Hunger Games book v. film

Posted: March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Devoured it.  Started to read it the day after RWA was in Orlando at poolside.  I’d moved to a different hotel to have a day to myself.  I was supposed to check out at 11 and start my drive home.  I hadn’t seen my husband and son in days.  (Yes, I’m starting a lot of sentences with “I.” Deal with it.)  Did things go according to plan?  No, they did not, because at 10:30 that morning, I called my husband to say that there was no way I’d be home on time, and not just because of my dead car battery.  I was simply going to have no life until I finished the book.  It was crystal clear to me.   I get possessed by books like that from time to time, frequently by my clients, I’m pleased to say, so this feeling isn’t unknown to me, but it’s always a gift.

So it was with great excitement that I saw there was a movie in the making, even while I wondered how it could possibly live up to the book.  The short answer: it couldn’t.  No movie could, because the strength of the book is in the characters and what they’re going through, and their motivations and internal struggles were just too difficult to put on screen.  It’s no fault of the actors or the screenwriters (Suzanne Collins herself, based on the credits, was involved with the script).  It’s a matter of the medium.  Did I like the movie?  Yes.  Did it steal my heart and soul as the book did?  Well, no, but I’m glad it was made, particularly if it draws more attention, which, of course, it does, to such a brilliant series of books.  All that said, my favorite bit of casting was Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.  He made the role.  It was also a particular pleasure to see the girl on fire and other outré fashions mentioned in the book come to live.  Really incredible.

Comments
  1. Cecily White says:

    Sigh,
    My husband (aka The Betrayer) went to see it without me, so I really can’t comment yet.
    (But no worries… revenge will be mine. As soon as he goes to work, I have plans to rearrange his underwear drawer. Mwah-hah-hah!)

    XO,
    C

    P.S. May the odds be ever in your favor!!!

  2. The fiend! I’d say reorganizing his underwear drawer is the very least you can do! Back atcha, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

  3. kathleen says:

    I agree, with everything!

  4. I can’t wait to see it! I was looking frwd to seeing how Lenny did and I think you are the first to mention it. Good to hear your thoughts.

  5. Mark Murata says:

    As someone who didn’t read the book, I enjoyed the movie and recommended it to others. Not to blow my own horn, but I did a review of the movie which you can see at my blog by clicking on my name.

  6. Patchi says:

    I enjoyed the book and the movie for different reasons. Like you said, the book immerses you into the character’s mind, but the movie gives you a perspective of what is happening simultaneously that those in the arena could not know. The repercussions of Katniss’s actions are only revealed to her in later books, but in the movie you can see the effect she has on others as it happens.

    On a different note I have to say Cinna was my favorite character in the book (and Lenny Kravitz did a great job bringing him to life). However, my favorite character in the movie is Haymitch. I did not care much for him in the book because Katniss didn’t, but in the movie he had the freedom to shine.

    • I liked Haymitch in the movie too. Now, I’d liked him in the books (after I understood him), but I was surprised when he walked out on screen and it was Woody Harrelson, who didn’t match my image of him at all. Almost immediately, though, he sold the part to me.

      The one thing I did like more about the movie is that with so much that had to fall away, it was clearer to me than it had been in the books that if there was one word to define Katniss it would be “Protector.” I loved her even more with that crystal clarity.

  7. Novel Girl says:

    I loved THE HUNGER GAMES as a novel. I liked the movie. Notice the difference? Yes, the movie — like other Hollywood conversions from books to movies — couldn’t live up to the awesomeness of Suzanne’s novel. A book contains deeper characterization and plot, and overall more richness in aspects of the story. When you try to squish that into a two-hour movie–well, you can’t.

    The movie was great, and better than some book-to-movie makes, but the original novel will always have much more in my eyes.

    There’s a post here on why I hate THE HUNGER GAMES. I think it’s funny 😉 http://rebeccaberto.com/2012/03/25/why-i-hate-the-hunger-games/

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