Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.
This week…could’ve been better for me, if I’m being honest, but it picked up in the end. It was mostly just Tuesday that bogged me down. Remember that writing contest I entered back in April? I ended up checking back on it (they didn’t send an email for some reason??) and the short story I wrote didn’t end up placing. I specifically remember saying that I was expecting not to win, and yeah, I tried not to get my hopes up, but…yeah, well, I’m not very good at handling these things.
Eh, well, all I can do is tweak that short story, keep on writing, and try again. I’m at least proud of myself for putting myself out there…
Reading-wise, I’ve mostly been reading some books that family friends lent to us (thank you!) and some stuff from the comic shop. I got a nice library haul yesterday, so it looks like next week will be promising!
Writing-wise, I’ve mostly stayed on track with Camp NaNoWriMo (I’m almost to my goal now!!), even though being depressed all Tuesday sapped my energy. I’m getting to a good place in my WIP though – I just passed about 220ish pages last night!
Other than that, I’ve been drawing a bit, getting the last of my summer homework done, learning some new songs on guitar, obsessing over my new bees in Minecraft, watching The Devil’s Backbone (Guillermo del Toro likes his Tennyson, huh?), picking back up in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and volunteering at the library.
And I just got to 450 followers! Jeez, I can’t believe it…THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH 💗
This first review of April 2021 is one of a movie adaptation. It had been on my TBR for for a good two years beforehand, but I finally got to watch the movie, Pan’s Labyrinth, last summer. And cried like a baby. But that’s not the point.
Anyway, when I went to Barnes & Noble, I knew I had to pick it up! I’m glad to say that I liked it almost as much as I did the movie – a bit lacking in the writing department, but still managed to capture much of the dark, fairytale allure that Pan’s Labyrinth had in droves.
Thirteen-year-old Ofelia has always lived through fairytales, especially those in the books she carries around. But when she and her mother move to live with her new husband, the cold and murderous Capitán Vidal, it seems all of the magic has faded away. But when fairies appear to her in the night, Ofelia realizes that the tales in her storybooks may be real after all – and more sinister than she could have ever imagined.
Now, led through a dangerous set of tasks by an enigmatic faun, Ofelia grows closer to the fairytale world that she may be the key to. But the deeper she ventures, the more dangerous they become. The Faun may not be trustworthy – but is the alternative any better?
TW/CW: graphic violence, torture, fantasy violence/body horror, blood, childbirth complications, past death of parent, death of children
I’ve been skimming through some of the reviews from people who haven’t seen the movie who thought that this was middle grade just because the protagonist was 13…and no judgement, none at all, I don’t blame you all, but man, I’m SO, SO SORRY.
I’m a huge fan of all things Guillermo del Toro (after all, he’s responsible for my comfort movie, Hellboy II: The Golden Army), so naturally, after watching this movie for the first time over the summer, I knew I had to pick this up soon. Now, I’m so glad I have a copy of my own – though it wasn’t without its flaws, this was a beautiful adaptation of a truly remarkable film.
Let’s start out with my only criticism: the writing. Of course, I’ve read some of Guillermo del Toro’s short stories and adored his style, but I think my main problem was with Cornelia Funke’s part of it; I read Inkheartsome time ago and it wasn’t my thing, and I think some of those feelings resurfaced while reading this. For source material as brimming with faeries and dark magic as this, her prose didn’t fit at all. There’s a lot of telling as opposed to showing, a lot of “[they] felt” and “[they] knew” and similar phrases. While it wasn’t egregiously bad, some of the telling parts took me out of it.
Other than that? I don’t have any critiques at all! For the most part, this novel absolutely did justice to the book, and both del Toro and Funke clearly had a careful eye to make sure that this adaptation was as close to the film as possible. I loved revisiting the simultaneously dark and beautiful world of the fairies, and the human element was just as poignant and tear-jerking. Though the sting of…well, y’know, everything was dulled a bit by knowing the outcome (having seen the movie), everything was still so potent and gripping. Allen Williams’ beautiful illustrations also added a new layer to the novel, with renderings of Ofelia, the Pale Man, the Faun, and others in simple but striking pencil artwork.
I also loved the short stories woven within the chapters, and I loved seeing how interconnected they all were. Each one added a new thread of lore to an already intricate and detailed story, and it was fascinating to see how each and every short tale came together to flesh out an already well-fleshed-out world.
All in all, a beautiful adaptation of an even more beautiful dark fantasy film. 4 stars!
Guillermo del Toro is most famous for his many films, which include the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water,Hellboy & Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Crimson Peak. Cornelia Funke is also the author of the Inkworld trilogy, the Dragon Rider series, and the Mirrorworld series.
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourself!
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy Easter, if that’s your thing! 🐣
I’ve been on Spring Break this week, and I enjoyed myself most of the time. I had a lot of fun blogging more frequently, and I had time to read a whole bunch! (Heads up – I’ll probably be a lot less frequent in the next few weeks because I’m going back to school…) I stopped by Barnes & Noble and got some books, and from that, my library haul, and the Rule of Wolves preorder that just came in the mail, I think I’m set for the next two weeks or so…
Other than that, I’ve been watching more Falcon & The Winter Soldier and Avatar: The Last Airbender, listening to a lot of Spiritualized and the new St. Vincent (SNL!!!), and eating a lot of chocolate this morning.
And also!!! I hit 400 followers this week!! Thank you all so much for supporting me, love you all 🥺
I’m finally back on my semi-regular schedule after finals week, and now it’s finally summer! REJOICE!
Other than that, my week’s been alright. Besides my return to blogging, I’ve been doing a lot of drawing, I got to re-read a good book that I haven’t picked up in a few years, I listened to a lot of good music, and I also watched Pan’s Labyrinth. [gross sobbing] The weather’s been warming up, and even though we’re still inside, it’s shaping up to be a good summer, I think. Plus, not one, but TWO of my library holds came in yesterday, so I think next week should be a productive reading week as well! (And, I got two people to read Aurora Rising, so that’s always a success.)
I don’t know why, but writing this feels so surreal…I’ve had the idea to write this one since last year, but I’ve all but put it off until now. So here you go, fellow bibliophiles…
No movie adaptation can capture the true essence of a character, not really in full. Sometimes, they’re so wildly different–whether it be in looks or personality–that your perception of them is all but tainted when you re-read the source material. But sometimes, these differences make for an interesting examination of the character themself–and they might even work better for the plot set in the film adaptation.
I know I’ve mentioned Johann here a fair amount of times on this blog, but for those of you who aren’t super familiar, here’s the rundown of his character:
Johann’s from the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. universe. After a supernatural accident rendered his physical body all but dead, his incorporeal body was kept in a containment suit to that he may live and move about again. A longtime member of the B.P.R.D. (after Hellboy quits), he specializes in communicating with those who have passed.
He’s been in the B.P.R.D. comics for quite a while (since about 2001), and he appeared on screen for the first (and so far the only) time in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, voiced by Seth MacFarlane. I saw HBII before I started reading the comics, but once I started reading them, I realized that there is a major discrepancy in terms of Johann’s personality between the comics and the film. But this is one of the rare instances where it isn’t all that bad.
Nothing quite exemplifies the purest form of these differences than their separate entrances in the comics and the film.
In the comics, Johann first appears alongside the rest of the team in the first volume ofthe B.P.R.D. comics, Hollow Earth and Other Stories.For most of the first scene where we see him, we only see him from the back as Kate shows him around the B.P.R.D. headquarters. He’s clothed in a heavy trenchcoat and a large hat, and it isn’t until she leaves him to the tutelage of Dr. Manning that we see him take the hat and trenchcoat off, revealing his containment suit–and the fact that he’d taped sunglasses to his helmet to further disguise himself. (sneak 100)
In the film, there’s a lot of hubbub that surrounds Johann’s arrival. He’s been assigned to this division of the B.P.R.D. to keep Hellboy in check. All of the main cast is gathered out in the lobby as Dr. Manning reads off his file. Johann eventually arrives in the elevator, flanked by a bevy of B.P.R.D staff. Once he steps out of the elevator, in all his steampunk-suited glory, he proceeds to CLICK HIS HEELS, TAKE A BOW, and THEN introduce himself. He’s even got his own little Danny Elfman theme in the background as this all goes down. What a guy.
So, you can probably already see the major differences.
In the comics, Johann is a far more subdued character. For most of the earlier B.P.R.D. run, he most often defers to the wisdom of the other agents. He’s still confident in his skills, but he knows that he’s the new guy, and that he’d best leave the work to more experienced agents like Abe, Liz, and Kate. He asks a bit too many personal questions, he stumbles quite a bit, but there’s no question that when Johann gets on the job, he will get it done with a unique, psychic prowess.
In Hellboy II, however, we see a version of Johann who has already built up a sort of reputation. After being enlisted to Hellboy and his team, he immediately assumes command of them, inserting himself as their unofficial leader in all their further missions. He’s a bit of a martinet, in a way, but mostly when it comes to Hellboy, still resentful towards Manning for assigning Johann to watch over him. They’re the antitheses of each other, really; Hellboy prefers to play by his own rules, while Johann is, as Hellboy says, “Mr. ‘By-The-Book’.”
But for once, I don’t really mind the change. Not only are Johann’s interactions with the other characters (Hellboy especially) sometimes hysterical, it works seamlessly with the plot. Johann is almost a vehicle for Hellboy’s character development, someone to challenge him like Dr. Manning never could. His influence makes Hellboy begin to realize that his actions have consequences (wHEn wIlL you lEARN). Liz also begins to question Johann’s actions, but comes to realize that he’s had his fair share of hardships in the past as well. (In the case of the movie, Johann lost his wife in the supernatural accident that caused his predicament with the containment suit.) It’s a different interpretation of the character, to be sure, but leave it to Guillermo del Toro to pull it off flawlessly. Can I get a WHOOP WHOOP?
Despite these differences, though, Hellboy II managed to stay true to the character in most other respects–he’s incredibly intelligent, unafraid to speak his mind, and can even be quite philosophical at times. Plus, there’s all the possible shenanigans that can go down when Johann’s ghostly form can slip out of the containment suit…
Strangely enough, though, Johann’s Hellboy II personality does begin to show up in the Hell on Earth run of B.P.R.D., once he’s gained more experience; the Johann that isn’t always understanding towards his teammates, and the Johann who becomes something of a disciplinarian, at his worst, mostly with the likes of Fenix. He’s still reserved at heart, but often hides in the face of the other agents.
But the only other key difference I see between the comics and Hellboy II is simple: Johann and Hellboy never even meet each other in the comics. By the time he comes to the B.P.R.D., Hellboy’s packed his bags. Which begs the question, really: how would they get along in the comics in some alternate timeline? I wonder about it quite a lot, but I still don’t have an answer.
Johann’s always been one of my favorite characters in the Mignolaverse, up there with Abe Sapien and Liz, for me. There’s so many possibilities with him, and he’s a continually complex character, not to mention the design of his containment suits. Whatever your takeaway from the comics and the film may be, there’s no doubt that he’s an absolutely fascinating character.
Hope you enjoyed this post, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
In my last post, I eluded to a post about my new favorite movie. Got any guesses from the hint(s) I’ve dropped yet?
Alrighty then, I am more than happy to spill it now…drumroll, please…
…THE SHAPE OF WATER!
(Okay, let me just say beforehand that I love the art for this poster. James Jean’s art is so amazing, don’tcha think?)
Before I spill all my feels, let me just give you a little backstory.
My parents and brother had seen the trailer for this movie, which they told me about, and I got SUPER excited. I watched the trailer, and BAM. SUPER PUMPED. But, alas, it’s rated R, so I wouldn’t get to see it until it came out on DVD. Nonetheless, I had a poster up in my room for it, and was ecstatic when it won those awards at the Golden Globes and Oscars. Now that I’ve seen it, I can say that it is fully deserving of every single one.
I knew it was going to be amazing from all of the hype and trailers and whatnot (also, it was Guillermo Del Toro, which was basically a prerequisite for it’s inherent awesomeness), but OH MY GOD, THIS MOVIE WAS STUNNING! So beautiful! I won’t say why, but man, by the end of the movie, I was SOBBING. Like, full on sobbing. It’s somewhat common for movies to make my cry a little, but there’s only one other time when a movie or TV show has made me cry close to that much.
That was Stranger Things, Season 2, the end of episode 8, when they’re talking to Will in the shed, and then Jonathan plays “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. YEESH, THE FEELS!
Aaaaanyway, what I’m saying is that this film was incredibly moving. Del Toro did a beyond spectacular job, from the plot, to the setting, and especially the characters. And going off of the subject of characters…this is gonna sound generic, but…Elisa and the Amphibian Man.
Oh my goodness, Elisa! Aaaaah!
Aside from just being kind of all-around adorable, she’s really, in a way, the heroine that we need in this day and age. She’s not only determined, caring, and brave, but also sees people for who they really are, and is fiercely loyal towards them. God, I love her…
GAAAH, THE AMPHIBIAN MAN, TOO! They did such a fantastic job of making him mysterious, yet incredibly lovable at the same time. He and Elisa were so wonderful together, I can’t, it’s just so…*sobs* beautiful…
(Also, apparently there’s a theory that Elisa and the Amphibian Man are Abe Sapien’s parents. If it weren’t for Abe’s actual origin story, I would SO be on board. That would be the coolest thing ever!)
Okay, I should probably stop before I start sobbing again. I have some fan art posts on the way, and I’ll definitely share some pics from my trip to California. Bye for now!