WARNING! I will be discussing the mega hit movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins modern day classic ‘Hunger Games’ below. If you ARE one of the three people whom has yet to read the book or see the movie, then there may be things you don’t want to read in this. My suggestion, go buy the book and read it. Or borrow it from your girlfriend or daughter or geeky guy that loves dystopian novels (ME ME ME) and read it because lets face it, you know someone that owns the book. If you are REALLY just that adverse to reading it, then go watch the movie. And if you don’t plan on doing any of that, then you probably don’t care about spoilers, so why are you still reading this paragraph, just skip down to where I start talking about the book.
I decided that my first post should focus on one of the best moments that happened during my time away. And what is better than discussing an great moment, than comparing it to a bad one that is so loosely related, you wonder just how crazy I actually am.
Since moving into these hotels in town, I have come to notice that the Wendy’s and Taco Bueno near me both serve breakfast. Now, I don’t know if this is normal where you are, but where I’m from and have been, this is crazy new. So one bristly morning I tried Wendy’s instead of the norm McDonalds or Carls Jr.
It was some western type burrito with a jalapeno sauce and red peppers and tomatos added in, and it was put on a sandwich press before coming to me. I would advise against trying this if you find yourself at a Wendy’s for breakfast, instead save your hunger for popcorn or pizza at your local theater while you go watch the Hunger Games.
Did someone say Hunger Games? Why, I just so happen to have seen that movie a couple of weeks ago. I remember it like it was just a couple of weeks ago, in fact and am here to tell you what I thought.
BEGIN POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT
Of all the movie adaptations of books I have ever seen, this is possibly one of the top three if not the all out best. The biggest thing about it is that it follows the book SO CLOSELY. 99% of all the things changed (which are few and far between) are really minor, like the color of Prims Cat and the number of Tributes that died on day one are examples of these minor changes. The very few ‘big’ changes that occur are simply out of the need to cut things from the story to make it movie length. For instance, Prim gives Kat the Mockingjay pin. Now, hardcore trilogy readers like me will be remiss that the Mayor and his Daughter aren’t in the movie, however, lets remember that they appear in the books a very few amount of times and minor characters in books (No matter how pivotal) are often lopped from the movie adaptations as we would have EVEN LESS time to get to know them.
On that same general point, much like the adaptation of 1984 to film, Hunger Games captures the subtleties of the book that the reader will notice and have back story too, without over explaining something unnecessary or worse, confusing someone with under explanation, who hasn’t read the book.
Suzanne Collins has mentioned she got the idea for the book while being up late at night and switching between war documentaries and reality TV shows. In the book, during the Games, we follow only Katniss. In the movie, we get to bounce out and see the people enjoying the games as a reality show. This does two things really well. It helps explain a few things that Kat already knew to the audience (The announcers explaining the Cannon Fire, is a good example), and it shows Collins point about a reality show audience being so withdrawn from what they are watching that they cheer kids killing each other.
Speaking of the deaths, this is something I need to touch on. The movie is rated PG-13 and it is rated that for a good reason. If you got into the books, you know the scenes of deaths of children were a bit disturbing. Now, while the deaths in the movie aren’t graphic, they are definitely just as, if not more disturbing. When a 12 year old boy dies on screen, you know what happened, you see the before, and the after. Think shower scene in Psycho, you never actually see the stabbing but you know what happened. This movie is NOT suitable for kids of 7 or 8 in my opinion. As much as they may want to see it, you may be doing a lot of explaining that night after they have nightmares. I suggest you watch it, and then determine if your kids are mature enough to see it.
Lastly, I’d like to touch on the point of the trilogy as it pertains to the spirit of the movie. I think the movie sets up the events of the next two very well. We see Snow talking often about squashing the ‘Spark’ of dissension. We see District 11 TRY at their uprising after Rues death. (A scene that, just like in the book, may have you choked up… great scene) We see the Mockingjay pin, hear them sing their tune, and get the sense of why that is the symbol of what’s to come. And we see Gale watching the games, quite disgusted by what he sees between Kat and Peeta. And we see Kat, kinda not getting how awesome Peeta is, kinda hinting at the fact that she’s just doing this to get out alive (Sorry, I’m all Team Peeta over here).
We see the behind the scenes of the Games, with an amazing presence by Seneca Crane. (No seriously, I liked Seneca A LOT, its a shame he had to die) And we start getting the idea of just how repressed the districts are, while hinting at 1 and 2 being the ‘favored’ districts.
So, what went wrong? Surely a few things weren’t great, right? Right. I had a few minor complaints. First, is Haymitch. Haymitch is played by Woody Harrelson whom, even though I love his acting, I just think they could have picked a better Haymitch. Woody played a rather angry drunk, for the short amount of time he WAS drunk. And they also omitted him falling off of the stage during the Reaping. (He wasn’t even there) I would have liked to have seen someone like Christopher Lloyd as Haymitch. It seems obvious to me.
But if we were going to have someone more developed, it should have been Cinna. His relationship with Kat was extremely underdeveloped and we just had to take his word for it when he told Kat they had grown close. Sure, he is in the next film, but will people who haven’t read the books care? Probably not.
And for a minor minor MINOR complaint, as Peeta was following Kat through the woods at the end, why not a joke about how loud he is running through the woods? It could have been a one-liner just like Kat addressing Buttercup in the beginning of the movie to give the book followers another moment to laugh at.
All in all, this movie is a must see for fans and newcomers. It is entertaining, intense, and at times, just like the book, very emotional.