Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Hunger Games

I must say that I am quite anticipating the Hunger Games movies. I read the books in a week, all three of them, which is a feat for me because I was in my final college class at the time getting ready to hand in my senior paper and had just started a new job.

The thing that I loved the most about the books was the flawed characters. Few books have flawed characters anymore. Or rather, if they do, the flaws end up being assets or not even important enough to hinder the characters. The flawed people that drive the story of the Hunger Games are so real. And the flaws are age-appropriate flaws. I remembered being a teenager and longing to say something to someone but being unable to say it, or wanting something with such conviction that it seems I would die without it.

The story takes normal teenagers with normal teenage thoughts and desires and places them in unthinkable danger with unimaginable horror. Moreover, Suzanne Collins must have been a fan of the Japanese film Battle Royale, because she took the movie concept and improved it in such vast amounts that I never would have believed possible. A movie that I loved is now rather lackluster to me after reading the trilogy.

I also found that Mrs. Collins’ writing was thought-provoking and she surprised me at every turn. I insisted that my thirteen year old daughter read at least the first book, certain that she would feel the same way I did about the books. Shockingly, she did not. She was the target age group for the stories, adolescent/young adult, and she has a lot of dystopian films and novels behind her. She is a huge fan of The Handmaid’s tale, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451.

She found it more predictable than I did and I am sure the characters made her angry. So, it is not for everyone. However, I loved it. I daresay the writing was more polished than J.K. Rowling, as far as young adult novels go. And now they’re making movies.

I am skeptical about the outcome. I suppose I am too old to know the actors being cast in the lead roles, but I plan to watch some of their stuff over the next months before the movie comes out. Having done a casting of the older characters in my head already, I find myself curious if they will see them the same way I did. Knowing that the author has a hand in casting, at least somewhat, makes me feel better, although rarely do we get the same thing out of novels that the authors meant for us to get. We add our own experiences, prejudices, dreams, and fears to create our own experience from the material the author gives us. At least I do. And seeing a movie adaptation of a beloved book could breathe life to our fantasies or ruin the dream forever.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for the Hunger Games.

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