Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Prestige Departure

Finally saw two very good movies I've been waiting to see, last night. The wife and I did a double feature of The Prestige and The Departed. Of course, most of you know that The Departed won best picture. I think of the other movies nominated for that, I'd only seen Little Miss Sunshine. And while I really liked Sunshine, Departed was the better film for me.

The Prestige, however, was the film I was more jazzed up to see. I read the book it's based on, by Christopher Priest, back around Christmas and was really interested in seeing how they pulled it off. The answer is: they did a very admirable job of it, perhaps even improving on the book by making certain elements of it far far darker.

Because I already knew what was supposed to happen from the book, most of the major plot points were not surprising. However, the film is not an exact adaptation of the book and there are some very significant differences that make the film its own creature. I'm really tempted to go into a play by play comparison of the two works, here, but frankly the less I say about either the better off any of you are who want to see the film or read the book. I'd recommend both.

I will say, on just a superficial non-spoilery level, that it took me a bit to stop being so distracted by the casting of the film. When I read the book, I didn't really know who was in the film because the casting of it kept getting confused with that of The Illusionist for me. So I didn't have any preconceived notions as to which actors were playing the characters. After I'd finished the book and looked up who was starring in the film, I only noted the main actors in it, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman (which I thought was funny, cause you've got Batman costarring with Wolverine). However, not noting which characters they were actually playing, I envisioned that they would be playing opposite characters from the ones they turn out to. Visually and personality wise I'd assumed Bale would have been Angier, as he looked and tends to play parts more like that character in the book looked and acted in my head as I read it. Jackman, in turn, I saw more as Borden. So it took me a bit to get around that. Both men did an excellent job in their parts, though, and by the end I'd forgotten most of my distraction.

And David Bowie and Andy "Gollum" Serkis were also exceptionally good as Nikola Tesla and his assistant Alley.


Anonymous said...

My friends and I watched the Prestige on my birthday. I hadn't read the book, but I was bored with the movie after the first few minutes with the wife. I actually much preferred the Illusionist.

Woeful said...

I watched, "The Departed" the other day and thought that it was excellent. Funny thing is, the movie ended, I turned the TV on, and there was Scorsese winning the Oscar...

An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.