Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas vs The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

As the book and the film are both fairly short I've been able to get in and get through both of them with a short turnaround!

This post will contain some spoilers so if you haven't read the book or seen the film you do so at your own risk!

The book is written entirely from the 9 year old protagonist's point of view and I was interested to see how this translated into the film. I feel that it's done pretty well, there's no use of voice-overs or anything like that, the central focus is always Bruno and through filming it in this way you see the world more as he sees it.

The book contains a lot of flashbacks to explain the background story, and to give a better insight into Bruno's world. It's not something that happens in the film, events are moved around slightly at the start to allow for important dialogue that is contained in the flashbacks to take place.

Overall the film is a fairly good adaptation of the book, some bits are lost which I think is a shame but overall the main plot points are there. The most major point that I want to draw attention to is the difference between the family interaction in the book and the film. In the book the other family members don't seem to to have a very "caring family" feeling, dialogue between them tends to be more stilted, polite and Bruno's father is portrayed as someone to be afraid of. In the film there seems to be a stronger family dynamic, the father is made more approachable and the mother seems to have a greater caring for the welfare for the children. However this could just be down to the fact that the book is from Bruno's point of view but I do feel that it is the film makers trying to make the parents more likeable characters.

Other more minor differences between the two include:

  • The opening of the film includes a large party hosted by Bruno's parents in Berlin before the move. This party encompasses the majority of the dialogue from the flashbacks that happen later in the book.
  • The Mother is entirely unaware to begin with of the gassing and burning of the Jews in the concentration camp. It is revealed to her later in the film. In the book you get more of a feel that she is entirely aware of the situation that faces those living on the other side of the fence.
  • Bruno meets Schmuel earlier on in the film than in the book. This is probably more of a plot device to move the action along quicker than anything more important. 
  • Hitler, whilst mentioned a fair bit in the book is not in the film at all. The only mention of him is the sending of flowers to Bruno's Grandmother's funeral. In the book Bruno meets Hitler and Eva Braun, and he is mentioned a lot more.
  • In the book, Bruno's head is shaved after discovering he has head-lice, making him blending in more once he has climbed under the fence into the concentration camp. In the film he is given a hat to cover his hair.

The ending of the film was handled in a great way I feel. In the book the focus is entirely on Bruno and Schmuel and the searching for him is handled in an epilogue afterwards, which also makes mention of his father as a Commandant being arrested after the fall of Germany. In the film the movement of the prisoners into the Gas Chambers and their subsequent murder is interspersed with the family desperately searching for Bruno, leading them to the gap in the fence. The final shot of the gas chamber door and the silence is harrowing and had me in tears long after the film had finished. It's an excellent watch and I would highly recommend it. 

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas [DVD][2008] Directed by Mark Herman, Starring Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon and David Thewlis. Rated 12
 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas[2006] by James Boyne. Available in Paperback and Kindle Edition

Friday, 10 February 2012

Breaking Promises Everywhere...

Sorry readers of this blog. I know I promised to post last week but I didn't, at least I have finally done my 2nd post about Around the World. I also promised the next book would be The Da Vinci Code but it's not going to be. I will do it at some point I'm just not in the mood for Dan Brown right now. In our house we now have BT Vision and our subscription contains a large selection of free films. Flicking through them I saw that we have The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which I have wanted to read for a while now. My local library had it in and I've already read it so tomorrow the plan is to watch the film (amid the tears that will undoubtedly shed) and update the blog. It might be a bit few and far between post wise for a while, working through a few stressful things but doing this is a nice escape from everything so we shall see.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Around the World in Eighty Days vs Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

I have finally got around to watching the rest of this film! By the rest I mean the second half because this film is long enough to warrant having an interval half way through it. It's been a long time since I've seen one of those (I think maybe one of the Harry Potters had one when I went to see it in the cinema).

This adaptation of the novel is far better than the 2004 one, but to be fair that doesn't take much doing. This film in short is pretty epic. It has massive landscape shots, huge numbers of cast members and it's a loooong film. Just over 3 hours long in fact, I'm pretty sure I read the book in shorter time than this!

There are a few points that have been changed from the novel but nothing to the extent of the 2004, and nothing that causes major upset to the overall telling of the story. The casting of David Niven as Phileas Fogg is pretty well done. He plays the straight laced English Gentleman very well, but of course he still gives him more charisma as lets face it, in the book Phileas Fogg has about as much charisma as a plank of wood.

The casting of Passepartout and Princess Aouda I had a bit more of an issue with. Passepartout is played by Cantinflas, a very famous Mexican Comedian of the time. They try to get around this by making him Spanish and we get a nice detour to Spain where we get to see him fight (a very small) bull. The casting of Shirley McLaine would be fine apart from she's about as far from an Indian Princess as you can get in terms of looks. She must have been kept indoors all her life out of the sun!

Other points I'm briefly going to make:
  • The opening is just bizaare. I thought I was watching the wrong film for a start. There's a whole prologue which contains footage of the 1902 film, A Trip to the Moon and is then followed by an at least 5 minute long animated title sequence. It was nice to actually get to the film!
  • They go on a balloon ride as well. It's not in the book people!
  • There's a lot more drama with the capture of Passepartout by the Indians in America and the rescue of him. The actual rescue doesn't really feature in the book
  • Few minor changes to weather, no storm on any of the boats and there's no snow in America, instead of having their wind powered sled, they travel by a wind powered boat that runs on the railway rails.
It's a good film, lots of cameos from famous people of the time, one of the first films to do that. It's certainly worth a watch if you have a spare 3 hours, and you also get to see some brilliant 50's racial stereotypes!

Around The World In Eighty Days [DVD][1956] Directed by Michael Anderson, Starring David Niven, Cantinflas, Finlay Currie. Rated U
AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS (non illustrated)[1873] By Jules Verne available in Paperback and Kindle Editon