August 24, 2012 by Heidi
I’ve seen a few book bloggers, such as Sophistokatied Reviews posting on this subject, and thought that my recent watching habits fit well in for me to write my own!
As readers, we’re constantly pitting movies against the books they are based on, and let’s face it, they very rarely measure up. Sometimes I read a book and think about what a fantastic movie it would make, but even more occasionally, I see a movie and think that it would’ve been a better book. This past weekend I watched two such movies: Chronicle and Another Earth.
Don’t these movie posters even look like YA book covers? I certainly think so. Both of these movies are Sci Fi and star young adults (though it can be argued that in Another Earth she is a new/adult as she is 21 for the bulk of the story), and while Chronicle was based on a story written by the director/writer of the script, neither of these movies were based on books.
Chronicle you’ve probably heard of, but just in case you haven’t, here’s the low-down:
Three high school seniors develop telekinetic powers after coming into contact with a mysterious object while exploring a cave. Andrew, the character we get into the head of the most, is struggling at home with an abusive father and a mother dying of cancer. He’s maladjusted socially, and has a lot of understandable anger that he doesn’t really know how to deal with. After developing their powers, Andrew becomes close with his cousin, Matt, and his friend Steve. Matt and Steve are the easy going popular boys of their high school class, and Andrew finds himself welcomed into their fold, but unable to believe that they are truly his friends or forget about the harsh realities of his home life.
Sounds like a YA book to me! I went into Chronicle with pretty low expectations, and as such, came out satisfied. I wouldn’t call this movie great, but I would say it’s worth watching, certainly for the YA crowd. Chronicle would have made a fantastic YA book as it deals with the idea of regular teens obtaining superpowers, and what they would do with them. Would the average kid use them to fight crime? Probably not, they’d probably use them to mess around, but the volatile emotions of a teen can easily make such powers dangerous. I would have loved to get more into the heads of these characters, and think the story would have been more compelling (if less visually cool) in book format.
Another Earth was a successful film at the Sundance Film Festival, which I first saw mentioned by Melanie.
It’s about a girl named Rhoda, who changes her life irrevocably on the night that the other earth appears in the sky. At 17, Rhoda was celebrating having gotten into MIT. Fascinated with astronomy since she was a small child, Rhoda was enraptured when another earth appeared in the sky. On her way home from the party, possibly drunk and distracted by looking up at the sky, Rhoda strikes another car, killing mother and child and sending the father into a coma. She spends the next four years not at college, but imprisoned for manslaughter. Rhoda is released at a time when the world is finding out more about ‘Earth 2’, a planet that appears in all ways to be identical to our own. She enters a contest to win a place on a ship traveling to Earth 2. For Rhoda, it is a chance to escape what her life has become, and she spends the remainder of the movie struggling with the need to apologize to the man who’s family she destroyed.
Visually, I found Another Earth to be stunning. I love the washed out colors and the brightness of another earth constantly in the sky, but like many independent films, it was also very quiet and subtle. I feel as if a book would be able to flush out more emotion, and I would have loved Another Earth to be more about that other earth, more about its discovery and the fear that came with knowing there was another you out there, and wondering if that other you was living the same life you are now. To me, this existed in the film, but wasn’t really palpable. Again, I wouldn’t rate this movie as amazing, but I would list it as well worth watching. I did get a bit skeezed out, partly because of the plot and partly because Lost forever branded William Mapother as a creeper in my mind. I recommend it, though again more new adult/adult than teen for this one—Definite crossover potential story wise.
Chronicle is currently available via instant streaming on Netflix, and Another Earth is currently showing on HBO.
Go watch one, the other, or both, and let me know what you think!
Or would you rather read the book?