In My Favor

Posted: January 17, 2013 in On Novels
Tags: , , , , , ,

I am part of a rare breed.
That is, I am part of the breed that saw The Hunger Games in theaters far before I had ever picked up any of the three books.. come to think of it, as of right now, I’ve only read the first one. That being said, I feel like having seen the film before reading the book gave me a bit of insight into the book I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I know that might seem backwards to some, but it’s true. The same could be said about Pride & Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley, that is), Stephen King’s IT, and the slew of comic book movies that have come out in the last few years. I’m not one of those purists who thinks that a movie based on a film immediately blows. I feel like they feed off of each other if anything.

For example: throughout the duration of the film, Jennifer Lawrence’s deadpan portrayal of Katniss irritated me. I could not stand the whole stoic, non-feeling protagonist thing. I viewed it as poor acting. After reading the book and understanding that the deadpan-ness is actually part of her personality, and a technique to help her survive in the games, it made much more sense. Some of the finer details in the book are lost in the film due to a lack of narration on Katniss’s part, obviously.

While I did enjoy the movie, I had problems with some of the liberties (well, maybe a lot of them) that Hollywood took with THG. The difference in graphic content between book and movie kind of bugged me. While someone getting their head smashed in with a rock is by no means pretty, nor PG-13 (well, I think it is, but I digress), replacing that with someone accidentally having their neck snapped by a wall? That’s weak. That’s a cop-out. One other big problem I had in the film is the attempt to make Cato a sympathetic character at the end. That doesn’t happen in the book. There is no sappy villain dialogue that makes you feel for him at the end. Cato is a death factory throughout the novel; he is a cruel bastard. We’re not supposed to feel sorry for him. He gets his, and that’s the way it should be.

President Snow’s characterization in the film is much greater than that of first novel. That much I can excuse, since they need to set the stage for him to be the big cheese of the next two films. Seneca Crane’s role in the first film to me was interesting, given the near lack of him in the novel. I suppose his behind-the-scenes roll of Gamemaster supplemented the lack of self-narration that I mentioned earlier. One of the only other things left out of the film that I felt should have been included is the scene between Peeta and Katniss on the tracks just before making it back home to District 12. That scene was emotionally tough (for me anyway), and I feel like seeing Peeta essentially have his heart squished would have made us feel for him a bit more.

Yes, the Hunger Games trilogy does have a theme of romance (just as a lot of YA reading does), but to call someone a hypocrite for liking them while slamming Twilight is absurd. In THG, the romance is necessary for characters to stay alive, and is forced by one of them (at least in the beginning). It’s not the entire focus of all of the novels and films. As I have been typing this up, I have just learned that they are splitting the film for Mockingjay into two films. This.. this tradition is getting tiresome. As much as I love The Hobbit, there is not a bone in me who doesn’t believe that splitting it into 3 separate films when it is the SHORTEST in the LotR story is money milking. That being said, on the whole I enjoyed both the film and the novel, and I do have intentions to read the others.

Hopefully, the odds are in my favor.
Carpe Diem

  1. lechatdu503 says:

    First off, I love the title of this post. The odds are in your favor. I really like your comment about Cato being a death factory and how we’re not supposed to feel bad for him when he dies. That was really insightful, even though I’m still for he’s a human being and therefore I will still be horrified by his death because I refuse to give up that these are all children fighting a wicked game.

    I wonder if it would have changed the feel of the movie if we had had Katniss’s inner monologue going like we do in movie’s like Bridget Jone’s Diary where we get to hear her thoughts. Would that have helped give her more depth and portrayed the story as the book had written it? Would it have worked with the premise of being on the run?

    This new tradition of one book split into many movies needs to stop. I agree. It’s tedious.

    Awesome post.

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