Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Facebook 30 Day Movie Challenge

With the coming to the end of what I would like to call hell week, it is time to go back to the Facebook 30 day movie challenge. And with with the hullabaloo about book to movie translations with the release of The Hunger Games, I figured it was time for day 11.
Day 11: Favorite Book Adaptation- Interview With the Vampire
Interview With the Vampire is one of those rare movies that I watched before reading the book. I first read Anne Rice's stunning vampire thriller last year as part of my quest to devour any novel that had to do with the city of New Orleans. I was immediately sucked in (pun intended) to the dark and mesmerizing world of Louis and Lestat. I had previously watched the movie while I was actually in New Orleans building houses with Habitat for Humanity.
These vampires don't sparkle.
From the second that I opened the novel, I felt that Neil Jordan had completely captured the essence of the novel with his film. These were real vampires, seductive and cunning, but also brooding and lonely with their ever immortal lives. Jordan does a great job in playing the two different sides of vampire life off of each other. The ability to live forever and do whatever you want represented by Lestat and the depression and anxiety of damnation as shown through Louis. At first I, like Anne Rice before me, was worried about the casting of Tom Crusie and Brad Pitt to play these characters. Even with my love for Brad Pitt they seemed too safe and pretty, not nearly sexy enough to play vampires. How wrong I was. Both men completely embody the roles. I found Cruise's turn as the silky but dangerous Lestast was particularly good. I could not look away and was completely convinced at his character. Pitt was great (as always) as the existential vampire Louis. I felt that he captured the internal battle that the reader gets in the novel very well as Louis struggles with the darkness inside of himself and trying to figure out what to trust and who to believe. A  young Kirsten Dunst also captures the passion, anger, and fragility that comes with being trapped forever in a child's body. The trio need few supporters and work well as a whole and individually. While reading I would have never thought of them in the roles, but after seeing the film I could not imagine another cast.
I think the reason I liked the film so much was the way that it allowed me to really visualize the events in the book. I think that is why everyone likes seeing their favorite movies on the big screen: you are finally able to see the what the movie looks like in a place outside your head. Seeing the costumes and decadence of late eighteenth century New Orleans and later Paris was fantastic and really helped me get a feeling for the time period. The lavish, bright interior sets contrasted well with the dark and depraved streets where the vampires looked for their prey. The city of New Orleans provides a beautiful backdrop for this haunting story. 
Overall, besides being a great movie adaptation, Interview With the Vampire is a plain old great film. It has everything one could hope for, romance, murder, and eternal friendship. If you want to know what vampires are really like read this book, then watch the film.
Honorable mentions go to The Hunger Games (yes, I really liked it that much), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (especially Fincher's version), Atonement, and The Social Network. 
Still have to see: The Help.

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