Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bookspotting and Movie Reviews

This is a snowy mountain and ski lift inside a Hong Kong shopping mall.

Compared to last week, I didn't spot very many books this week. I've had my nose in Hugh Howey's Wool, so I just haven't been paying as much attention to the readers around me. I saw a woman with a Hong Kong guidebook standing at the top of the Pottinger Steps. A woman on the train had a hefty mathematics textbook in her hand. I spotted three Chinese books and two comic books this week, mostly on the train, and one man was carrying a thick English paperback with a swirly cursive title through Central Station.

This weekend I also went to see two movie adaptations of books I've read and enjoyed. I tend not to get too worked up about movies not staying "true to the book" and judge the films mostly on whether I was entertained and whether they matched the spirit of the books.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
This story truly doesn't need three films. The Hobbit is a sweet, self-contained novel and this is a rare case of the movie actually adding stuff to fill time rather than cutting it. They even brought in bits from The Silmarilion! However, I enjoyed the story and there were some exquisite visuals. It felt like a director's cut where the filmmakers had time to explore some of the interesting side stories and background vignettes. I liked getting to see more LOTR scenes, even if the film had a meandering pace at times. There were a few duds, most notably the goblin king's final line and Radagast's rabbit sled, but there were plenty of memorable moments too. Martin Freeman gave a splendid performance as Bilbo Baggins and Andy Serkis's Gollum is pure genius.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
This one is old news for my US readers, but the final Twilight installment actually doesn't come out in Hong Kong until December 20th. I went to see an advance screening on Saturday and I've got to say I think this is the best of the Twilight movies. The ensemble cast of vampires from around the world was a lot of fun. Bella Swan's character really does come into her own, and most of the awkwardness of the first films is gone. This is a story about family rather than romance, and that really sets it apart from the other films. The build-up to the climax was great and I totally bought the surprise ending. I don't want to spoil it if you haven't seen the movie yet! My one complaint is that they didn't have a scene with Alice's back story. I think it would have fit well about a third of the way into the film, and it's one of the saddest and most interesting parts of the books.

Have you seen any good book-to-movie adaptations lately? Spotted any books?

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog and for 2 reasons, firstly I used to live in HK and it's making me miss the place immensely, second I'm on the verge of getting a kindle but haven't quite taken the plunge yet! :-)


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