although the nerdy BFF who has a crush on her — ugh, let’s drop him down a well), and there are a couple of moments that actually made me laugh. So, it’s not what I want, but that doesn’t make it bad. Not yet, anyway.

I will probably give Supergirl a try. But if they actually use that terrible, “This is My Fight Song,” in the show itself, I will not be responsible for my actions. Seriously, forget whatever I said about the music in Jem and the Holograms. Gah. This just kills me.

Legends of Tomorrow

Now, this, I’m a lot more interested in, even if it looks like it could be something of a hot mess. Seriously, Victor Garber’s skepticism seems well-founded. I knew Captain Cold and Heatwave were in this show, but they’re on the team? Good God. Dominic Purcell is going to take down his camp factor by about 20%, right? I mean, I roll my eyes and deal with it on The Flash, but I don’t know if I can take that shit every single week.

Still. Ha, they’re bringing in Vandal Savage. The team constantly traveling through time to try and take down their immortal archnemesis could be fun. And I’m interested in both White Canary and Hawkgirl, even if this isn’t the Hawkgirl I fell in love with on JLU. Also, despite his creepy stalker beginnings, I kind of adore Atom, not to mention time-traveling Rory. So, yeah, I’m interested.

Whether I think this show can keep itself glued together or not, though . . . that remains to be seen.

Between

Huh. This is like The 100 meets The Stand meets Under the Dome, or something. The basic premise is kind of interesting, but I’m not sure the teaser itself is doing much for me. I feel like it’s not doing anything particularly new with the concept, but it is a relatively short trailer and the show itself could be more exciting. I’ll probably wait to see what everyone else says before giving it a try myself.

Containment

And . . . it’s another mysterious disease/quarantine show, only this one doesn’t just kill everyone over the age of 22 because of Reasons. (What cracks me up is that this show is on CW, while the show you’d think would be on CW is actually on Netflix.) I’m slightly more interested in Containment, though not hugely excited by it, either. Mostly, I’m just distracted by Aeryn Sun with a shaky American accent and what appears to be a Goldilocks wig. Seriously, I couldn’t stop thinking of Farscape and “John Quixote,” only here I’m supposed to take her seriously? It’s . . . weird. I really don’t get it.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Oh my God, KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Okay, look. I know it’s a comedy, and I don’t necessarily object to more singing and big dance numbers on TV, but . . . it’s an entire show centered around a crazy woman who moves across the country to follow a guy who dumped her, like, ten years ago. That’s the premise of the show: that women be nuts. Maybe I could’ve gotten around it if the main character was the only crazy woman, but she’s not — apparently, she has this friend who tells her she’s not insane, she’s just in love, and he must be too because otherwise his Facebook status would have changed, and oh my God, it’s seriously a whole show about how women turn into crazy idiots whenever men are involved.

The bartender getting a funny at the end isn’t enough. I need something else to cheer me up now.

Finally . . . Lucifer

Well, that did it.

Seriously, I know this is a ridiculous premise. I know it will be a ridiculous show. I know virtually nothing about it makes sense, but the guy playing Lucifer is stupidly charming, and I now want to see him solve crimes.

Look, I didn’t say I had shame. But I like to laugh, and man, I grinned all the way through that.

Posted in COMING SOON-ISH | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“They Call Me MISTER Tibbs.”

Back to our Best Picture Winners . . .

cover1

Finally! An Oscar winner I actually like!

Continue reading

Posted in SLIGHTLY LESS EPIC REVIEWS | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

13 Most Disappointing Adaptation Changes

In a way, I’ve been lucky. A lot of the books I love — either recent reads or ones I grew up on — haven’t been made into movies. (Or I’ve never seen the movies — at some point, I feel like I should probably watch The Black Cauldron, considering that The Prydain Chronicles was actually my first epic fantasy series. But my interest is limited.) Because while it can be totally awesome and exciting when something you love is adapted into another medium, it can also be hideously painful as well.

Today, I have a list of some of the more disappointing adaptation changes I’ve seen, mostly on the big screen but occasionally on the small screen as well. This is NOT a list of the worst film adaptations — though that list may be created at another time and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will almost certainly be on it — but of alterations to characters or scenes that were incredibly disappointing, even if the work as a whole is actually quite good.

DISCLAIMER: THERE WILL BE ALL KINDS OF SPOILERS IN THIS LIST, BOTH FOR THE SOURCE MATERIAL AND ITS ADAPTATION. I’M TALKING MOVIES, TELEVISION, BOOKS, GRAPHIC NOVELS, AND CARTOONS HERE.

(Also, the order of this countdown is, as always, tentative at best.)

13. The Anticlimactic Destruction of the Library – The Name of the Rose

detective-monks

I wasn’t expecting to love The Name of the Rose, not after having so-so feelings about the novel. Still, I was a bit disappointed by several of the changes, specifically with how little I cared when The Library to End All Libraries burned down. The movie spends very little time establishing the importance of this library or how this vast wealth of knowledge has been coveted and denied to so many of the monks. So when the library is destroyed, it’s hard to get particularly worked up about it. Particularly because William manages to save at least an armful of the texts, whereas in the novel, he doesn’t save shit.

I wanted to feel every bit of the bitter loss — because it really is one, when you read it. Instead, the destruction of library is treated with the same amount of emotional significance that is given to the cave of treasure in Aladdin, or the tomb of treasure in The Mummy, or the whole of Ahm Shere in The Mummy Returns, or even The Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. (Hell, even the pirate ship in The Goonies fits this trope. I might actually feel the most sad about the pirate ship — and that’s just silly because surely the Coast Guard can track that shit down.)

12. Wendy is a Worthless Human Being – The Shining

wendy

All the gorgeously creepy cinematography in the world couldn’t help me when I realized how awful each character had become in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation. (Well, Halloran was okay, I guess, which is probably why he died — another annoying change.) But I could have gotten past Danny, who I found surprisingly annoying for a small child, and I could have gotten past Jack, who had a great deal more dimension and nuance in the original novel. But Wendy, man. I liked Wendy in the book. She seemed to be a completely competent human being — only for the movie to turn her (its only female character) into the weakest, most annoying stereotype of a woman. I wanted her to die and die badly.

The Shining is a beloved horror classic, but I’ve never able to get past this. Though, admittedly, I haven’t tried all that hard, as I still haven’t been able to make myself give it a second chance.

11. Vera and Phillip are Innocent and Make It Off the Island Alive – And Then There Were None

and then

Okay, this is a bit of a cheat, partially because I haven’t seen the movie in full and partially because the film is technically adapted off the play, not the novel. But the play is adapted from the novel and, also, I don’t care. The twist ending is the very best part of this story — to give And Then There Were None some bullshit happy ending where the leading man and lady are actually good guys who survive? NO. Just no. (Of course, this movie was made during the Production Code, where Vera couldn’t have killed herself because even the mention of suicide was a big Not Happening. I still don’t care. I am offended by the very idea of this ending and will not be mollified until someone makes a proper remake.)

10. Hansel and Gretel’s Parents Abandoned Their Children to Save Them – Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

kids

I’m not going to complain about this being a bad film because I knew what kind of movie I was getting into when I rented it. Actually, it’s far more entertaining than I thought it would be, fully committed to its campy ridiculousness, and not anywhere near the worst fairy tale adaptation I’ve ever seen. (I’m pretty sure that’s still Red Riding Hood, although Snow White and the Huntsman gives it a run for its money.)

Still, I was pretty disappointed with the change in Hansel and Gretel’s origin story because, for me, it’s just not the same story if their parents didn’t selfishly abandon the kids in the middle of the forest for their own survival. Making Mom and Dad secret good guys is boring, not to mention predictable. (Especially when the chief antagonist of the film ends up being responsible for their deaths all along.) It’s also particularly shitty because the mom essentially martyrs herself, gets her husband killed, and dooms her children to a lifetime of trauma for no good reason at all. Oh, white witches can’t use their magic to hurt anyone? Please, lady. You are a terrible person. I hope your idealism comforts you in Hell.

9. Ozymandias is Spectacularly Miscast – Watchmen

oz

I didn’t hate Watchmen the way a lot of people did, and in fact, was quite happy with some of the changes they made — I hold firm to the idea that making Dr. Manhattan the scapegoat was particularly clever. (Sorry, guys. I’m aware I’m failing you all right now.)

Unfortunately, Ozymandias doesn’t work for me at all. He’s supposed to be this superhero archetype, this perfect specimen of WASPy physique — like Captain America, but with Batman’s brain. (Also, German.) Instead, they cast a slender brunette with a wishy-washy accent, and terrible hair dye aside, Matthew Goode just completely fails to be intimidating, charismatic, or interesting in any way. I’ve liked the actor in other things before, but found him utterly disappointing as the superhero/mastermind here.

8. Henry is the Worst – Dreamcatcher

henry

This movie is an abysmal failure. And, admittedly, the novel has multiple problems and was never going to adapt particularly well into a feature film anyway. But I actually like Henry in the novel — he’s easily my favorite character — and in the movie, he is the most incompetent asshole I’ve ever seen. I normally enjoy Thomas Jane’s work, but this performance is just bad, like, there is no redeemable quality to it at all. There are pancakes that are less flat than this performance. It’s like he’s actively trying to do the worst job he can.

I don’t know if I expected Dreamcatcher to be great, but I did figure I’d enjoy watching Henry at least, since I liked him so much in the book. I was NOT anticipating him to be the worst part of a movie that also had Morgan Freeman’s Eyebrows of Destiny and an alien pretending to be a guy with Down’s Syndrome and cancer.

7. Why Should I Care About Shinji Again? – Battle Royale

br1

Battle Royale is kind of a devastating book to read. You thought The Hunger Games was sad? HA. I mean, I really do like The Hunger Games, but gut punch for gut punch, it’s not even in the same league. One of the hardest deaths to read is Shinji’s, who’s a major player in the book, one of Shuya’s closest friends, and hard at work at hacking the BR Program when he’s killed by the book’s chief antagonist, Kazuo. And Shinji, man, he fights hard to live. When he finally dies, it’s just — dude, I stopped reading to cuddle with my stuffed animals. (Okay, I don’t remember if stuffed animals were involved. There could have been. There were Far Side comics, though. I grew up reading those, and I needed the silly nostalgia to clear my brain of sadness.)

In the movie, though, Shinji probably has about six minutes screen time total. And I get it — huge cast, time constraints, etc. — but he never really gets the chance to shine much personality at all and his death scene is veryy underwhelming. No stuffed animals necessary. As an audience member, you just sort of shrug and move on, and while it’s far from the weakest part of the film — which probably has to go with whatever the fuck is happening between Noriko and Kitano — I did feel like it’s one place where the movie really fails to adequately translate the horror of the novel.

6. The Apocalyptic Rock Fight Is Bullshit – IT

rock fight

IT is a deeply unbalanced miniseries. On one hand, it has Tim Curry. On the other hand, it also has so, so many problems. I won’t list each one here, but one of the most downright disappointing translations from page to screen is definitely the Apocalyptic Rock Fight.

It’s just . . . it’s bullshit. That’s all there is to it. It lasts less than a minute and only one of our heroes is actually injured. Six boys, one girl. Can you guess which one gets hurt? Well, of course you can. And once the girl is injured, the shy boy who has a crush on her gets his primal masculine rage on, and it’s all just crap. This was supposed to be WAR, damn it. This was supposed to be EPIC.

I want to hope that the upcoming remake (split into two movies) will do this scene justice . . . but I’ll admit, the casting of Will Poulter as Pennywise has made me less than optimistic.

5. Rogue is Stripped Of Her Personality (Not to Mention Age) – X-Men

rogue

This also could be considered a cheat because X-Men is obviously an adaptation of the comics, whereas my source material is the animated series I grew up on as a child. But fuck it, this is my list, and I’m counting it anyway.

X-Men isn’t a perfect movie, but I still enjoy it well enough — but fifteen years after it first came out, I am still disappointed by the fact that Rogue’s sassiness and spunk is all drained away in favor of vulnerability and teen angst. Anna Paquin’s performance is fine, as far as it goes, but this is a completely different version of the character, so much so that it doesn’t even really seem like Rogue at all, save for the actual abilities and the white streak she gets in her hair. And damn it, I loved Rogue as a kid. I basically wanted to grow up to be her. I could’ve been okay with the de-aging, but why, why couldn’t she retain at least a little bit of flair?

4. Coraline is a Spoiled Brat – Coraline

coraline

I loved Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. It is such a deeply creepy children’s book — I’d cosplay The Other Mother in a heartbeat. I think she’s quite genuinely one of the scariest villains I’ve ever seen or read.

But unfortunately, I couldn’t stand the film adaptation because I abhorred the changes they made to Coraline’s character. And guys, I wanted to like this movie — I really, really did. But in the novel, Coraline is a great heroine — smart and adventurous and resourceful. I want more heroines like her. In the movie, though, she’s just a spoiled brat who I couldn’t sympathize with at all. I didn’t care if she made it back to her real mother or not, and for the life of me, couldn’t really imagine why anyone else would.

3. Adult Richie is a Cowardly Asshole – IT

richie

Yeah, we’re going back to IT again. Because even worse than the So-Called Apocalyptic Rock Fight is Richie. Fucking Richie.

As Henry is my favorite character in Dreamcatcher, Richie is my favorite character in IT. But not only is IT my favorite Stephen King book of all time, Richie might very well be my favorite Stephen King character in any of his works. I love him. I love basically everything about him. And, shockingly, he gets to live! How rarely does that happen?

But Adult Richie in the miniseries is nothing like his counterpart in the novel. In the miniseries, he’s this sleazy asshole guy pretty much only concerned about his own skin, and I kinda wanted that stupid looking giant spider puppet to eat him. It’s bad enough when an adaptation leeches a character of his or her personality, but when they change that personality to something fundamentally opposite and/or worse? It’s worse than frustrating. It’s enraging. And while IT has many regrettable moments, it’s easily Richie that pains me the most.

2. Lady Stoneheart is Cut From the Show – Game of Thrones

cat

I think Game of Thrones is an astonishingly good adaptation, and I’ve understood — or, in some cases, even loved — many of the changes they’ve made. But nothing has quite disappointed me like the absence of Lady Stoneheart.

A Storm of Swords must have been one of the most shocking books I’ve ever read in my entire life. The Red Wedding. The Purple Wedding. Lysa out the Moon Door. Tywin kicking it on the john. Fucking Oberyn Martell. That book was gut wrenching and powerful and you never knew where it was going. But that ending — when you find out that Catelyn Stark has been resurrected and is coming back for blood? HOLY SHIT, it was one of the most boo-yah moments I’ve ever SEEN. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I read that ending, or how pumped I was to see it on HBO . . .

. . . only to find out that they were cutting it entirely. And, guys, that was just depressing. Wholly depressing. It is literally one of my favorite moments in the entire series, and it’s just . . . gone. I still want Lady Stoneheart so much that I find myself hoping they’re secretly planning to resurrect a different character instead. (I won’t say who yet, in case I wildly and miraculously end up being right.) Or, better yet, that it’s all smoke screen and Catelyn IS still coming back — but the actress and producers have seemed pretty clear that she is dead for good. And while it’s not a show-killing offense for me, I am still really disappointed about it. (Also, kind of bewildered: you don’t resurrect a main character from a horrible death unless she has an important part to play, do you? Either Lady Stoneheart really isn’t pivotal to the ongoing plot — in case, WTF, George R.R. Martin — or the Game of Thrones creators have some serious gaps they’ll have to fill.)

1. Fred Weasley is Killed Off Screen, Leading to a Hugely Underwhelming Battle Between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

hp

This moment — or technically, couple of moments — is probably the most disappointing to me because so much led up to it. Seven books, eight movies. Years and years of time. And when the final film came to a close, yeah, I was pretty disappointed. It’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen, probably not even the worst film in the series, but I was definitely underwhelmed by Deathly Hallows Part II, and a lot of that had to do with this.

Fred Weasley — yup, favorite character in the whole series — is killed off. I totally cried while reading it, even though I expected his death for several hundred pages. And for me, it was obviously the saddest part in the whole book. I loved that kid. But in the movie, they just killed him off screen and spent approximately .07 seconds on everyone’s reaction. Fred Weasley is an important supporting character who has been in every single film, and they give his death about as much attention as they give to Ron Weasley’s jilted ex-girlfriend. Nope. So much nope.

And it’s not just because he’s my favorite character, either — Fred Weasley’s death should be fueling the infamous “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” scene. This scene is, like, one of the most notorious in the whole series. Mrs. Weasley kicks ASS in it. People quoted it forever. But in the movie, there is no pathos to the fight at all, no actual emotion — the translation is rote and lifeless. The whole thing lasts about thirty seconds. Both characters deserved more. Both actresses deserved more. We deserved more.

Please leave your Most Disappointing Adaptation moments in the comments. I’d really like to hear them.

Posted in BLASPHEMIES, LISTS | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments