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Fallen (2016) Movie Review: My heart now flutters with its own wings

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Fallen Movie was amazing! Too bad, I wasn't able to watch the premiere in my country and you will find out later as to why. As a bookworm, there was nothing I could complain about. If there are omissions, they're understandable. If there are changes, they're necessary. On the other hand or more importantly, as a cineaste, Fallen was a superb film. For those who watched the trailer and judged the film poorly for it, let me tell you that the trailer didn't do the film justice. It was screaming too much of Twilight (I know) and Fallen is nothing like it. The trailer was simply misrepresenting it.

Fallen (2016) Movie Review
courtesy: Lotus Entertainment

Those events you saw on the trailer making you groan for being similar with other cheesy paranormal films (*coughs* Twilight *coughs*) didn't happen in the books but it's palpable the filmmakers decided to add them in hopes to pull viewers new to the story who could easily be lured because they love the idea of a damsel in distress having her feet swooped by a knight in a shining armor. Yes, I did just use three clichéd idioms in one sentence. Um, Fallen was exactly like that but I'm not complaining, it wasn't bad at all. In fact, I love it all. It was cheesy but if it could turn your heart to mush, then it's effective.

Based on the best-selling Young Adult book series, FALLEN tells the story of 17-year-old Lucinda “Luce” Price, who is sent to a reform school in Savannah, Ga., after she is accused of starting a fire that leaves a young boy dead. At Sword & Cross, Luce struggles to find her place, new faces show up in unexpected places and she doesn't know who to trust. But she finds friendship in PENN, an awkward wise-cracker who knows her way around the school. Then Luce's eyes are turned toward two charming young men — DANIEL & CAM. Before long, Luce finds herself in the middle of a love triangle – courting these two mysterious young men. On a quest to uncover secrets from her past, the shy Luce discovers the two men are fallen angels, competing for her love for centuries. Luce must choose where her feelings lie, pitting heaven against hell in an epic battle over true love.


When you don't have much emotions left in your heart (especially when it has nothing much to begin with) and something made you feel what it's like to feel something, then that something is great for people who are on the lookout for feelings. I'm running around, I know. Fallen didn't move me but I felt my heart compelled all the same.

Some minute details from Rapture (very important unveiling) were thrown in on the narration at the beginning of the film. They didn't serve as spoiler since the narration was done right. I love the opening. The visual effects look stunning, as stunning as Michaelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel (not that I was ever been there). I don't know where the filmmakers taped Sword and Cross Academy (now I'm reminded of the manga, Vampire Knight) or if it's all CGI because it's lovely. Even if only the parts are real and the rest of the structure is visual effects, the setting is just perfect.

Before I forget, I don't know if it's because it's shown in the Philippines but one thing that I appreciate the most in this film is the presence of subtitles.
Fallen (2016) Movie Review
Fallen didn't have a major release. It's released by a small film company (when compared to the major ones in Hollywood), Lotus Entertainment. For this young adult adaptation, nothing was spared when it comes to engrossing sparkly effects. Some Fallen book fans might have expressed their anger over the whimsy energy angel wings instead of the real feathered ones but I'm all for it! My inner child stares in wonder on the angels' glimmering wings. That might not work in Susan Ee's Angelfall as the physical wings play a major role in that book's world-building but such a change doesn't matter for the plot here. What matters was the color.

I love the cinematography. That voyeuristic shot of Daniel butterflying his way on the pool was captivating. The transitions were also lovely. Changing the view as patchy flashbacks to the past when Daniel and Luce come in contact will titillate your knack for mystery, with the flashbacks never overpowering the view of the present. There's also this nice transition sequence that I love the most: When Luce drove the motorcycle with Cam at the back, that thing that happened on a bar called Pandemonium, Luce driving herself alone back to the dorms. The makeup was also done right. Addison Timlin's minimalist makeup makes her stunning even without lipstick or when she's bathing in sweat. Addison Timlin's deep-set eyes were enhanced by her exquisite eyeshadow. Speaking of sweat, the makeup artists did well with the convincing sweating (when Daniel and Luce parry in fencing, and when Luce was admitted to the hospital).
  • Trivia 1: It was expressed in the book that the major characters have deep-set eyes, much like the cast.
If this film makes it big, Lotus Entertainment will soar high with it. Scott Hick's direction did the story justice. The Fallen film caught the feel and nuances of Lauren Kate's masterpiece-to-date. With some minute changes, the screenplay writers were able to encapsulate the ambiance, the emotions, the forthcoming endgame without revealing too much from the author's prose. This is indeed a film for the Fallen fans that the fans will surely love that I myself have loved.
Fallen (2016) Addison Timlin as Lucinda Price
Now, let me talk about the actors and their characters. I didn't approve of Addison Timlin being cast as Lucinda Price or Luce at first. She wasn't pretty enough in my books but she has longish face which matched her description in the books. Watching the film, oh gosh was she pretty. Her eyelashes are spot on. You'd go jelly on her eyes as much as you did with Tris's hair on the premiere of Divergent. What I didn't expect though was her lack of height. She looks tall enough in pictures but she's a dwarf next to Jeremy Irvine playing as her love interest, Daniel Grigori. Perhaps, that's only because Irvine stood 186 cm in height. That's 6'1" for you retards. Oops, I'm terribly sorry. I was simply speaking in memes. Checking her profile, she's only an inch over five feet! Gosh, she would make a perfect Penrynn in Angelfall with that height.
Fallen (2016) Harrison Gilbertson as Cam Briel
Like Timlin, I didn't approve of Harrison Gilbertson playing as Cameron Briel or Cam either. He was not hot enough in my eyes. He does have smoldering eyes but the distances in between with his eyes, nose and lips are too short, his face looks off not to mention how his face looks smashed in on a side view (his huge forehead didn't help). He does have fierce eyes and I love how the camera would always cut off the rest of his face and focus on one of his lovely eyes. Now, I'm reminded of Leonard DiCaprio in The Man In the Iron Mask. I noticed how Leo has such a wide face which was emphasized since he was sporting a long hair for that film (wig, I know). His eyes will draw you in though that you'd forget about it. Like Leo, Harrison is short too. It's a small wonder lots of fans are reminded of Leo, they have similarities (I'm not really referring to the height). But what Leo lacks in height, he makes up for an impressive acting skill. I hope Harrison will follow in that path and not end up forgotten like most rival heartthrobs on a love triangle story.
Fallen (2016) Jeremy Irvine as Daniel Grigori
I loved Jeremy Irvine in War Horse. I even watched the premiere of War Horse on a late release in my country (late like how Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released on China only weeks after the worldwide release). I loved him so much that I wasn't able to imagine not liking him in any film until Fallen. Oh, such trifling irony. He's a looker but only now am I seeing that his deep-set eyes are that of a puppy. They look adorable right next to Harrison's fierce looks. Between an adorable gentleman and a hot rebel, it's easy to fall for the rugged looks. *smirks*

I imagined Daniel to be a really serious angel, brooding like the naive Jon Snow (of Game of Thrones), too deep that you can't see him anymore like Caleb (of Tarryn Fisher's The Opportunist). Jeremy Irvine's acting of such a deep longing threw me off in space. I can't take it! I imagined him having such intense brooding. His pained look reminds me so much of Jamie Dornan's portrayal of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey. Fine, it's his being in pain that made him vulnerable in my eyes and I couldn't forget about how he must have felt all along since I finished Rapture, the last book of the Fallen series.
  • Trivia 2: Fallen (2016) has the same budget as Fifty Shades of Grey (2016).
Most ladies on the cinema's comfort room expressed how much they preferred Cam over Daniel since he was mostly there compared to Daniel. Obviously, they haven't read the books and I can't blame them if Harrison's eyes hooked them to him. I heard one commenting that Harrison looks like a young Brad Pitt. I appreciate all the good comments I heard when for the past two years, I've been complaining about Harrison's taking the role of my smoldering hot Cam. What grinds my gears though was my seatmate commenting how Daniel looks ugly when he's almost crying. Apparently, no lady loves a stupid look. Overall, I think Cam has this intensity that drew more film viewers to him over Daniel's yearning for love. From the book series, I am Team Daniel through and through but for this film, I don't think so that I loved the film's deviation or the way it affected me: it's like knowing the story for the first time.

Not only does the trio all have deep-set eyes. They also have lovely voices. I love it when Luce talks. Addison Timlin has such a naturally sweet low voice. I could listen to her talk all day. Cameron has a charming low voice and it does not sound forced. Perhaps, his is what is described by some books as velvety deep voice. Harrison is still young. His voice could still go deeper. You'll go kilig when he says, "I can protect you." Daniel has a natural deep voice but I was not as charmed as I was with Harrison's. I couldn't believe that despite all my revulsion of the casting, in the end, I would like Harrison Gilbertson. You really can never judge the book by its cover.

I knew Penn (Luce's best friend in the academy) was nerdy. I thought she was the dainty vulnerable type of nerd. What I didn't expect was how she was going to be portrayed. She was dressed like Amy in The Big Bang Theory series, talks with the mannerism and voice of Felicity on The Arrow series, almost has the face of Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) and she'd look great if she's thinner.

Gabbe (Hermione Corfield), your typical fairy blonde looks better in pictures but she's still your typical barbie doll on-screen. Arianne's beauty was spot on (I don't know how many times I could use this idiom); she looks exactly like how she was described, portrayed by Daisy Head. Roland (Malachi Kirby) looks handsome for his role. It's weird that he doesn't do much in this film except being the party thrower. Molly (Sianoa Smit-McPhee), oh-my-molly, was she so freaky and scary, and freaky tall too that she's dwarfing Cam. We have the same hairstyle if I had shorter bangs and straight hair. I love her outfit! Molly is my spirit animal, I mean, spirit angel to be appropriate.
  • Trivia 3: Sianoa is the sister of actor Kodi Smit-McPhee who has a height of 6'2" (1.88m). The enzyme for tallness does run in their family.
The only bad thing I could say about this film is the lack of PR (press release). I've only been out of the loop from the Internet since October 27 and then suddenly on November 9, I just heard from the local TV news that upcoming rising Hollywood actors are currently in my country to promote their film. My relatives were watching the news on the next room and I took no mind of what I heard even though I'm usually hyped when Hollywood took interest in the Philippines that they think we'd help boost their sales and send actors to us. That was until I heard Addison Timlin's name. As it turned out, the trailer was released on October 6 and I have no idea how I missed it.

As a Fallen fan, I know she plays the role of Lucinda Price. She's not a household name and as far as I was concerned, she only appeared on TV and not on the big screen. That means Fallen is finally coming out. I then had to check it but my mind was preoccupied with other things that day and I finally had the chance to turn on the Internet late at night the next day to my dismay. Local people aren't even interested with these "new" Hollywood actors no matter how pretty they look that no one even bothered to record that segment on the news to upload on YouTube. The only thing left for me is to look for the trailer and I was further disappointed.

I was drowning in regret upon knowing that Fallen premiered in my country that very day and I'm only able to watch it on the second day. It was plain terrible. I know I have too many excuses in missing the premiere in my own country. When young adult industry is concerned, I supported premieres for Twilight, Hunger Games and Divergent but I was not able to do it with Lauren Kate's Fallen when I've loved it way more than those others. I am entirely not at fault. If only the filmmakers released even a teaser months (make that three) earlier, people could be hyped. And by people, I meant fans. By now, teenager fans like myself would be adults and it will be much harder now to bring more people along for the joyride the movie could offer. While adults have their own jobs (mine's home-based, so screw social life), it is easier to entice other students and friends who don't have responsibilities along than inviting adults whose hands would most likely be full because everyone now has serious responsibilities.

Further Musing

I'm a huge fan of the novels and I was not informed. I was constantly on the lookout for the trailer and when it did arrive, it came out at a time that I decided I'd purge myself from the Internet (I ignored Internet for almost 2 months) because I have old ARCs I need to sweep. It was disheartening that everything was revealed on such a short notice. Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series has a huge following, the same goes for Beautiful Creatures and Vampire Academy; and they all flopped. They did enough PR and they still didn't sell. Worse, they were released by big production companies. If those two failed miserably, how much more this one? Why am I fretting like this? There were less than 20 of us in the cinema when I watched it on the second day of the film's release!

What's more disheartening? This movie is soooo good. I could forget being a reader and suspend my mind as being new to the story and I could say it really is a good film. The City of Bones was too ambitious and it lacks emotions, Beautiful Creatures simply was not compelling (I remembered my acquaintances saying it was average if not meh), the protagonists of Vampire Academy lack chemistry and their combat acting is sloppy (they should have learned from Divergent). Those three movies are poor while Fallen is wondrous. I'm terribly sorry that the filmmakers lacked action when this film could have sold more. The only good thing about this debacle is that continuity of the series is ensured. As far as I know, they were wrapping up with the filming of the sequel ages ago. So, other Fallen fans out there, don't fret. If this film flopped, even if the sequel won't be released on the big screen, it might be on DVDs.

Fallen head or not, this is one film that you should not sorely miss if you're after romance, mystery and thrill.

7.6/109/10

4 comments:

  1. Eh, I found it very badly edited and poorly produced. Too short in duration, very sloppy transitions, cardboard cut out characters and zero suspense. Also this film has the worst dialogue i've seen. The only film with equally out of place and atrocious dialogue is Marie Antoinette (2006).I've read the books and i got confused during the movie, imagine the non readers.

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  2. I found it to be quite boring with no suspense, I would recommend people not to waste their time on this low budget crap and watch something else. As that was time I'll never get back!

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  3. Fallen has been my favourite book for 7 years. Within the first 5 minutes I was peeved off, are we not going to talk about the fact luce has long flowing locks of hair?! I ended up having to watch it as if it was completely separate from the book, it barely followed the story at all.

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