A bestseller and a great piece of iconic literature…
It’s got to be an incredibly difficult task for a debut director to undertake. Nevertheless, Stuart Beattie has really tried hard with this film, perhaps too hard some might say. With spectacular visual effects and a fabulous pace, true to Marsden’s story, it definitely shows off Beattie’s gratuitous desire to make this film into an adaptation worthy of the book. However, the question remains: why wasn’t I satisfied by it?
I think it boils down to a single aspect: casting.
Sure, some of the kids acted their hearts out, especially Caitlin Stasey playing the role of “Ellie”, but in some instances it sounded as if they were reading out lines from their scripts and forgetting to apply some decent acting skills. Also, the actors didn’t mesh very well. This lack of interconnectedness left me struggling to understand how ‘close’ the characters truly were to one another.
The film really tried to be everything it could be in order to live up to Marsden’s story, but I think this inordinate amount of pressure from such epic demands made the end result mildly uncomfortable to watch, (especially with that “Lord of the rings” image of the ‘soldiers’ at the end). The film seemed too much, overdone and slightly pretentious.
Aside from that, it’s a definite step up for the Australian film industry.
A solid effort.