I don't think my love for The Hunger Games series books is any secret. I read the first one in early 2009 after hearing all the buzz for it, and immediately proclaimed it one of my all-time favorite books and it became my number one book recommendation for all of my middle school students. It reaffirmed my love of dystopian (you can read more about that on my guest post on Teach Mentor Texts blog series on dystopian) and led many of my students down that same path. Now, I admit, it took me awhile to read it the first time. Let's admit, the beginning is a little slow, but once I went back to it and got to the Capitol, I couldn't put the book down.
So I was one of the (lucky or unfortunate whichever way you look at it) ones who had to wait a full year in between each book in the series. And then the news of the movie came, and all I could do was hope they didn't screw it up like the Twilight movies (come on, they're not that good), but could make it good like the Harry Potter movies, but without having to leave so much out. The thing is, I think a really good book to movie adaptation has the power to make someone want to read the book - and that's a great power to have. In fact, that's what happened to me when I saw the first Harry Potter movie. I hadn't read the books yet, but that movie made me go get them, see how good they were, and then I became a devoted fan of the series. And that's what I really hope The Hunger Games movie will do for this generation of adolescents.
The movie is darn good. Are there some small changes, of course, there have to be. My favorite though was getting a behind-the-scenes inside look at the gamemakers and how diabolical and strategic they were in making it all happen. Were there some questionable casting decisions-well, that depends on who you ask, but in my mind the casting was brilliant perfection (with the exception of Peeta-I'm still not sold). Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss. Haymitch and Cinna are delightful. I'm already going to call foul if it doesn't win awards for makeup and costuming. This movie accomplished the task of bringing this book to life, and I never felt like there was anything that didn't look right to me from how I had pictured it when I read the book. That is quite a feat as such a fan of the book.
I walked out of this movie with a clear thought prevailing in my head (after wow, they really ended that perfectly to set up for Catching Fire and I can't wait for the next one!): I really want to read the book again. And for someone who has already read it three times, that's saying something. I can only hope that it has the same effect on my students and all of the others who go to see it who haven't read the books yet. This one was a winner.