Which Came First?

This question may leave you with your jaw completely dropped. But I’m asking anyway. There are also Star Wars books along with all the movies, right? See, I don’t know anything about the series. I can probably name a handful of characters. Maybe. But I couldn’t tell you anything about the plots of the movies or the books. I’ve just never been interested. I’m still not.

So I haven’t seen any of the movies, and I have no desire to. But I just saw the Monday box office numbers and I started wondering where the movies originated? Were they a book series before they hit the big screen a million years ago? Or were the movies so successful that they spawned a book series? I suppose I could just Google and find the answer, but I’d rather make good use of you all. Hehe.

So tell me which came first. Heck, you can even tell me what you thought of the new movie. But I won’t have any idea who or what you’re talking about.

Lionsgate, Please Refrain From Doing This

This week something happened. Something unfortunate. It was hinted that there could be more films set in Panem. And I absolutely hate the idea.

The Hunger Games books and movies, to me, were so good because of Katniss. Just your regular girl trying to do right and protect her family. And now it seems the studio is willing to do without its brightest star. Any prequel would take place long before the day Katniss so courageously volunteered as tribute. I’m not sure I’d be interested in such a film.

The reasoning for these potential prequels is simple. Money. And supposedly some fans have been disappointed by the lack of arena battles. But it’s mostly money. Before the series came along Lionsgate was well outside the big 6 movie studios. And now they’ve just about made it a big 7. The series isn’t wholly responsible for that, but it’s pretty damn close. So now Lionsgate is trying to milk its cash cow for every last penny.

It isn’t surprising. And I won’t even say they can’t make quality movies, but I just hate that no story is ever really complete in today’s movie business.

By the way, nothing is official at this point. But it will be. You watch.

Are you interested in these potential prequels to the four movies already in the series?

The Book Was Better

Right?

It’s one of those sayings that you hear ALL THE TIME. The book was better than the movie adaptation. And probably more than 90 percent of the time it is. Because it’s the original and it’s difficult to match the original in any medium.

I’m here to ask if you’ve ever thought otherwise. I’ve written before on here that I hold the movie adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original) in much higher regard than the book. I just about hated the book. But I’m not sure if I can really think of another movie that really surpassed the book in its brilliance. There may be a few out there, but I’m not thinking of any.

Perhaps the original Jurassic Park movie comes very close to matching the first book. Perhaps. Or maybe the LOTR movies? Though I haven’t read all the books

Can you think of any movies adapted from books that actually came out better?

Mockingjay Part 2: A review

Kinda.

First off, I read the book some three and a half years ago. So did I know most of what would happen? Yes. Did I have every detail etched into my head? No.

The movie starts calmly. It has to if you think about what happened at the end of Part 1. We see that Peeta is still in a pretty bad state. And we soon realize that the war is going well for the districts and 13.

What I liked best about this movie over Part 1 and even the first movie in the series is that it played out more like an action movie than the others did. At least in my eyes. It was pretty nonstop from the time Katniss arrived in District 2 until the end of the movie.

When you’re watching it you almost forget that it could ever be adapted from a young adult series. That’s not a shot at the genre, it’s just what I’m thinking.

I thought the cast did quite well in their roles with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson standing out just above the rest. Peeta was good, bad, and even wildly crazy all in just two hours. Hutcherson did well to convince me of the ongoing turmoil plaguing Peeta.

I have two favorite parts of the movie. There’s a scene in which Katniss and her squad are proceeding toward the presidential mansion through the tunnels beneath the Capitol. They’re resting. But their whereabouts are known and mutts are released to find and kill them. They’re unable to outrun them and are forced to fight. They do. But the space is small and most of the squad is able to escape. Except Finnick. He keeps fighting. But he’s ultimately killed. And Katniss kills as many as she can by detonating the holo. It was one of my favorite moments because once Finnick was alone with a long ladder to climb we all knew he wouldn’t make it. But he fought. And fought. He kind of symbolized the entire rebellion.

The other was the assassination of President Coin. One of my favorite parts of the book and the series. It became apparent once the Capitol surrendered that she’d simply take Snow’s place. And it took Snow to convince Katniss, along with Coin proposing a symbolic Games. Katniss always stood for right, and she wouldn’t just stand by and watch one tyrant be replaced by another.

Guys, I thought the movie was a solid ending to a rather fantastic series. My order of the movies is #2, #4, #1, #3. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll reread the series and rewatch the movies.

Thank you, Suzanne Collins. For giving so many The Girl on Fire.

Only one way to see Mockingjay Part 2

Opening night.

I’ve seen all four movies on either Thursday or Friday. But this time around Lionsgate started Thursday night showings earlier. I counted ten showings at my local theater for tonight. I don’t remember that many for any of the other movies.

And as a result I managed to try out my local theater for the first time since their heavy remodeling last year. The auditoriums aren’t as big as other movie theaters and there’s less seating because every chair is a brand new leather recliner. They’re huge.

Anyway, my question tonight is simple. How do you plan on seeing Mockingjay Part 2? And what have you thought of the movies? I’ll have a great post tomorrow morning about the series as a whole.

On Criticizing Libraries

I don’t use any of my local libraries. Not one. But I think they’re an important part of society. Recently I’ve seen more and more libraries adapting. What I mean is we’re not just talking books and computers with internet access. Libraries are offering movies, music, and books in many different formats besides the traditional borrowing many have grown used to.

I know some systems are offering on demand services for most things now. Movies on demand. Music on demand. Electronic books. But now I’m seeing people criticizing them for evolving with the changing times. Huh? Why? Because the libraries of today don’t look and operate like the libraries of the past? I don’t get it. They’re providing all the same items and services of the old version at an even greater convenience. They aren’t throwing out all the books. They aren’t charging cardholders a monthly fee to use the library. Heck, they’re doing everything they’ve done in the past, but now they’re doing more.

I think it’s great to see libraries adapting. And I have a hard time listening to anyone who thinks otherwise. What do you think?

PS: Sorry for the ridiculously late post. The “distraction” I spoke of recently is becoming greater by the day. And no, there’s nothing wrong. It’s actually quite nice to have. Just means I don’t get my posts written on time.

Books Hitting the Big Screen in 2015

Is it me or did that title rhyme a bit? Hm.

Anyway, 2015 is another year full of books being adapted into movies. I wrote a million years ago about Hollywood’s fascination with turning toward the literary world for movie ideas. We all hear about the movie deals for this title and for that one just about every week. A movie is a hit, another book by the same author is adapted. Two prime examples of this just from 2014 are Gillian Flynn and John Green. And let’s not forget that the top grossing movie at the domestic box office has been adapted from a book in three of the last four calendar years. 2011 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. 2013 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. 2014 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.  Technically Guardians of the Galaxy still shows as the top grossing movie of last year, but I’m happy to say that Mockingjay is just a short time from claiming the top spot.

So when you take those little tidbits into consideration, it’s easy to see why Hollywood is always searching for that next big hit by way of the publishing industry. American Sniper just expanded its release and what happens? With Bradley Cooper as the lead and awards buzz from every which way, it’s going to shatter the January opening record at the box office. Another movie adapted from a book.

I’m sure you know exactly when your favorite adaptation will be released this year, but here are 20 notable releases. And no, I didn’t come up with the list myself. And no, I don’t have release dates because I’m too lazy to find them on Box Office Mojo. Here’s the list:

Silence

The Revenant

The Light Between Oceans

Paper Towns

In the Heart of the Sea

The Martian

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Secret Scripture

Into the Forest

A Book of Common Prayer

Walk in the Woods

Lion

Dark Places

Child 44

Carol (The Price of Salt)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The Jungle Book

Macbeth

The Duff

Far from the Madding Crowd

And that’s it. Of course, none of these matter. It’s all about how soon November can get here so we can see Katniss again. Sorry for the lack of actual information about each movie, but I stole the list from here and they tell you a little about the story and the actors involved with most of the adaptations.

Are you looking forward to ANY of these? I’m not. But eh.

PS: You should know by now that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is just weeks away from its release date. Well I read from a very good box office guy that it might open to more than $75 million domestically. A little perspective, Twilight opened to $69 million and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone opened to $90 million.