07 January 2008

More movies and books

We seem to have set up a two-day pattern where we go to the movies every second day, which means we should've gone today. Instead, I've been writing, which is a better excuse than just about any other I could give. Or rather I've been wrestling with a draft, more than doing a straight rewrite. Today's scenes were half rewrite, half edit.

Anyway, in the meantime we've been to see National Treasure: Book of Secrets. I'll state straight out that I'm somewhat partial to Nicholas Cage, so that was a plus already. And I like Ed Harris too (have done ever since he did one of my favourite movies: The Right Stuff). This was fast-paced, car chases, excitement plus plus. I had read a review saying it had lots of plot holes, but they were more in terms of being so over-the-top they were unlikely than that something was missing or didn't make sense. Okay, this is a film very much in keeping with what I've been reading this week: Matthew Reilly's Area 7. Yeah, yeah, I know, I said I'd finished Reilly-reading, but I saw it cheap and couldn't resist. It sat in between the other two books of his that I've read recently, so it was funny thinking forward to what would happen to those characters in the next book. A bit like reading the end of a novel before I've finished -- and I know a few people who do like to do that.

One writerly thing that Reilly does that I don't like is to withhold information through the POV character (though he is using omniscient). But he'll be in someone's head and give half the information, and we know that character now has the full story and is not sharing it. I always see this as false suspense. Cheating, really. If the viewpoint character knows, then the reader should know. It leaves me feeling manipulated as a reader. Still, the book overall is another page turner. Plenty of excitement.

But the book and the film, totally unrelated to each other, both involve the kidnapping of the president. Very similar experiences overall. Fast. Exciting. And you just have to tell yourself to go along with the plot because it will be one helluva ride.

Atonement, the other film I saw, is a far different experience, but one very close to the book, which I read last summer (or the summer before?). My mother told me the film was slow-paced and confusing. I actually found the film got going a lot more quickly than the book did, but both are sumptuously rich and, oh, so tragic! My son said, after the film, "Oh, Mum, look at all the tears on your face." Indeed, it did make me cry. Not confusing at all. But it's one that does involve frequent time-shifts, and going over the same ground from a different perspective.

Currently reading: The Monkey's Mask by Dorothy Porter, which is diametrically opposed to Reilly, in that it's a verse novel (and a crime novel at the same time). Very interesting so far. I'm enjoying it.

Also currently reading The Stars My Destination, which I know I blogged about earlier. I was quite happy to reread the first half to reacquaint myself with the story -- that's always a good sign.

Currently writing: my novel, of course. Working now on Chapter 40 -- and a change I made in Chapter 2 is now having quite an impact on character relationships. It's always good in a rewrite to change things around a little so it still feels fresh to me. I'm not sure another reader who'd read an earlier draft would notice, but because I'm so close to it, I know. (The worst part is that sometimes I'm not sure what's in what draft. Can get confusing. Anyway, back to it . . .)


Lorraine said...

I thought 'Atonement' was a stunning film and, as I hadn't read the novel, found the enlightenment in the last few minutes incredible. It left me with an impression that has stayed with me. Maybe, too, I liked the actress at the end. Thought she did it beautifully.

I haven't seen any of the other films you've mentioned.

Tracey said...

Yes, the end is interesting. I felt it was a little more clear cut in the film -- just because I wasn't sure (because of her illness) how reliable a narrator she was in the book. (I'm trying not to give too much away for those who haven't seen it.) It left me feeling rather uneasy -- but, yes, both book and movie do leave a strong impression.