When the movie is better than the book…

Last week I finally took the time to go and see the second movie instalment of The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire.  Having heard how good it is all over the internet in blogs and reviews, You Tube, newspapers, TV shows, etc., I was swayed to go check it out.  I’m usually put off by books and movies that are overhyped but this time my curiosity got the best of me.  I felt the first film of The Hunger Games was all wrong and was sure that Catching Fire would be a imagesdisappointment too.

Happily, I was wrong.  They really seemed to put in a real effort to capture the spirit and meaning of the book, which wasn’t so much the case with The Hunger Games.  As a matter of fact, Catching Fire the novel ,as I think back wasn’t really that captivating until the last quarter of the story.  That’s the part when they go back into the arena.  The rest of the book was just a lot of teenage angst and going backward and forward between the love triangle Katniss, Peeta, and Gale.  Don’t ask me because I’m team nobody.

I still believe that the majority of trilogies and series at the moment don’t always meet the criteria to be one.  The stories often feel stretched beyond belief and grow stale way before the end.  The Hunger Games trilogy was a valid trilogy, in essence, but it just seemed to be not as well executed as the story continued.  The Hunger Games was really good although the writing at times was not as exact as it could have been.

So, Catching Fire was all everybody raved about – excellent scenery, beautifully creative costumes and make-up, and filled with suspense, brutality, intrigue, and emotion.  It seemed to follow the story line of the book closely enough.  The first hour of the movie didn’t feel at all as if it was dragging as I remembered when reading the book.  The scenes in the dome and the new characters seemed to fit, except for Sam Claflin who played the role of Finnick.  He just didn’t cut it for me physically.  I’d imagined a different guy.  Not to mention, the dubbed voices were terrible, especially Joanna’s.  Her voice was squeaky and high-pitched.  Strange!  I couldn’t find a cinema near me that was showing it in English, so I had to watch it dubbed in French.  Jennifer Lawrence’s acting was well-rounded and believable.  The scene I preferred the most was the last-minute of the movie with the tight image of Katniss’s face and the change of expressions from fear to sadness and then to rage – excellent way to end part 2.  Now what I’m not so keen on is that they are making 2 movies for Mockingjay.  Why?  What’s this some kind of formula for adapting YA novels to cinema?  The last novel always has to be made into two films.  That is definitely not a good idea.  I feel a dud coming on…

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17. Mockingjay

Katniss Everdeen awakes to District 13 (the rebels) and to the destruction of her home District 12.  She doesn’t know what awaits her after her second adventure in the games.  The dystopian world of Panem takes a complicated turn for the worst and Katniss has to figure out who she can trust, what is expected from her, and who she loves –  Gale or Peeta.

I finally finished Mockingjay after reading off and on for two weeks.  I can’t say I loved this book like The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. For me, it wasn’t the page turners I’d read before.   I found Mockingjay slow and dispersed.  The story of Katniss Everdeen becomes more and more tragic.  I guess you could say she is put to the full test.  Suzanne Collins tries to introduce a strictly psychological story but where she goes wrong is with 200 pages of moaning teenage angst.  I still love the idea of this trilogy because the themes are so universal and have been dealt with differently in other novels.  The thing that is also missing is more in-depth descriptions of the different districts.  I thought Collins would have used the tour of the districts, that Katniss and Peeta had to do as the winners of the games in Catching Fire, as a way to describe and explain them more in detail.  I did enjoy the love story though which added a little spice to this quite violent, dark dystopian world.  You just want things to work out for Katniss and Gale or Peeta.  sorry no spoilers.

All in all, as a story, it’s a good one.  You must read it to judge it.  The Hunger Games is getting a lot of press because of the film and people are judging it on that alone.  Yes,  it’s violent but I don’t think it’s anymore violent than what adolescents usually watch these days in movies, on tv, or in video games.  Unfortunately, this trilogy is an example of why I don’t usually enjoy reading trilogies.  In my opinion, they fizzle out and are usually one book too long.  This being said Suzanne Collins does know how to keep up the suspense and make incredible turns in the story as well as in the growth of the characters.  I give Mockingjay three and a half stars, but you have to read it to find out how it ends.  It’s a trilogy!  Or,  you could skip right to page 265 and start reading there. 

I was watching You Tube and there was an interesting Hunger Games tag going around. So I’m asking you which do you prefer? Comment below.  I’d love to know what you think.

Snow or Coin  – Neither they’re scary!

Effie or Cinna – I like Cinna’s simple, but creative style.

Slugging it out in the Districts or living life in the Capitol – I would prefer slugging it out in the districts.

Lamb stew from the Capitol or bread from district 11 – I like lamb stew.

Gale or Peeta – I like Peeta, although that didn’t begin until Catching Fire.

Katniss’ archery skills or Cato’s knife fighting abilities – I would love to have Katniss’ archery skills. So cool!

Become an Avox or get stung by a tracker jacker –  I’d rather be stung by a tracker jacker.  I like to talk a lot.

Who’s cuter Prim or Rue? – Rue is very cute, especially in the movie.

Peeta’s gift of camouflage or Rue’s gift of climbing – Peeta’s gift of camouflage would be useful since I like to paint.

Run for the Cornucopia or Run for the hills – I’d probably run for the hills for obvious reasons.

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12. Catching Fire

And the games continue….Suzanne Collins continues the saga of Katniss Everdeen and the districts of Panem in this very suspenseful second novel of the trilogy The Hunger Games called Catching Fire.  Ominously dark and mysterious, we see Katniss and Peeta living in the Victors Village along with Haymitch.  Three houses alone in a neighborhood.  Katniss lives with her mother and little sister Prim.  Haymitch and Peeta live alone.

Since Katniss and Peeta are the winners of the Games they must tour all the districts, which is like making them relive the Games all over again.  It forces them to remember each tribute and how they died.  Along the way there is an undercurrent of uprisings in district 11. I won’t write anymore because I’ll be forced to write spoilers.  Hope I haven’t told you too much already.

Anyway, get on it people and read it!  It’s very interesting and yes it’s YA  literature (Young Adult lit).  There are some good themes running through this trilogy such as government control, reality shows, psychology of survival, propaganda, etc. I’m sure it will be made into a movie next year, but I probably won’t go see it.  I was so thoroughly disappointed with The Hunger Games as a movie.  As of today, I’m on to the last novel Mockingjay. I fear for the characters and for the end….

As I was searching for interesting facts about Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games, I ran across articles and You Tube videos of a controversy over the movie.  Apparently there were Hunger Games fans that didn’t agree with the casting of Amandla Stenberg as Rue because she was black.  I just couldn’t believe this. Rue is described as having dark brown skin in the book, but besides that only a racist could say that they didn’t feel anything when she was killed because she was black.  Really? I couldn’t believe these so-called fans had the gall to write this nonsense on twitter.  Needless to say, a real fan called them out by copying off their tweets and putting them on display on Facebook.  Masses of people started bombarding their accounts and they had to become private or had to discontinue their accounts.  I happened upon this interesting interview of Amandla Stenberg, who is an intelligent, well-spoken fourteen year old and has almost grown up in commercials on American tv.  She really looks like what I had imagined Rue would look like, just adorable.  Check her out!  I’m sure we’ll be seeing her in more films.

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