The Hunger Games (movie)

the-hunger-games-movie-poster

Title: The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Production Co: Lionsgate
Release Date: 3/23/2012
Length: 142 minutes
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-fi, Thriller
Rating: PG-13

In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

Warning: There are spoilers. If you have not read the books or seen the movie, proceed at your own risk.

I was convinced before heading to the theater that this would be a really great movie. And with the following the books have, the production company would be crazy to stray far. Upon leaving the theater, I was 100% satisfied. I think this movie adaptation was perfect and I can’t wait to see the next two on screen.

I was amazed by how much of the book was right there on the screen. Sure, it didn’t play out exactly the way the book does, but it can’t. Page-to-screen is hard to pull off and there are key decisions that have to be made. For instance, in the book, Katniss can be thinking about the people back in her district or what the people in the capital are seeing, but there’s no way to transfer that on screen. You have to just show it as its happening, and I was happy that I saw that. I thought it was all handled well. There may have been some tiny details that could have been included to help people who haven’t read the book understand a little more what’s going on. My boyfriend was asking me questions about it after we left because some of it didn’t make sense to him. Aside from that, the plot was handled well and there was little left out.

Jennifer did a fantastic job as Katniss. She was perfect. Whether she really looks like Katniss was described is irrelevant. She was the right person for the part. I loved her. I thought Josh Hutcherson did a good job as well. He didn’t get quite as much time to shine as she did, but that’s understandable since she’s the main character. And Rue? Oh, my heart. I shed tears when she died. It was so, so sad.

I think what struck me the most was how powerful it all was. I can pretty much read about anything because if I don’t want to get emotional about it, I can just disconnect myself from it a little. It’s that simple. If I don’t want to envision, I don’t. I read it and understand it, but I leave it at that. I think that’s how I processed The Hunger Games trilogy. It’s impossible to do that when it’s displayed on a giant screen in front of you. The poverty of District 11, the riot, and the heartlessness in the arena is all there. There was no way to disconnect myself from that and it honestly made the message come across stronger than it did when I first read the book. I’m not saying the movie is better, because I don’t think it is. I’m just saying it really carries the message that Suzanne Collins intended and it’s a hard one to ignore.

They did a pretty good job keeping the violence on a PG-13 level, so it’s safe for teens, maybe even a little younger than thirteen. If you read the book, I really urge you to watch the movie. If you didn’t, I really urge you to do both.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Narrator: Carolyn McCormick
Series: The Hunger Games #3
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Release Date: 8/24/2010
Length: 11 hours, 43 minutes
Format: Playaway
Genres: Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Source: Library
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains – except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay – no matter what the personal cost.

Warning: This review may contain spoilers of the previous books.

I was absolutely thrilled with this book. It’s taken all the three books to do it, but these are some of my favorite books. I’m very glad I decided to check out the audiobook. It just felt right to finish in the same medium I started in. I also probably wouldn’t be half way through if I’d read it physically. I’m just thrilled with some of the authors in the young-adult genre right now. It’s not just Collins, but she is one of the best.

My poor, sweet Peeta. It was so hard for me to read about some of the things he goes through. Peeta has certainly been my favorite character throughout the trilogy. I was so upset when he was captured at the end of Catching Fire. I was so worried he would be absent from this book. I’m so glad he wasn’t, but he really has a rough time. I really warmed up to Katniss. It’s been a very slow process. I wasn’t crazy about her in the first book, liked her a little more in the second, and loved her by the end of this one. I find it funny that people think she’s heartless. I think she has a big heart. Maybe it’s because I have access to her thoughts. I just know she’s really become a truly wonderful heroine. Gale, however, I never got into. I just don’t understand what’s so wonderful about Gale. To be honest, I think he’s a total jerk. Sure, he’s gone through pain just like everyone else in the book, but I’ve never liked him and now that I’ve seen more of him my dislike has increased.

I agree with Katniss about most of her thoughts and feelings. For instance when Gale and some of the other rebels are planning ways to take down the Capitol she finds herself horrified by some of the tactics they suggest because they sound exactly like some of the things the Capitol would do. The rebels think they deserve a dose of their own medicine, but I have my doubts about this just like Katniss. They have to draw the line somewhere or they will all become just like the people they’re trying to overthrow. I also agree with her in regard to those who were born and raised in the Capitol. These people were brought up under the influence of the superficial and malicious Capitol leaders. To a degree, they can’t help some of their actions or instincts. They were raised to think of the Hunger Games as just that, a game. There are also plenty of Capitol residents who understand the injustice of the Hunger Games. This explains the Capitol rebels. Some of the district rebels don’t make any effort whatsoever to put away their prejudice and are blinded by it.

Collins made me hold my breath for some moments and want to jump up and down in anticipation for others. The story was paced to perfection. I really loved all the action. I think these books will make terrific films. I’m very interested to see the people of the Capitol all decked out in their plastic surgery and ridiculous clothing.

I originally wasn’t crazy about Carolyn McCormick. I thought she sounded too old, but by the end I found her appropriate. The only thing I still don’t like about her is the speed of her narration. It’s really slow and it just doesn’t sound natural. I really like the Playaway audiobooks. They’re really neat. The only thing I don’t like is the fact that I can’t see my progress because of the way they split up the time. That’s not that big of a deal though.

 

Previous books in this series:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Narrator: Carolyn McCormick
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Release Date: 9/1/2009
Length: 11 hours, 41 minutes
Format: Unabridged Digital Audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Source: Borrowed
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

Since I was late reading The Hunger Games, I got to begin this one immediately. I didn’t think I would like this series, but it had me hooked pretty quickly. Since the first book left some unmended fences, this one begins at a great pace.

First thing I love about this book: the charachter development. There’s tons of it. This isn’t your everyday YA craze novel. It deals with some heavy issues. Katniss grows a lot. Her ordeal with Gale and Peeta forces her to confront how she really feels. I really liked that we got a lot more Gale in this. I had a hard time feeling torn between Gale and Peeta in the first book because Gale just wasn’t around. We get to know Gale a little in this one and it makes me sympathize with Katniss a little more.

Some of this was a little hard to read, especially in the beginning. In the last book the only injustice we were truly faced with were the ones going on inside the arena. Here, we got to see what’s really going on in the districts. People being shot for their “rebellious” actions, riots, and any kind of opression you can think of. The horrible thing is, these things really happen in the world. The concepts and ideas in this book are nothing new. They’re the past, present, and future of the world. I think that’s what makes this trilogy something truly special. It’s always wonderful to see people standing up against injustice. It makes me very excited about reading Mockingjay.

I can’t think of a single complaint to make about this book. I just loved it: the characters, the plot, the pace, the themes. It all surpassed my expectations.

 

Previous books in this series:
The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Narrator: Carolyn McCormick
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Release Date: 10/1/2008
Length: 11 hours, 14 minutes
Format: Unabridged Digital Audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Source: Borrowed
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I tried so hard to stay away from this book. It was so popular and I had not yet begun to embrace raved-about books like this. When I read the synopsis I thought it sounded awful. Once I got invested in listening to audiobooks I decided to give it a listen because I’ll listen to anything. I was blown away. I had expected something much different. I had pictured more obvious brutality in a gladiator-type arena. I expected to hate it. This book had the exact opposite effect. I loved it. I can’t get enough of this story.

The plot and characters drive the story together. There are so many twists and turns that I sometimes felt like I may squeal with giddy, dorky joy. I love suspense and twists. How on earth could I not enjoy this book? There’s something very original about the story too. I’ve certainly never read anything like it before. It was so refreshing to have a young-adult novel that wasn’t about vampires or werewolves (though I will admit I read a lot of those). It’s also refreshing to have a heroine who has more things to worry about than her love life with said vampires or werewolves. Katniss has more important things going on, like living to see another day. Though romance somehow always finds her, it’s honestly the last thing on her mind. It’s wonderful!

Katniss is the type of person I wish I was. She’s determined and driven. She stands up for herself in the face of almost certain death, something I would never have the guts to do. I’m all talk, but Katniss is all action. She does what she has to do to survive and help her family survive. Peeta is gentle. He’s the sensitive type, of course, which I will admit may not be the best thing for Katniss. I love Peeta anyway though. He isn’t the brash type of person to force his adoration on Katniss. He’s subtle and patient. It’s a quality I love. Gale is a character I never got invested in. I’ve been on the forums at Goodreads where girls argue over who’s side they’re on (Peeta or Gale) and though I stay out of these arguments, I have to say I don’t understand the attachment to Gale. I just didn’t get attached to him. There wasn’t enough of him in the story. I guess that’s really my only complaint since he’s supposed to be the childhood love or whatever.

As far as the Carolyn McCormick goes, she’s definitely too old to be Katniss. I’ll never understand why they do this. It’s not that hard to find a narrator the right age. She did an okay job. Not one of my favorites.

There’s not much more I can say about this book. I recommend it to anyone, young or old.

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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