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Monday, August 09, 2010

A Book-to-Movie Kind of Weekend

I usually don't review movies on this blog, but it just so happens that I watched three book-to-movie adaptations over the weekend. Before you think I'm just plain lazy (I did skip a woman's retreat thing-y because I needed to "get ready for school to start"), I got some school shopping done as well. Plus, my husband's aunt invited 3/4 of my kids over for a sleepover - the hubs and I had to take advantage of that by having a night "in" together. There's also the fact that two of the movies have been sitting here for several months, so it was time, you know?

Anyway, here's what we watched:

The Road (rated R) - based on the book by Cormac McCarthy
You all know how much I love me some dystopian. And I do, I really do. But this was one of the bleakest movies I've ever seen. Sure, it's ultimately hopeful and it does star the very good-looking Viggo Mortenson (whom I've loved since seeing him in Lord of the Rings) - still, it's incredibly depressing. The movie's well done, the story's frighteningly believable, and the whole thing is atmospheric and haunting. Overall, though, it's so stark that I had trouble "liking" it. I seriously watched a lot of it with my hands pressed over my eyes, shrieking, "No! No! I can't watch!" My reaction totally confused my husband, who kept asking, "Don't you read this stuff all the time? What's the difference between seeing it in your head and seeing it on the big screen?" I'm not sure what the answer to that is. What do you think?
Like I said, I haven't read The Road, so I don't know how the movie compares to the book. All I know is I probably won't be reading it.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (rated PG) - based on the book by Rick Riordan
I actually took my 11-year-old son to see Percy Jackson when it first came out. He loved it and wanted to watch it again on DVD. So, we rented it for the kids, all of whom loved the movie. The hubs wasn't too impressed. I agree that it could have been a lot better, but I still enjoyed it. It's been a few years since I read the book, so I'm not sure how well the movie follows the original story. I do think it's a fun, exciting action/adventure flick that will appeal to pre-teen boys, especially.
Logan Lerman makes a convincing Percy. And we all loved the very funny Brandon T. Jackson, whose depiction of Grover provides a lot of comic relief. Speaking of funny, though, the best scene of the whole movie comes at the very end, while the credits are scrolling. Don't miss it.
Julie & Julia (rated PG-13) - based on the book by Julie Powell
I've had Julie Powell's book sitting on my bookshelf for several years, but I've yet to take a peek at it. I enjoyed the movie anyway, although it's one of those films that requires some patience. The storyline moves very slowly, switching back and forth between the lives of New York blogger Julie Powell and chef extraordinaire Julia Child. Still, it's a heartwarming story. Meryl Streep makes a delightful Child. Amy Adams' character, on the other hand, comes off as whiny and self-centered. You have to admire the girl's pluck, though. Overall, I enjoyed the film, especially all the commentary on blogging. Again, I don't know how well the movie follows the book and again, I don't know if I'm going to read the book or not, but the movie is definitely worth seeing.
Have you seen any of these films? What did you think?
(All images are from Google)


  1. I've seen and enjoyed all of these! They all follow their respective books pretty well. I really liked that a lot of Julia Child's autobiography was added in to Julie and Julia (the movie, not the book). And Powell is pretty whiny, but she's also funnier in the book than she comes off in the film.

    Loved Percy Jackson, and my stepdaughter has a huge crush now.

  2. The book version of The Road is pretty bleak itself, but I haven't seen the movie. I just watched Lightning Thief yesterday and thought it strayed quite a bit from the book. I'm usually fine with that, but found it a little distracting in this case. It was fairly entertaining though.

  3. I haven't read or seen the first one. Although I also enjoy Viggo Mortensen (:.

    I watched Julie/Julia when it first came out and really enjoyed it. I loved it when her husband says," and you better not put this on your blog!" I know Ben (and the kids!!) have said that to me a few times. LOL

    As for Percy Jackson. We watched it on the plane to Mom's house. I thought it was really good but I hadn't read the books, just the kids. So now that I have read it, I was shocked at how much is missing from the movie. They missed a LOT. Of course movies from books can't have everything but...I was dissapointed in some of things they did/didn't do. Had I read it first, I probably would have been more dissapointed. Having said that though, we did enjoy the movie and thought it was fun. The kids love the books and the movies. I am reading the 2nd in the series right now.

  4. I read The Road. I liked it and hated it. Didnt watch the movie but my husband did and it sounds like it stuck pretty close to the book. Very bleak.
    I'm the only person in the world that didnt like the book The Lightning Thief. Everyone says the next book in the series is better but I cant bring my self to try it.

    Didnt read Julie and Julia but I thought the movie was pretty good. My sister read the book and said she is very fond of using the "F" word

  5. Skip the book by Powell and read Julia's autobiography instead.


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