I never watch a movie adapted from a book before I’ve read the book unless I’m 100% sure that I’m never going to read the book. When I saw the first Hunger Games movie, I was 100% sure that I wasn’t going to read the books. (I was also pretty sure that it had something to do with those Twilight books and I had no interest in those. Did you catch this article from slate.com on the textual differences between the Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter books? Just goes to show how wrong I was.)
ANYway, after I saw the movie, I couldn’t wait to read the books. Go figure. I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and the story. I’m a sucker for a good dystopian novel, but that’s a subject for another post.
I remember talking about the movie with one of my friends who had read the books, and saying how much I enjoyed the movie, and she said “eh, the book is so much better.”
That’s usually the case, isn’t it?
I’m writing this because I’m going to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Tuesday night (so by the time you read this, I’ll have seen the movie, but probably won’t have a chance to update this post before it’s published.) In between the release of the two movies, I positively devoured the books, and Catching Fire is my favorite. I’m going in to the theater with high expectations, but I have a feeling I won’t be let down.
A couple of reasons for this: first, my sister, my favorite online movie reviewer, and one of my favorite bloggers all gave Catching Fire rave reviews. Second, I WANT to like the movie; I don’t want to be disappointed. Most importantly, like pretty much everyone else on the internet, I think Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong.
I searched for “Jennifer Lawrence being awesome” which was actually a suggested search on Google. These are what came up.
In my excitement for the latest Hunger Games movie, I’ve been thinking about movie adaptations and why some are so good and some are kind of a let down.
A couple stick out to me as good books that became good movies: To Kill A Mockingbird and The Unbearable Lightness of Being – both were more interested in capturing the tone of the book than recreating every scene and piece of dialogue in the text, and in my movie watching experience, that’s the difference between good movie adaptations and “meh” ones.
Think of the first two Harry Potter movies – in my opinion, the movie makers were trying so hard to cram in every detail from the books that they sacrificed depth for breadth. Those two movies are cute and whimsical, but it wasn’t until Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that the people making the movie braved up enough to sacrifice a few elements of the book to make the movie better.
What the later Harry Potter movies exemplified was that a book or series of books can be good, and a movie or series of movies based on a book can be good. But to compare the two puts them on uneven ground. Honestly, it makes me mad that devotees of certain books like or dislike the movie adaption based on whether or not the movie is faithful to the book. It can’t be! At the end of the day, the book is probably better – but that doesn’t mean the movie is bad.
I’m writing the rest of this post late Tuesday night after seeing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. And – I loved it! I thought it was a little slow to get going, but there was quite a bit of exposition to cover (much of it foreshadowing for what’s to come) and once it got going, the movie was really well paced and exciting. Jennifer Lawrence, of course, was great, but my favorite was Peeta.
Entertainment Weekly detailed the biggest changes that happened between the book and the movie, and most of them are relatively inconsequential. I think that the tactic the movie makers have chosen to show President Snow plotting with Plutarch Heavensbee in this movie (and Seneca Crane in the first) is a big advantage the movies have over the books.
To end on a lighter note – someone devised a system for coming up with your Hunger Games name. Mine is Bellmet R. Climbfern. What’s yours?