What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come was a little heavy-handed, and I don't agree with all the things they changed from the book, but I did like seeing where they were going with it and how they represented things.

What Dreams May Come was on my "to see" list for a while, but then I kind of lost interest in it. My boyfriend had a copy of the book on the bookshelf, so I decided to check it out. It was an interesting book, and that renewed my interest in seeing the movie. I would say about 75% of the stuff in the movie wasn't in the book, and a lot of what was in the book probably got lost in translation if you only saw the movie. I think a lot of the themes were probably only hinted at in the movie; they came through for me since I had read the book, but if I hadn't, I probably wouldn't have seen them so clearly.

Robin Williams' character was a little obnoxiously cheerful/"funny" in the movie. I don't know how much of that was Robin's fault and how much was just the screenwriter trying to say "look what a great guy Chris is!" Annie's instability was hinted at in the book, but it made her downright unlikeable to me in the movie. In the book, their kids were mostly grown up when Chris died, and none of the kids died. There was no scene where they met. That scene was terrible. Whoever wrote it should retire. Since the kids didn't die, Annie didn't try to kill herself, so everything at the mental ward was added for the movie. It tied in kind of nicely I guess when he said he realized he left her alone by not being as depressed as she was, and then he refused to leave her alone in her version of Hell.

It's a scary/depressing thing to think about, really, the idea that Hell is just being trapped in a crappy place created by your own thoughts, and you can never get out of it because you refuse to believe anything else is possible. It is a good message for life in general, no matter what you believe about the afterlife. You create your own reality to a certain extent. Your attitude does matter. Anytime you can manage to have a positive outlook about something, you're going to be better off.

They didn't drive home the importance of thoughts quite so much in the movie. It was more "my 10 year-old daughter looks like an Asian stewardess" and "my 13 year-old son is a 30 year-old black man." Which obviously did not happen in the book. There was no old doctor friend to guide Chris, either. His guide was just his cousin, instead of his son and the old man. And that was fine. I don't really think they needed to kill his kids. It didn't serve any purpose other than the whole "Annie tried to kill herself thing," and I don't think they needed that.

I hated how the world was paint, but maybe that's just me. It seemed bizarre and gross. And was not in the book. I liked the way they quickly represented the various levels of Hell. I liked the idea from the book that Chris had to force himself to become more corporeal the farther down he went, though. It's too bad they couldn't incorporate it into the movie.

It was interesting visually, even though the CG wasn't always the best and I didn't enjoy the paint world one bit. The ending was a little nonsensical. In the book, Chris doesn't see Annie after he leaves her Hell. He just wakes up and his cousin tells him she came out of it, and couldn't make it all the way to "Heaven," but was given the option to be reborn. Chris decides to be reborn, too, so he can be with her. In the movie, she gets to come to Heaven with Chris, but they randomly decide for no reason that it will be fun to go back to Earth and try to make "better decisions" this time around.

They say the kids will be waiting for them when they come back to Heaven, and then they can all be together forever. Well, you're all together now, so why not just stay there? Maybe Annie would be forever haunted by having decided to kill herself, and wonder what she'd be missing out on, what lessons she was supposed to learn on Earth, or something. But I like the book version better. It implies that there were consequences for her not allowing the natural order of things to play out, which fits the world of the story better.

The ending with the little boy Chris meeting little girl Annie over their toy boats was cute, though, I'll give it that. I can't speak for how someone who hasn't read the book will perceive it, but for me, I liked it. I liked seeing what different ways they would go at things, and how they would visually represent things. It was heavy-handed in places, but still entertaining. You probably do need the foundation of the book to enjoy it, though. Otherwise I probably would've just been like, "What a weird movie."

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