Monday, July 23, 2012

Hunger Games Hype

        I pre-ordered the first Hunger Games book before it was released in 2008.  I heard the premise and was immediately sold on the concept of a dystopian America where the Capital echoed Rome of the past, colossal human battles included.  Every year after, I devoured the books, loving the first two, and liking the third.  Before the release of the first movie, I was excited to the point where I bought the soundtrack before it was released.  Jennifer Lawrence seemed like a good fit for Katniss, as did Josh Hutcherson as Peeta.  Watching the movie, I enjoyed the behind the scenes of the game and appreciated Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Bank's chemistry as Haymitch and Effie.  Along with everyone and their mother, I cried with Katniss as she honored Rue and I bit my nails as they battled tributes.  Still, I wasn't as emotionally connected to the movie as I was to the book. It didn't stick with me as much. I am not in the camp that always thinks the book is better than the movie.  I will admit I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings movies more than the books in a heartbeat.  Why then is The Hunger Games less meaningful to me in movie form, even when all of the actors did well and the story was told well?  The only reasonable explanation I can come to is that The Hunger Games book was told completely in the immediate mind of Katniss.  It buried the reader in her fight for her life and for the lives of those she so readily loved.  The movie could never achieve this level of first person narrative.  It wasn't meant to. All of the hype around the movie somehow made be anticipate the same experience I had reading the book in the theater, but they are two very different arenas. Jennifer Lawrence did an absolutely wonderful job in a very high pressure role, carrying the movie and inhabiting Katniss with the grace, kindness, and fierceness we've come to expect from her.
         The movie was good, the book was great, and I am still excited for the future of Catching Fire and Mockingjay in the future. We can all celebrate the books and movies as a part of the utterly riveting story Suzanne Collins created.

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