Hey fellow book nerds! So many book adaptions, so little time. If you haven't heard, Jennifer L Armentrout's Wicked series is being adapted by Passionflix (they adapt popular romance novels into movies, and yes, its a subscription service.) On May 27th, the first of the Wicked series, Wicked, was released, and as I did with the books, I am reviewing the adaption.
I am so excited that one of Jennifer's books has been adapted, and I hope this makes her more recognizable to bigger studios (like for her Blood and Ash series.)
If you haven't seen my reviews for book adaptions, here is my scoring system.
1st star - The Story - Does it stay true to the books?
2nd star - Acting - Casting and Chemistry between actors
3rd star - Cinematography - Was it shot well? Do any shots add more to the story?
4th star - CGI/Costuming/Props - Did they bring the book to life? Is it how you imagined?
5th star - Would I watch it again? Story - I gotta say, they did an AMAZING job sticking to the books. It was ALMOST line for line, and while I am not so attached to the Wicked series that I would have been upset they deviated a little from the book, I am impressed that they DID stick to the book. Not many adaptions are done that way. The characters are mostly the same (I didn't picture Ren to look like Liam Hall, but I don't think there is an actor that would look close to the Ren I had in mind.). Anna Maiche was an amazing Ivy, seeing as my only complain was her hair wasn't wild enough for me. This gets a full star from me.
Acting - As I said above, Liam Hall wasn't who I pictured playing Ren, but he does a decent job. Some of this lines are awkward as hell, but that is just a case of book lines not translated well off the page. I mean, when I read the book, those same cringy lines had me fanning myself. Anna Maiche is the true star of this film. Her acting is top notch. She can play a wide range of emotions, and she felt very natural. And of course, we can't forget about Tink played by Andrew Rogers. He did a great job playing the flamboyant and a little crazy brownie. The chemistry was great between all the characters, and I never found their interactions with one another lacking. Another full star!
Cinematography - I was really impressed with the filming. We get lots of beautiful shots of New Orleans, the camera does close ups at emotional moments, and they managed to film a very tasteful, romantic sex scene. And hey, it's Passionflix, and if you have watched their other movies, they definitely center around the romance, and not so much on the sex. If you have read Wicked, Ren and Ivy have a pretty hot sex life though, so I wish that was captured as well. Fight scenes were filmed well, if a bit too choreographed, but all in all, for Taryn O'Neill's first direction, she did an awesome job. Half star for me.
CGI/Costuming/Props - Everything was pretty spot on - to Ivy and Tink's apartment, Ren's sparse loft, the costuming. Could they have made Anna's hair a bit wilder? Sure, but not that important. My biggest worry was the CGI. Passionflix is low-budget. This was their first paranormal romance, and I doubt they have done a whole lot of major CGI in the past. I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out? Were there problems? For sure. I pictured the fae with a light sheen of silver, and they CGI'd the hell out of them. My friend and I were wondering why they didn't just go with make up, until we get to the end fight scene, when they are so OBVIOUSLY covered in silver makeup, with a couple CGI'd in there, and it looked wacky (and a bit hilarious is what is meant to be the climax of the movie). They did a pretty good job with Tink. There were only a couple times where the CGI could have been improved (whenever he was sleeping and Ivy carried him somewhere and when he steals the bag of beignets from Ren). Honestly, considering the little time they had to make this movie, they did a pretty good job. It gets a half star.
Lastly, would I watch it again? - Honestly - probably not. I'm not a TV/movie person. I would much rather curl up with a book. I enjoyed it. My best friend and I made an evening out of it (with homemade beignets, of course). But I wouldn't seek the movie out to watch just because. I will definitely be turning in to watch the second movie when it comes out though. Half star.
Congratulations to Jennifer L Armentrout, for seeing one of her books come to life. Honestly, she is a great author, and deserves it! And to Taryn, cast and crew - you rocked it! If Passionflix comes out with more movies like this one, I might actually subscribe long-term instead of a month here and there for these movies.
If you haven't watched Wicked yet, check out Passionflix. If you haven't read the books yet - you really, really need to.