When fashionistas go bad… or were bad from the start… whichever way it was the newest Live Action movie that focuses on the villain from 101 Dalmatians. Regardless of how I feel about focussing so much on the bad guys in media right now, I do like Emma Stone and I had remembered it as a pretty good movie. So let’s compare the film from the subsequent book that came out!
I usually look at movies that were made based on a book already existing, but this one was different, because the novel adaptation came after the film. So let’s compare, contrast and complain.
One thing I noticed this time around that hadn’t occurred to me watching the film before was just how dreadful Emma Stones accent was in this film. Look, she tried her best, but it was very distracting. I also noticed that both Emmas (Stone and Thompson) kind of over acted in this film. The Horrace and Jasper scenes and actors did a great job and were really funny, but Cruella and Baroness were quite overblown. I understand why the choice might have been made, because they are very larger than life characters, but it was quite an unbalanced film in terms of the acting itself.
Another thing that irritated me in this film when I watched it, was the animated/green screen moments. Particularly with the dogs or “stunt” type moments with the actors, it actually looked quite fake. It drew me completely out of the story, and I don’t understand why it looked that way when we have such incredible avenues for creating great films.
That being said, I did feel like a LOT of the funny moments in the film (which I think there was quite a few) were missed in the book. It was nice to see the inner dialogue especially when Estella was younger, but those funny choices the actors made are unmatched. Stand outs for this include Estella’s boss in the retail store – absolute crack up! I loved his snort laugh when he mentions “breeding” – and the Horrace/Jasper moments.
Poor Horrace gets the short end of the stick in the book, and he was so much funnier in the film. I think sometimes you just cant beat an actor and their amazing choices. What they can do with their expressions and tone is something you don’t get in a book. BUT, books do allow for additional exploration of a characters feelings and insights, which is also great!
Some of the standout moments of acting for me was Cruella talking with Anita (“What Glint?”), Estella at the fountain for the last time (“But I do love you. Always”) and Baroness throwing a chair at a maid in frustration (“You’re in… the way”). Something the movie did that I really enjoyed, was the overlay of newspaper articles and headlines. It also focussed heavily on Estella feeling guilty that she caused her mothers death, which is something the book didn’t really touch on.
Okay, I’ve talked a lot about the film already, but what about the book itself?
I really enjoyed the book (though I will admit that the audiobook person mispronounced ‘valet’ all the time and that did annoy me), and we got actual DIFFERENCES from the movie. Sometimes the novel adaptations end up copying word for word and scene for scene, but this one didn’t. It had a good balance of the tone in the film, and its own new and fresh take on the story. Sticking with the original storyline but giving those extra nuggets is EXACTLY what I look for in the book version of a story. So snaps all around for the author of the book.
The book really highlighted Estella trying to be good like her mother wanted. She wasn’t just automatically ready to be a troublemaker at her school, and she genuinely wanted to try. This was nice, because it gave a bit of a better build up to when she really does lose the plot later on. While the film had WAY TOO MUCH narration over the main film – especially at the start of the movie – the book had a great feel. That’s the nature of inner dialogue in books I suppose.
The film had some INCREDIBLE cinematic shots and music choices, and while I love a book that can describe scenes and people well there’s something you miss out from the visual counterpart. I will say that I appreciated less focus on the fountain and Estella always going back to “talk to her mum” – they basically did ONE of these scenes in the book, and otherwise moved away from that choice the film made. I didn’t miss those parts at all. I will say though, the film did make Cruella look a bit more like the Joker than I would have preferred… that make up guys! Ugh.
If you have a child who really liked the movie and wanted to read the book too, I would say YES! It was great. Even those young in heart lovers of this film would enjoy the additional insights that the book provided as well… While I felt the book excelled with Estella’s early life, it was the film that won the day when she got older and began to really delve into the complicated adult emotions of her situation and the fun fashion side of the story (like that moth reveal scene!).
Check out my thoughts in video form at the link below:
Stay tuned for some more Book Vs Movie posts, otherwise…
See You in the Adventures