As it turns out, kind of bad. Not terrible or the worst thing EVER, but I definitely had a lot of issues with it that could have been avoided by it being more... accurate and, just, better. I'll start with the good, shall I? The whole Naoko-Toru story is the main plot of the movie (not a good thing in itself, cause fucking hell, dreary!) so those bits are the most fleshed out, and truest to the book; and the retreat place where Naoko goes is really beautiful and relaxing, so that was nice. Also, they started the movie basically with Kizuki's suicide, making it clear that everything else emanates from this in shockwaves, which I don't think was fully appreciated by everyone who took part in Alice's readalong...
But. SO MANY problems I have. So many, in fact, that I think I'm just going to have to make a whole big list of them because, well, that's just easier. So, from the top:
- NOT ENOUGH MIDORI- Seriously. The Midori-Toru thing takes such a backseat to the 'A' plot of Toru and Naoko, which I guess it kind of does in the book but to a lesser extent. Like, when Midori takes him to see her dad in the film, it's like a two minute thing that reveals a lot less about what Toru is willing to do for Midori than the scene does in the book. I mean, OBViously I wanted to see more Midori, but also doing that made the end seem kind of... stupid, and not very well reasoned.
- REIKO'S STORY IS CUT OUT- Like, entirely. Reiko literally just seems to be there to sing Norwegian Wood and then *SPOILER* have sex with Toru at the end. Which does still happen! Again for basically no reason! WHAT?! *END SPOILER* It's really irritating because I love Reiko, and so that put me in a huff, basically.
- NAGASAWA ISN'T CUT OUT- It's not that I dislike the Nagasawa bit of the story, but if I was going to choose something to cut out, it would be those bits instead of the bits with Midori. I could have had this film as a straight up love triangle with a slight focus on Reiko, but instead it's like Toru-Naoko, but oh look, he also goes out with this douche and has sex with other girls, what does that mean?
- IT'S REALLY SLOW- Like, super slow. And obviously Norwegian Wood isn't an entirely action packed book or anything, but it seems that very little from the book is actually left in the film, but the film still goes on for over 2 hours. Looking back on it now, I'm kind of like 'so... what actually did they leave in, and why did it go on for so long?' Just... I think more could have been fitted in.
- NAOKO SCREECHES. A LOT.- Yeah, this is a thing. Because like, I guess she cries a lot in Norwegian Wood, but it seems like most of her despair is inside her, and that's difficult to show on film so she weeps and wails and screeches a fair bit. Which is... ok, and better than not showing her sadness at all, but it's also kind of annoying. I know, I'm a monster.
- THE PRODUCERS ARE CLEARLY MORONS- No, really. They've paid what I can only assume is ALL THE MONEY to get the rights to the Beatles song because, well, you sort of need it when the book is named after it; and instead of using it at all in the film (well, the Beatles version, anyway) they save it for the end credits. The fuck?
- IT'S LIKE A HOLLOWED OUT VERSION OF THE BOOK- Which I guess is also true of a lot of film versions of books, but it makes me really sad with Norwegian Wood because the book made me feel lots of things, whereas the movie made me feel basically nothing. It kind of takes the struggles of Toru's not really being able to live properly because his best friend is gone, and turns them into a basic love story between a depressed girl and a slightly odd boy. Which is ok, but it's not exactly Norwegian Wood, which is GREAT.
Yeah, I was kind of afraid of all that. Murakami's writing is what makes the book and I didn't think it would translate very well onto the screen. Slow with much screeching and not enough Midori? Highfive for sticking with it. Love your list lol.ReplyDelete
*Highfive* right back atcha! Although it wasn't quiite bad enough to stop watching... It was just like ...why are you doing this wrong?!?!?! *sigh*Delete
Lesson learned- no more Murakami films.
I'm sad to hear it was disappointing! :(ReplyDelete
I didn't love the book, but I would have seen the movie just for the Midori scenes... So I'm glad you've warned me that she's barely in it. What was the screenwriter thinking? Doesn't she/he know that people don't care about Naoko??
(Also, UGH at screech-crying. Unnecessary.)
The screech crying was SO unecessary! Cause I get like, you can't necessarily show Naoko's inner pain so much on film, but guess what? YOU CAN'T SHOW INNER PAIN ON FILM SO STOP WITH THE SCREECHING!Delete
The Midori scenes are still pretty good (albeit waaay cut) so maybe some smart person has cut all her scenes together and put them on youtube? Cause that's something that would be worth watching!
Also, some people somewhere probably care about Naoko... I care about her a bit, but then she went all suicidy and I was like 'bitch, that was dumb'. Annnnd now I feel bad...
They cut down on Midori and Midori-lite (aka Reiko)?? If anything, the story could have used more of the two of them. Who decided "You know what this books needs? Less awesomeness and more screech-crying! Well, we'll have the movie fix all that"?ReplyDelete
Clearly some INSANE person was like 'wow, Naoko's pain is so real... Let's flog that to DEATH (pun sort of intended) and shorten the bits with that other girl, whatshername. And oh yeah, there's that woman who Naoko lives with. Let's... well, we'll let her sing a song since we have to get the name of the film in there somewhere, but that's IT.'Delete
So. Freaking. Annoying.
Yeah, another defender of Murakami! People say he's depressing, but they just don't get his subtle beauty!ReplyDelete
But no! I wanted to see that film, the trailer looked so good...obviously it lied!
Let me sum up (almost) no:
Norwegian Wood (the song. That's what gets me most.)
No, that's definitely not worth the slogan "Based on the novel by Haruki Murakami".
The book is the bestest. No argument about that.
Yessss Cassandra- subtle beauty, love it! The film is really not worth watching, I guess unless you haven't read the book, because I think then you might be like 'well, that was sort of interesting, might have to check out this Murakami guy.'Delete
OR you might be like 'screech-crying, UGH' and reject him forever and that would be baaad.
Dude! I didn't even know that there was a film version. But if there is not a lot of Midori then why bother. Seriously.ReplyDelete
My sentiments exactly. And actually, I'm gonna say they even made Midori a teeny bit sadder than she was in the book too. WTF?!Delete
I'm glad I didn't bother going to see it then!ReplyDelete
Yes! That was a very smart choice. Unless you dig the whole Naoko-Toru MESS, which I did not so much.Delete
Personally I thought the film seemed to just be a summary of the book. It was more focussed on good scenery(it was well shot), than the actual characters.ReplyDelete