Warning: There will be spoilers.
Welcome to part 2 of the review of A Monster Calls. Have you ever had one of those moments where you see the movie the first time and you thought it was done well, so you went to see it again and it wasn't as great? This is what happened with me. When I went to see the movie the first time, I thought it was a great film. When typing the review, I had a hard time coming up with what was great about the movie or what was wrong with the movie. So I went to see the movie again and it was not as enjoyable as I thought the first time, but I think it is because I already knew what to expect from the movie.
The movie is a little more lighthearted and easier to follow than the book, but only because of some minor changes. These changes were the addition of extra scenes. These scenes gave Conor more personality than the Conor from the book. They were scenes like the scene at the beginning of the movie where he was having a movie night with his mom and the scenes of Conor bonding with his dad at a carnival. I thought these were a nice touch because you never get to see Conor smile all that much in the movie. There were even other changes that were made in the movie, but didn't really effect the story that much. Lily, Conor's childhood friend, was not present in the movie. She was the one that protected Conor from Harry, but also the reason why Conor was such a shut-in at school. She was the one that told everybody the his mom has cancer and it made everybody look at him differently, especially the teachers. In the movie, his depression and his MP3 player was enough to make him a recluse. Another change from the book and the movie was in the book Conor had an assignment that he never finished, which was writing a life story. Conor never seemed to try to write it because he thought his life story was nothing worth exciting. In the movie, Conor just draws...A LOT. Not really to effective to the story other than finding out that it was what his mom did too. Other than that, the story was very straightforward and was done very well.
The monster is actually really cool looking.
When the monster first appeared, all I can think was how it reminds me of Godzilla in last year's Godzilla movie, Shin Godzilla, but only when it gets angry or terrifying. Even the second story where you see the monster destroying the house really makes me think I am watching a monster flick for a little bit. At the same time, the monster wasn't as threatening as he was in the book. In the movie, he was more of a good monster. Do you remember in the book review that I said the monster was more of a metaphor for Conor's anger and frustration? Well, you get that, but at the end instead of just ending it where the book ended they added an extra scene. This scene is after that night when Conor's mom passed away. He enters his grandmother's house and his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) tells him that she prepared a room for him. So he goes up to his new room and you know that this room use to be his mom's room. He finds a book full of his mom's drawings and he starts noticing that the drawings look like the stories the monster told him about and it reveals that she even had a visit of the same monster. That whole scene for me kind of throws away that whole metaphor out the window.
The visuals are beautiful when it comes to the stories. The first two stories are in watercolor and animated. The watercolor becomes a theme since Conor likes art. When he is wrapped around the branches, he has to use his imagination to see the story. I love the different colors to represent the events happening in the story like in the beginning of the first story you had like a rainbow color to represent how everything is good and then you had the blacks and greys come in to represent all that is bad.
The acting I thought was alright. Lewis MacDougall did a good job playing Conor, Liam Neesan did a good job on voicing the monster, Sigourney Weaver did a good job playing the stubborn grandmother, Felicity Jones did a good job playing the mother, and Toby Kebbell also did a good job playing the dad. The movie is what it is really. It is a drama movie that likes to tug at your heart. I will admit, I always shed tears when a member of the family dies in movies. It's sad and it works. I am actually glad that there are some lighthearted moments, I am especially glad that Lily was not in the movie since she didn't really add much in the story, the monster looks awesome, the visuals are stunning, and the story is not as depressing. Even though there were changes in the movie, it did not effect the story at all. If I were to choose between the book and the movie, I would choose the movie over the book. It is not a must see monster movie, but it is a movie that is worth the recognition.
What did you think of the movie? Did you think it was good? If you didn't see it, are you planning on seeing it? Let me know what your opinions are in the comments and I will talk to you next time.