Slaughterhouse-Five Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 27, 2012
An interesting sci-fi, but which fails by only hinting at some philosophical ideas and not going deeper into them. The narrative is always fluid, with elegant scene transitions and visual rhymes, but also vague about whether it wants to be a satirical piece or not.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2012
World War II vet Billy Pilgrim time-jumps throughout his life on Earth and on Tralfamadore.
In the list of unfilmable books I thought that Kurt Vonnegut's most famous novel would rank high on the list next to Naked Lunch, but George Roy Hill's adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five diverges from the book just enough to make it a viable film and stays true enough to the novel that it still retains the plot and spirit of the original. The overall philosophy - that "life is just a collection of moments, and the trick is to remember the good and ignore the bad" - emerges both as a line of dialogue and a lesson demonstrated by the narrative structure of the film without seeming didactic. Michael Sacks's performance is exemplary, playing Billy with a naivete and innocence that is both charming and endearing. Sacks captures the origin of Billy's milquetoast nature as it emerges from a wisdom borne of timelessness.
One of my friends argued that Slaughterhouse-Five is a patriarchal, misogynist book, and I disagreed because the female characters have an inner life that Vonnegut doesn't downplay. Unfortunately the film didn't keep this aspect of Vonnegut's narration, and Valencia and Montana emerge respectively as a crazy, superficial nut-job and an over-willing sexual partner.
Overall, Hill's film is a fine testament to one of the great American novels.
Super Reviewer
½ January 14, 2009
Like Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse-Five blurs the line between fantasy and reality, intermingling the two until they're inseparable and indiscernible.
Super Reviewer
½ August 28, 2011
Billy Pilgrim: It's time for me to be dead for a little while. And then live again. I give you the Tralfamadorian greeting: Hello. Farewell. Hello. Farewell. Eternally connected, eternally embracing. Hello. Farewell. 

"Billy Pilgrim lives- from time to time."

I believe Slaughterhouse- Five to be a pretty good adaptation of Vonnegut's masterpiece novel. First off, Vonnegut himself said that this is a worthy adaptation and he should probably have the last word on that issue. The book is one of my personal favorites. So obviously the movie isn't going to be as good, but I didn't expect it to be. I hate when people criticize a movie for not being as good as the book. They can't include every little detail from the book, so obviously some areas are going to suffer slightly. This adaptation left out a lot of stuff, but that's normal. Only one exclusion made me slightly angry and that was Kilgore Trout; the science fiction novelist from the book. I think his inclusion would have helped a lot of people who hadn't read the book understand the story a little better.

With the comparisons to the book out of the way, I have to say I was fairly satisfied with this movie. Going in, I didn't really know how this movie was going to be. The novel had to be incredibly hard to adapt, but George Roy Hill and company do a fantastic job with Vonnegut's structure. It's incoherent, yet coherent, both at the same time. Michael Sacks is everything I pictured when I read the book. He does a fantastic job. The only part of the story that did leave me a little underwhelmed was Tralfamadore. But to be fair, I wouldn't know how to make it any better; I just such high hopes for those scenes going in.

It's obviously flawed, as every adaption is, but it's still a good film. If you're interested in the movie, I'd read the book also. You won't be sorry. The book is amazing and the film is a pretty solid companion piece to it. 
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
This just goes to show how not all books can be adapted to film. This movie is a mess, and boring one at that. Stay away from it, and read the book instead.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2007
Yet another shining example of a 70's movie trying to be weird. They always end up impossible to pay attention to.
Super Reviewer
July 4, 2008
George Roy Hill scores again. I have not read this book so maybe I am way off, but I really enjoyed the film.
Super Reviewer
½ August 30, 2007
Interesting time travel film with some sad and miserable World War II scenes. Overall, it's engaging and reveals itself to be quite complex.
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2007
kind of convoluted but good concepts. by far one of the more successful adaptations of a vonnegut book.
Super Reviewer
½ February 26, 2009
Ome of Vonnegut's more imaginative stories, reasonably well dramatized.
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2009
Intricate, harmonious and faithful rendering of Kurt Vonnegut's black anti-war "Children's Crusade" comedy. Noteworthy performances from Michael Sacks, Ron Leibman and John Dehner.
½ February 25, 2013
The film captures the essence of the book even while diverging from it. Vonnegut himself always claimed to be extremely pleased with it.
December 28, 2012
An eccentric story which perhaps doesn't translate to the screen very well, but the movie was quite watchable and easy to follow despite the bizarre timeline. Somehow it managed to keep the balance between weird, funny, and serious.
July 31, 2011
I had high expectations for this film after reading the book. Lost, meandering and incoherent is all I can say for this film.
½ November 15, 2007
Reasonable adaptation of the book, being about as coherent as possible given what it had to work with.
½ September 14, 2010
A dramatic movie got anti-war messages and trying to share its messages in a weird way. I know It's an adaptation. So I need to read it to talk about it's success to portray the book. But One thing I can say is If you once sit in front of the comp or tv what else and started to watch it. Do not ever turn it off at half of the movie because you got bored. Yes you re right. Its so boring at the beginning but as it said in the movie it's a philosophic way of living a life. And there is a great end with a good conclusion.
July 7, 2009
I?ve always wanted to see this movie, because I honestly didn?t know the general idea of the story and the movie is talked about so much as one of those unsung gems. Well, I side with the unsung gem argument. This is a very visual movie that seems as close to a Kubrick style of movie that isn?t made by him for its time. (I don?t consider Eyes Wide Shut a Kubrick style movie because it really sucked) From the minimal action in scenes (except for the car demo derby) to the abscense of explanation as it jumps from scene to scene and ill-placed nudity, it is Kubrick-esque. But there is a bit of exposition I would have found helpful in me enjoying this more.

It is a great story of non-mainstream sci-fi, like The Fountain. Or I should say non-popularized sci-fi. Even as it is purposely fragmented, you feel for the main character. And, although the ending is neat little bow on it all, the messages of fate and when people become one-dimensional rings true. It?s a good movie that you have to sit and pay attention to. Not just for sci-fi fans, but definitely for thinkers.
June 6, 2008
I loved Kurt Vonnegut's novel and this was a decent film adaptation, even without visuals of the Tralfamadorians.
½ April 10, 2008
I just finished reading this. Okay, I just finished listening to the book on tape read by Ethan Hawke. (I'm trying to become the smartest man in the world by reading and watching everything. To do that, you needt o make certain concessions.) Now, I'm not one to compare the book and the movie, but I loooooovvvveeed the book, so...

Apparently, Kurt Vonnegut really loved the film adaptation. I can see why. Even though he fought the movie during the production of it, he turned around once he saw the film. It's, for the most part, pretty faithful to the book. A lot of events are taken out or glossed over and theres a lot of amalgamized sequences just for time and pacing, but it's pretty faithful overall. That's great and all, but the visuals don't really match the descriptions. Vonnegut is an extremely adept writer and screams so much more with his words that really isn't picked up in this filmed. The clip-klop of Billy's broken boot never really gets at all translated in the film.

Also, the Tralfamadorians. Now, I know Vonnegut made them view the fourth dimension, but existing entirely in the fourth dimension seems like a cop-out. I acknowledge that we shouldn't have seen the Tralfamadorians because it would have been tacky, so I guess he's just stuck in a Catch-22! *giggle*

But this movie did present a lot of great moments. It's was great to see Miss Tessmacher as Dakota Wildhack. Even more so the fact that she was naked. Cross off that curiosity from my list. The main concern was the kid who played Billy. He wasn't incopetant by any means. But he was too normal of a person. Billy had something surreal going on with him. Where was the red beard and the almost unnatural confusion about reality? Billy, in this case, played a common man who simply dealed with the cards he was dealt rather than having a unique understanding of the universe due to him becoming unstuck in time.

Also, I feel like I have to bring up the firebombing of Dresden. After all, that's what this story is about. The movie really focuses on Billy's internment in Dresden more so than the book does. Billy keeps jumping to his entire lifetime in the book. Dresden really does take front and center of this storyline. But I do like that. It really does carry over Vonnegut's message, so whatever was avoided at least kept the theme of the movie.

I did like it. I just can't help but compare this one because the book is so good.
November 21, 2007
I loved the book. Being a spherical relativist, I love the concept. This adaptatation is well-made, but the alien aspects are a bit dated in technique, I think.
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