Monday, May 20, 2013

Movie Mondays: John Dies At The End

Movie Monday is a new segment that I'll be introducing every other Monday henceforth. This is going to be an analytic review and comparison of movies and their book counterparts. I also realize that I describe myself, and this blog as being a little sassy and I've yet to really fully express my sassiness and have thus decided that this is an excellent opportunity to rip something apart. I'll try to keep the language to a minimal (but that's not a promise.)

For my first comparison, I decided to go with John Dies at the End [IMDb] which, if you've been following since the beginning (AKA a month ago) then you'll know I actually quite enjoyed reading the book. I apparently had no idea at the time of reading the book that it was actually made into film last year. Because I didn't have any clue that this was already a movie, I thought about how the book would be awesome to see on screen as it read in a way that would have made the transition quite smoothly on film and after a quick post-read wiki search , I was pleasantly surprised to find that my thoughts had already been made true.

So it kind of took me a month to actually get down to finding and watching it and I was… pretty happy with the movie adaptation. Sure, many adaptations will cut parts of the book out for length and pacing, but I thought that in this case, it was done tastefully so. Considering the book itself is a clusterfuck of a weird, chaotic mess, there was actually bits in the book that didn't contribute to the main story at all and pulling them out from the movie adaptation made a lot of sense, especially to keep things moving forward. The main premise of the story was told in less than 2 hours and honestly, if all the parts of the book were involved it probably would have taken ages. That being said, there were some parts that I missed dearly from the novel that were left out of the book, the main one being the Vegas conference. Oh well. I also wanted the characters to share the scene where they talk about their last requests and Fred Chu's character talks about how he wants rumours to be spread about him haunting the city as a ghost.

Speaking of Fred Chu, something I really liked about this movie? Well, firstly, I love the fact that Fred isn't portrayed as a stereotypical Asian who knows kung-fu or whatever. I'm greatly annoyed at the fact that there isn't a better number of Asian characters in traditional media who aren't karate-chopping people (or presented as super-nerds) considering that a large chunk of the human population is Asian. I would hardly think that calling us a 'minority' isn't quite right, either. The media and entertainment industry is just silly, sometimes. Second thing I liked about Fred Chu is that he's portrayed by Jimmy Wong. If you watch as much YouTube as much as I do, you'd be pretty happy about that too. That dude is rad.

Since we're talking about casting too, I quite liked the portrayal of the characters even if they didn't really match up with who I had thought of in my head… well, except for Arnie. I did picture him that way. The environments were also-spot on with how I envisioned them and my only other complaint is the fact that Molly, the dog, was never really referred to by her actual name and her prominence in the book held a much larger significance than in the movie. 

Overall, the movie was…not bad. I admit it was a lot easier to follow than some things in the book and there were some things left to be desired but for the bulk of the movie, and for the things that weren't cut from the book, it stayed spot-on and dedicated. I also want to mention that seeing as how the book is a bit campy, the cheesy special effects were totally appropriate and I totally approve. Michael Bay, you got cool explosions and stuff but there is a fondness in my heart for awkward green screening.

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