Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a safe fun holiday. The beginning of the new year always has me reflecting on the past year and thinking about what I can do to improve in the upcoming. Trial and error has taught me to keep my resolutions simple and few if I want to meet them all (I found the more resolutions I make the more I fail to keep…), this applies to Novel Reaction as well as my personal life. There are a couple of things Novel Reaction is going to do in the coming year:
- Resume the Books-to-Movie Challenge each month (goodness knows Hollywood is not coming up with anything original anymore).
- Monthly author spotlight on titles that were originally released in print and are now available in ebook (older print books).
- Resuming the bookish news postings, I don’t know about you but I miss them.
So how about you? Any new resolutions that don’t involve losing weight? 😉
The Books-To-Movie Challenge for August was the 2011 film adaptation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This is one of my all time favorite novels that I reread frequently and when I heard that a new version was being done by the same company that did the 2005 adaption of Pride and Prejudice I was excited. Then when I found out Judie Dench was to be in it I was really ecstatic!
Visually I have mixed feelings about this version. Some of the cinematography is breathtaking, the scene where Jane and Mr. Rochester meet is fabulous, the castle destroyed at the end is breathtaking but (I know you felt that coming) some of the film is so dark. By that I mean the lighting is so poor for some of it that I had trouble seeing everything that was going on when I originally saw it in the theater.
As far as the Gothic elements of the novel, I felt like the film adaptation did a good job without having the Gothic elements overwhelm the story line. The scene with the child Jane in the red room was especially well done, in my opinion.
Not surprisingly I loved Dame Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper. I did think it was an interesting change at the end of the film where Mrs. Fairfax told Jane she would have given her money if she would have said anything. I don’t remember that being in the novel but it did add a warmth and love to a rather austere character. In the novel Mrs. Fairfax doesn’t approve of the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester, she clearly believes in the line between the classes and dislikes Jane towards the end because Jane is willing to marry Mr. Rochester.
I was disappointed that they cut out the gypsy scene, as that is one of my favorite scenes in the novel. I was interested to see how Michael Fassbender would pull off playing the gypsy lady but alas, it was not included in this version of the film. I was also disappointed they didn’t include the twins and the doctor who was studying their ability to communicate with each other over long distances. I feel that they helped explain why Jane was able to hear Mr. Rochester after they had separated, to know that she was needed by him and to return.
The sexual tension between Jane and Mr. Rochester was amazingly well done! The body language and expressions of both Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender was incredible is portraying their character’s feelings. The scenes between the two of them were so well done I wished they would have shot more. Mia does such a good job of delivering Jane’s lines and shooting down Mr. Rochester’s ridiculous flights of fancy. The scene between Jane and Rochester where he tries to convince her to run away with him had me in tears in the theater because the emotion was so well done between the two characters.
I was so glad that this version finally has a plain Jane. I don’t think Mia wears any makeup at all during the entire film and the style of her hair adds to her plainness. Since this is such a key element in the novel I have been disappointed in Hollywood’s beautification of Jane in the past (can we say the 1940s version where Jane is beautiful?!) but was very pleased by this version.
The changes that were made to the end of the novel I was disappointed in, I felt like we didn’t really get to know St. John Rivers. We didn’t get to see his disappointment in love, he only mentions he was recently disappointed but no details about his past love. We also don’t find out that the Rivers and Jane are really related, that is part of the reason she shared her wealth with them because they are her cousins and she valued that relationship more than the money. I do think that Jamie Bell does a good job portraying St. John Rivers andt looks pretty hot while doing it.
Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels of all time. Jane sticks to her morals, she doesn’t lower her standards because she knows she deserves more than what Rochester is offering but in the end she gets her love. I think that is sometimes missing from the novels and film written now, this adherence to your morals despite the provocation or what is being offered.
Being well acquainted with the novel and having watched the BBC’s version numerous times I follow the story without any trouble but my sister’s fiance, being unfamiliar with the story, watched this version with us recently and I realized how much of the story this version is missing. I know that large sections were cut out of the film because of time constraints but his comments and questions really brought out how much was glossed over or skipped. I came to the conclusion that for this version you would really need to know the story to be able to follow and understand everything that happens. That being said, I really like this version. What did you think?
I totally failed on the Books-to-Movie challenges this summer, for some reason I have had a hard time getting them done, which is not to say that I haven’t seen movies (LOVED Captain America) or read books (averaging about 10 a week) but I have not done a decent job with the challenges. I am excited that this version of Jane Eyre is being released on DVD on August 16th so what better way to get back on track then with finishing this book and movie, just a couple of months late. So here is the intro one more time…
I know that previously we have done Jane Eyre as a books-to-movie challenge but with the new version released in theaters (I know that it is limited release, my sisters in a small town in Utah are very upset that they have to wait until the DVD release to see it) that not everyone will be able to read and watch but I really want to talk about it so that is the challenge for May.
You can read the original Jane Eyre intro here when we discussed the 2006 BBC mini-series version. and the report of the film version can be found here. The version we will be discussing this month is the 2011 version starring Mia Wasikowska as Jane, Michael Fassbender as Rochester and Dame Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax.
Some things to keep in mind while reading and watching: Do you think the length of the film was enough to even attempt a story filled with this much depth? What did you think of the actors/actresses portrayal of the characters? How do you feel about the changes they made to the story in the film version?
So pull up a book, a bucket of popcorn, and let the fun begin!
I also thought I would share this music video, the music by My Chemical Romance surprisingly fits with the gothic nature of this story.
It’s that time again, have you read the book? Did you watch the movie? What do you think? For me, this is one of those movies that is loosely based on the novel but I love them both. The novel and the movie start off basically the same, the main difference being Tristan’s father marries a local girl instead of remaining single. I was disappointed the first time I watched the movie in the actress chosen to play Victoria because in the book Victoria is supposed to be the beautiful woman and I didn’t feel like the actress they choose fit that description. Of course, it is hard to compete with Michelle Pfieffer and Clare Danes when it comes to beauty.
In a film full of big name stars and amazing special effects, there is the occasional surprise moment that works incredibly well. One of those moments is when the old guard at the wall attacks Tristan and kicks his trash. I love Waking Ned Divine and loved seeing David Kelly flip over the wall and beat Tristan, a man a third his age, with a few well aimed blows of his cane.
A major difference between the two works is the role the lightening pirates play. They are very minor characters in the novel, whereas in the film they play a major role in the transformation of Tristan. It is thanks to the pirate captain Shakespeare that Tristan gets a more mature look, gains confidence because of his new ability to fight with swords, and starts to fall in love with Yvaine. The pirate captain’s name came from literary Shakespeare but he chose it because he wanted a name he could shake his fist to. Robert De Niro was hilarious as the cross-dressing captain, especially when he got caught by Septimus and discovered that his crew already knew about his habits.
In both of the works, the connection of the witch’s magic to the toll it took in her looks was interesting, that nothing comes without a cost, in this case a visible toll for everyone to see. For me, what can make or break a movie or novel is the small details, in both works the details are fabulous. Something as simple as the blood that the royal prince bleeds is blue (blue blood) or the way that Tristan’s hair grows as Captain Shakespeare is playing with it during his make-over.
The entire scene at the Inn is great. The first time the goat husband jumped over the bar instead of walking around I couldn’t stop laughing. Also, when Bernard is turned into a women and is fascinated with his own breasts had me giggling and the look on Tristan’s face when Bernard speaks is priceless. The interaction of the characters during this crucial scene was well done.
In the novel, the ghosts follow the Stronghold Heirs but the heirs are unaware of their presence. The movie is much more ambiguous but the running commentary is entertaining, as is the fact that each of the ghosts is left in the condition that they died.
The endings of the two works are completely different, in the novel Tristan and the star make it back to Wall, where Tristan crosses over to say goodbye to his family, severing all ties with that world so he can remain with his Yvaine. Tristan meets up with his mother in the end, who wants Tristan to immediately assume the throne but instead he continues traveling with Yvaine for another ten years, before finally assuming the throne. In the film Tristan’s mother assists him with the final battle against the witches and is there at the end when Tristan and Yvaine are crowned having been reunited with Tristan’s father.
In the novel, the witch gives up the chase at the end of the story because of everything she lost in her pursuit of the star’s heart. The movie does pay hommage to the novel’s witch’s attitude at the end of the story, in giving up instead of continuing to fight but it as a cruel trick played against Tristan and Yvaine. The ending of the film is much more exciting than the novel, with the battle between Septimus and the witches, then the battle between Tristan, Septimus’ body, and the witches for Yvaine’s heart. The detail work is amazing!
I love the imagery of both works. The original artwork of the first publication of the novel was created by Charles Vess and is amazing. The imagery of the movie is equally as impressive. The hall where the last great battle occurs is great looking. The use of the space and mirrors in the battle was well choreographed, in my opinion, adding to a great climax of the movie. Despite the differences in storyline between the novel and the film, I enjoy both. What do you think? Upset by the differences or don’t care?