So I went to see HOAYS on Thursday. Alone. [which has become therapeutic for me] After Dunni blatantly refused to tag along. In her defense, she hadn’t read the book and didn’t see the need to so I let her be.
Can I just say that directors need to let movie adaptations rest if they aren’t gonna be at par with the novels. I’m sorry but with the story line still fresh in my memory, I’d have to say that the movie didn’t do justice for me. Yes I expected more. I was expecting to be blown away but what did I get? A substandard version of the book squashed into a less than two-hour movie. Literally 111 minutes. Seriously? With that kind of budget which I hear was outrageous bagging the title of Nollywood’s most expensive movie as well? There’s a reason why most box office movies are longer. Someone would say I probably had overly high expectations. I’m not really vast in this things but I think some other ”experienced” director should have handled it and not someone who’s trying break into the industry with his debut work. Or maybe an entirely different scriptwriter or director. Whatever!
Fortunately the brilliant acting and cinematography displaced the rather mediocre screenplay by obviously overshadowing it. I must confess, the casting was quite apt with exceptional deliveries except from a few misgivings here and there.
It was my first time watching Chiwetal Ejiofor and yeah, I was impressed. He played the role excellently except from a few hitches. I was particularly surprised that his speech was devoid of any foreign accent whatsoever instead sounded more Nigerian which made it even more enjoyable. Given his Igbo roots, his interpretation was passable. I feel like I need to see more of his works to thoroughly enjoy him. And those beards for days!
Thandie Newton brilliantly interpreted her role as well despite her accent evoking all forms of emotions when necessary and leaving lasting impressions. She was great and a bit inaudible as well. She struggled with a few pronunciations but that didn’t deter her from delivering. I totally enjoyed her.
Despite the image of Kainene I had in my head from the book, the gorgeous Anika Noni Rose was able to effortlessly depict her character. She tried (to a large extent) to portray the overall essence and personality of Kainene but beyond that, I loved her ballsy and smug attitude.
I feel like Ugwu‘s role was downplayed and underrated. I could literally count the number of scenes he appeared in which of course minimized his potentials. He became a writer for Pete’s sake. Aren’t we supposed to know how that came about? Even if it was just clips?
I hate to think that Richard was passed off as a mere lover/husband/seeker rather than the writer/journalist(?) that he really was. There were less than a handful of scenes to aptly depict him.
Oh and yes, Onyeka Onwenu. Typical Igbo. Her performance was flawless in my opinion. In fact she was easily the best act maybe because the role was a familiar territory given her background and all.
Genevieve Nnaji? She might as well been a waka-pass to be honest.
Having said that,
- It looks like I had unrealistic expectations such that I expected the director to capture every scene in the book which truth be told, is utterly impossible.
- No, I had no issues with the accents. I just seemed to me that as an indigenous movie adaptation, I actually needed to hear their lines verbatim.
- Overlooking the screenplay, I think the quality of the movie was brilliant. Highly impressive with the additions of the actual historical videos. Smooth transition from the past to the present. Interesting map indications which made it even more believable.
- Appropriate and fantastic use of props and costume with slight hitches with the hairstyles as usual. (Seriously ladies did Ghana weaving in the 90’s?) The makeup was almost believable with defined brows, nude lipsticks and ruby woos. Other than that, it was clean.
- Maybe it was me but I didn’t notice any OST given all the ones we’ve heard prior to the premier of the movie. The only obvious one was the during the opening credits which was quite instrumental and catchy. Again, maybe it’s just me.
- Thanks to the abridged version, there wasn’t any form of unnecessary drag as it was quickly wrapped up in less than two hours although it was a bit bland, pale and lacked the element of epic-ness.
- Most importantly, I think Nigerian expats should be selected for movie adaptations like this. It makes more sense to involve them. Maybe the issues of accents, pronunciations and whatnot wouldn’t be there at all. It’ll probably make the movies more believable and relate-able. Maybe it’s me though. (my two cents)
Really,Biyi Bandele could have done better but it looks like we’re gonna have to let it pass well for obvious reasons. I feel particularly sorry for those watching without reading the book. They might actually miss out of the awesomeness that is the book.
As far as the overall quality of the movie goes, I think it’s pretty decent but for the adaptation and interpretation,
crap!. Let’s just say, 2 out of 5 stars.
Now The Actual Rant
Forget all you’ve just read, I’m actually mad! I’ve just been able to contain myself.
Likee! I’m so upset!
After all the hype!
The cinema was just so quiet and lowkey devoid of those usual chants that symbolized epiceness and brilliance (except for Onyeka and Ugwu’s parts maybe)
The book is AMAZING for Pete’s sake!
Why did it have to be reduced to this?
Someone said it’s probably because I’m a writer and very fond of the book. Yes maybe that why. I didn’t know really.
I’d take it personal if someone did this to my book because I know how much hard work I have put into that book.
Can’t they just let the books be? Do you have to ruin it by turning it into a movie that’s below par?
Okay rant over.
If you’re planning to see the movie, do so in isolation. Don’t read the book and you might just enjoy the movie. Don’t have any preconceived notion or expectations. Just watch it.