The Hunger Games: Hungry for More [Betcha haven’t heard that one before. (That wasn’t sarcastic at all.)]

First, let me say that this is about the movie, not the book, which I have not read yet. I am of the rare breed that would prefer to see the movie before I read the book.  I have my reasons and since I often find myself trying to explain them, I’ll delay my review for awhile in order to do that here.

The book is always better than the movie.  Save the best for last.  Just put two and two together, my friends!

The movie is more like a synopsis; there’s no way it can cover everything.  Exactly. Why not go and see the synopsis?  I love, love, love having more to look forward to when I get home.  Like the appendix in Lord of the Rings or mugglenet.com for Harry Potter fans.

I’d rather enjoy the movie than simply critique how it compared to the book or well it covered the material in the book.

It doesn’t bother me that the ending is “spoiled.”   I have already enjoyed the movie. And the end doesn’t have to be the end when you can read more.

It doesn’t bother me that the actors have portrayed the characters.  It’s true, some people are stuck as the characters in my mind, but not always.  Sometimes my mind reinvents them as needed.  It’s not difficult to do this with a really good book.

Now, onto the review.

Although I have read the Harry Potter and Twilight series but not The Hunger Games series, I have seen all the film adaptations and feel like I can comment on the comparisons.  I didn’t really see why the Twilight series was compared to Harry Potter at all, but now that The Hunger Games is supposedly the new Twilight, I can admit that Harry Potter and Bella had supernatural powers and even shared werewolves as friends.  But the comparison ends there.

I have no idea whatsoever what the heck The Hunger Games shares with Twilight, unless it is something evident only in the book and not on film, which means either it’s not significant or the film is a dismal failure and I doubt the later, judging from other reviews.  Or unless the comparison is that they are in a very broad genre; as my husband noted, “They are both young adult literature made into films.”

About that.  Why are adults so into children’s literature?  Is it because nowadays adolescence isn’t over until the age of 30?  Is it because children these days grow up so quickly — and can handle adult topics?  Those two premises, which I’ve often heard asserted, seem to be contradictory.

Perhaps the reason my peers and I are interested in children’s literature is because there’s not many who can fill the gap between the John Grishams and Dan Browns and the J.K. Rowlings.  It seems that if you read, you’re either a kid or a middle-aged person.

Or perhaps we’re just sick of the gratuituous bodily functions or language in adult literature.  And let’s face it;  other than those things, adult literature doesn’t really have anything one up on children’s literature.  The themes are not more interesting, the characters are not more interesting and the writing is certainly not more complex. (Don’t get me started on the atrocity that is called modern style.)

I strongly suspect that authors have caught onto this and are writing for an adult audience as well as a young adult audience. I could be wrong — I’m not in the publishing industry  — but maybe it’s simply a matter of what publishers want to brand the literature that is now considered young adult.

I have established what The Hunger Games is (young adult literature adapted for the silver screen) and but I must say a little more about what it isn’t — that is, how it is incomparable to Twilight.

In The Hunger Games,  coal miner’s daughter Katniss Everdeen is a nuturing huntress who volunteers, in place of her sister, to fight to the death 23 other teenagers, all picked as tribute to the overlords in the Capitol of Panem.  She has already risen to the occasion, but Katniss learns that her bravery is not enough in order to survive.  By the end of the film, she might realize that surviving is not enough, either.

While watching a scene in the film during which actress Jennifer Lawrence is climbing trees and whittling wood into weapons, my companion remarked, “This is what a strong female lead looks like — not Bella Swan,”  as portrayed by Kristen Stewart in the Twilight films.  My response, “I don’t deny I now wish I had been a girl scout.  But the beauty of Twilight is that every girl can already relate to Bella.  She’s ordinary and it only takes the supernatural to make her special.”  But, of course, he’s right. Katniss is, as my friend said, an “infinitely cooler heroine” than Bella.  Her character is much more interesting to watch.

Not to mention the fascinating sci-fi/fantasy post-apocolyptic world that Susan Collins has created.  It’s classic.  Who doesn’t remember that  chilling feeling when first hit the realization that the world of Logan’s Run or The Truman Show is close to our own? Once again, through Collins, we can be thrilled at the blatant suggestion that our civilization is actually barbaric.

As far as the action, there is plenty.  Even where there is no action, there’s the implication that something is going to happen, such as when Katniss is sleeping in a tree.  There is some sort of suspense almost the entire length of the film. I’ll say this — it’s not a film you go to see if you want to hold hands with your date. Because you’ll be gripping the edge of your seat or biting your nails instead.

That said, I cannot wait to read the book. I know it will be worth the time I don’t have to read novels. I know it will be good.  And I know that there is a whole new world for me to geek out over.

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2 thoughts on “The Hunger Games: Hungry for More [Betcha haven’t heard that one before. (That wasn’t sarcastic at all.)]

  1. We just saw the movie in the theatre and afterwards I commented that it reminded me of The Truman Show (among other things). These kinds of movies that have a basis in reality can really hit home; it’s scary, but I can see it happening. I saw the preview for the Hunger Games a while back and really wanted to see it; it escaped my notice for a while that it was based on a book, but of course I want to read it now! I was definitely gripping Phil’s arm the whole time; this is one of those movies where I got a work out jumping in my seat. 🙂

    Since I’m out-of-the-loop in many aspects, I wasn’t aware of the Twilight fad when first I saw the movie at the library and decided to watch it. I’m a fan of vampire stories and was like, why not? Now, let me first say that I don’t consider myself a movie snob; I don’t need there to be some deep meaning in order to enjoy a film. However – and especially when I heard how much of a following Twilight has – my reaction was akin to, “REALLY?” I think the appeal of Bella lies in the fact that we can all be our moody selves and have a supernatural love just happen to us. There is no comparison whatsoever to Hunger Games! Maybe anything involving “young love” or “starcrossed lovers” will forever be compared to Twilight.

    I thought HG was very well done, but was somewhat disappointed in the ending. Perhaps they left it open for a sequel, but it kind of left you hanging wondering what really happened after it was all over.

    Whereas watching HG didn’t make me wish I had been a Girl Scout, it did make me wonder what I would do in a similar situation. I often wonder if I would be able to run and hide or fight for my life if necessary. Phil has a bow and it made me want to learn to shoot it! I tried once and it’s not as easy as it looks.

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