Review: 1984

This month I read 1984 by George Orwell for the Eclectic Reader Challenge, and let me tell you, it was some heavy reading.  I’m sure much of the ideological and political commentary went straight over my head, but I think I understood enough of it to at least give you a rough review.  Do understand that I cannot fully speak my mind about this book without spoilers.  Be warned.

Also, I do really hate to cut off posts like this, and I know I’ve been doing it a lot lately, but this is a super long post so I’m going to go ahead and do it. Continue reading

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Lost In Translation

Let me get one thing straight before I start today’s rant: I don’t hate movies based on books.  I really don’t…so long as it’s a good adaptation (read: caters to my nitpicky needs for everything to be exactly the same).  But there’s something about putting a book written in first-person into film form that kind of bugs me- at least the idea of it.

I suppose this post arose from my contemplating how TOTALLY AWESOME the Hunger Games movie will be.  Then I started thinking about exactly how certain parts would pan out.  This was me: “Hmm, Katniss has a lot of inner dialogue and turmoil throughout the book.  Considering she’s working alone and the circumstances she’s in, it wouldn’t make much sense for her to be talking to herself all the time.  So how does that work out?”

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, let me give you some context.  This is a highly political series with strong themes of rebellion and the horrors of war.  Katniss is constantly thinking about her strategies and how far she might go to survive, as well as analyzing her current situation.  This is all done quite neatly in her head, as talking to herself isn’t the best thing when there are bloodthirsty Careers after you.

So my question is: how do you make that into a movie, where you can’t just read everything the character is thinking?

The simple answer is that you can’t.  Sure you could try what Twilight did, and have voiceovers (sorry, that’s the only movie I can think of on the spot).  But that gets boring after a while, so you can’t do it all the time.  Another thing is to have her say the stuff to another character, perhaps Peeta.  But her questioning the Capitol would be seen as too rebellious, and over the years Katniss has become guarded in her words and actions, so that’s out if we’re staying true to the characters.

You can see why I’m so nervous.  If none of the things she thinks in the books are said, the film will lose a lot of its core.  What Katniss thinks and what she shows us of her world, and the revelations she gives through that, make up a huge part of the overall storyline, especially when we get into the final book.  If that’s gone, what do we have?  A girl fighting and having people close to her die with little context to put it in.

This is what can make or break a movie.  And I so want this one to be good.

This artist has some more AWESOME artwork (and not just Hunger Games...Doctor Who, anyone?) at the linked site.

I suppose that’s my point for today: you can’t make everything into a film.  Some things just won’t work.  A character’s inner dialogue is one of those things.  That’s why the book is nearly always better; we understand more in a book.  The only way I could see The Hunger Games passing this test is some kind of clear visual reference for understanding the evils of the Capitol (other than the Games themselves) and the tension felt by the people in the districts.

Understanding a character is vital.  Films just don’t do it for me for that reason.  Something gets lost in the translation*, something that allows us to see as the character is seeing.  Maybe this is why I don’t get attached as much to movies (or maybe it’s just that I don’t watch that many).  In a film, characters are so clearly other people, and their thoughts are hidden from us.

There are times when that doesn’t cut it.

Reading over this post, I think I’ve been rambling for about the past three paragraphs, so I’m just going to stop here…

Happy reading.

P.S. In a fit of teenage rebellion, my creativity has taken my money and run like Abigail in The Crucible.  Which means…I need ideas for blog posts!  Feel free to comment with any book related (or nerd/geek related) topic you want to hear my thoughts on.  My creativity did leave me with a few things, but I have a sneaking suspicion they’re all the old, boring topics no one wants to hear about.

*See what I did there?

Late Night Brain Parties

I don’t know about you, but it seems that my brain does most of its thinking when it’s least wanted.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience.  It can come upon you at any time: you’re minding your own business when suddenly you slip into daydreaming.  Your mind wanders and you end up thinking about tons of unrelated things.  According to my personal experience, as well as what Facebook tells me, I find that most of this kind of thought happens at night, before one goes to sleep.  I suppose there’s just something about the lack of stimuli that allows me to process the events of the day in peace.  Unfortunately this leads to my brain touching on every subject known to man, none of them having anything to do with sleep.

Someone get this dude some sleeping pills.

Most of the time it will be some obscure topic having to do with a TV show, or a book I’ve read.  It can be anything, really.  Sometimes I’ll think about plots I’ve made up, work through a problem or consider how a certain character would react in a certain situation (kind of like the nighttime equivalent of a short story).  Or maybe I’ll come up with a few ideas for future blog posts.  It really depends on the night, I suppose, as well as on the person doing the thinking.

Maybe this is our brains’ way of connecting things, the way dreams do.  Maybe we’re just so pummeled with other things during the day that there is literally no other way to get this stuff out there in the open.

Searching "Daydreaming" to get this made me think of that Adele song...

It seems that even published authors have this problem, if it even is a problem.  In The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, there is an interview between Stephenie Meyer and author Shannon Hale.  In the interview, “SH” is Hale and “SM” is Meyer, just in case you’re confused, and part of it goes like this:

SH: It’s like having a newborn, writing a book, isn’t it?

SM: It is.  Well, because you lie there in bed- and, oh, heaven help you if you start thinking about plotline.  If you start getting a little bit of dialogue in your head, you’re doomed- you’ll never get to sleep.

SH: It is so true…If, for whatever reason, I wake up…and if my mind, for one second, goes back to the book I’m writing right now, I’m done for the rest of the night.  I can’t go back to sleep, because my mind starts working over and over it…so when I sit down to write it it’s more productive, because I’ve been working over it in my brain.  But…when you do that in the middle of the night you’re doomed.

SM: …I have about fourteen different books, and every night it’s a new one.  And I’m coming up with solutions for this one point that really bothered me in one story.  I thought maybe I couldn’t write it because of this one point.  But then I’ll wake up at four o’clock in the morning with a perfect solution, and then I can’t go back to sleep.

The book in question.

Maybe this is just a symptom of having a writer’s brain.  Maybe this makes me a better writer by helping me work things out and never letting go of something until it’s done.  It’s like school for my creative side in that respect.  (And here I go, “NO!  Not more school!  Why did I just make that connection for myself?!”)

Whatever the effect, it would be nice to fall asleep tonight before sunrise…*

Also.  Just wondering about this, but: I’ve written a couple of song parodies.  They’re about Harry Potter and The Hunger Games (so far- maybe I’ll expand in the future), and I was wondering if you guys would want to see those.  Just an idea.  Comment if you have an opinion on this.  If it seems agreeable, I’ll work a couple in someplace.

Also again.  There’s a new blog out there, and it’s called Teens Can Write, Too!  As you can probably see from the name, it’s about teens (of which I am one) who can and do write.  The plan is for various teen bloggers to contribute a post in a blog chain for each month, centered around a theme.  It’s a group effort, which is really cool.  I’m glad to say I will be a part of October’s blog chain.  If you want to check it out, click on that link and subscribe if you are so inclined.

Happy reading!

*Kidding!