Postcard For Reader + The Hunger Games

Guest Post: The Hunger Games, book and movie.

I was actually pretty reluctant to read the Hunger Games books in the first place. It took Nicole over a year of telling me I should before I gave in, because seeing the movie was going to happen one way or another, and I always try to read the book first. In the past I haven’t been a fan of dystopian stories, but this series may have proven to be the exception. I think that the world created by Suzanne Collins, as different as it is from our world today, is easy to connect to. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to believe that the faults of the current generation of humans could lead to as unfriendly a place as Panem. I like the characters too; they feel like real kids (and adults) dealing with a really horrible situation in much the same way that I would probably try to deal with it.

This book also really gets me to think. What would I do if I lived in Panem? In District 12? What if I were selected as Tribute for the Hunger Games? What if I won? What if I inadvertently started a rebellion? Although these may seem like musings for a rainy day, they may be more important than you think. It’s unlikely you’ll be thrown into the arena any time soon, but the events of the Hunger Games trilogy can definitely correlate with real life situations and circumstances that it can never hurt to be prepared for!

As for the movie, I saw it the day after it came out so I had heard some other people’s opinions on it before I experienced it myself. All of my friends seemed to like it, but I heard from my brother that some of his friends had thought it was bad. I went in with no idea how it would turn out, but I walked out of the theatre extremely impressed (what do my brother’s friends know, huh?). This film stayed very true to the book, something that is very important to me (and anyone else who’s a part of a fandom like this – we like details!).

I really admired the filmmakers judicious editing; the things that they cut out were things that could stand to be cut out; things that wouldn’t ruin the story line if they weren’t included. This is probably largely due to the fact that Suzanne Collins wrote the screenplay. They also didn’t really add anything in, which is another thumbs up. I hate it when movies (*cough, cough* Harry Potter) put in completely made up scenes, sometimes to the detriment of the film itself as well as those that come after it. The only added scenes in the Hunger Games were the scenes between President Snow and Seneca Crane in the garden and Seneca’s “death,” but these were not overwhelming and were very well done, as well as somewhat implied to have happened in the book.

I had certain trepidations about the casting when I found out who was playing who. I didn’t really know anything about any of the actors, not having seen any of their other movies before. My before and after reactions were like this...

Katniss:
Before: Jennifer Lawrence? Who’s that? Isn’t she blonde? Oh she looks good with brown hair. Ok. (Then
after seeing interviews with her on tumblr) THIS GIRL IS HILARIOUS CAN SHE BE MY FRIEND?
After: PERFECT EXCEPT SHE DOESN’T LOOK HUNGRY PER SAY BUT I GUESS THEY CAN’T STARVE THE
ACTORS RIGHT? (And after more Tumblr… ) She talks about her peeing habits and how derpy she is for
goodness sake; she NEEDS to be friends with me!

Peeta:
Before: Josh Hutcherson? Who? But I picture that guy who’s Peter in the Chronicles of Narnia as Peeta… I don’t know. (Then after tumblr) Can I have one?
After: PERFECT GIVE ME ONE NOW.

Gale:
Before: Isn’t that Miley Cyrus’ boyfriend…. Meh. I always pictured Ben Barnes as Gale.
After: HE WAS PRETTY GOOD I GUESS BUT I STILL WANT BEN BARNES TO BE GALE.

Haymitch:
Before: Woody Harrelson? Perfect.
After: WOOOO I KNEW HE WAS PERFECT.

Caesar Flickerman:
Before: Stanley Tucci? I freaking love Stanley Tucci.
After: STANLEY TUCCI IS MY HERO.

President Snow:
Before: Donald Sutherland? Wasn’t he Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice? I guess it works.
After: ...Hide me.

I didn’t know who anyone else was by name, but I think that they were all spectacularly cast. Effie was spot on and Rue was awesome (cutest little girl ever). The other tributes were brilliant as well. Oh and Cinna! I knew about him going in, but I didn’t really have anything to go on for Lenny Kravitz. He is basically all I could hope for in that character however; he more than met my expectations for that oh-so-important role. By the end of the movie, I was very pleased with the entire cast.

All in all, I think this is potentially the best book to movie adaptation I’ve ever seen. Ever. I can’t wait for Catching Fire to come out, although I’ll be nervous about a new director taking over. I hope they’ll continue to stay true to the spirit of the story that pulled me in so completely.

That being said, what do YOU think about it? Do the books make you think? How do you feel about the film?

Julia is Nicole's rooommate and temporary assistant for all things WORD. She likes costuming. Check out her tumblr at Adventures in Nerdland.

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