DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Books or Films?

Film & Book Adaptations

Our Easter display is packed full of films and novels for you to devour during the holidays. Here are a random selection from the display and why they are worthy of your time.

Don’t Look Now

The film is directed by Nicholas Roeg and is based on the short story of the same name by Daphne Du Maurier, who also wrote The Birds. It is a thriller focussed around a couple whose daughter is killed in an unfortunate accident. They move to Venice where they meet two strange sisters, one of whom is convinced their daughter is trying to contact them from ‘the other side’. What ensues is a dark thriller which addresses the challenges that grief can bestow upon someone.          

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
This magical tale comes from the great mind of C.S. Lewis and is the first in the magnificent Narnia chronicles. Having been adapted to film before back in the 70’s and as a TV series in the 80’s, it was great to see someone take the franchise on when CGI and other technologies were on the rise. Director Andrew Adamson throws audiences into the magical world of Narnia where they see their childhood imaginings of the mystical world come to life, more realistically than ever before. The story is about the evacuees Edmund, Lucy, Peter and Susan Pevensie arriving at the country house of Professor Digory Kirke who is to be their guardian until the war is over. During a game of hide and seek they stumble across a wardrobe which transports them to Narnia, a realm run by the overpowering White Witch who needs to be over thrown in order for the dreaded winter to end. It’s a great story full of talking animals and mythical creatures, both book and film will be sure to enchant you.
 The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant is a 1999 animated science fiction film based on the short story The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. The film is about a little boy called Hogarth who finds a giant, iron man who has fallen from space. He befriends the Iron Giant and tries to protect him from the US Military who want to destroy him. The story is set in 1957 when America was going through the cold war and the threat of a nuclear attack from the USSR seemed likely following the launch of Sputnik, the first satellite to orbit Earth. The Iron Giant is certainly representative of this National panic in America, however the anti-war message the film sends out, and the way in which the boy befriends the giant shows that there is a glimmer of humanity left following the war.
The novel by Vladimir Nabokov was adapted to the screen by the legendary director Stanley Kubrick in 1967 and adapted again in 1997. However, the notable adaptation is the Kubrick one which starred James Mason as Professor Humbert Humbert and Sue Lyon as Lolita. The story is about a divorced Professor of French who moves to a small town America. He starts a relationship with his landlady and ends up marrying her with the intention of pursuing a relationship with her 14 year old daughter, Lolita whom he has fallen completely in love with. It sounds a bit sinister, but its actually a tasteful romantic drama that explores the male psyche and infatuation with youth. Comparisons can be drawn between Lolita and American Beauty, they have a similar theme and each deal with it romantically rather than sinisterly.
American Psycho
Brett Easton-Ellis is famous for writing novels about successful, young men living the high life in a big American city. American Psycho is no exception to this as the film follows the sadistic Patrick Bateman, a rich investment banker who has a psychopathic side to his personality. He fantasises about gratuitous murders and psychopathic tendencies start taking over as he spirals in to a world fuelled by sex, drugs and murder. The book is far more detailed than the film, which was largely underwhelming especially considering how phenomenal the source text was. However, heed my warning, both film have very explicit content, so perhaps read up on the both a bit more before diving right in.
Everything is Illuminated
Finally is a real gem of a book that was turned into a real treat of a film. Jonathon Safron-Foer’s Everything is Illuminated is about a young man who sets out on a mission accompanied by the local eccentric to find the woman who saved his Grandfather from a Ukrainian town that came under attack by the Nazi’s. The film and the book are both delightful stories to engage with and the combination of a chain smoking young Jewish American and an eccentric Ukrainian native on a road trip is sure to make you laugh at some point!
Have a look at the display by the issue desk for more great films and books, including Harry Potter, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Casino Royale and The Jungle Book!

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