Hunger Games left me starving.

They all look so happy and fashionable!

I am a recent addition to the Hunger Game fanaticism. My boyfriend and a bunch of my friends were urging me to give the books a chance. Admittingly, I was apprehensive about reading them as I figured they were young adult books and probably not any better than Twilight. I read the first Twilight book and was shocked at how bad the writing was, so I was thinking it would be something similar to that. I was dead wrong. The story was engaging, the protagonist was strong, and the world Suzanne Collins created  – a dystopian, fear-based world in the not-so-distant future – was fascinating. I’m sure by now you know the premise, but if you don’t, The Hunger Games is about the world of Panem, where the citizens live in different districts; and each district is responsible for a different trade or industry, like mining or technology. Every year, as a penance for a previous uprising against the Capital, each district must send one boy and girl into an arena where they kill each other off until one is named the victor. These are the Hunger Games. There are 3 books, and this movie is based on the 1st.

It is my belief that all creative avenues should be judged separately. So, if a movie is based on a book, then that movie should only be judged based on its merits alone; not judged on whether or not its an accurate representation of the book or “does it justice.” When you are a diehard fan of something I totally understand how it’s hard to divorce yourself from the source material (I’m very much this way with movies based on comic books), but I think its important to remember that the creative process is so different for writing a book and creating a film. Because of this, the outcomes will inevitably be different in some way. I kept that mentality as I went into see the Hunger Games film.

I thought it was a great representation of the book, but not a good film on its own. I felt like the filmmakers had a checklist of things they knew they needed to include from the book and just filled in the rest, without a lot of finess. Some parts they did very well (The reaping was chilling and when the tributes are being raised up in the tubes was perfectly nerve wrecking), but the rest they seemed to move too quickly through, not really allowing it to resonate with the audience. In the book we are always in Katniss’s head, so it’s easier to become attached to her and her feelings. It’s much much harder to do personal narrative in film, but since Katniss was still the protagonist, we lost a lot of the connection with her, I felt.

I do wish the filmmakers had taken this opportunity to tell the story just slightly different. Not leave anything out, but give us some perspectives we couldn’t necessarily get in the book because we were always with Katniss. My boyfriend made a great comparison between this and The Truman Show. One great thing about that was that as Truman was figuring out what his whole world was made of, we were getting the reactions from the people watching it. Granted that film was much different from The Hunger Games, but they both dealt with different kinds of voyeurism. I would’ve like to have seen more of Gale and how he was reacting to everything between Katniss and Peeta. Katniss wonders to herself in the book what Gale would think of it all, so why not shoot back to Gale in District 12 and SEE how he feels about it.

The 2nd book starts with some nefarious shit going down in the capital at the hands of President Snow, and they kind of dropped the ball on building any suspense at the close of the film. I already know they are making the 2nd book into a film and I wish they had built that up a bit more. Overall, it felt like they knew people would come no matter what (it’s now the 3rd highest grossing film OF ALL TIME), and probably like it as long as it was ‘faithful’ to the novel, so maybe it didn’t have to be spectacular.

Till next time…may the odds be ever in your favor…and thanks for reading.

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