Hope is the only thing more powerful then fear – President Snow, The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games, a book and movie that has swept its way through our lives. One of those books, that for most, once you finish you instantly *need* to read the second and the third.
As is typical with most book adaptations, I was wary when going to see the movie. I’ve long since learned that I shouldn’t expect to see my vision of the book played out on the screen. The most I can hope for is that the director, screenwriter, actors, etc have managed to stay true to the message of the story.
It’s with that understanding that I go and see the movie versions of some of my favorite books. This past Saturday, I along with Joseph and his brothers and their wives, all went to see the Hunger Games.
First, I’d have to say it was really great. It covered a lot of information in a short amount of time. The casting was, in my opinion, amazing. Throughout the entire movie, I was impressed by just how perfect Lenny Kravitz played Cinna, or Woody Harrelson did with Haymitch.
It was hard to believe that the boy from Bridge to Terabithia was all grown up, but Josh Hutcherson played a VERY convincing Peeta Mellark. And Jennifer Lawrence has replaced the Katniss I had conjured in my head while reading the books with how real she made everything feel. Between those two, I really was rooting for their love to be real.
There were a couple of things I did have a problem with though.
A big part of the book that I felt they failed to show on screen wasn’t just that Katniss was playing with Peeta’s affections for the show, but how she was truly confused and conflicted with her feelings for him she didn’t expect. Perhaps if they had spent more time filming cave scenes as written in the book, the movie could have done a better job developing that relationship to show all the nuances that truly encompass how she feels, but I felt like the movie fell short for anyone who hadn’t read the book.
Additionally, I feel like although they showed in the movie, how Rue’s death affected her district, I don’t feel like they accurately showed the gratitude district 11 felt to Katniss. In the book there is a great scene where after Rue’s death, she gets bread from district 11 and Katniss realizes that it is a thank you from them. I think that part is really important because it not only nails into the fact that Katniss had her own standards when playing the game, she didn’t want to hurt a little girl that reminded her so much of Prim, nor would she simply leave her there to be picked up by a hovercraft (buried her in roses), but that the other districts saw Katniss as someone they could rally behind.
There was one thing the movie added that I did really love though. Unlike the book, that is simply from Katniss’ point of view, which keeps us only knowing what she knew; the movie showed us behind the scenes of the game. I really enjoyed seeing that layer of depth, putting a new spin on the games so we could see exactly how conniving the game makers and the president actually are. It added enough information so that the movies on the other two books will have some solid background.
Overall, I think the movie was very well done. I think that for those that havne’t read the book, there are so many nuances missed that, perhaps, it might be impossible to fully appreciate all aspects of the movie. Case in point, my brother in law thought it was a horrible movie, totally depressing. And while, that is partly true, I think anyone that has read the trilogy will agree, while depressing, it isn’t without its beauty and its hope.