Thursday, November 29, 2012

Comeback of the classics

Editor previews big screen adaptations of favorite old novels

By Kelsey Mejlaender, Copy Editor

Adapting books to the big screen has been a trend in Hollywood since the early days of cinema.
Though the box-office-breaking successes of young adult novels have been basking in the spotlight lately, three upcoming movies will give classic books the chance for fame.  


1. “Anna Karenina”

    By Leo Tolstoy
Written in late 1800s Russia, this novel is famous for its exploration of faith and fidelity.
The story follows title character Anna, who finds love and passion in an adulterous affair. The scandal starts a chain of events, affecting the other characters and hurtling Anna to a tragic conclusion.
Highly detailed and intricate at over 1,000 pages, the transition to a movie is bound to drop a few plot points. However, this is not likely to take away from the cinematic experience, as the original could certainly have been more concise.
Starring Academy Award nominees Keira Knightley and Jude Law, the elaborate film is set to get a few Oscar nods. Scenes set in Moscow and St. Petersburg were displayed in a 19th century theater, an interesting choice by Joe Wright, the director.
Though the movie came out in select theaters Nov. 16, it had not been released locally until today. The Tacoma Grand Cinema begins showing the film at 3 p.m.

2. “Les Misérables”

    By Victor Hugo
Published in 1862, France, the book’s title translates to “the miserable” and, like “Anna Karenina,” has a page count that makes the Bible look like a light read.
Both novel and movie follow felon Jean Valjean, a man who escapes  poverty and his criminal record. A changed man who works to benefit others, Valjean is plagued by the dogged pursuit of Inspector Javert.
The musical stage version in the 80s inspired the new movie, which is also a musical featuring  the famed songs. 
Hugh Jackman stars, as does Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway.
According to The Huffington Post, an advanced screening on Nov. 23 received a standing ovation. Like Anna Karenina, this movie has a great deal of Oscar buzz and should garner several nominations, if not wins.
Originally set for a Dec. 14 release — the perfect celebration to end finals — the movie was pushed back to open Christmas Day.

3. “The Great Gatsby”

    By F. Scott Fitzgerald
A frequent member of high school required-reading lists, almost all students know the 1925 novel “The Great Gatsby.”
Set in the Roaring Twenties, the story is narrated by Jay Gatsby’s friend Nick Carraway. The plot follows the title character’s efforts to reclaim a permanent romantic relationship with  former flame Daisy Buchanan — even though she’s now married.
The film stars Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio — who has the perfect look and aura to fit the Gatsby character — as well as Toby Maguire and Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan.
The movie trailer is flashy, set to milk all it can from a time period famed for its glitz and glam. It can afford a little gaudy eye candy because it’s rooted in a respected American classic, lending it credibility.
Though originally set for a Dec. 25 release date, the film was pushed back to avoid box-office competition from its more in-tune peer “Les Misérables.” “The Great Gatsby” now opens May 10.