Book to Movie: Hunger Games

I loved The Hunger Games.  I read the book the first month it came out and had it on my book case sitting pleasantly and then suddenly there was an explosion of interest behind the book.  The book was pulled from my book case and was constantly circulated and just when I thought it’d be back home in it’s little spot, the rumors and then confirmation of a movie coming out gave way to another round of passing the book.  It’s a well loved and used book to say the least. 

There were many things I loved about The Hunger Games.  The most prominant reason was Katniss.  I enjoyed her a lot.  After a slew of YA novels and reading about girls who wanted to be saved by a boy, whose lives revolve around liking/loving a boy, Katniss was a refreshing girl protagonist to read.  Sure, her decisions were forced at times due to the corners she was pushed into.  She made mistakes, but she actually accessed her decisions, to try to ensure she won’t make the same mistakes.  She’s headstrong but not stubborn.  Even in the midst of being thrust into violence she still finds love in friendship and possibly in romance (on two fronts). 

Now when I first heard about the movie, I was highly skeptical on the protrayal and the movies ability to pass off information that is deeply rooted in the book.  I did not see the movie in the theatre, due to monetary reasons and scheduling (well mainly due to monetary reasons).  But I did see the movie just a few days ago when it was released on DVD/BluRay.  I was impressed.  Granted I still like the book better, but I thought the movie was done very well.

Why?  Because when two immigrants who speaks basic English (my parents) watches the movie and actually understands the underlying messages in the movie (cruel government, freedom of life, being true to self even in dire circumstances, etc.) it’s well done.  My parents watches movies for plot.  Anything too “deep” goes over their head.  I’m not calling them stupid, mind you, but there’s a language barrier that prevents them from understanding “deep” movies with content satisfaction.  Throughout the movie they rarely asked questions (most of the questions were about the meaning of certain words and phrases) unliek most other movies where there’s a constant barrage of questions or comments.

My parents sympathized with Peeta and adored Rue.  They absolutely whole heartedly rooted for Katniss, even if it meant the death of other kids.  Then after the movie we had a chat, since my brother was also present and he was talking about it.  Someone (I think my brother) made a comment about not killing the other kids and just standing around, then nothing can happen.  When the game makers sent balls of fire to route you back to the field so you could kill one another and then send genetic engineered creatures to come after you… it’s apparent they will coerce and manipulate the situation until someone breaks and kills someone else in order to live.  Both book and movie conveyed this well.  Well enough, they my family understood it without it being bluntly said. 

With the movie, the small details such as the hornets in the book was transitioned over in the movie in a surprising and workable manner.

Sure, the over arcing plot is intriguing to some degree – regardless if it’s a morbid fascination, violent horror, or suspended disbelief.  A girl killing other kids to survive in a cruel government ran “game” to impose its authority has the capability to spark a interest of some sort, but the protrayal and execution of the story was done well enough for people to think beyond the plot.  Think beyond the written pages of the book.  Think beyond the flashing images before our eyes.  It’s capable of generating conversation.  Both book and movie were able to do this.  Even my parents, who rarely comments about a movie (at the end of it all) other than liking or disliking a movie, actual carried a conversation about this movie afterwards. 

So disregarding all the above, did I enjoy the movie?  Yes, I did.  In fact, I’m surprised at how much I loved it.  Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson did a great job.  Liam Hemsworth didn’t have enough screen time to make a impression but the scenes he were in, I felt were realistic.  The details about the city – rich folks – government life were skimmed upon but just the visual glimpses seemed enough for the movie. 

Much like Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games movie will be one of those movies I would watch on a day I don’t feel like reading but would like to delve into a book story.

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