Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie - My Thoughts

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.
I've had the release date on my calendar since it was announced...I've had the original movie poster in my classroom since it was available...I've had my reserved seat movie ticket for over a month...I've been talking about it with my students for the last two weeks...and I finally got to see the movie today. My thought before it began? I really hope it lives up to the hype and anticipation I've built up for it. What was my thought when it was over? That was so good-I need to go see it again! I think I feel like this whenever I go to a movie based on a book that I've read. The first time I see it, I'm thinking so much about comparing it to the book. The second time, I can enjoy it more. BUT, the difference this time was that the movie was so incredibly well done, that I wasn't in my head comparing it to the book the whole time, but I was falling in love with the story all over again. And wanting to go see it again was so I could enjoy it even more, and pay a little more attention to whether we could ever show it to our students or not.

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.


6 comments:

  1. Loved the movie! I agree about casting of Peeta. He seems so young? weak? child-like? I'm not sure. But he did get the personality and sincerity of Peeta on point.

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  2. Ack, I'm so nervous about watching this movie! I hope I love it. Glad to see you did; it gives me hope.

    I've been thinking about THG a lot recently and, I just posted about The Hunger Games parodies.

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  3. Looking back, I wasn't comparing the movie to the book while I was watching it - it was on the drive home that my brain was analyzing it. I was completely entranced. And I walked out wishing I could just stay and watch it again right away.
    And I am glad I still have a copy of THG in my possession so I can reread it. (I splurged and bought it and CF for my Nook...) If it has the same effect on my students, I suspect many will be going to buy copies because our network of sharing won't be nearly enough...

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  4. I loved the movie as well-saw it last night. The discrepancies between the book and the movie were not huge and didn't interfere with the story itself.

    Of course I cried-and can't say why because other people might not have read it or watched it yet, but you know what I'm talking about! :)

    Shannon
    http://www.extremereadingandwriting.wordpress.com

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  5. I hadn't read your thoughts until just now so it's interesting that our thoughts are so similar.

    I also am a bit iffy on Peeta but a few of us were talking on Twitter and said he definitely nailed the charm, he just doesn't have the swoon. So the more I think about it, I'm actually fine with that because it's how I felt about him when I was reading the book. I've always been more of a Team Gale girl myself and I thought the awkwardness between Katniss and Peeta in the movie was pretty indicative of how it went down in the book. She was trying to survive. Whatever feelings she had for him felt more like strategy than romance - even the kiss.

    And yes, I thought Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz were perfection. In fact, I'm swooning over Cinna WAY MORE than Peeta! I cant' believe Kravitz is 47-years-old!

    I, too, loved seeing the gamemakers work and also the the nefarious orchestration of the results of the games between Seneca and President Snow. So evil! And yet, the gamemakers were so clinical and banal in their work - what a contrast.

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  6. You make such a good point! I made a friend come with me who hadn't read the books and she just finished the first one and is dyyying to go buy the second and third.

    And I loved seeing the gamemakers in action! The berry scene with Seneca Crane... oh man! Easily my favorite scene. I didn't expect it. (I honestly can't remember if that was in the books. Was it alluded to in Catching Fire? I haven't read them since Mockingjay came out... I should read them again.)

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