Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hunger Games

I know I have been absent of late. Some of what I have been doing is reading this book and its two sequels. I can't stop! My sister suggested them to me back in the fall, and then we saw the trailer for the movie when we went to see Breaking Dawn Part I. I had them on audio book and started listening shortly afterwards. I also have them on my ereader and have read them as well; yes, I actually found the time to read them with my eyes and not just my ears while I am cleaning because I wanted to have the visual of seeing the words on the pages.

I think what I love most about these books is how much I identify with Katniss, the main character. I love her strength and her love for family. She is resourceful and keeps moving forward even in the face of death and despair. She doesn't know how to give up. Even when she thinks all hope is lost, she does eventually find a way to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I also love the love story. It is one love triangle that I don't find forced or trite. She genuinely loves both Gale and Peeta for the right reasons and for different reasons. I love Peeta's goodness, how he's genuinely altruistic and always wants what's best for Katniss. I love the strength and stability that Gale brings into her life. I love how much both Gale and Peeta not only love Katniss, but they love Prim and  her mother too.

So in my absence from my blog, I have thought I should write about The Hunger Games many times. Then the movie came out yesterday. My guy has also read the books at my suggestion, and he actually loved them too, which is saying a lot since he doesn't actually love fiction novelly kinds of stories. We decided since we were both sans children on Saturday night that we should go to see the movie. I have to say it is one of the best film adaptations of a book I have seen in a long time.

Spoiler Alert: I want to talk about some of the specifics that I loved, so I may give away parts of the movie...

I thought they did an excellent job in bringing the characters and the world of the books to life. I loved that they stayed so true to Suzanne Collins' world of Panem.

I was listening to the radio on Thursday morning and they had on Mr. Moviefone, a film critic, to review the movie. He didn't like the movie very much, and he wanted the costumes in the Capitol to not be so garish. The female dj, Denise, asked him if he had read the books. His reply was "that's why we have movies, so we don't have to read." My reply to him is get off the air you illerate idiot! The whole reason to have the Capitol appear garish is to show how ridiculous they really are, to show how far removed they are from the people of the Districts: the very people whose children they pluck from their homes every year and send into the arena to murder one another.

I loved that they had the behind the scenes during the games. I was wondering how they were going to show some of the book because so much of the book occurs inside Katniss' head. With the behind the scenes scenes as it were, they show the inner workings of the game makers and Haymitch making the deals that would help Katniss and Peeta in the arena.

I loved Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I didn't know much about her before the movies came out. I have seen her on David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon in the past week. She actually seems like a normal, grounded person who just happens to have landed herself a life-changing movie role. She embodies Katniss so wholeheartedly. I think one of my favorite scenes is when she is about to enter the games. She is in the launch room with Cinna, her stylist, and she is visibly shaking. When she goes into the tube that will transport her up into the arena, the tube closes and her hands fly to the clear glass. There is visible fear in her eyes as she silently pleads with Cinna to help her even though she knows at this point, she is on her own.

 I wasn't sure I was going to like Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. I mostly remember him from The Bridge to Terabithia, which he is good in, but left me feeling like he was too young and maybe not big enough in stature to pull off the strong yet loving character of Peeta Mellark. However, I was pleasantly surprised. His eyes show all the depth of emotion that I read into Peeta. His soft voice gives voice to the Peeta I have come to know and love in the books. He plays it exactly right.

I love that Stanley Tucci is Ceasar Flickerman, the TV host for the Capitol. He is, as in all his movies, transformed into the character and fully embodies the Capitol host with all the compassion, warmth, and entertainment value that Collins wrote into him in her novels.

Woody Harrelson does an excellent job as Haymitch, the District 12 mentor. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna is spot on as well. Elizabeth Banks does a great job as Effie. She isn't even recognizable as Elizabeth Banks what with all that Capitol garishness!

(WARNING: This is the big spoiler alert paragraph!) There were a few things I would have liked to have seen although I know that they can only put in so much for a movie. I miss Madge, Katniss' friend from District 12 and the mayor's daughter. I also felt like the ending should have been a little more drawn out. When Katniss and Peeta are up on the cornucopia and Cato is already there, I missed the part in the book when Cato actually runs past them as he flees from the wolf muttations. Then when Peeta finally knocks him down into the wolf pack, in the movie, Katniss kills him right away. Part of the agony in the book is when Katniss and Peeta spend that night on top of the cornucopia listening to Cato suffer until morning when Katniss finally kills him in mercy. I also would have liked for the ending part where they find out they were not going to be allowed to both live, to have been a little more drawn out; it feels hurried up like ok we have to bring this to a close. I would have liked for that to actually be a little more dramatic. Also in the book at that part, they are both so wounded and exhausted, but in the movie, they actually both look relatively ok. They don't have Peeta lose his leg; although, it isn't a pivotal part to the plot of the next two books, so I suppose that will be ok.

Overall, I found it exquisite. I definitely want to see it again. I have Hannah reading and listening along to the book right now. She is just to the part where Katniss comes back from the feast with the medicine and she and Peeta are just hanging out in the cave for a day or so. I do miss that part a little in the movie as well since that is when Peeta starts to finally win over Katniss for real although she won't admit that to herself at that point in the books. Again, I get it though; it wouldn't make for an interesting movie to have all that laying about while they just hang out in the cave. I think I will take Hannah as soon as she is done reading the book. I told her she wouldn't want to spoil it by seeing the movie first when she is so far along in the book.

I am already looking forward to Catching Fire as a movie. I am starting to speculate as to whom they might cast for some of the roles, especially Finnick O'Dair, just please don't let it be Robert Pattinson! I think of the three Catching Fire is my favorite book, although you can't have the second book without the first.

I know I have been an absent blogger lately. I just have to get my tax items ready first and then I promise to try to write more sooner rather than later!

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