60/60 Extra: Catch-22.

I have a bad headache right now, so I'm gonna keep this short and sweet. I read the book a few years ago and loved it--thought it was both very well written in a very non-linear format and was comedy gold... not to mention it had a brilliant twist ending. The movie is both very similar and very different. The story and characters are there (though there is quite a bit cut out from what I remember), but something just feels... off.

For those who don't know what it's about, the basic story (because it's much more complicated than this) follows Yossarian (Alan Arkin), a bombardier who wants to get out of the war. He tries to show that he's crazy so they can ground him, but the Doc (Jack Gilford) can't do it based on his word--if he asks to be grounded, he's obviously sane, because only someone crazy would stay in the war. That's Catch-22: any catch with circular logic. But through flashbacks and a completely non-linear plot, we see wacky misadventures, as well as the death of his friends and a young soldier that completely change Yossarian and give us quite an anti-war message. The film also co-stars Buck Henry, Bob Newhart, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, Bob Balaban, and Orson Welles (among others).

The best I can describe it is that the book was mostly comedy with some heavy drama sprinkled in. The movie either cuts back on the comedy to focus on the drama or doesn't deliver the comedy as well as the book... possibly both. The adaptation just doesn't feel right to me tonally.

As for the actors, sometimes they're great, sometimes they could do better. Just like the tone, there's just something... off... about the actors. I also had a hard time figuring out who was who. There are a ton of characters in this story, and they're easy to keep track of in the book. But in the film, you might only hear their name once and quickly, so it's hard to keep names and faces together.

It's not a bad adaptation, but for a film based on a book I loved so much, I was left feeling very meh about it. And that's really all I can say. If you haven't read the book but enjoy the movie, please give the book a try. It's so much better (of course). So that's really all I have to say.

Stop Saying OK! OK.

1 comment:

  1. Starts out pretty funny, gets incredibly weird by the end. I loved how the comedy still holds up pretty well especially in today’s day and age, but I still need to read the source material. Good review, check out mine when you can!


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