Monday, June 9, 2014

I Have An Unpopular Opinion

Let's just start with a picture of Hazel and Gus being cute. Awww, look how cute they are:

All right, now that that's out of the way... if you haven't read The Fault in Our Stars or seen the movie, avoid the rest of this post because there's going to be spoilers.

I'm not the kind of person who likes to be a hater of universally loved things just for the sake of it. But I saw the movie version of The Fault In Our Stars this weekend, like everyone else did, and I did not particularly like it. SORRY. BUT I DIDN'T.

There were a lot of really good things about it. In fact, almost everything that was in it was directly lifted from the book. It was a very faithful adaptation in terms of events and story progression.

But I did not think it was genuine. I didn't get the same feeling watching it as I did reading it. I felt like the spirit of the book was missing, or at least dulled.

And look, I know not EVERYTHING from a book can be put into the movie. I fully understand that. But the things that were missing were, I thought, things that illustrated the whole point of the story in the first place.

I'm upset that the movie glossed over Gus' illness and final days. Yes, they included the gas station scene, and it was as heartbreaking as it was in the book. But they didn't include any other scenes depicting him as actually sick. They had one scene where he was getting chemo, wherein he also made out with Hazel. There were some scenes with him in a wheelchair. But that was it. The full ugliness of cancer wasn't in this movie, in my opinion. And I know it's maybe a rating issue, like if they'd kept the scene where Hazel found Gus half coherent in a puddle of his own urine in his bedroom... I mean, that's gross. So maybe they didn't want to risk a higher rating or something by including that. But even though it's gross, it's also, you know, real life. It's a thing that happens to people when they're sick and declining the way he does in the book.

I get that they were focusing on it being a love story, and maybe if it hadn't been a book first it would have been fine. But the book exists. And the book is infinitely better, in my opinion, at showing the reality of what cancer can do to a person who has it and the people who love them.

I thought the whole ending was rushed and thus the emotional impact was lost. For me. Clearly not for everyone else in the world who saw this movie and wept for the last half hour straight. I thought Hazel's dad didn't cry enough (which was one of the things I loved about him in the book), and I was sad her mom didn't make her celebrate her half birthday or Bastille Day. Too many of Hazel and Gus' existential conversations were left out and the letter at the end was too different from the one in the book.

And I didn't like Ansel Elgort that much as Gus. SORRY. AGAIN. BUT I WAS UNDERWHELMED. (Shailene was great though.)

This is a selfish thing, because I know it was not really necessary to include both of Isaac's eulogies in the movie when the first one is really the only one that matters. But the one he gave at Gus' real funeral was what made me finally break down and weep when I was reading the book. And I think it really says a lot about who Augustus Waters really was.

"Augustus Waters was the Mayor of the Secret City of Cancervania, and he is not replaceable," he began. "Other people will be able to tell you funny stories about Gus, because he was a funny guy, but let me tell you a serious one. A day after I got my eye cut out, Gus showed up at the hospital. I was blind and heartbroken and didn't want to do anything and Gus burst into my room and shouted, 'I have wonderful news!' And I was like, 'I don't really want to hear wonderful news right now,' and Gus said, 'This is wonderful news you want to hear,' and I asked him, 'Fine, what is it?' and he said, 'You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!'"
(p. 272)

If this had been included, I could have forgiven almost everything else I had issues with. I'm still hopeful for a deleted scene.

I mean truthfully? My favorite thing about this movie was Lidewij's outfit. Her peplum blouse and the jacket and scarf she had? I NEED THAT OUTFIT. IT WAS AWESOME.

I've seen some people say they trust that this movie is good because "John Green loves it." First of all, this is not a good reason to like a thing. Books belong to their readers, which is something he repeatedly says, and something he even wrote into this book in a semi-roundabout way with all the Van Houten stuff. So the story became mine when I read it. While I'm glad the author enjoyed the movie made out of the book he wrote, his opinion on the movie is not more valid than mine. The story is mine because that is how stories work, and I did not like this movie's interpretation of that story.

And secondly, of course John Green loves it. IT EXISTS. I would be the same exact way if anything I'd written and published got turned into a movie, even if it sucked. He's lucky in that they were very respectful of the source material, but just because they didn't butcher it doesn't mean it's automatically good. Please use your own discernment when it comes to deciding whether or not you like something instead of relying on someone else's opinion.

I also saw Edge of Tomorrow this weekend and enjoyed it infinitely more, so... there is that. I know people are trumpeting around everywhere saying LOOK, A YA MOVIE MADE MORE THAN A TOM CRUISE MOVIE ON THE SAME OPENING WEEKEND! SUCK IT TOM CRUISE! LONG LIVE JOHN GREEN AND HIS ARMY OF TEENAGERS. But poop on those people. Both movies are worth seeing and it's annoying that people are comparing their worth when they are really nothing alike whatsoever and are not exactly intended for the same audience.

Besides, blockbuster sci-fi Tom Cruise movies that are actually intelligent do not come along very often, so it's exciting that this one qualifies in that category. The last one I can think of is Minority Report. It was really fun and entertaining with an intriguing premise and good acting and an incredible soundtrack. So... see it if you don't feel like crying every time Shailene Woodley cries. (She's very good at crying.)

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