Everything I see online about The Hunger Games is a celebration of a strong young female protagonist in a trilogy for the YA (young adult) literary market – a fresh break from wimpy pre-vampire Bella in the Twilight series, for example.
Blah blah blah. I just liked the books. As with Twilight, I read through the series with great speed since the writing style and the action lent themselves to burning through each book and a subsequent urgency to read the next. Luckily, I have a dealer close by who owns all three books and made it easy for me to exchange one for the next.
And then we went to see the movie together the other night. It was a Tuesday night in the suburbs and the big release weekend hubbub had died down. We had the entire theater to ourselves until right before the film started. I love it here.
Anyway, the movie.
The Hunger Games movie was a nice representation of the misery and unrest in the post-apocalyptic world that author Suzanne Collins created in the book. The film condensed a lot of the plot and put certain details into the mouths of different characters, but that kind of switcheroo is expected when adapting a book to a movie. Overall, I give it a thumbs up, but I’m not sure that people who haven’t read the book would have the same reaction. I can see it being confusing to people who don’t know what is going on in main character Katniss’ mind as she faces each obstacle. After all, when you watch a movie, all you have to go on is what you see and hear. When you read a book, your imagination has far fewer limitations.
I particularly enjoyed the visual style of the film, especially the representation of the Capitol – the area of new North America that controls the rest of the country. In the movie it is lavish and over the top and they have the most bitchin’ computer systems since Tron. I’m putting their 3D holographic user interface on my wish list.
But enjoying the visual translation of this story had to come with the downside: the violence. I had read that it wasn’t too bad and that older children might be fine with it. However, I am pretty sensitive to violence in movies. I can’t watch fight movies or war movies or slasher films. Even Katniss’ burn and Peeta’s sword wound were tough for me to see, no matter how much I told myself it wasn’t real.
Recently on Dr. Laura’s radio show, a woman called in to talk about how she brought her 12-year-old son to the movie, not knowing what it was about. She didn’t know anything about the story and wondered about the level of violence shown on screen. Let’s not dwell on the idea that she could have looked on the internet to see exactly how much violence would be on screen. But she didn’t. So she brought her son to the movie, realized within the first ten minutes that the story of this movie is about 24 children in a battle to the death, and then left.
When Laura Schlesinger heard what the story was, she actually screeched. It hurt my ears. I laughed. In this age of media saturation, there was no excuse for that mom’s gaffe. I feel bad for the poor kid, but in the end, I think the mom did the right thing. I have a really hard time with violence, and it’s worse when the violence relates to children. I waited a long time to read The Hunger Games trilogy. I enjoyed it, but those images of children killing each other are definitely not good for the spirit. I’m gonna go watch some puppies playing now.