Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jane Eyre (2011) Review- Bringing Bronte's Beautiful Masterpiece Back To Life

Jane Eyre
Year: 2011
Director: Cary Jogi Fukunaga
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench
In My Own Words
                Honestly, this In My Own Words to accompany my review of Jane Eyre could be just a long list of things which I love about the timeless classic and its author and her sisters.
                I do truly love the novel, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and have ever since I studied it at school. Actually, I lie. Reading it for the first time in school comes with the stigma of a book seeming boring and dorky to like, even if it isn’t and you do. Yet, the story of Jane Eyre stayed with me.
                These days I am very open about the fact that I am slightly Bronte obsessed. One of the things I love about Jane Eyre is how haunting the story is with the mystery surrounding Thornfield. It is almost like a ghost story in a romantic tragedy. And of course, I love the style of writing, the imagery of the English countryside and the characters. I guess every girl loves the heroic male characters in Bronte novels and the novels by another well known British female author by the name of Jane Austen. It is impossible for girls who love these novels not to look for men with the same qualities as characters like Mr Rochester, Heathcliff or Mr Darcy!
                I am quite excited to announce that in February I will be visiting the village of Haworth which was once the home of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte. Haworth is located in West Yorkshire in England and is filled with reminders that these three talented sisters were once residents in this charming town. I am especially looking forward to visiting the Bronte Parsonage and Bronte Birthplace.
                However, the exciting news for this point in time in relation to the Bronte sisters is that I was very excited about the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre being released and, unlike others films I have really been looking forward to this year, the film has completely lived up to my expectations. Of course, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but Bronte enthusiasts like me won’t be disappointed.
These are my own words and here is my review.
                The classic novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has seen over twenty movies made in honour of it, and the latest has done nothing but show it complete justice.
                Cary Jogi Fukunaga has done a wonderful job at bringing the novel back to life in his 2011 film adaptation. The attention to detail is exquisite and his direction and choice of cast is superb. Of course, if you are not a big fan of period pieces, then Jane Eyre won’t do anything for you. Yet lovers of great direction, cinematography and Bronte enthusiasts will be in heaven.
                Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikovska) was orphaned at an early age and sent to live with her aunt by marriage (Sally Hawkins). Her aunt casts her out and Jane never knows a true home until she is sent to the country manor of Thornfield to be the governess for Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Jane is no stranger to being the outsider in the world of high society so she is then unsure how to behave when she becomes the object of Mr Rochester’s affection and he also of hers. Only then does she discover the terrible secret behind the beauty of Thornfield.
                Jane Eyre is absolutely stunning to watch. From the beginning sequence of Jane running from Thornfield where you see some beautiful landscape shots of an approaching storm right up until the very end, you can only marvel at the amazing techniques used to bring so much natural beauty to the screen. You can feel the cold of the winter in the English countryside and the warmth of the Spring.
                The script stays true to Charlotte Bronte’s creation and the language used can only be described as beautiful. The film does add a bit of differentially to it by bringing in the use of flashbacks rather than flowing directly from Jane’s childhood through to her discovery at Thornfield. It jumps back and forwards quite a bit in the first half an hour which makes things a tad confusing to those who have not read the book, and even those who have.
                People will complain that the film is sometimes slow and that there should be more suspense. However, that was never what Jane Eyre was about. Jane Eyre is a classic piece which is an age old love story and it takes it’s time so the consumer (whether they be reader or film viewer) can take in the language and imagery or images in the case of the movie.
                What makes Jane Eyre really come to life are the performances. Mia Wasikowska was the perfect choice for Jane Eyre. Her performance is so subtle and the role just comes naturally for her. She glides through the role with ease and makes Jane into the likable heroine that she is. We feel her pain and sorrow, but admire her strength and respect for herself.
                Michael Fassbender is brilliant in the role of the mysterious Mr Rochester. There is one scene in the film where he is absolutely breath taking in his delivery of his dialogue. His development of his character throughout the film is also very well done as it goes from him being very reserved, guarded and almost cocky to him being a gentleman who lies all his emotions down for the woman he loves.
                Judi Dench is very good as Mrs Fairfax and special mention must be paid to little Romy Settbon Moore whom Jane is governess too. Sally Hawkins is most definitely a little too “nice” as Jane’s aunt, Mrs Reed whom is supposed to be cold hearted and deceitful.
                Jane Eyre proves that even though so many films have been made to honour the novel, there is always something new you can bring to the plate with an adaptation which differentiates it from the others. As warned, probably not one for people who are not fans of classic novels or period piece movies. However, if you do not mind either in any way, shape or form, this is a real piece of beauty.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes- The Planet Of The Apes for those who didn't like Planet Of The Apes

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Year: 2011
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Cast: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Tom Felton, Brian Cox
In My Own Words
                I have just had a double dose of James Franco. Not complaining at all.
                I decided I had to see the early session of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes today so I could come home and catch the interview with James Franco on Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year, a weekly television show by an Australian comedy duo. I know I have said it before on here, but James Franco is one of my most admired actors. I admire how he is able to take part in university education at a PhD level, which is no easy task in itself, as well as juggle him film career. I’m sure it does take its toll on him and Franco probably really enjoys a good night sleep, but I just admire him so much for knowing the value of a college/ university education. Plus he is a fantastic actor, there is no denying that.
                The other man I would like to pay tribute to here is Andy Serkis. With this film he has sealed for himself the title of being the greatest CGI (computer-generated imagery) actor in its existence thus far. He first found fame playing Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. It is said that Peter Jackson was pushing for Serkis to be nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal, but the academy wasn’t convinced on the CGI front. There are whispers on the net that Serkis fans believe that his efforts as Caeser in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes are worthy of a nomination.
 I take my hat off to (actually I don’t take my hat off, purely for the fact I am just not wearing one right now) Mr Serkis. You’ve just got to hope that he isn’t a method actor. He might not be the most popular person in his social circles if he spends his time being an ape!
                These are my own words and here is my review.
                Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is the Planet Of The Apes film for those who didn’t like Planet Of The Apes.
                More dramatic and heartfelt than its predecessors, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes still has the elements which make the phenomenon such a cult favourite. It has been revamped with the amazing technology used in film today to make the characters seem more lifelike than ever before. And thankfully, what Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes possesses which many action blockbusters haven’t of late is a solid story to support of the amazing images we are seeing.
                Will Rodman (James Franco) believes he has found a cure to Alzheimer’s disease in a substance he has been testing on chimpanzee’s. However, the substance is found to make these apes substantially smarter and more aggressive. Will finds himself adopting a baby ape who has lost its mother in tragic circumstances and he and his father (John Lithgow) name him Caeser. As Caeser grows, it becomes evident he has inherited some of the characteristics his mother had as a result of the substance. He doesn’t seem to be too much trouble, until he his protective instincts kick in and he is then placed with his own kind, which is when all hell breaks loose.
                What makes Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes work so well is the way the story is played out. It completely flows and it kept interesting throughout the whole film. It is not all about the attack of the apes, as some people may think, but more about the evolution of how the apes turned against humans. The actual attack in the city of San Francisco is perhaps the only part of the film which seems over the top ridiculous, yet it is what the film is moulded around so it really cannot be neglected in the film. It is what Planet Of The Apes is all about.
                There really are some emotional moments and rather than the relationship between Caeser and Will be about scientist and specimen or human and pet, it is about best friends and family. There are underlying themes of companionship, family and also of loss.
                The CGI is truly amazing in this film. From the very first scene in the lush forests where the apes way of life is disturbed, you are constantly struck by how far film has come. We are now able to create for ourselves animals for the screen which we don’t have to train or worry about how much they are going to disrupt filming. At many occasions during the film, you forget that these are not actually real apes, but CGI creations. In 1968 when the first Planet Of The Apes was released, who would have ever thought we would be able to do this rather than make masks and have people dress up as monkeys?
                Although James Franco has top billing for this movie, it is Andy Serkis who is the star of the film. Serkis is now a master of CGI after his performance as Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and Kong in King King. You have to remember that every emotion you see Caeser give and every moment, is Serkis himself. When you see Will walk around with Caeser on a leash, that is Serkis on the leash. He really is an incredible actor and one of a kind.
                Franco is also very good in this film. He never forces his performance and is subtle at all times, which really works in his favour. John Lithgow is another standout as Will’s father crippled by Alzheimer’s. Freida Pinto is fine as Will’s girlfriend, Caroline, but although being Caeser’s doctor at the beginning of the film, she doesn’t have much of a purpose for the rest of the film. Tom Felton does well in his first post- Harry Potter role. He carries on the bad boy attitude as Dodge, who loves to torment to apes. He is allowed to get a bit more aggressive in this film than he ever did as Draco Malfoy.
                Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes will never let you look at apes the same way at the zoo again. You may be paranoid that they are plotting to take over every time they look at you and nightmares involving gorillas wouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Great to see a prequel that reaches a wider audience than what it’s previous films did.