Overall, I enjoyed the movie, although I have to admit there were a few unsteady scenes where the acting felt a bit off, but not laughable, as some scenes in another of Stephenie Meyer‘s previous book-to-movie adaptations. The acting is strong in lead Saoirse Ronan, and the story is unique and dramatic and heartfelt.
I thoroughly enjoyed Saoirse’s ability to play two different characters in one body and keep them separate. She is a wonderful actor, and her chemistry with both Max Irons and Jake Abel was lovely. The supporting actors, William Hurt especially, did more than adequately enough to bring to life their characters. In fact, William Hurt’s presence in the film really brought some scenes to a much more mature and emotionally charged level that only years of acting experience could bring. What’s amazing is that sometimes Saoirse can match him in that depth level as well when she’s acting with him in a scene.
My main concern with the movie is that because the book was so detailed and so large in volume, having to remove certain parts to make the movie a reasonable time sacrificed a bit of the, shall I say, soul of the story. I would hate to blame that on the writing and directing, given that I do appreciate Andrew Niccol‘s efforts to bring the book to life on the screen, but I don’t know if I can fault the movie of anything else. With that said, those who haven’t read the books, especially the male viewers, would probably appreciate it more considering that the book itself does not have a lot of action in it, where as the movie does add some level of it. It’s not G.I. Joe or anything, but it’s a decent sci-fi/drama/romance.
Having read the book, I felt that at times it seemed a bit choppy, not as cohesive as I would like it to be, but as I stated, to make the film an acceptable 2 hours or thereabouts, the nuanced details that make the story flow in the book would only make it drag in a movie, so maybe those who haven’t read the book might think differently and actually will not find it that way. I hope so. As for how the characters look in comparison to their description in the book, the only thing that needed to stay was the souls’ eyes and how they are different. Aside from that, as with many book-to-movie adaptation, the appearance of a character is not essential for the essence of the story. Sometimes they are, but I don’t believe so in this case. I have been able to easily accept all the actors for the characters they play even if they may look nothing like the character described in the book. That’s where the actor takes over, having to convey the character and make the viewer see and understand the character.
Plus, I’m not one who’ll berate or disapprove of a movie because the person playing the character isn’t what imagined them to be, as we all have varied concepts in our head.
In conclusion, I feel that this movie stayed pretty true to the essence of the story, giving us an understanding of the souls that have taken over and the humans that fight, as well as Wanderer’s journey of human emotions and Melanie’s ability to stay strong. None of that is completely lost, and I feel it is good enough to warrant a sequel, and it hints at promoting one as well.
My rating: B- or 7 out of 10 stars.