Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Musings: O'Brien Read/Watch: Z for Zachariah Film Commentary

I've finally returned to the Robert C. O'Brien Read/Watch Marathon with the 2015 film adaptation of Z for Zachariah. As I did with The Secret of NIMH, this post will be a running commentary from my viewing of the film. I'll follow up next time with a comparison of the book and the film.


So. Many. Logos. (There were probably over a full minute of studio and distributor logos.)

Nice establishing shots of the empty and run-down buildings.

This dystopia town looks like Rossville (a city near where I live).

Books! They have Ann going for books like she said she wanted to in the book! But why does she have a suit? It's not the suit, is it? Is this a flash forward?

The HD version of this is very intense. (I am not usually a fan of the way HD feels, like I'm actually in the room where the movie/show is happening. It's too real for me.)

The dog is here! :) :(

Ok. Now we seem to be back to the book. The valley, the church, etc. all looks right. It almost feels cozy and homey except for the destruction we've just seen outside.

They did a good job portraying the weird mix of mature and innocent that is Ann.

Random camper in the road? Is this John's wagon?

Ann seems more confident with the gun that in the book.

Yep, it's John. I miss the slowly building dread of his introduction in the book.

I was expecting Chris Pine as Loomis. (That's what happens when you remember who's in the movie, but not who they portray.)

Her reaction to him is on point.

Okay, so she's not so good with the gun.

The filmmakers definitely sped up their first meeting.

John is more volatile and yet more pathetic than his book counterpart here.

Oh, they gave him a family. That's a nice touch.

Quick shot of the store establishes where they get the supplies without lingering too long.

They definitely want you to infer a lot in this film. I think that works well whether you've read the book or not.

Is this fever dream going to give us the mumbling flashback about Edward? No. No it's not.

Ann praying and her time in the church: excellent.

The valley reminds me of Cades Cove. (If you've never been, do a Google image search. It's gorgeous.)

John using the rifle to spot Ann by the gas pump -- nice foreshadowing. (Well, it would have been if they'd actually used the book's climax.)

Ann is more religious here than the book, but I like the extra dimensions it adds to her character and the conflicts.

John's behavior is very much in line with the book. And yet they keep making him soft and sweet, too.

Man, he really doesn't understand her.

Are they gonna have him be drunk when he assaults her? No. Good. Oh. Maybe. That takes away the clear-cut menace of book!John's attempts to force their relationship to move forward in a romantic direction.

"Breakfast," John? How about you give her an apology.

Aaaaaand . . . now she's drunk. Poor, innocent Ann.

That kiss is just gonna muddy the waters further.

He shows considerable restraint here, not pursuing that drunken kiss any furth-- oh, never mind. We're going to have a half-naked conversation about this. Well, he is definitely more nuanced than book!John.

Oh. There's Chris Pine. :) (Caleb. Whatever.)

Loomis' paranoia rears its head.

Now, is Caleb "the good one" or are they just playing us by making us think he is?

Did Loomis kill David? I think he did.

Well, he as good as did, anyway.

Loomis, it's not like Ann knew anything about you when you first showed up, either. Don't be so paranoid.

Using David as the point of contention is more emotionally tied to Ann than Edward was in the book.

I like how this scene captures Ann's loneliness and despondency.

Well, so much for Loomis "not talking about it."

Ann keeps telling him "It's okay" but in the book she was more assertive and aware of her agency.

There's definitely more hope of survivors here than in the book.

The hunting scenes do such a good job establishing the rivalry between John and Caleb, as well as their characters. (Now why hasn't the rest of the film been this good?)

I don't like the dismantling of the church because of its symbolism in the book, but I suppose that's the point they're trying to make here.

The half-down church is so forlorn.

Mixed truth in Caleb's assertion that what was holy about the church was what Ann brought to it and that can't be taken away. Like, yes, it can't be taken from Ann, but holiness goes well beyond what a person brings to a place.

And Loomis is a jerk. Again. It's not about race, dude. It's about the fact that Caleb understands Ann. And she said she's not interested in him, so stop trying to push her away. (Although, that might be a ploy to get her to assert her own feelings for John. Ugh, manipulative people are awful.)

I really can't tell if Loomis is as manipulative as in the book or if I'm just expecting him to be.

Is Ann only with Caleb right now because John's passed out? What happened to her earlier statement about not wanting Caleb?

Now--if John did tell Ann to do whatever it takes to keep Caleb there, I missed it--but that would be just like him to say he did to manipulate Caleb, even if he didn't.

I'm surprised John let Caleb wear the suit, but there's no way he'd be the one down on the falls with Caleb holding the rope. (Although the suit's importance is not really a thing in the movie; John even says it's beat up when he arrives.)

Caleb didn't "leave for Anson," did he? They cut away, but I'm pretty sure John let him fall. Possibly he's back in the cave, waiting to reappear and take Ann out of the valley.

Is John reflecting on his sins (like killing David and possibly Caleb) or regretting the decision to dismantle the church?

Is Ann a cat now, just pushing things off tables because she can?

I like how the music shifts from Ann on the organ to the orchestra.

Wait. THAT'S THE END?!? WHAT?

WHAT?

WHAT?

What even is this?

No climax? No resolution? It just . . . ends?

Way to kill the movie, people.

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