REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast

Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Chris Luckett

Not even including Beastly or The Beautician and the Beast, there have been no fewer than nine film adaptations of Jeanne-Marie Leprince du Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast. Does the world need another?

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REVIEW: Mockingjay, Part 1

Photo: Lionsgate

Photo: Lionsgate

Chris Luckett

When it was announced in 2008 that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows would be split into two movies, such an idea for a franchise’s climax seemed odd and alien. While many cynical moviegoers cried studio greed, it was seen by many as a strong creative decision, considering how much material was in J.K. Rowling’s ultimate book.

In the wake of Harry’s two-parter ending, though, more and more movie series have decided to follow suit, from the Twilight saga’s Breaking Dawn to the recent announcements that the Divergent and Avengers trilogies would become 4-parters. Moves like these feel more studio-driven and motivated by dollars rather than fan satisfaction, and it the very thing that hurts Mockingjay, Part 1 the most.

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REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

One of the dumbest arguments for excusing stupidity in a movie is, “Well, that’s the way it was in the book/cartoon/ride/video game/toy’s backstory.” Just because a ridiculous plot point or character was accepted without scrutiny in another medium doesn’t mean it should gets a free pass in its movie form.

If anything, a movie adapted from a silly product should work extra hard to make itself believable, freestanding, and not above scrutiny. Clue, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and The LEGO Movie all succeeded despite their simplistic origins. Battleship, The Haunted Mansion, and the Transformers series, on the other hand, didn’t. In fact, the Transformers movies, made by the much-maligned Michael Bay, may be the worst of the offenders. Continue reading

REVIEW: Catching Fire

Photo: Lionsgate

Photo: Lionsgate

Chris Luckett

Twenty or 30 years ago, film adaptations usually didn’t have to worry about aping their source books exactly. The recent influx of book series with rabid fan bases being adapted into films, though, has led to filmmakers being afraid to cut scenes that worked in the book but don’t in the movie. Catching Fire is a better movie than The Hunger Games was, but it still ultimately falls into the same traps by treating its source novel as gospel.

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