Lagos- Seeing a book being adapted into film, is one of the coolest things for people who don’t like reading.
The reader experiences the parts not shown in the film and the cinema goer experiences the parts the screenwriter allows him or her to witness on screen.
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I have read and watched Half Of A Yellow Sun, and my excitement and dread were both entertained in this two hour visual feast.
To enjoy the movie it is better to disassociate it from the book, to avoid being disappointed(this is for people who have read the book before watching the film),but if you have not read the book then please enjoy the film.
Biyi Bandele centers this Chimamanda Adichie epic on four major characters Olanna, Odenigbo, Kainene and Richard.
Ugwu, whom has a central character in the book is sent to the sidelines in the film, while Odenigbo’s radicalism and the strong political opinions of his inner circle are greatly diluted, I repeat don’t read the book.
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I was grossly offended that none of the lead characters were picked from Nollywood. It goes to show what even Nigerians think about its movie industry.
Onyeka Owenu, Wole Ojo,Tina Mba, Genevieve Nnaji, Gloria Young and Zack Orji, were some of the popular faces representing the Nollywood front.
While lead characters Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle and Thandie Newton were ‘imported’ to give the film an international feel but losing the Nigerian touch (after all it’s a story about Nigeria).
Lets start with what the movie got wrong. The accents of the lead characters were just wrong, except for Richard(Joseph Mwale) who is Caucasian.
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When Thandie Newton who plays Olanna opens her mouth to speak Igbo or sound Nigerian, it makes one cringe, Chwetel Ejiofors accent swung between Nigerian and something from another English speaking African country.
When Olanna says ‘Kedu’ an Igbo word for ‘how are you’ it just comes out all wrong, and sounds nothing like it. The film makers were obviously lazy to put these international stars through the rigors of getting the accent right. This will certainly not happen in Hollywood.
I must confess Genevieve Nnaji’s was flattened by the talents of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Onyeka Onwenu, Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose that rose high into the talent galaxy.
These are the glaring negatives of the film, but on to the positives of this masterpiece.
First of all it surpasses most Nollywood films in terms of production, research and high attention to details during the shooting, this can be seen by the length of the closing credits.
The main players put an awe inspiring performance and emotionally connect with the audience, even though the script does not do justice to the book.
Onyeka Onwenu gives a stellar performance in her malicious mother-in-law role, and the well timed news clips from the real events used as book marks for transition in the movie are a major plus of the film.
The truth be told, I enjoyed the film by blocking out the book from my head, but felt that the end of Half Of A Yellow Sun still left me hanging out to dry.
The movie is worth watching if you love a good romantic story, and want to see a properly executed project.
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