Book vs Movie: The DaVinci Code // Review

Whaddup peeps? As of exactly seven days ago, I finished the second book in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code.

First things first: I would like to preface this by saying that this book was amazing. But I would also like to say that the movie, while similar, was not as good as the book.

I think I told you guys a while ago that I had re-watched the movie The DaVinci Code for the first time in like 10 years. I really, really enjoyed the movie and was so excited about it that I went to straight to the bookstore to pick up the first two books in the series, Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code. The first book, A&D, was spectacular. I was so enthralled in this book from beginning to end, it was just really fun and interesting and I loved it.

I felt the same way about The DaVinci Code – it was extremely well written, well researched, and put together. It had everything and more that I could want from a murder mystery book, and it really made me think back on history and Bible versus and things that I never could have put together to make an interesting chain of historical evidence (whether it’s fiction or not, it’s very intriguing.)

That being said, by reading this book I was actually a little more disappointed in the movie version. First of all, I don’t think they should have released the movie counterpart BEFORE A&D. Since it technically comes first in the series I think it would have made more sense to continue with releasing the movies in chronological order simply because of the character development that happens in Angels & Demons.

Here’s where I want to clarify something: I was super excited when I realized that the first movie was actually the second book. I thought it was really cool that they could switch up stories like that and still make everything in the plot make sense.

What I didn’t like was the fact that Robert Langdon, the main character and symbologist, was used in the movie to promote the fact that Sophie was related to Jesus and therefore had healing powers. In the first book, Angels & Demons, Langdon goes through a lot of difficult situations involving tight quarters and closed off spaces. Langdon, you may have guessed, is claustrophobic. He doesn’t like elevators, he doesn’t like planes, he doesn’t like anything small and enclosed.

Well, in the first book that’s never resolved; that’s just his character flaw. Good ol’ Langdon, always finding himself in tiny closed off places! That scamp! In the second book, this flaw is still not resolved. But in the first movie The DaVinci Code it is! In the movie Sophie has this weird healing power that allows her to touch people’s foreheads and cure them. So what does Sophie do? She puts her hand on Robert Langdons head and he all of a sudden can be stuck in tight corners. WHAT?!

Fine. I get that you’re trying to make a point to really prove that she has these mystical ties to Jesus and that Mary Magdalene and Jesus are her ancestors. But are you really going to sit there and tell me that she can frickin’ heal people by touching their heads but then never mention that AT ALL in the book? Like where do you even come up with that part of the plot? It’s never alluded to in the novel, it’s never mentioned that some ancestors had magical healing powers – there’s nothing even remotely close to that to give anyone that idea, and yet in the movie here she is just healing people whenever she wants.

I don’t know, I know this is a small flaw to find but it actually really irks me. I feel like if you’re going to make this HUGE point of proving that this woman is related to Jesus then you should back it up. In the book it would have been pretty easy to squeeze that little piece in because it is, after all, the second book in the series. There’s already been one book where we learn of his claustrophobia, so why not get rid of it in the second book? But they didn’t do that.

Instead, they let him stay claustrophobic and continue on to find the murderer. But in the movie they make it a big spectacle that she can heal him because that’s what her mother used to do to her and oh by the way did I mention she’s related to Jesus?

It all just seems too convenient. I was perfectly fine with having The DaVinci Code come out in film version first, I figure that each book is different enough that they can get away with it. But I just can’t condone putting magic healing powers in a movie that barely goes into his extreme fears simply to prove a point.

I can’t speak for everyone but I’m pretty sure that if we’re reading The DaVinci Code we’re not really going to second guess magical powers in the middle of the novel. It’s just not going to happen. Everyone is too involved in the book to care. I mean you could throw in a gorilla riding a unicorn with Gollum on his back yelling “I’M THE REAL JESUS” and I don’t think anyone would question it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would be fine with this whole healing power thing in the movie if it was alluded to in the book. But there was nothing that I read that would support that theory. And I’ve seen a lot of movies where they take away plot to fit it into the movie, I can’t remember a movie that added extra plot to it. I feel like they could have gone without it, or at least explained it a little bit in the book.

All that said, though, I thought this book was really great. If you’re someone who enjoys history, who likes reading about secret societies or if you just really like mystery novels this book is for you. It has everything in it: action, adventure, murder, love, car chases. Everything.

Dan Brown does an amazing job of really getting his readers to accept the theories he’s putting out there because without them none of the book would make sense. You can tell that he really did a lot of research and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to secret societies and rituals. He also consistently blows my mind with all of his symbolism work. I know that the main character is a symbologist, but it has to take a lot of time and effort to truly understand the meanings behind so many of the pictures, architecture and random trinkets discussed in the books.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone at all who loves mysteries. The book is about 600 pages but it goes by so fast with all of the craziness going on! I guarantee you’ll love this book. I do recommend that you read the book first in this case just because the book does a much better job at explaining all of the complicated rituals and beliefs than the movie does. The movie gives you more of a bare minimum or an overview instead of a solid explanation.

I’m going to start the next book in the series The Lost Symbol – this one is about Freemasons!! I’m very excited to read it and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it’s going! My only complaint so far is that they are working on the third movie which will be Inferno, but the order goes Angels & Demons, The DaVinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno. I don’t know what it is about the movies, but they just want everything to be all outta whack.

If you’ve read any of the Robert Langdon series comment down below and let me know what you thought so we can talk about it and I won’t feel like a crazy person just sitting here obsessing over these books!

Until next time, friends!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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Book vs Movie: The 33/Deep Down Dark

Back in September I read a very interesting book that I had wanted to read since last fall. Back in 2014, my boyfriend and I went into a book store during a day trip to New Hope, PA, (quick note: my mom and I were in New Hope the day the miners were rescued and I remember eating my lunch and watching the miners come out of the mine in a tiny capsule with glasses on) and I found a book that I thought was super interesting. It was called Deep Down Dark by Héctor Tobar and it was about the 33 Chilean miners that were trapped in the San Jose Mine for 69 days (hahaha, I said 69… Oh, not the time for a sex joke? Sorry!)

Annnnnnyway… So I found this book in a teeny tiny bookstore and I really wanted to buy it, but it was about $25 dollars and I just didn’t have the money (mostly because I kept spending my paycheck on books). So I decided to pass it up, but I kept it on my list of books I wanted to read. It wasn’t until September 2015 that the paperback version came out and it was only like ten bucks. I preordered the book so it would be delivered to me the day it came out in paperback and I started reading immediately. It was such a good book.

The first probably 30 pages or so I didn’t find too interesting, it was more character development and the miners going into the mine during their regular working shift rather than being stuck in the mine. Nothing about being trapped yet. So I found it to be a little slow. But as the miners begin hearing some “weeping” sounds coming from above them high up in the mine, I started to get interested. And as the almost 800,000 ton slab of diorite collapses on the men, I was hooked. There’s nothing like reading a book that makes you so happy you stuck around to finish it. The joys of reading!

The book proceeds to explain what the miners went through: starvation, hopelessness, drinking water that was filled with oil and feces, literally having a specific spot where the men would shit every day, hearing the mountain of rock above you shift and fall as you slowly get even more entombed in the mine. It was an interesting read, to say the least, but I’ll get back to that.

Fast forward to a couple months later: I learned that they were going to be making the book into a movie when I finally finished reading the book. I was super excited but didn’t expect it to be out any time soon. Then last week I find out that it was coming out in theatres in a week. So of course I immediately texted my boyfriend with a round of I NEED TO SEE IT! LETS GO SEE IT! I WANT TO SEE IT! and here we are.

Just a few hours ago, I walked into the theatre with little expectations. I came out happy, but a little disappointed. Not because the movie was bad or because they didn’t stick to the original story, but because they glossed over certain parts of the original story.

I don’t think I have to say “spoilers” here because it’s something that actually happened, but just in case no one remembers when the Chilean miners were buried alive and rescued after 69 (ha!) days, *SPOILERS!* They get rescued.

What the movie attempts to do is turn this situation into something disheartening, but heroic. What I got out of it was similar, but not what was intended. I took the story as just that: a story. Rather than telling the audience the disgusting things they had to do, and about the physical fights the men had with each other, and the lasting PTSD, and so much more, they told the audience that the mine was not a pleasant place to be. They touched a little bit on the fights, and they touched a little bit on the grossness, but nothing in detail and nothing that would completely explain their rationale.

Now, when I think about it, I understand. A movie is a movie and no matter which way you turn it, it’s always going to be a movie. By that I mean that you’ll never be able to get inside someone’s head the way you would in a novel. You’ll never be told every single thing that happens in the book because a) a movie shows rather than tells, and b) there simply isn’t enough time.

If you think about it, a Harry Potter book is HUGE and they still couldn’t fit all of the details into it. Never once does anyone talk about Hermione’s struggle to prioritize and bring awareness to House Elf maltreatment by starting S.P.E.W. Never once did they mention in the Hunger Games movies that Katniss ran into two people fleeing their district and heading to District 13 in the woods. Why? Not because it wasn’t important, but because there isn’t enough time for everything. Sometimes you can still get your point across without showing everything you’ve read.

So yes, I understand. But what I don’t like is that they took the most human aspects of the ordeal and glossed it over. There’s nothing shiny and glamorous about survival. There’s nothing attractive about being emaciated for 30 days. There’s nothing sweet and sugar coated about drinking the water that you dump oil in, bathe in, and have feces and urine spread into. Nothing. And you know why? Because it’s survival.

For example, if someone were to tell you that they survived the Holocaust and said “yeah we starved, but other than that we learned a lot and all became good friends.” You’d be like, say what now?? So why should this be any different?

Maybe that was a drastic comparison, but it’s kind of true. Survival is not pretty, and forgiveness takes a lot for a person to do. I guess because I read the book I understand the struggles they went through to get to the point of forgiveness and of hope, but because of that I can’t really understand how the movie can go into so little detail about their troubles and helplessness.

That being said, I thought the movie was actually really good. Even though they didn’t go into too much detail, I thought they captured the essence of the situation as well as they could. I thought the director did a great job really putting into the light the different personalities of each miner and I thought the acting was really great. My boyfriend read a review that said they didn’t like the fact that they had white actors in the movie. I disagree. While I think they probably could’ve gone to Chile and said, “hey guys, wanna be in a movie?” and they would’ve gotten their non-white actors, I completely understand the desire for getting well known actors (white or hispanic) to be in a major motion picture.

Now back to the book. I thought it was great. My only complaints really were the beginning 30-40 pages and the end 30-40 pages. In the beginning it was too slow, and the end it mostly discussed their pact to only tell their story as a group, not individually (which is very commendable); but it also discussed their lasting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, their lasting drifts with fellow mine members and the lasting money-lessness even after fame. Basically, it was just a summary of what happened and how they are now. It touched on the fact that they were hoping for a movie, but otherwise it sort of just ended.

Final thoughts:

While the movie was extremely captivating and entertaining to watch, I didn’t find it to be as accurate as i think it should have been for such a traumatizing ordeal. The book I felt was great, but maybe a little slow at times. All that said, I still believe that the book wins this one. Hands down it was more honest, more heartfelt, and more detailed than the movie ever could have been.

Book: 6, Movie: 4

I hope you guys go see the movie and read the book and tell me your opinions. I would really love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Was I too harsh? Do I need re-watch the movie from a fresh perspective? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com.

Happy reading, guys! Until next time,

Rachel

Book vs Movie: The Martian

I did it! I saw The Martian!

After reading the book by Andy Weir back in July and waiting for a painstaking 3 whole months for the movie to come out, I have finally seen it! And let me tell you….. it was worth it.

For anyone that doesn’t know (because they’ve been living under a rock) The Martian is about an astronaut named Mark Watney who is believed dead on Mars. Only he’s not dead, and he needs to find a way to survive on a lifeless planet for at least four years.

The book was geeky, funny, and excellently written, and the movie was the same. That being said, I liked the book so much more. Here’s why:

  1. There is nothing that can simulate the incredible writing that Andy Weir delivered in his book. The book captivated you into this astronaut’s life to the point where I would go through the day and think, “man, I really need to figure out a way to get the rover to have more room.” …. I’m not even stuck in space and I’m worrying about fixing a rover? WHAT? But it’s things like that that make me realize how great of a writer he is. To be able to get someone (who knows absolutely nothing about math, science or mechanics) to truly start thinking as the main character to the point that they want to work on their non-existent space rover is a wonderful feat.
  2. The jokes!!! In the movie they keep a very good amount of the jokes and little things that Mark Watney says, but not nearly enough. I was sitting in bed laughing and reading parts of jokes to my boyfriend because I just thought it was hilarious. In the movie, there were funny parts, but they weren’t as good as the book.
  3. Matt Damon! I’ve mentioned this enough times, but I love Matt Damon. I love him in everything he’s been in. But I just don’t know if he was the right choice for this movie. While he was excellent in it, and anyone who hasn’t read the book might think that he was the perfect candidate, I just felt that the actor who played Watney should have been geekier and have less of the “I’m Matt Damon and I’m super awesome and funny” attitude.
  4. Lastly, the mishaps. In the book there are things that happen to ruin everything he has worked for in a split second. In the movie, they use one or two of them. I read the book and thought a countless number of times, “how the fuck is he going to live now?” I didn’t really get that same sense of absolute urgency and devastation from the movie. And I think it could’ve done so much better if it kept that in there (and the movie did really well).

All of that said, the movie was really great. The acting was excellent, the art direction was phenomenal, and the story was even better. I just very much advise you to read the book first. It was just so spectacular for people who like all different types of novels: funny, science fiction, character study, action, all of it! It was such a perfect book, and you’ll love it.

My verdict?

TO DATE:    Book: 5, Movie: 4

If you have any suggestions for books I should read or if you just want to say hi, you can comment below or shoot me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Until next time my lovely blog family!

Rachel

Book vs Movie: Hugo (The Invention of Hugo Cabret)

I haven’t done one of these in a while and I think it’s about time! A couple days ago my boyfriend and I were searching through Netflix to find something to watch (a process that usually takes about 40 minutes and always ends with us watching Dogs With Jobs) when we came across Hugo. I’d been wanting to watch it for a long time now, but never had, and he had seen it and liked it a lot. So we decided to watch it.

We watched almost exactly half of the movie but then we got tired and just wanted to sleep. However, I was in love with this movie from the start. About ten minutes in, I headed straight over to Amazon and bought the book the movie was based off of, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.hugo

Yesterday, I received it in the mail (thank you, Amazon Prime!) and I read the entire book. The book is more than 500 pages long, but it has about 284 pictures, so really I only read about 200 and something pages. Still, it was a lot for me to read in one sitting, but I just couldn’t put it down. The second I finished the book I knew I had to finish the movie, so I watched it today and I wanted to tell you about them.

First, I’d like to just say that director Martin Scorsese did a fantastic job. From what I’ve noticed, it’s incredibly difficult to turn a children’s book into a movie. I have a few children’s/young adult books that I’ve loved that have been turned into movies that I just hated. For example, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Incredible book, but horrible movie. In this particular case, I thought it was flawless!

A lot of times the line between book and movie is so thick that it’s almost an entirely different story (I’m looking at you, Maze Runner!) but in this case they got everything right. I will say that they added a few things into the movie that weren’t in the book, and they took out a few things that were in the book. However, everything they added or took out was for a purpose. For example, in the book the main character, Hugo Cabret, goes to a Film Library with someone he had met at a bookstore. In the movie, the character still goes to the library, but with the secondary character, Isabelle. Which I thought made a lot more sense when I watched the movie. It’s too confusing to add in a random character that was only mentioned twice in the book into a movie.

I also have to say that they did a phenomenal job casting the characters. In the actual book, there are pictures of the characters – and not just one picture of a character, but tons of pictures of characters. Which meant that they had to find actors that very closely matched the pictures. And they did that perfectly.

They also used a lot of old-time-y cinema references that I only knew one of, and it was the most famous. So it was very obscure with the references, which was pretty cool, too.

I honestly can’t give you any negative feedback. This book was amazing. It was a great book to teach kids the art of persevering, of doing what you love, and teaching kids that it’s okay to be sad if something bad happens. And it’s okay to let your friends in to help you. It was an incredibly cute book, and it was an incredibly cute movie.

10/10! I highly recommend this book-movie combo to anyone who likes cute, imaginative stories, and anyone who likes incredibly well acted movies.

Until next time!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Book vs Movie: Cinderella

“Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it’s Cinderelly….” It’s been a week and that song is still stuck in my head.

So, now comes part two of our Cinderella adventure. All week I’ve been wanting to watch the new Cinderella movie once more to be super accurate with my findings. But I’ve settled for memory and Wikipedia – and let’s be honest, Wikipedia never lies.

So let the duel begin!

I mentioned last time the difference between the original written version of Cinderella and the Disney version of Cinderella. In this one we’re discussing the combination of the original Cinderella AND the Disney version versus the live-action Disney Cinderella. So basically it’s really “Book and Movie vs Movie” – I’m sorry for totally stretching the lines of the whole book vs movie thing.

First, I’d like to mention that I actually really loved the new 2015 live-action version of Cinderella. I was worried when I heard they were making it because I had been getting more and more disenchanted with the original for many years, and heard this movie was pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of the original. However, I think this version was actually A LOT better than the original Disney version. Blasphemous, I know. But true.

Here’s my reasoning: this version, while still upholding the usual Disney Princess, classic (and literal) from rags to riches tale, gave the character so much more depth. They gave Cinderella her own mind, her own opinions, and still kept the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales edge!

The movie starts out with a young Cinderella (she goes by Ella) and her loving, devoted parents. Her mom sings her “Lavender’s Blue,” which is an old seventeenth century lullaby that I’d heard before but never knew the name until I looked it up on Wikipedia. It’s a rather beautiful song, and it fits the story very well. The song essentially is about two people who love each other and will be King and Queen one day. But not in the usual “DAMNIT, I WISH I WERE A KING!” sense. More in the, “I love you, and one day we’ll have the world together” sense. It’s very pretty.

“Lavender’s green, dilly, dilly, Lavender’s blue,

If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.

Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs play,

We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, out of harm’s way.

How sweet! But anyway, this song is engrained in Cinderella’s head forever, and she always sings it when she’s alone.

The mother gets sick and tells Ella to always be kind and be brave. This is something that’s mentioned in the original Grimm’s version as well, the mother tells Cinderella to be kind and to trust in God. In the movie, when the mother dies, father and daughter both go through a long period of time when they grieve for the mother. Eventually the father believes he has found a woman who will make him happy. Ella wants her father to be happy and gives him her blessing to marry this woman, and to take in her two daughters.

Much like the written version, the father goes on a trip and promises lavish gifts for the step-daughters, but Ella only wants whatever twig happens to hit his hat first. Once he goes away, the step mother begins to treat Ella poorly, giving her own daughters the best bedrooms in the house and moving Ella into the cold attic. Not long after, they get word that the father has died (unlike in the written story, which still bothers me). A while goes by, the step mother has designated Ella as their housekeeper and servant and begin calling her Cinderella due to the cinders on her face after sleeping near the fire to keep warm all night. Ella has no one to turn to, and believes that the mice that live in her attic understand her and help her. YES! The return of Jaq and Gus!!

This is where a lot of things change, because the movie ends up delving deeper into the prince’s side of the story with his father, whereas in every other version all we know is that the prince is having a ball and will choose a bride. In the movie they discuss the fact that princes have to marry princesses. The ball where he gets to choose a bride may seem as though he can choose any girl he pleases, but law dictates that the prince must marry someone of royalty, so royalty will attend the ball and he will choose from them.

The next part everyone knows: Cinderella wants to go to the ball, after getting dolled up and ready for the it, the step mother refuses to take her with them, and tears the dress she’s wearing to pieces. Completely devastated, Ella goes into the backyard and cries, when a fairy godmother shows up to lend her witchy hand. She gives Ella a beautiful gown, and turns the mice into horses, a pumpkin into a carriage, and a goose into the driver who says something along the lines of, “I’m a goose. I don’t think I can drive.”

She goes to the ball and the prince falls madly for her, but she has to leave by midnight, so she runs away from her love and loses her glass slipper on the steps. The prince demands that all the women in the area try on this slipper and if it fits their foot, she’s the one (still kind of backwards logic, but I’ll let it slide). The wicked step mother knows that Ella is the one he’s looking for when she finds the other glass slipper in the attic, and locks her away in there so no one will find her.

When the prince comes calling, the lady of the house has her two daughters try the shoe on, to no avail. The prince asks if there is anyone else in the house, but no one is found. Knowing that the prince is going to leave, the mice in the attic open up the window as Ella is singing “Lavender’s Blue” to herself.

The prince finds Ella, tries the shoe on her foot, and it fits! Hooray! The prince’s father has agreed to let them marry despite the fact that she is not royalty because he knows the prince loves her. Remembering the promise to her mother to be kind, Ella has forgiven her step-mother for all the cruelty throughout the years. The prince takes her away and they live happily ever after.

Honestly it’s pretty close to the first Disney movie, complete with mice. But there are some very interesting undertones that one wouldn’t assume are actually a part of the story unless you know the Grimm’s Fairy Tales version, such as the promise to her mother to be kind. That’s why I thought the movie was spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, I love the songs in the original, and I love the fact that it was a classic tale of rags-to-riches. But this version has more substance and it was researched properly.

That said, I have a bit of an issue with the book vs movie tally because while I like the original written story, the father was still alive! ARRRG! So for the first time ever I’m going to say:

The winner of the duel is: Cinderella – 2015 live-action film.

Book: 3 Movie: 3

Until next time!

If you have any fairy tales you want me to look over, or even just want to say hi, you can post a comment on here or send me an email at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. Also if you’re enjoying the blog you can now follow me via the “follow by e-mail” box on the right! Hope to hear from you soon!

Rachel