‘Games’ leave fans hungry for more
Todd Miller | Collegio Reporter
Book Rating: 4 stars
Movie Rating: 4 stars
To the excitement of its fans, “The Hunger Games” was released last week in theaters. The movie fares comparably to the book as each is centered on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). Katniss is a teenage girl who lives in a future world where North America has been replaced with a new capital, Panem, and 12 surrounding districts. The rulers initiated an annual competition called The Hunger Games after a failed rebellion by the districts. Each district sends one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to compete in The Hunger Games, but only one will be living when it is finished.
Katniss’ younger sister Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) was chosen as the female representative for District 12, but Katniss volunteers to take her place alongside the male tribute, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson.)
Overall, the book was entertaining, though I feel it was made longer than it needed to be. There were times when the narrator (Katniss), would become deeply introspective over the condition of the world. At times this was important for the plot, but there were other times where it added little to the story, and I wanted to shout at her to get on with it.
In the book, it often felt like bad things happened for the sake of having a bad thing happen. I knew the “Game Makers” were out to make the competition entertaining, but some of the challenges Katniss faced felt contrived. Bad things are going to happen, but the reader needs a little breathing room from one event to the next.
This makes the climax of the book feel no more important than any other part. Almost every event felt like it could’ve been the final event and it would’ve had the same effect. This causes a lack of resolution in the book. The ending is rushed and simply finishes with “End of Book One,” which I feel makes the author seem lazy and conceited. There’s no real benefit in reading the book since most of the tension isn’t relieved so the author can sell the sequels.
I still think the book was a decent read, despite its issues
The movie was also entertaining even though it wasn’t the greatest thing I’d ever seen. The movie has the same problem as the book; everything after the climax is rushed, and the ending comes before I realized what had happened. However, the movie handled the sequel hook better than the book. There is clear, falling action and it has some resolution to the story that gives a clear indication of more being afoot, without making the audience feel cheated out of a proper resolution.
The movie also rushed through the first act far too quickly. The book spent equal time on the pre-Games and the Games themselves, but the movie is disproportionate. The movie shows so little of Katniss around her home that it’s almost un-noteworthy, other than being the character’s entire backstory.
The movie also seemed to rely on the audience having knowledge of the book. There were several points where things were mentioned and not explained. I would’ve had no idea what they were talking about if I hadn’t read the book first. There were also many more subtle things that were completely overlooked without knowledge of the book.
I gave the book and the movie equal ratings, although the book is superior. The movie is a classic case of “the book was better.” Although the movie was entertaining to watch and done well, there’s just more in the book that makes it better. While the book has a first-person narrative from Katniss’ point-of-view, the movie completely drops this narrative voice and suffers for it. Without looking at things from Katniss’ perspective, everything loses its importance or clear explanation. The scriptwriters tried to explain things from outside Katniss’ perspective, to allow some room to hook in the sequel, but I think the movie would’ve been better without it. Without getting into Katniss’ head like the book does, many things lose their importance. For example, when someone dies it just doesn’t have the same impact as it did in the book. This causes the climax of the film to suffer greatly when we feel there isn’t a threat from the only tribute left opposing Katniss.
Yes the book is better, but don’t let that keep you from seeing the movie, especially if you are a fan of the book. The film is done well and definitely worth seeing.
The only other complaint I have with the movie is that Panem could’ve been designed with more grandeur and beauty.