Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The Changeover: Book vs Movie

The Changover was released on DVD from August 27th and I was sent a copy to review -- so I figured it would be fun to do a book to movie comparison.

Let's start with the book...

The Book:

The Changeover
by Margaret Mahy 

Summary: 'A clammy hand pressed Laura down to her knees beside Jacko's bed. It was the hand of terror, nothing less.'

It was a warning. Laura felt it when she looked in the mirror that morning. There had been others: the day her father left home, the day she met Sorensen - the boy with the strange silver eyes.

But nothing had prepared Laura for the horror of today. And now her little brother, Jacko, was fighting for his life after being sucked dry of his youth by the sinister Carmody Braque.

Laura knows there is only one way to save Jacko; she must join Sorensen and use his supernatural powers to change over if there is to be any hope for her little brother.
This was quite a strange little book, and I did mostly enjoy it. I just think I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd read it when I was a kid.

I loved that really the heart of the story is a sisters love for her little brother. There aren't many YA books that revolve around family and sibling relationships like that, and I loved that this one did.

And the plot -- it was really quite original, I can't say I've read any books that I'd compare it to, it just did its own thing without really putting me in mind of anything else. 

I had a love/hate relationship with the way it was written though. Parts of it were well written, but the dialogue could be quite clunky and awkward at times (particularly Kate's, Laura's mums, scenes). Parts of it were just so normal, and it could drone on for pages and pages about regular day to day things then it would abruptly switch to scenes that were totally bizarre...which isn't a bad thing exactly, it just messed with the pacing a bit. But then I also appreciated that so much of the story was rooted in the realm of normal.

The main issue I had with the book was that it really showed its age (not even with the phone thing -- which was quite weird to read), but with the way Laura and Sorry's relationship was written. He's 18, finishing high school. Laura is 14 years old -- and he talks about wanting to have sex with her. He just randomly touches her boob without consent and that whole scene is just weird. He makes a comment about how she "must be asking for it" by walking alone at night when a girl was raped doing the same thing not too long ago.

All of that? I didn't like it, but it felt very much like the book was written when that sort of stuff would've been brushed off as okay. A relationship like that in a YA book these days would be thoroughly called out for how creepy and problematic it is. 

So...overall, interesting read but it wasn't without its flaws and it did feel quite dated in some ways. I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5 (would've been 2.5 but Jacko was adorable so his character gets a whole half star added).  

The Movie:

Like I said, it was quite an odd book, so they didn't have the easiest source material to work with for the movie but I think they actually did a really good job adapting it, and I really enjoyed the movie. I loved the setting and the cast and the atmosphere and overall vibe of the movie.

There were some things the book obviously did better, because there was more freedom in the book to explain things more thoroughly because they didn't have the time constraints that a movie has. Like the thing with the stamp -- the book had a few extra scenes that gave a bit more context and made it seem less random than it does in the movie.

I think overall I preferred the movie though. The romance in the movie felt less weird/creepy than it did in the book, because the age difference isn't as big and the weirder scenes got cut (can't remember if they actually aged up Laura or if it's just the actors that seemed closer in age). The dialogue in the movie felt more natural too, and the relationship between Laura and her mother.

The movie gets 4 out of 5 stars.


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