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Reel to Real: Books to blockbusters

18 November 2012 By Eva Niessner, Staff Writer No Comments

As you’re all getting ready for Thanksgiving, you’re probably looking forward to some downtime. It’s nearly time to trade the group projects and late-night Cook Library sessions for sleeping in and late-night gatherings with friends. You’re probably tired of reading textbooks and would be up for something more fun. Why not hit the theaters on one of your break, and see one of the new book adaptations coming out? It beats English class by a long-shot, unless your professor hands out popcorn, in which case you should tell us all so we can take that class.

Book adaptations are tricky. It’s hard to fit a long book into the confines of a movie, and three of the adaptations coming out this fall and winter—”The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Anna Karenina” and “Les Misérables” are long, heavy reads.

The Hobbit story is being broken into a trilogy, just so Peter Jackson can get as much detail as possible out of the novel into the films. “Anna Karenina” runs two hours and 10 minutes, and “Les Miserables” is two and half hours. So if you’re off to see one of these three, make sure you clear your schedule for the evening—they’re investments. But that sounds promising. It makes me think the directors are reluctant to leave out the rich details of the books and want the audience to get a full and beautiful experience, the way they would when reading the novels. And the trailers alone give a great idea of how beautiful these movies are going to be. It’ll be a much different experience seeing them in theaters than it will if you end up watching them for the first time on Netflix or a regular TV set.

The casting is also looking great. Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen star in “The Hobbit.” McKellen is a veteran Lord of the Rings actor, and Freeman has wowed audiences as Watson in the BBC drama “Sherlock.” Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe all have great acting chops to bring to “Les Miserables,” and Amanda Seyfried has left behind dumb-blonde Karen Smith in favor of playing the lovely Cosette. “Anna Karenina” brings us Keira Knightley in a historical drama role, which is her bread and butter, along with the many-faceted Jude Law.

So which of the three suits your taste more? Do you like fantasy epics, historical love stories, or sad musicals? Do you plan to see all three, or none, and why?

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