Friday, April 6, 2012

Hunger Games

Remember when I used to post kind of regularly and actually had some interesting stories?  No?  Me neither.  Ah but such is life.

I did realize that I have desperately failed you by not posting ANYTHING about The Hunger Games.  No book review, no movie review, no post about how much I LOVED this series.  So I'm going to do it here.

For about the past year, everyone I know and their grandmother was reading The Hunger Games.  Big blockbuster books always make me a little nervous - what if I don't like it as much as everyone else?  Then you're the weird girl who constantly has to explain why she didn't like the book that everyone else is obsessed with.  

But after I had heard from the 14736867926th person that I needed to read The Hunger Games, I decided to take the plunge.  After my exams were over in December I bought the first book.  And read it in a day.  And loved it.  And proceeded to read the second book.  In another day.  And then the third.  In a third day.  And then I had this weird Hunger Games hangover and couldn't really adjust back to reality for a few days.  

The series was mesmerizing.  The books are Young Adult (YA) and very easy to read.  The story, however, is geared to a much broader audience.  I honestly cannot remember the last time that I had a reading experience like I had while reading The Hunger Games.  It was similar to my Harry Potter experience, but different in an important way.  I waited for years in between Harry Potter books (where I read the available books again and again and again). But all of The Hunger Games books were already out!  No waiting!  It let me get absorbed in the series in a different kind of way that I liked.

So without further ado, my review of The Hunger Games.  

Many years in the future, after famine and war and floods and eventually a new peace, the U.S. is no more.  Instead there is the Panem which is made up of Twelve Districts and a Capitol.  To maintain its dominance over the districts the Capitol requires each district to send a boy and girl tribute every year to the Capitol to participate in the annual Hunger Games: a brutal, televised fight to the death that is required programming for all citizens of the Panem.  The winning tribute brings riches, fame, and glory back to their district in a hopelessly self-perpetuating style.

Enter Katniss Everdeen.  Katniss is a sixteen year old girl from District 12, located near modern Appalachia.  Her father died years before in a mining accident and has dedicated her life to taking care of her mother and younger sister, Prim.  When her sister's name is drawn to be the District 12's Tribute, Katniss volunteers to go in her place.  Peeta Mellark is chosen as District 12's male tribute.  Together Katniss and Peeta head to the Capitol with their coach, Haymitch, and District liaison, Effie, to participate in the 74th Hunger Games.

I won't say much more about the plot, I don't want to give anything away, but I really do think you should go read it.  You can purchase The Hunger Games here.

Now for the movie.  I loved it.  I thought it was a really great film adaptation of a really excellent book.  No movie is ever exactly like the book, it can't be.  But I thought that this movie was pretty true to the book.  They spent some time showing what was going on outside of the arena while the Games were going on.  I liked the context that those scene gave.  I liked how they portrayed the differences between people from the Capitol and people from the Districts.  

What didn't I like?  I felt like a few of the details of the movie were confusing.  In the book they really explain Haymitch's role in the Games.  In the movie it was just explained in passing that he was their coach and mentor.  I also found that a few of the relationships fell a little flat.  But as a whole, I think they did a great job and I'm excited for the sequel!


Meredith said...

It's funny you say that about a few of the relationships falling flat. That was my biggest thing when I left the theater. It's not that I didn't enjoy the movie, I did. But I did walk about overwhelmed with excitement and satisfaction either. Garrett chalked it up to nothing ever being able to top my own imagination and while that's true, I think the fact that some of the relationships were stale to me made the movies not as amazing as some many others thought. I definitely didn't gush when I came home and my Mom couldn't believe that I wasn't in love. I guess for me the relationships are why I watch movies and I felt that the movie had trouble tying people together. The only relationship I thought they successfully created - one that would mimic what's in my imagination - is the relationship between Gale and Katniss. That worked for me. It came off as natural and real. I will definitely be seeing the sequels though. Got to see it through!

Andrea said...

The Katniss / Peeta relationship wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped. But I may or may not have been completely obsessed with that relationship while I was reading.

I also felt really bad for Katniss's mom...more so than in the book.