The Shawshank Redemption

While I was in London last week for the Apple Tech Talk, I decided to go watch The Shawshank Redemption at the Wyndham Theatre.

Most of you will be aware of the Film by Frank Darabont. Some of you may even be aware that it is based on the short story, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, by Stephen King.

I love the short story and I love the film. So when I noticed the other day that there was a play on in London, and that it was only running until the end of November, then I figured I should go watch it while I had the opportunity of being up there.

Firstly, I enjoyed watching it. It wasn’t great, it was ok.
I wonder if I am just not attuned to theatre. I don’t mind musical theatre, I get that, but the difference between plays and films seems to be vast. In this case, everything seems to be said in a shout.

The play is apparently based on the book and not the film – plenty of copyright issues here I guess. The problem is that Frank Darabont did a magnificent job of adapting the book, that it was always going to be hard to stray away from that. So the first think the writers did to differentiate the play from the film was to go back to the original source and have Red as a red-haired white man of Irish ethnicity – right? Wrong! Red is a Morgan Freeman wannabe… and it doesn’t work. His voice is gravelly, and fast, and loud. Morgan Freeman is controlled, slow, and soothing. I can’t read the book anymore without hearing Morgan Freeman narrating for me.

The version of Red’s voice-over, that makes the hairs stand up when delivered in the film…

There’s a con like me in every prison
in America, I guess. I’m the guy who
can get it for you. Cigarettes, a
bag of reefer if you’re partial, a
bottle of brandy to celebrate your
kid’s high school graduation. Damn
near anything, within reason.

In the play, this is the opening lines… rushed, shouted, gravelly, and disappointing…

All in all my concerns with the play were that even though the writers were apparently trying to steer clear of the film, they kept coming back to it. Many of the characters seemed liked they were poor versions of the film characters. In fact Tommy was almost identical that I wondered if they had just lifted the original actor.

In the film many of the characters we amalgamation of multiple characters – Brooks and The Warden in particular. In the play – yep you guessed it – amalgamations. Warden Norton – looked the same, if a little more portly!

I hated Andy Dufresne in the play ( Kevin Anderson). He’s cocky, too forward, almost having a controlled route through his time at the shank. But he still has this kind of Tim Robbins look-a-like thing going on.

So in the end, the play can’t make it’s mind up – be the film, be the book, or be neither. There are some very odd changes and additions that had no earthly right being there.
To be honest, I think the play is really cashing in on the film and not a decent theatrical version of the book. The writers have tried to avoid the obvious copyright issues without dropping things that their audience of film fans might take issues with. I mean, the whole thing starts with the name right? Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption

I think my favourite part was when the cast sing as Tommy is hanging in his cell… that was a wonderful moment, and almost worth the entrance fee alone.

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Dirty Harry Potter / Harry Callahan and the Deathly Hallows.

Lord VoldemortFor those who have not read The Deathly Hallows and are still intending to do so, then you might want to look away now as this may contain spoilers.

I’ve just finished re-reading Harry Potter. In fact I’ve been reading the series to Rebekah over the last year. Anyway, there is a part toward the end of The Deathly Hallows, where Harry is squaring up to Voldemort, and Harry starts to question Voldemort’s assumptions on the true ownership of the Elder Wand, that in my head sounded very different to the words that were actually on the page.

This is what I heard…

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he take rightful possession of the wand?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. So it all comes down to this, doesn’t it. Does the wand in your hand know that its last master was disarmed? Because if it does… I am the true master of the wand. And being as that is an Elder Wand: the most dangerous wand in the world, and is able to perform feats of magic that would normally be considered impossible, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Harry Callahan

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Harry Potter

I like . I think the books are a good story well told. Yes, they might not be the best written books in the world, they seem to commit many writing cardinal sins, they often meander a tad, and they could definitely have done with a more strict editor, but generally
they do what they say on the tin. And you can’t argue with the amount of
pleasure they seem to have brought to readers around the world.
I have been reading the books to Rebekah, we just started over the weekend, and it has been interesting how more acutely aware I have been of aforementioned shortcomings this time around.
Still enjoying them though!
Since we had finished during the week, we were able to watch the film on Saturday. I am amazed at just how much of the books Rebekah must absorb because she is so clued into the changes that have been made to the films.
I enjoyed the films , and . Didn’t enjoy , but did enjoy . I really didn’t enjoy Order of the Phoenix. It just didn’t work for me. I would love to have watched it without the back knowledge of the books, because it seems to me that in order to work, you have had to read the books.
I understand the process of adapting books to films and am not adverse to changes that are made in order to make a film script work. As a general
rule, good film makers understand what their audience want and how best to twist a story to make them fulfilled. Yes sometimes they get it wrong, but often just minor issues.
It felt to me that in order to make Order of the Phoenix work, the script writer or director decided to remove all the soul of the story and leave in the hi-lights, the visual bits, knowing that the majority of their audience could fill in the missing parts. Thus the film could move from scene to scene without much explanation or motive, a bit of a collage really.

Really disappointing!

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Wikipedia Harry Potter, Half Blood Prince, Order of the Phoenix, Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire

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Captain Correli’s Mandolin

I watched last night. Firstly and importantly, I enjoyed it. It did everything I want from a book adaptation – it made me want to read the book.
It’s obvious from the viewing that there has been a lot cut from the book to make the film, but that said, from a story point of view, I never felt I was missing anything that I could not piece together by reading between the lines. So by that measure the film holds its own as a story, if not necessarily the same story as the book.

What I did take from the film is – just how shit was. His attempt at being and Italian was really so poor. There were moments when I thought he was going to turn into . I have never been a cage fan, although I admit there are films where he seems perfect in, but I thought he was particularly badly cast here. I guess he’s just one of those actors that grate on me, a bit like . However, by the end of the film he starts to become acceptable as the film enters the final action stage.

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Wikipedia Captain Correli’s Mandolin, Nicolas Cage, Borat, Jim Carey

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The Golden Compass

I watched yesterday. What a train wreck of a film! There were a number of changes from the book, and I can accept them. One or two I might have disagreed with or wondered the point of the change, but on the whole that wasn’t the problem. The real problem is that they tried to make it a 1 hour 40 minutes film! It therefore becomes an absolutley fast forward through events that doesn’t allow you to pick up anything from the characters. The plot just zips buy that it becomes incomprehensible. You feel nothing for Lyra and as to why she does things, or indeed why anyone does things. In order to keep this plot going dialogue is thrown in that means too much exposition. I wonder if anyone who has not read the books would get anything out of it?

Wikipedia The Golden Compass

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