I'm all for creative new spins on ideas from great works, such as Ray Bradbury's F451, but just don't call it Fahrenheit 451. Another reviewer asked why so many negative reviews, well it's because when you choose to make an adaption of such a beloved book, you do the author and fans justice by sticking to the main themes of the movie and pivotal points and roles. If you want to make such a loosely based version, call it The Fireman or something. I don't want to be a huge fan of a book, get excited it's being remade, have the expectation it is going to follow the book because it's named as such, only to watch something that misses the mark. This was disappointing.
As a massive fan of the novel, I was eager to see how it was going to be adapted using today's effects. What I got was a script that butchered the original storyline so much, I was confused as to what I was watching.
If I hadn't initially read the book, I wouldn't have a clue as to what the idea behind burning every book in existence was.. The main subject of the book was thrown away and what is left is a forgettable piece of film that all involved should be ashamed of. I'm only giving it 2 stars because I like the previous work of Michael Shannon. TRUST ME, READ THE BOOK! It's is more relevant now than it was when it was written.
Ray Bradbury stated in a lecture (at UCLA) that his novel 'Fahrenheit 451' wasn't about censorship. He made it clear that the theme of his book IS about the role of mass media and its effect on the populace. Basically he believed the old "idiot box" makes people less capable of assimilating complex information. Popular opinion dictated that 'Fahrenheit 451' is about censorship, because Bradbury wrote the book during an era of actual book burnings. For example: During a college lecture on his novel, when he presented the truth of the book's theme to an auditorium full of students, he was stopped in his tracks by someone loudly exclaiming "No! It's about censorship!". After regaining his composure, Bradbury then tried to correct the student by holding up his novel and pointing to his name on the cover. Others chimed in quickly and consensous agreed that the novel was about censorship. Bradbury was so angered by the students that he stormed out and vowed he'd never give another lecture on it again.The update in this film replaces mainstream media television with the appeal of the internet. The dystopian outcome, the broken free will of the populace, and the depressive tone of Bradbury's story was altered to focus on fireman (police) brutality and the surveillance state. Bahrani's film ignores so much of what the novel outlines, to preach a politically correct message, that it becomes superficial. So slick and verbally facile to the point of becoming the horror Ray Bradbury illustrated so elequently in print - Media is a blunt form of distraction compared to the thought-provoking nature of books.
In so many ways this movie strays far from a book that didn't need embellishment or change. It was all right there on the page. So, this movie, adapted from a novel about burning books, uses a script that burns the original text in effigy, with its writer/director missing the irony all the while.Of course, "Fahrenheit 451" is about more than just burning books. It is really about destroying all sorts of philosophies, artistic expression, free thinking, and sagacious wisdom. The film touches on that but creates a new narrative that has little to do with the lessons of the original story.The opening starts well enough, with the classic pieces of literature and great art burning away and seemingly setting the tone for the message. But what happened to the message? From here, the film goes into its own creation of ideas, none of them good. While the novel is set in no particular place, the film chooses Cleveland as the locale for these events. The firemen are heroes whose exploits are all over TV and social media. They practice a military-like brand of machismo and are practically the pro athletes of the future.Changes from the novel are disastrous choices. While Guy is married to a despondent woman named Mildred in the book, here he is single, which removes one of the many sources of his confused allegiance and some necessary conflict for the story. In the novel Clarisse is a youthful, optimistic, free-thinking girl but in the film she is a gothic, post-college radical about ten years older. It's like taking Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz" and transmorphing her into Patty Hearst. Clarisse is meant to bring some light into Guy's empty world but here she is turned into a potential lover and one of the reasons he strays from his job of burning books. The film's Clarisse is nowhere near as engaging or likable as the one in the book, despite being on the right side of the political divide. The second greatest crime in this faulty adaptation is that the film is dull and protracted. While it has exciting and engaging visuals, the pace is slow and the events are dragged out, with little to no character development. And then there are the film's inventions, which border on the absurd. The society of people who memorize books have put their DNA into a bird that is supposed to...what? Fly out into the world and spread it's (and literature's) seed? Does this make sense to anyone?Moreover, HBO was cheap and lazy with this production, using a very recognizable 2018 downtown Los Angeles as a substitute for futuristic Cleveland. This reminds me of the 1970s, when L.A.'s Bonaventure Hotel stood in as New Chicago for "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century." If they didn't want to spring for a special effects skyline, couldn't they have just used the real Cleveland? Or at least the skyline of another world city that is less recognizable to Americans like Helsinki or Johannesburg?When I first heard Michael B. Jordan was cast as Guy Montag, I was delighted. I think he's an extraordinary actor and one need only revisit "Fruitvale Station" to see why. But not only do they put him to terrible use in this, I was really uncomfortable watching an African American actor playing a character who struggles to read, given the abhorrent track record our nation has with providing fair and equal education to minorities. Those scenes made an entirely different statement than the what the producers thought they were making.
If I could insert the "ironic" meme that uses Palpatine from the Star Wars prequels, I would. Ray Bradbury's classic book was about how media dumbs down the populace and how books were censored to keep people from thinking freely, which is exactly what the makers of this movie did. They dumbed down the themes of the source material and put them through the PC spin machine to create a film that exemplifies exactly what Bradbury warned about. It only got more than one star because of the great visuals and acting from Shannon.
I found Francois Truffaut's film version of Fahrenheit 451 hard going, not helped by a distant performance from star Oskar Werner.Ramin Bahrani reimagines the Ray Bradbury novel. He sets it in an era of fake news, fake history, disinformation. Propaganda at its best. Burn books and you can reinvent an alternative timeline.Set in a future Dystopia, Guy Montag (Michael P Jordan) and his mentor Captain Beatty (Michael Shannon) are firemen after a second civil war America who burn books, a tradition that goes far back as Benjamin Franklin! It is easier to control people if they could not find information and think for themselves. It was easy to keep people happy if they do not get offended from what they read.Montag carries out his work diligently and is in line for promotion but gets taken in by the Eels, a counter group who preserve the information contained in books. They learn books by heart, the upload it on the net, they rebel against the government.Shannon can play the villain in his sleep. Jordan has the harder part but he is rather vacuous, maybe he is meant to be that way, a person who has never learned to think or question for himself.There are some good ideas in this film but they never hang together or are fully realised. With two failed adaptations, I think Bradbury's novel might come across better on the page than on the screen.
The 1966 film version was good for it's time.
This version was weak, boring and failed to explain the background to events.
Ray Bradbury would have held his head in his hands and cried at this insult to his work.
I cannot believe that the Bradbury estate would have given its blessing to such a poor interpretation of the book. The original movie wasn't perfect but it was far truer to the book than this. For a long time, I have noticed that screen writers are too lazy to read the books they base movies on or are too stupid to understand them.
SPOILER: It is evident from the interview on IndieWire that Ramin Bahrani doesn't understand the book at all and he didn't know how to turn it in to a watchable film. So why did nobody stop him?! Such a shame and missed opportunity.
"A third of the novel continues after Montag kills Beatty and I didn't know how I could make that work as a dramatic film because for one-third there's suddenly no tension," Bahrani said.
This may be a remake which is never as good as the original but this one just doesn't hit the point. I remember reading the book and seeing the movie back in the 70s while in high school and it was a discussion of events in my English class this movie didn't do anything to invigorate my mind. I ended up not watching the whole thing. PS, Just Trivia in 80/90's I was a California Police Officer the Penal Code Section for Arson was 451, who knew that the legislator had a sense of humor.
For months, I waited with anticipation for HBO's adaptation of my favorite book Fahrenheit 451 to make its début; I was a huge fan of the book-obviously seeing as it's my favorite-and I also quite enjoyed the first 1996 movie adaptation when my teacher shared it with our class in 2011. Naturally, the 1996 lacked a few things, but seeing as the technological capabilities were limited then compared to what we have now that is to be expected, so when I heard HBO was doing an updated movie I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to see all of the things that had had to be left out in the 1996 version and when it popped up on my Hulu account to watch I was definitely excited...until I turned the movie on.The cast wasn't anything close to the characters in the novel, nor were the personalities that they portrayed onscreen. The story itself-to me at least-seemed to be changed and even dumbed down for the audience of todays generation and that saddened me alone. I could have stomached most of the movie if they had stayed true to the original plot. To me they have utterly destroyed one of my favorite books.Long story short, if you genuinely love the book and want to see it come to life on the big screen, don't watch this. If you're looking for an action/thriller sort if thing that seems to barely have a decent storyline and you've never read the book, then you're good.