movie, film, fallen series, lauren kate, angels, fantasy, young adult, film/book tie in, fallen movie, lions gate

The UK release of Fallen the Movie and the piracy perils of a limited cinema release.

Here we are at long last for the much talked about Fallen movie, adapted from the teenage book series by Lauren Kate. Today is the UK release date of the production, which should be leaving the fan-verse in a frenzy of excitement. So why isn’t it? Why are Fallen Fans cursing all over the internet about not being able to see the movie?

Because Lions gate (the distributor in the UK) has completely screwed up the release. Vue, Odeon and Cineworld are not showing the production at all. Vue and Odeon have refused to comment, however, Cineworld was quite open in the fact they were simply not asked. Showcase is only showing secret screenings for NME or Film First customers. The only cinema with a public viewing of the production in the next week is Empire, which hardly has a dozen cinemas UK wide. If I didn’t have a pretty shiny press badge and manage to sneak into a press viewing, I would have zero hope of viewing the movie. As my nearest Empire is over 2 hours away by train in Birmingham, and with the viewing being after 7pm at night. The only viewing I should mention! I would have to fork out over £100 in train and hotel fees to see a £10 cinema viewing.

With the WW release already spotty, and the DVD available to purchase in Brazil in only six days you have to wonder what the hell are the distributors playing at? Do they want to ruin the movie, make no money and make sure that the rest of the films are never produced? Because they are certainly going about it the right way! There are countless pirate rips of the movie online currently, including what is clearly a HD taken from the DVD release. I do not agree with piracy, but I have to admit that for 99% of the general public that none legal ways are the only way that they are going to get to see this. Lions gate are practically handing Fallen to the pirates on a plate and saying, do as you will! There is a huge amount of demand for this production, and if Lions gate aren’t willing to make money from it, they surely will. The kind of screenings we are seeing right now (secret, limited etc) are what you would expect from the week before previews of a new release, not the opening day! It is clear cast members have no idea what is going on, as they are actually tweeting telling their fans to go view!

I seriously hope after this complete screw-up, that Ms Kate takes legal action against these people and takes her rights back from them! Ready to pitch the movies to another position or even a TV series, because that is the only way we are going to get more Fallen action after this chaotic meltdown of a release. I feel sorry for everyone involved in the production as they will end up tarnished with a bad name, simply because the disrupters have zero idea what they are doing.

Anyway, rant over. Let’s go on with the review:

We have spoken about the storyline of this series several times, with the recent interview with Ms Kate herself as well as my series of reviewing the whole book series which is already up on site. Basics are Lucinda Price, is a 16-year-old girl sent to Sword and Cross rehabilitation centre after a mysterious fire which killed her first ‘boyfriend’. Lucinda sees shadows, has all her life. She claimed that the shadows killed Trevor, so of course she got sent for mental evaluation. A court order stating that if she wouldn’t take her meds (which she refuses because she hates how she feels on them), she has to be under lock and key watched at all times. Which is how she comes to Sword and Cross, stuck with a group of ex-addicts, suicidal, criminal and so on teenagers.

The school is advertised as a wonderful place, fencing, swimming, all manors of wonderful things to keep the students happy. What isn’t so advertised is the lack of cell phones, computers, ipods and pretty much anything metal. She becomes friends with a girl called Penn, who helps her get used to the school. As well as Arriane who shows her around on her first day, although not anywhere near as close as they became in the book series shamefully. Cam, the school bad boy takes an interest in her. One she is interested in, but not so much as the mysterious Daniel. Someone she feels that she should remember, someone she has known for a very long time. No matter how many times he tries to brush her off, or lies to her about her feelings. Lucinda just won’t give up on him, as she battles with the help of Penn to work out what is going on in her head.

Daniel loves her, he has loved her for thousands of years. Yet knows if they become close, if he kisses her, or she starts to remember who or what he is. She will die, just like she always has. Every single life. Yet also he can’t bring himself to stay away from her. Needing Lucinda as much as she needs him. His jealousy strikes several times as Cam tries to win her heart instead, causing fights which upset her. As she tries to come to terms with the things she starts to remember whenever Daniel is close to her.

The first thing I got asked by friends after I saw the movie, of course, was how true to the book is it? That is a very hard one to answer. It is everything, yet nothing like the book. With Lauren Kate’s close working on the film, they have completely re-imagined the production. How they meet, the key points in their lives. Giving us brand new scenes we haven’t experienced before. Such as Luce and Daniel fencing together, Luce’s birthday, a complex and brilliant way Daniel tries to explain to her about them under the guise of him writing a graphic novel. Best of all, the way she forces Daniel to admit his true nature. A scene I deeply wish had been in the book the first time around because it is just everything in that one moment between them. This is not the Lucinda we saw in the early books, a little weak, a little confused to what is going on. The one you are never quite sure why she is the one. This is a kick ass Lucinda, who won’t take no for an answer and will chase Daniel down to get the information she needs. Whether he likes it or not! A Lucinda you can see exactly why he loves so deeply, why he has chased her across time trying to break the curse.

Yes, there are downsides. Parts missing that kind of annoy me. The graveyard, vanished. The falling angel totally different, no working with Daniel and the others cleaning the statues which to me was a very good scene I am sad to see go. Like Luce’s other friendships. The biggest niggle for me was the fact Lucinda now has brown hair not black. Which I guess isn’t a big thing, but it is a little annoyance that could have been so easily fixed.

Most of the changes to the script are on the whole, only flattering to the storyline. In some ways I have to hold my hand up and say I prefer the movie version, because it cuts away a lot of the duller pieces. Reinventing them in a way that makes more sense than the original book. The little bits sneaking in of Lucinda remembering or learning, with the angels looking on at her in shock. The points where you can tell they see who she was, not who she now is. We keep the stunning dresses of Lucinda’s, which I would happily steal both of! As well as stunning special FX of the angel’s wings.

The main three cast: Cam (Harrison Gilbertson), Lucinda (Addison Timlin) and Daniel (Jeremy Irvine) are amazing together. When I first saw the picture of them, my reaction is Luce okay she’s mostly what I thought she would be minus the hair, Cam pretty close, looks a real bad boy. Daniel, I have no idea what I expected him to look like, but it wasn’t quite this. I was quite ready to hate his portrayal, he just didn’t seem to fit at all to me.

Until, the library, when he dropped his chalk and Lucinda woke him from his doze after drawing. The shock of seeing her for the first time, the pain of it all, the trying to avoid her, even though it hurt him to stay away. I couldn’t imagine a better person for Daniel after that. Jeremy brought in areas of Daniel’s raw soul which in the books you miss until the Luce starts seeing him after her deaths. The man who has been broken in every way possible, yet still tries to cling onto hope that she could remember him. That they could be together one day, a real couple against all the odds and the desperate fear in him after she gets hurt, that he could lose her. As much as I love this new bad ass Addison she just isn’t quite there for me as Luce, Jeremy has to be the stand out character for me by far. For someone of only 26, with few professional credits to his name yet, he is already showing emotional depth of acting far beyond his years. He is going to be a name to be contended with in a few years time.

As will Harrison, who is also showing amazing promise for his bad boy performance here. I have to admit freely I was begging Luce to dump Daniel and be with him for most of the film. Because he does seem so much better of a match for her, and at least he tried to make a bit of a fuss over her birthday. He also tried to talk with her, and make her feel comfortable at the school. Whereas Daniel just decided to upset her throwing a fight and practically spends the whole time avoiding her.

With all that praise, I have to (unfortunately) put out one last negative. The film is far too short. I know I often talk about films which need editing and length removing to make them more interesting. This is completely the other way. We don’t see enough of the Daniel/Cam/Luce relationships. The slow understanding of what was going on. As for the end fight scene, you could blink and miss it easily. I hate the Hollywood trend for trying to keep movies to around 90 minutes in length so people do not get bored. I think Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Harry Potter have all proved that if a storyline is good enough, people will sit there as long as it takes to tell the tale. Personally, I would have loved another 30/40 minutes added to this production. It wouldn’t have bogged down the storyline and only added to it.

On the whole though, it is one of the best book to film adaptations I have ever watched.

9/10 stars.

Sarah Beth James