Saturday, April 7, 2012

Why I didn't like The Hunger Games movie

The media ruins everything.

The Hunger Games was a great book. I read in it 2011 and immediately fell in love with the dystopian world Suzanne Collins had created. Here was a book with integrity, a book that changed my life. I gave it a well deserved review and said this book wasn't a five star book, it was a legend.

The movie didn't do it justice. I've decided that big blockbuster movies are better when they involve explosions, superheroes, funny quips and impossibly awesome special effects.

The Hunger Games movie was quiet. I thoroughly enjoyed how similar the movie was to the book, but the book had my heart pounding, turning pages frantically until I reached the end. When I read the book, I was Katniss, I was inside the story, it happened around me. There were no shaky camera effects to give me the disorientation Katniss felt after being stung by tracker jackers and Ceasar Flickerman's sports announcer voice didn't explain tracker jackers to me. I didn't have Seneca Crane and President Snow talking in a garden, nor did I have Seneca Crane acting like a big shot in a control room.

The problem was, the movie was a movie. I couldn't experience the story.

Since seeing the movie twice in theaters in its first week at the box office, I have come to dislike all the attention Hunger Games is getting. It's people like Ryan Seacrest that are ruining it for me. I am not joking when I say that I tuned into five minutes of American Idol last week only to hear Ryan Seacrest saying to the Idol hopefuls: "May the odds be ever in your favor."

There's something demeaning about taking a line that meant so much in a book and using it over and over again to mean anything. I've heard people say it sarcastically on the radio, heard it used in passing, and even heard it in an online spoof, more notably, the collegehumor.com spoof which was promptly forwarded to me via private message on facebook.

Yeah, someone actually sent me a Hunger Games spoof on facebook as a private message.

All the attention Hunger Games is getting in the media is changing it from a jarring, thrilling, terrifying story into a farce.

*sigh*

I have all the respect in the world for Suzanne Collins. I thought her book was fantastic. Originally I was as excited as the next Hunger Games fan to see the movie being made, but I'm now sad to see how it's all played out.

Here's hoping that The Mortal Instruments, The Caster Chronicles and The Wolves of Mercy Falls movies don't face the same fate. Hey, may the odds be ever in their favor, right?


21 comments :

  1. I completely agree, and that's why I'm not going to see the movie. I want to keep the integrity of an amazing book intact. I don't want it sullied by Hollywood and the crass phrase-tossing that's going on.

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  2. Interesting point. I actually think that the movie was much better for people who have read the book, and maybe not that great for anyone who hasn't. Some friends and I were actually kind of discussing this today, and it is different not being in Katniss's head. I think it's a lot harder to go from first-person narratives to movies than third, just because so much of the book is more stream of consciousness than action. I thought the HG movie did a pretty good job, but you're totally right, it's not the same at all.

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  3. Sometimes its nice to see a book become a movie, to see it come to life on the big screen. But it never comes across as good as the book. Then the media start ripping into it and most of them probably never read the book at all. 3 - 4 years ago I could mention the Hunger Games to someone and no one would understand what I was talking about. Now? They're like o-m-g that was such an awesome movie! - I'm not talking about the movie. I'm talking about the damn book.

    I am serioulsy scared for upcoming book to movies.

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  4. I agree with every comment here and I am glad I have found like minded people. When the book first came out and I read it, I was awestruck and changed by the experience. I was afraid the movie would not live up to the book.. and guess what? It didn't. I was disappointed, on a personal level. It was a good movie, but changed the book for me. When we left the theater my husband said to me, "That was not how I pictured it to be." It kind of was, but it didn't have the same effect. And I felt you had to have read the book to really get some of the references. I might just stay away from book to movie adaptions. I fear for the ones to follow.

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  5. I probably wont be checking out The Hunger Games movie though I do agree Hollywood usually wrecks books. I will posit one exception The Lord of the Rings trilogy was excellent in both versions, and I read the book at the same time as I saw the movie, and feel the movie was faithful to the book.

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  6. I'm with other commenters, I don't plan to see the movie. At the risk of sounding like a moody teenager, the Twilight movies ruined books-to-movies for me. While Twilight et al was nowhere near as powerful in my mind as Hunger Games, they were...pleasant stories. But the movies were horribly acted and badly directed, which is a shame because I've see most of those actors in other work where they were great. It's almost like a director somewhere told them to suck a lot on purpose. Bleh. I couldn't make Hunger Games in its opening weeks, and after hearing so many people whose opinions I respect say they wish they hadn't even seen it, I'm out.

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  7. I think for my sanity, I had to try to see the movie as a bit of a separate thing. It isn't really, and some of the issues with it still definitely got to me, annoyed me, or left me disheartened. I didn't like how much they did like the glimpses to President Snow...not that it wasn't well done, just, I hate that they had to go to those lengths in order to further explain (or so someone thought) to those who hadn't read the book what was going on.

    I did think a lot of the characters were spot-on and the emotion of the book was still there, but there were some changes I'd have made. (Like a different rating, so we could have gotten the gritty violence of the book. And Peeta's eyes being blue. And Gale's line. GAH.) But apparently the director won't be back for the sequel...so who knows what to expect?

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  8. I haven't gone to see the movie, but yours is the first post I've read stating that it wasn't up to scratch, interesting to hear the other side.

    CarolynBrown-Books

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  9. I read the book so long ago that I didn't have any particular expectations for the movie. My husband, who didn't read the book, did have a few questions that just weren't explained in the movie. We all liked the movie, but the book, as per usual, was better!

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  10. That happens to anything successful. It just happens a lot quicker nowadays. Movies re spoofed and subsequently diminished before half the audience have even seen it. So in effect the spoof is more memorable than the original material. I haven't read 'TheHunger Games because from the cover it looked like a spy novel. It wasn't until the movie was almost out I realized that it was something else. Then I didn't want to read it because I generally dislike mainstream things and it sounded like 'Battle Royale' which I adore. I'll get round to it one day though. The point is, subject material aside, I sympathize with your argument.

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  11. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm betting you're absolutely right about this. After reading so many bad novels lately (both self and traditionally published), The Hunger Games trilogy was a breath of fresh air. Like you, I completely forgot I was reading a book. I also hate to see a story with so much substance being synthesized into pop culture and losing its soul. I'm happy for Suzanne Collins, because as an author she is now permanently on the world's radar. (Not to mention set for life.) However, I'm sure she has moments when she wonders if her message will be completely lost in the hype.

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  12. I totally agree. I didn't feel the way I did when I read the book. Although the second time I watched the movie I enjoyed it more. But yeah, it was a let down.

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  13. Wow! Okay I'm glad I'm not the only person who feels this way! I wanted to also add that it's not that I didn't like the movie for what it was (minus those scenes I pointed out) it's just that the experience itself has been sullied by the media. Ems you said it best: "crass phrase-tossing" It's just annoying me. I wonder if any of the original Twilight book fans felt this way?

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  14. I'm sorry to say you feel that way. I agree with your point though that the hype and using lines from the book make the book seem less real. However, after watching the movie twice and reading and loving the books, I believe they did a great job. One can't really use Twilight as a good judge of books to movies, just because of how awful those movies are. However, the Hunger Games stayed true to its character, down to the shaky cameras. I can see how it's not as suspenseful, partly because I know what was going to happen, but even my boyfriend, who hadn't read the book, could predict events, because things were predictable.
    Granted, I know the movie didn't stay true to the books, especially near the end and that ruined the movie for some. But I'm a firm believer in that since movies and books are different genres they can't be 100% the same. Some effects just can't be transferred from a book to a movie. It is also not the movie's fault that people don't take the bleak situation as seriously. It is, after all, just a movie, and entertainment. I just think they did a great job with the movie without losing the integrity from the book. It is people in general that makes the hype around the book and thus making it lose its effects.

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  15. I really enjoyed your point of view. I couldn't explain why, but I suspected I might have a similar reaction to seeing it on film. I just read books I & II about a month before the movie came out and I was quite happy with the movie I had in my head. I decided not to go see it.

    I'll probably watch it someday, but for now, my version is just fine.

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  16. This is interesting to read since I've mostly been hearing positive reviews. I think it was a good movie and a decent adaptation with some really great acting and really touching moments. However, I completely agree that the experience of the movie versus of the experience of the book was a let down. The main thing about the movie for me was that while much of it was faithful to the book (and I did actually like that we got some of the 3rd person perspective of the Games), it missed capturing the URGENCY and the thought-provoking quality of the book. It basically felt like Hunger Games lite, and because the bleakness and desperation of a lot of the situations wasn't translated well to screen, I think the thematic messages of the Hunger Games book got a bit lost.

    And while I'm glad the Hunger Games is getting more attention and more readers, the media frenzy is definitely tiresome. I always rolling my eyes at the hype machine. And I think it's so fitting that Ryan Seacrest is casually throwing out the phrase "May the odds be ever in your favor" on American Idol; that's just so Capitol, isn't it?

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  17. I totally agree! It seemed to be stripped of intensity, fear and HUNGER of things. No one seemed to be frightened of going into the competition, or even the dark woods. If Peeta could amazing transform himself into a piece of bark, why didn't they have Rue flit through trees like a bird (or sing like one for that matter). Why didn't they show Katniss climb a tree like a cat? And the question of all questions, why wasn't Cinna totally Gay?

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  18. I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but it wasn't the book, and the book is MUCH better. I posted a very similar review last week. http://michelleisenhoff.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/the-hunger-games-movie/

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  19. I read the book maybe 3 or 4 years ago and loved feeling part of a select group of people who knew about it. Sadly, the new fame and casting choices have made me start to hate the books. That and the last book. I don't know if I should see it. I'm sick of the band wagon fans.

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  20. People/the media/Ryan Seacrest are entitled to their opinions.
    It's just a book, it's not real life. Geez.

    And I thought both the movie and the book were ripoffs (Battle Royale anyone?).

    Crazy fanatics!

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  21. I totally agree to me it felt as if they missed out on certain parts that I personally liked. They kept to the book but to me not by much I mean I don't know I didn't like the MOVIE AT ALL and I will not be watching any others....I respect the novels too much... I understand that the movie will NEVER be as great as the book but it could have been better than it was....sorry

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