I touched upon this before but I have seen a trend of movies experimenting with age-gap yuri. By that I mean ‘ships’ with couples who are very far apart in age. In this particular case, it is the woman/child size of age gap.
Korea has done it already, multiple times, to great success (Dohee dear Readers, Dohee – or as most know it as ‘A Girl At my Door’). Japan has been doing it since forever, if you include anime (I’m looking at you Bee-Train, and I miss you. Please come back). Malaysia has done it (even though I have yet to get my hands on that movie) and hell, even Murica has got in on the action (Fragile – look it up. It even has a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ kiss and I so need to talk about this movie too).
So really, what does England go and wish for? A chance in on the action and it does get it in the form of apocalyptic thriller/horror – The Girl With All The Gifts. When I saw the trailer, the narration got to me and then that ‘She Loves You’ line drove my curiosity into attention territory. That was weeks ago and seeing the ‘Based off of a best Seller’ I wasted no time in going out and hunting for the book. I read the book. Then this week I just watched the movie.
You all probably already know it and even after reading this you will still not give a tick but I will say it again anyway – Never ever read a source material novel before watching the adaptation! Never ever! No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to stop drawing parallels and getting disappointed when things you loved in the original story doesn’t make it into the adaptation.
Now sure there are special cases like ‘Fingersmith’ where the book was released 14 years before the movie adaptation so chances are you read it already and that is not your fault. Also still on that example, sometimes the adaptation is more fulfilling than the source material (Come now, you know it as well as everybody that Fingersmith lost to The handmaiden where yuri is concerned!! It lost so bad the gap is almost as big as the gap we are discussing right now between this particular ship demographic).
Unfortunately, this is not the case here. In fact it was the opposite! I found out about the movie before I did the book. Still I went ahead and read the book ahead of the movie! This went very bad in many ways. First of all there was no way I was going to enjoy the movie for its own merits but I would instead be expecting things to happen and judge the movie when they don’t (current problem with DC Films – curiously in this camp I am very okay with the adaptations…hmmm).
Anyway, first of all the book made me so furious that it is a miracle that I finished it at all! That is how strong that bait was, or more like how yet another author got wet feet as the story progressed, especially towards the end and changed their original idea because they were too scared of the reactions to the original idea! This sure always sells but the story and characters suffer because of it – every damn time (Ask Leto’s Joker)!
No, no, I am not mad that the 30-something teacher did not end up with the 10-year-old MC (not human but still). I mean let’s be realistic here. The thing that really got me pissed was, first of all, the fact that despite spending 90% of the story time letting us know how Miss J (the teacher, will call her this from now on. Here full name is Miss Justineau) despicably felt about the Dude. Miss J was radiating hatred for that guy in every single conversation they had. Hell, even Melanie (our cute protag) saw the Dude as the rival and interestingly enough the Dude also saw her as a rival with how he responded to her claiming attacks on Miss J. So, Miss J spends all this time hating on the Dude and then out of nowhere, out of freaking nowhere, they have sex and shit!
Sorry, even thinking about it gets me mad!
Now of course there was no children as an outcome (at least the story did not bother to even address that) and the Dude died, and I am not even making this up, right after said sex scene. In the very same night he was killed! I don’t even know what the author was trying to accomplish here! In any other story I would bitten the ‘the world is coming to an end so we might as well’ but the world has been ending for years in this world! Everybody is practically just living on borrowed time! FFS Melanie could kill them any time and yet suddenly, with a guy that she couldn’t even stand being in the same room with, they…
And not that I even cared but what happened after that?! What was Miss J’s reaction? You will not freakin find out, that’s what! They did not bother to show us even that. They did not bother to let Miss J have some reflection on what happened, have a normal conversation to close off the story with even Melanie. Nope! Instead we ended that note on a Miss J that was just getting acquainted with her surroundings after waking up from the night of that unnecessary sex!
Ah, sorry, I forgot to mention. This is a story centered around a 10-year-old but this is no Disney book! And even being much less hardcore than the book, even the movie was rated 15A here in Ireland, which is just ridiculously high for anything this slight. Movies with naked sex scenes are in the 15A camp too. It is a horror/zombie/apocalyptic and Melanie is one of the kids that were born ‘dead’, well, kind of dead. They show intelligence not known in zombies and so they are recruited and put into research centers to try to find a cure.
Melanie is in one of these centers when we first meet her. She is also more special than the others, hence the MC. She’s basically a living zombie, though other than intelligence, everything else about her is zombie. She still eats flesh like all the other zombies, she just has better control. Oh yeah, she also has that Arcueid/Shiki fatal attraction going on because despite being the person she least wants to hurt (and where her control stemmed from), Melanie still finds Miss J irresistibly enticing and delicious.
That decision with the Dude was the worst thing I have ever seen a story do! It made me so mad, but it was not the only one. The other was the actual story writing. Despite this being Melanie’s story, get this, after a great start with awesomely paced out development, something happened. I don’t know what, maybe someone else took the author’s rough book and finished the story for them? I don’t know but at some point the story got so weird like a chapter having as little as half a page of content. These chapters usually being character POVs, really got annoying and confusing a lot, and I mean a lot of times.
Worst still, as I was saying despite this being Melanie’s story and thus the main character and whom every reader will get attached to and want to follow, those short chapters? Most of them were hers!!! Secondary characters got more content than her despite being less interesting! I was seriously so mad reading this book from time to time I think I might have lost a few days of life from the fact.
Like, who writes a chapter with six paragraphs?! Oh wait, MR Carey!
But with all the negativity, why am I writing about this anyway? There must be something good, right? Well, I did wait until I saw the movie to write about this book and I have not actually complained about the movie yet so there should be good news. And there is indeed!
For the movie, I recommend it first of all for even trying, and this goes to the author too. They gave us something fresh in a world already over-populated. We have seen pure bloods but never the pure deads. And also the fact that a 10-year-old is the main character in an adult story also in balsy. And let’s not forget the fact that attracted me to the book in the first place. I love that England (And WB let’s not forget. Love you WB) went for it and made a movie out of this anyway. Sure the original storyteller already got scared to go all the way but that is why we have Fan Fiction. England tried to join the others in the sun and I love that.
Though I am slightly disappointed that it lost to Hollywood with their contribution in Fragile. There was a kiss in that one, an honest to Goodness kiss too. So much so that it brought out protag back to life.
Anyway, another thing I loved enough to write about this story is the fact that the movie saved me from double raeging by not including that stupid sex scene or even hinting at the prospect! Hell, even the Dude dies for no reason unlike in the book where he died purposefully. In the movie, interestingly, he died because of Melanie. Now sure she did not mean it, but still. And in fact she killed him twice! First when she released the spores that would cleanse the world of men by turning them into zombies, the Dude got exposed as he was looking for her. And then when he turned into one, she shot him in the head, although it was per his request so she in fact killed him twice but not willingly.
So thank you movie for not giving me that shitty sub-plot.
As the movie praise continues, it also gets lots of points for a certain scene it added in towards the end that was not in the book. To all who know me and my perfect fetish and have watched the movie, probably already guessed what I am talking about.
As I said Melanie released the deadly spores so only zombies, or maybe it was only the true deads un-affected, but anyway Miss J could no longer go out and Melanie could no longer go into the trailer that protected Miss J so their interactions were limited to them interacting across a wall of glass. So when Miss J wakes up, (having been out from different circumstances from the book, thank God) the spores are already out and about and Melanie can’t come in anymore without exposure. The two look into each other’s eyes silently as they do the thing…
WITH THE HANDS!
Obviously! They both touch their palms on the glass as if trying to touch and I was just so knocked off my socks because I was so not expecting that! How can I not praise the movie for that?! In fact it actually upped the gay a bit from the book in other places and in fact some of those places were not in the book at all. Like, I am pretty sure the ‘She Loves You’ line is Movie-exclusive!!
Good Lord, are we going into times where adaptations change things for the better? Mr Park did it by cranking up the gay from Fingersmith, DC is doing it by upping the maturity of comic books and now this.
More of this please! Someone please make a movie adaptation of Card Captor Sakura and make Tomoyo END-GAME instead! I am pretty sure you will be worshipped! Sailor Moon dropped the ball by not shacking Dirt prince for the Princess of Mars but hey, no use crying over spilled milk. I forgive them for they did not know of the progress in the world.
As for the differences between the book and movie plot? Unlike where Fingersmith has a godly plot and not even genius Park could out-do it or do it justice, the book for ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ was all over the place that really, no one will be that much bothered by whatever the movie decides to change in the story. Hell, only remember Melanie and Miss J’s moments not included but nothing about the actual plot changes.
Oh man, it sounds like I hate that book. I do not, not really, but I also don’t love it. Will not burn it or exchange it for another either. It is and will stay on my shelf. It still has that wonderful Melanie monologing and also other wonderful Miss J/Melanie interactions so yeah, definitely a keeper.
As for the movie – favourite genre (horror) with a dose of yuri? Blu-ray dear Friend, Blu-ray! Already going to watch it again in cinemas because of that wonderful surprise this weekend too. So yes, I do recommend you check it out.