Tag Archives: george clooney

Has everyone got the same idea?

World War Z poster.jpg

Candice: I went to the cinema the other week to see the new Brad Pitt movie, World War Z.  Now I’m not really a Brad fan, I’m more into George Clooney myself, and when Brad has long hair – forget it!  But my cinema buddy suggested a trip, so I thought I’d give it ago. However, Zombies in 3D was not part of my Friday night viewing plan!

Anyway, I’m not writing a review of the film, just the plot.  It seems there are common threads running around the psyche of writers at the moment, both novelists and screen writers: the idea of over population.  I can see why, we have been talking about global warming for years, we no longer have a real nuclear threat or cold war, so what do we make the bad guy these days?  Well, actually its us, the human race, as we are killing the world we live on by filling it with too many people.

Inferno, the Dan Brown book, was all about a mad man who thought that letting a virus into the world that would sterilise us all would help with this issue.  A few would be exempt and they would be able to continue the world’s population.

World War Z also has a virus but the suggestion is mother nature is generating it to get rid of the majority of us and start again.

It’s not just in 2013, if you go back to 2006 there was a rather good film called ‘Children of Men’ about women being infertile and the first pregnant woman being protected. And of course, WWZ is based on a 2006 book.

I watched episodes of two different TV programs last week – ‘Body of Proof‘ and ‘Bones‘ where in both cases, a virus had infected a member of the team and if the team didn’t identify it they would die.

I suppose we all get our ideas from what is going on in the news.  I when I say we, us lowly unpublished writers as well as those getting paid big bucks.  So these common ideas are bound to come out.  But is this why different ideas struggle to break through?  There are two White House disaster movies out this year, plus lots of sequels coming out.  If you go to the book shop or even Amazon, it’s all about ‘If you like this, you might also like.’  Recommendations are great, but we would never have had the Beatles if someone hadn’t picked up on their style and said I’ll go with that.

So people, please be a bit more receptive to other ideas and not just the run of the mill.  Else, we will be just churning out the same stuff over and over again!

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The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

The DescendantsPhil: I saw this at the cinema. Well, strickly speaking I saw most of it as I was working the box office that evening and so missed the first 15 minutes – basically those scenes that set the story up and explain what the whole descendants thing is all about. Thus, I was mystified for most of the movie.

The synopsis explains that Matt King’s (George Clooney) wife is in an accident that leaves her in a coma from which she will not recover. He has to arrange for everyone to say their goodbyes and this involves re-connecting with his two daughters. Along the way he discovers his wife was having an affair and has to settle the future of a great big chunk of Hawaii that his family (The descendants bit) owns.

The film handles each plot strand well but pushes the land decision and relatives rather more than the book. This makes sense as the written version is very strong on Matt’s internal dialogue, something difficult to film. If I remember correctly, Clooney narrates much of the story but since this isn’t a popular cinematic device, they tried to show as much as possible visually.

The book is much darker in this respect and all the better for it. While all the characters at the cinema are on the page (and vise versa), they are far more rounded. Sid, the “friend” of the older daughter has much more of a back story here than on-screen. The daughter, Alex, is an ex-model as well as ex-drug addict and since her mother was also a model, this provides an interesting parallel between the two women.

Both book and film are set on Hawaii and I found this is fascinating. Here we have a society that isn’t just a little bit of America (as I would have expected) but has its own traditions and history. The background of the different islands is important too. Theres plenty of the sort of day-to-day detail that gives the story a window into the real and slightly humdrum world of its characters.

Approaching this as a writer, the main thing I enjoyed was the handling of dialogue. Both spoken and internal, this drives the story forward. With a bit of luck I’ll learn how to format it on the page in future! I’m also working on a short story that uses first-person narrative and reading an entire book written this way helps me get my head around it.

As a reader, this is a dense book. While not a fat tome, it seemed to take me a long while to work through it. Sometimes you fly through the pages but not this time. Despite knowing the ending, I really enjoyed the read so that wasn’t a problem. To use a food metaphor, it’s like a steak pie. Supermarket ones seems to be as much gravy as meat. A farm shop near me fills the pastry with dead cow. Much more satisfying but more to chew. This is a Farm Shop book.

For the observant, there is a funny moment when the younger daughter, Scottie, wears a T-shirt to the hospital with “Mrs Clooney” on it. When it was just a book, this was funny. Now with this cover, you wonder if it’s more so or just weird.

The Descendants at Amazon

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