Review: Your Name. (Kimi No Na Wa)

TL;DW – Run, don’t walk to this movie while you can (if you can). I know it’s still got a pretty limited release, but this is a film that you don’t want to miss.

Few films are this beautifully done from top to bottom — writing, direction, acting, animation — while also being both profound and emotionally moving. I cannot recommend this film (and, really, all of Shinkai’s films) highly enough.

FINAL VERDICT: SEE IT/BUY IT.

The Film Was Wide Enough

“Come on, Tom. Let’s finish this the way we started: together.” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2)

I want to start with this blanket statement: adaptation is not easy, and I know from practical experience as a member of the media industry. Having majored in Digital Video & Cinema at university, I had more than one class where I not only studied the art of adaptation, but had to try my hand at writing speculative adaptive scripts. While rewarding, those were some of the most difficult scripts to crank out.

I think it’s easy to fall into what I like to call “purist mode” and say something to the effect of: “I could make this film and keep everything and it would totally work.” Well, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you — no, it wouldn’t. And this is not only in terms of film as art, but also film as business. A filmmaker has maybe 120-minutes at best (180 if you’re lucky) to hold an audience captive, and that’s not often enough to adapt a multi-Harry_potter_deathly_hallows_part_2_poster.jpghundred-page novel. Beyond that, one has to take into account that the majority of films are high-cost risks for everyone involved. Now, I could go into a wealth of specifics on the topic of adaptation, but I’ll boil down my thoughts to this: if I can understand or justify an adaptive change in my head, then I’m usually going to be okay with it.

The Harry Potter films were, in my opinion, great films on a standalone level, and I also think they are fantastic adaptations of quite high quality, with perhaps the exception of Half-Blood Prince. While I can understand the “why” related to its cutting a good deal of important information — backstory does not make for good movie —  it still bothers me as a fan. That’s an adaptation change I can justify in my head from an objective standpoint and, while disagreeing with it as a fan, I can move along and leave it be. But there is, however, one very significant adaptive change within the final film of this series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, with which I draw umbrage: the final duel between Harry and Voldemort.

Spoiler-warning

SPOILER WARNINGThis post will contain spoilers for the entirety of the Harry Potter series, films and books alike. If you have not yet read or watched all of the Harry Potter stories, this is your chance to turn back now. You’ve been warned.

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Facilis Descensus Averno

Facilis descensus Averno
“The descent into Hell is easy.” (Vergil, Aeneid VI.124)

The above Vergil epigraph is, of all things, the creed of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters — Nephilim warriors who fight demons unbeknownst to mundanes like you or me within her wildly popular series, The Mortal Instruments. It stresses that, essentially, it’s really easy to go down the wrong path, even with the best of intentions. And, oh, has the descent been easy…for their adaptations. 

The Mortal Instruments series has had it rough when it comes to adaptation. Back in 2013, they got a movie, something that the studio, I’m sure, hoped would spawn a franchise. As you can guess, it didn’t really work out — mainly because The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was a poor adaptation (with potential) that ultimately failed due to lazy writing that sought only to cash in upon the success of similar “teen film franchises” such as The Twilight Saga rNxJ8usawDNitPGtRv9ksEhfkeHand The Hunger GamesBut I don’t want to talk about the City of Bones film because, very recently, The Mortal Instruments has gotten a mulligan. They’ve gotten a shot at adaptation redemption.

The newly-rebranded FREEFORM (formerly ABC FAMILY) has just completed airing its first season of Shadowhunters, a television series loosely based upon The Mortal Instruments novels; season 1 drew predominantly from the first novel, City of Bones. Now, as this is a television series as opposed to a feature film, there are far more minutes of material to sift through, and trying to cover all the adaptive aspects of this show would take far too long. So, what I’m going to do is focus in on only a two specific adaptive changes — a positive and a negative — that I noticed within the show’s first season because, while I am, admittedly, unlikely to continue further watching the series, Shadowhunters did manage to pull out some adaptive changes that I found interesting, whether or not I think they always succeeded.

Spoiler-warning

SPOILER WARNING: The following post may contain spoilers for certain elements related to The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare as well as Season 1 of Shadowhunters. You have been warned.

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