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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Book VS. Movie: The Hunger Games

Dear friends,

** Pay attention, this post is very long, has a lot of pictures and SPOILERS! but I have poured my heart and soul into it so I hope you guys will read it and tell me what you think! :) **

I have always loved books and I have always loved reading them - at the same time I have always been a fan of movies and I always went to the cinema, ever since I remember. One thing I know for sure when I hear that a movie is made after a book: I would like to see that movie after I read the book as in 99.99% of the cases I find the book to be way better than the adaptation. I can say the same about The Hunger Games!
I did not manage to get a hold on the books until Christmas, when I got them as a present from my charming husband. He knew that I wanted them and that each time I went for them the stock was gone - the single place I could find them in English language was at the American Bookstore in Galeria Krakowska and I was always a day too late... just my luck! My husband managed to find out that he can make an exclusive order with Empik and they could bring them especially for him - actually me :) - so he did that and he got them home before Christmas! :) You cannot believe how happy I was! Actually we had agreed on no more presents as we already exchanged, but he came with them and said that this was actually a gift for our future kids ;))) and that I need to read them first in order to see when it would be proper of them to read it - yes, I know! He is a sneaky little fellow :) 
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The Hunger Games Movie was released in 2012 but I managed to see it in the summer of 2013 and sadly not on the big screen - I do believe that this is an action movie but made for the big screen ;) I read the book this year though, and it took me less than 4 days - I just could not drop it out of my hands! I somehow wish that I would have read the book first than watch the movie, so that the characters would first form in my head not come as a granted fact from the movie... This is precisely why I did not went to see the Catching Fire (the second book) and I sadly admit that I will probably not catch this one on the big screen either - and this is a shame :( But keep your fingers crossed as Mockinjay is next (the third and final book) and by that time I will truly have them all done and I will reward myself with going to the cinema and seeing the final part on the big screen. Monday I finished The Hunger Games and avidly I started Catching Fire :) I truly and wholeheartedly recommend them! Where the movie gets you thinking there are gaps in the action or in the ideas or that the characters are not round the book helps - and it helps a lot! bringing more shades into the characters and making you understand more of the background, of Panem :)
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What I loved about the movie in accordance to the book:
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen - dead on! This lady wasn't that well know and you might have seen her before The Games in X-Men First Class in 2011 as Raven / Mystique but other than that she was pretty much a no-name and no-face. The Games were her hit! The part of Katniss fitted her like a glove and she played it perfectly. True fact: you cannot figure out her relationship with Peeta - played by Josh Hutcherson - try as you might, and not even in the book that is not easy... 

  • Amandla Stenberg has the great pleasure of playing Rue - a character you will immediately fall in love, even if you will see her just for a short while... Although you can count the movies she has been in with your fingers it is clear to me she has potential. For me she truly was the Rue from the book, the bird in flight... Small and silent, all a smile, she captures your heart immediately and even though you realise she will die you are not ready for it when it happens.
  • Gale Hawthorne - played by Liam Hemsworth, "Thor's brother" ;))) - is the perfect selection for the "boy next door" in love with Catnip (yup, that is how he calls her). He is strong, reliable, handsome, smart and you can actually feel some sparks there on screen - although off screen they are no longer there and he acts as Dad for both Jennifer and Josh, who keep teasing eachother like 2 kids or maybe 2 young teenagers in love... don't have that figured out yet! But they are all 3 adorable nonetheless ;)
  • Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy is just puuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurfect! Fits perfectly with his character and you can bet he just got squeezed from the pages of the book. The way he moves, the way he takes care of Katniss and Peeta, his drunk stages and faked drunkness is epic! And you would expect that out of crazy old Woody but nonetheless he is a very pleasant surprise as the old Victor that drinks himslef to sleep in order to forget about the nightmares of the arena... 
  • Lenny Kravitz is a revelation for this series of movies as he plays Cinna (Cinnamon) the trusted and loved stylist of District 12. He is truly a sight for sore eyes and if you read the book before the movie you will be happy that he is the one who plays the part. You can see him calm and gentle and yet authoritative with Katniss. He is the only one from the Capitol who she loves and respects, the only one she talks to freely, as herself. And trust me the people who selected the cast did an awesome job with Cinna ;)
  • Effie Trinket - oh, what a perfectly glorious name that already reveals the person after saying it! - is played by Elizabeth Banks. She is the escort of District 12, particularly to Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games trilogy. Her responsibilities include drawing Hunger Games tributes' names at reapings and subsequently escorting the tributes to the Capitol. She is very well known for her Capitol accent, upbeat attitude for the Games and the Capitol phrase, "May the odds be ever in your favor!" Effie tries to encourage tributes to be happy about their upcoming participation in the Games, though her efforts are mostly in vain. She is an odd and somewhat vain character that focuses rather on the world and its beauties than on the people - but I guess that keeps her mind off the fact that the people she just met will die in the Arena... Elizabeth puts on a great show and you truly believe in her the moment she steps on stage - she is the Effie from the books!
  • President Snow - the most powerful person in the Capitol and the only person of which Katniss is afraid of... - is played devilishly by the amazing actor named Donald Sutherland. Now to my defence I have always been a huge fan of Donald's and of his son, Keifer - their contributions in movies may be small but they are always out of this world. President Snow is a native of the Capitol and is the tyrannical President of Panem. He is cruel, manipulative and sly. He managed to stay in charge ever since anyone can remember and his rule is a rule of fear. In a post-apocaliptic time he rules with an iron fist... In the book we read that he always smells of roses and blood - Katniss even pictures him staying home, drinking a blood tea and dipping a cookie in it... well I must admit that Donald is the perfect picture of The President! Wide smile but eyes that tell you that he is up to something - that is Donald, and he is perfect! :) 
What I hate that they left out of the movie but it was in the book:
  1. Death comes more quickly in the movies - I understand it is like that due to PG-13 rating, but I cannot keep remembering the last death in the Arena. Cato dies after he is shot by Katniss but the death is not that short... The mutant dogs attack Katniss/Peeta/Cato and Cato is eventually harrased by the muts until Katniss spares him... But in the book that takes a whole night, not just a couple of minutes as in the movie...
    I know this is not from The Hunger Games - I am assuming it can only be from Catching Fire - but it pretty much sums up the advice that Haymitch gives to Peeta and Katniss :)
  2. Peeta's Father visits - in the book, in the hour after the announcement, she is allowed to have visitors and say goodbye. An unexpected visitor appears: Peeta's father, bringing cookies... Even though they do not know eachother that well he was always kind to her and her sister. And somehow Peeta's family talks about her and her family but never the other way around. Not to mention that Peeta's father promises Katniss that her sister and mum will be looked after - which brings me to number 3 ;)
  3. Peeta's Father had a crush on Katniss's mother - yep! that was a shocker! Now I am getting confused if this was in The Hunger Games or in Catching Fire, so I am sorry for all the spoilers... but Peeta's father was in love with Katniss's mother and he even wanted to marry her if Katniss's father would have not proposed. In the same way Peeta falls in love with her the first moment they meet, in class, when her teacher made her sing the anthem and Peeta remembers how even the birds stopped singing to listen to her... how romantic! <3
  4. Rue and Katniss's sister - for Katniss they seem to be (in the book) one and the same person. In everything she does and says and acts Rue is the spitting image of her sister and this breaks her heart. Their alliance is presented in the movie but never shown completely. This is a very big part of the book, the fight with herself, the alliance with Rue and knowing that she will have to die soon. None of them can live while the other is alive. Death is inevitable and Rue, that reminds her of her sister, although strong at heart, quick she is not able to protect herself from the grownups of the arena...
  5. GameMaker Game Over :) - in book we find out that the GameMaker gets killed immediately after the games end. He allowed 2 people to exit the Arena and in this way he has also defied The Capitol and he must pay! In the movie we only see him talking a few times with The President and finally we see him - at the end of The Games - entering a room and being given on a plate the blueberries that Katniss and Peeta wanted to swallow in order to die together - but we never see him dead... we can only imagine...
  6. Mutant Doggies - well this is indeed a truly interesting subject! I have watched the movie first and the end of The Games starts with a pack of huge, black dogs attacking Peeta/Katniss/Cato. Nothing out of the ordinary and in the way they present it you have this image that actually they are not real dogs but rather CGIs... rather good ones, rather real ones... My shock came when I started reading the books and I ended up at that scene. There Katniss realises that those are no ordinary dogs but mutations created by The Capitol, for the games. She recognises the deceased tributes in the dogs - incuding the smaller pup, in which she sees Rue... 
  7. Where is the Avox Girl?! - I kept asking myself after reading the book... I can't seem to remember her from the movie... Was there any Avox?! And Avox is a mutilated servant - a servant whose tongue was cut out due to something he/she said/did. In the book, as Katniss is preparing for the games, she meets several individuals from the Capitol who serve her meals and drinks. One of those girls is an "Avox" (a mutilated servant) that Katniss remembers from earlier. Katniss remembers the girl as someone who was trying to escape from the Capitol, but who was subsequently captured by the government. Labeled a traitor, her tongue was eventually removed. In the book, we learn the back story of this girl and how Katniss regrets not trying to save her when she had the chance. But in the movie, this relationship is never fully realized and Katniss' connection to this girl is never revealed. (via)
I am currently reading the Catching Fire and it is as interesting as The Hunger Games so I can hardly wait to finsih it :) And then, of course, see the movie. Would you guys like me to fill you in on what I think about that also? :p I promise to talk fair and square and from my heart :)
Yours truly,
A LadyBug who likes The Girl On Fire :)