Film vs Book: M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village” & M. Peterson Haddix’s “Running Out of Time”

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 The Village is a 2004 film directed by M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense” (1999)), and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt and Bryce Dallas Howard. The film tells a tale of a 19th century village whose inhabitants live in constant fear of some creatures that start to terrorise the village population. One of the protagonists of the movie is a blind girl named Ivy. Although the movie is not as bad as critics claim and its soundtrack is absolutely beautiful, it has a needless array of well known star-actors involved, which is distracting. Running Out of Time is a hugely popular 1996 book by Margaret Peterson Haddix for young adults about a young girl (Jessie) in a 19th century village who is send on the mission to town to look for medicine to cure a diphtheria epidemic in her village. 

Even though the plots of both “The Village” and “Running Out of Time” are different, there are considerable similarities between the two. The ways in which the book and the film are similar speak volumes when one considers the most important things of both: “Running Out of Time” book’s narrative and “The Village” film’s final plot twist.

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“Perfect Blue” (1997) vs. “Black Swan” (2010): Is Aronofsky’s Black Swan Perfectly Blue?

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Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 featureBlack Swan” is an Academy Award-nominated film, telling the story of a young ballerina Nina Sayers, whose transformation from a shy ballet dancer to a leading heroine ballerina of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” production causes a psycho-sexual breakdown. “Perfect Blue” is a lesser known 1997 Japanese animated movie based on a novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, telling the story of Mima Kirigoe, whose rapid descent from an admired pop-idol into a “tarnished” rookie actress has disastrous consequences.

In this piece, I will compare the two films closely, arguing that the two films share substantial similarities in terms of the plot, character, style, design, execution and the little details, pointing to the conclusion that the very underrated “Perfect Blue” was – at the very least – the direct and main inspiration for “Black Swan” (and even something much more than that), though Aronofsky himself denied the claim. Going further, the similarities are so striking that it could even be said that Aronofsky essentially re-made “Perfect Blue”, but changed the setting to a ballet, and re-modelled some characters, disguising them as others. 

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“The Double” v “Enemy”

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The question of personal identity and its duplication have been fascinating people for centuries. From Edgar Allan Poe’s “William Wilson” to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”, the theme has been pervasive in almost every form of art. When it comes to movies, such films as “Sommersby” (1993), “Face/Off” (1997), “The Prestige” (2006) or “Black Swan” (2010) may immediately come to mind. However, just recently, scriptwriters/directors have decided to approach the topic more directly, and we now see two films – Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy” (2014) and Richard Ayoade’s “The Double” (2013) gracing cinema screens in the hope to awe. Although these two movies have their share of differences, e.g. “The Double” is far wittier and more satirical than “Enemy“, these two films share the same theme, and, therefore, it may be interesting to make a brief comparison between the two. Besides the “doppelganger” theme, however, what these two films also have in common is the relative novelty of the directors’ productions. “The Double” is Ayoade’s directional debut and for Villeneuve, ‘”Enemy” is only his second truly mainstream movie after “Prisoners” (2013), also starring Jake Gyllenhaal (“Donnie Darko” (2001), “Zodiac” (2007)).

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“Avatar” v “FernGully: The Last Rainforest” – A Case of Plagiarism?

Although there has been a number of comparisons done recently between ‘Avatar’ (2009) and ‘FernGully’ (1992) (also ‘Pocahontas’ (1995) and ‘Dances with Wolves’ (1990)), I, nevertheless, have decided to take my own turn on the topic and ascertain the similarities between the two movies. In this piece, I will provide some evidence that demonstrate that ‘Avatar’ and ‘FernGully’ are so similar – both in plot lines and style (more so than many other films/stories), that, in my opinion, it was nearly impossible (for James Cameron) not to have in mind ‘FernGully’ when writing ‘Avatar’.

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“Harry Potter” Films

Here I will argue that the first two Harry Potter movies were the best ones in the series in many ways; they were the most faithful to J.K. Rowling’s original stories, the cast choices could not have been any better there; and the movies had very logical and structured narratives. All these things are barely touched upon in later Harry Potter movies.

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