Category Archives: Movies

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Movie

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1

Directed by: Bill Condon
Release: 2011
ASIN: B006TLFPKO
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Rating: PG-13

Plot Summary: Based off of Stephenie Meyer’s series Twilight this movie covers the first half of book 4, Breaking Dawn.  Bella Swan and Edward Cullen have finally decided that they must be together and are preparing for their marriage.  During the honeymoon Bella gets the surprise of her life when she realizes she is pregnant.  Together with the help of their family and the werewolf and good friend of Bella’s, Jacob, they must figure out how to protect Bella even if it is from her own baby.

Critical Evaluation

Unfortunately for Twilight fans this movie just does not do justice to the books.  It almost never fails movies based off of books do not quite live up to expectations but this movie unfortunately takes disappointment to an entirely new level.  Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Bella is wooden and unemotional and it may sound silly but one thing I had a hard time getting past was the make up job on the Cullens.  Is it not possible to get the vampire look without making the actors look like they were dunked in a pool of baby powder?

There were other little things that were missed such as one of the big things in Twilight is Meyer’s explanation for why vampires do not like sunlight isn’t because it burns them but that it makes them sparkle incandescent.  Yet on their honeymoon Bella and Edward are on the beach, out hiking, playing chess-all out in the wide open sunlight but not once does Edward sparkle.

It’s not until the very end that things start to pick up and then the movie breaks and viewers need to wait until Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits the theaters.

Honestly folks, do not think watching the movie substitutes for reading the actual series.  Stick with the books.

Why did I include this movie

Twilight has been a huge craze among teenage girls and if often mentioned as ushering in the resurgence in teens love for reading.  So I was curious to see how the movie would stack up compared to the book.

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Eragon (movie)

Eragon

Directed by: Stefen Fangmeier
Release: 2006
ASIN: B000OLTBL4
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG

Plot Summary: This movie is based off of the book by Christopher Paolini. A former dragonrider, Galbatorix, betrayed his fellow riders in order to become king of Alagaesia.  When Eragon stumbles across a dragon egg that Princess Arya sent away to keep it from King Galbatorix the egg hatches and the dragon tells Eragon that he is her rider.  Eragon finds out that their is a prophecy that he will be the one to free the people from Galbatorix’s tyranny.  But can Eragon defeat Galbatorix?

Critical Evaluation

The premise of this movie appeal’s to the teenage audience that enjoys a good fantasy story.  Eragon is a simple farm boy who turns out to have this epic prophecy based on himself and sets off on a grand adventure for vengeance and to prove himself.  Many teens may have this secret part of themselves that long to do something more adventurous and to be a hero.

Unfortunately the execution suffered and I personally did not care for the movie and after reading some of the comments on the Rotten Tomatoes review site I was not alone.  In my opinion Eragon came across as petulant child who refuses to listen to the advice of others even when it makes sense.  Some may attribute this to his being just 17 years old but I think that is doing an injustice to teens and I think most teens would not have blatantly ignored sound advice just because they felt like it.

Some of the storyline suffered as well from having too much cut from the book in order to fit it into 104 minutes. The connection between Arya and Eragon comes out of the blue and Eragon’s ability to use magic as well as he did seemed unbelievable.

Genre

Fantasy

Curriculum Ties

Fiction

Challenge Issues

N/A

Why did I include this movie?

I know the book series was a very popular one with teens and I did read the first book in the series.  I was curious to see how well the movie adaptation was done.

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The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow

Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Release: 2004
ASIN: B000NDMRDW
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG-13

Plot Summary: a massive climate shift is causing natural disasters around the world.  Sam and his fellow decathlon teammates are stranded in New York due to the storms and they take refuge in the New York Public Library.  In the meantime, his father Jack, a paleoclimatologist who predicted that this climate shift would come one day, sets out from Washington D.C. to rescue his son.  Life will never be the same as the northern half of the United States are ordered to evacuate and much of the US takes refuge in Mexico.

Critical Evaluation

I do not know how solid the scientific basis of the story is but it is a fascinating story that will appeal to those who enjoy the post-apocalyptic/dystopian type of stories.  Jack is a brilliant yet scatterbrained father who has let his son down one time after another.  Sam takes after his father intellectually as well as being a little socially awkward and sweet.  He’s not your typical hero with bulging muscles and endless self-confidence.  Still he takes the lead when it comes to protecting his friends as well as several other people who take shelter in the library with them in order to survive the increasingly violent storms.  I fell in love with him, the way he handles the situation and was rooting for him to win over his fellow decathlete team member, Sara, who was the main reason he joined the team.  Laura is also a great role model for teenage girls.  Yes, she is pretty but the focus on her strength, willingness to help those around her and her intellectual brilliance.

The action in the movie will also keep its viewers hooked as we wait to see just how bad things will get and who will survive.  Sam’s group as well as his father’s team that sets out to rescue Sam both show amazing bravery and be warned there are moments that will make you want to cry.

It also contains an interesting change of order in which the adults in Sam’s group follow Sam’s guidance in surviving the storms.  He and his group of friends show that teens can have the knowledge and maturity at times that the adults need to take seriously.

Genre

Disaster/apocalyptic

Curriculum Ties

Natural disasters/Relationships

Challenge Issues

N/A

Why did I include this movie?

Dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories are all the rage nowadays and it only seemed right to include a movie that fell along these lines.  It has a strong group of teenage main characters, action and tale of survival that would appeal to many teenagers.

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Directed by: Ken Kwapis
Release: 2005
ASIN: B001QM7TBY
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rating: PG

Plot Summary: This movie is based on  Ann Brashares coming of age novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which contains the story of four best friends who are apart for the first time during their sixteenth summer.  Before leaving they find a pair of jeans in a shop that mysteriously fits all four girls despite them being different heights and shapes.  They decide these are magical pants and they should each take turns wearing them on their vacations and then pass them along to the next friend along with a letter of what happens when they wear them.

Critical Evaluation

I have not read the book this film was based on but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie.  It’s the perfect coming of age story for teenage girls and covers many of the issues girls face whether it be problems with parents, body image, self-confidence, love and loss.  Each girl is so unique and the experiences they have are so true that it makes the watcher relate and sympathize to their situation.  Lena’s rising self-confidence and budding romance was touching to see and Bridget’s hope that finding that perfect guy and have the perfect experience means she no longer has to be sad while painful to watch at times was understandable.

My two favorite girls were Carmen and Tibby.  I loved how comfortable Carmen seemed with her body even if it did not fit in with the non-existent booty and stick straight body of her father’s soon to be wife and daughter.  She stood up for herself when others felt the need to comment about it instead of letting it tear her down.  Her pain over her father’s abandonment made me want to cry because she comes across as so strong and yet she still did have these insecurities buried inside her.

Tibby is the cynical one who seems to go through life with a pessimistic view of the world and it did bring actual tears to my eyes seeing her friendship with Bailey and the emotional turmoil that Tibby goes through after losing Bailey.

Yes, there will be detractors who say the idea of a pants fitting all four girls is ridiculous, the idea of Lena traipsing across Greece alone is mind boggling and Bailey being able to run around the way she does with a terminal illness is unrealistic.  But I felt that all worked with the magical tone of the movie that anything is possible and no matter what the friends would always be there for each other.

Genre

Coming of age story

Curriculum Ties

Coming of age/romance/friendship/Loss

Challenge Issues

N/A

Why did I include this movie?

I have always wanted to read this book and I heard the movie was actually well done.  It also seemed a good fit as it covered a lot of topics teen girls go through in their teenage years.

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