So I actually did quite a bit of research before this review. I wanted to see ‘The Hunger Games’ film but I decided that I needed to read the book first. I knew I would totally regret it, if I saw the film loved it and then decided to read the book. All the good bits would be given away and I would spend hours wading through the book with only half the enjoyment.
So a couple of weeks ago on the way back from seeing my current abode in Sydney I bought the book at Sydney airport and started reading it on the plane. I finished the book within 2 days. The book is beautifully written, with a great eye for intriguing details and the ability to completely absorb you in another world. The love triangle is perfection and completely confusing as all love triangles should be and most importantly it is nothing like Twilight.
“What critics predict will be the new Twilight”, this is all I’ve heard since the movie adaptation of the book was announced 2 years ago. I know they think they are making a selling statement but for a lot of us it wasn’t. Glitter vampires and whiny sub-missives aren’t that great people. I will confess I have read all the books but still, it’s not that big of a selling point. Knock offs of Twilight are all that the book stores are filled with these days and it’s super irritating.
Now the film lacked the beautiful details of novel and the intricacies of the universe but in most other ways was very faithful. The character of Katniss was cast perfectly and Liam Hemsworth actually sold me on the appeal of Gale. Peeta was accurately if not attractively cast and the rest of the cast particularly the characters of Rue and Haymitch very convincing. Cato the brutal tribute was a low point because he was too much of a pretty boy. I think the best scene for me was ‘The Reaping’ when Katniss volunteer’s as a Tribute. That scene was as stirring if not more so than the novel.
The film was far too long and yet I felt it didn’t have enough of the details from the book. I think this proves that adapting a novel for the screen in incredibly tough and it’s very hard to please people. The film had information that wasn’t in the book and this I felt was an excellent idea giving the fans more than what they already know. This was given credibility by the fact that Suzanne Collins was one of the scriptwriters. I as an audience member felt like I was being told more background from the lips of the writer not just an easy storytelling fix from the screenwriter.
Unfortunately one of the downsides of reading the book is I can’t look at the film objectively. I know that I love the film but I can’t tell you if I’d love it if I hadn’t read the book. The film failed to capture some of the key emotion scenes for me and some of the intricacies of Katniss’s character were also lost but I filled in the blanks for myself. This film was very satisfying for a fan of the series but I can’t guarantee it will be for everyone. So I won’t recommend the movie, but I will recommend that you read the book, it is excellent and may even change your mind about the film if you didn’t like it.