Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Film vs Book: The Hunger Games

 I remember being so excited for The Hunger Games to be released, for several reasons. One of those, of course, is simply getting to see a much loved book making it to the big screen. The other major reason that I was excited was that my friend may be able to share in the emotions with me. Sadly, that was not the case. Now, I would not say that the film version was bad; however, it failed to capture the emotion that the book held. The odd thing is that I cannot exactly say what would have made the film better. I mean, it captured everything that needed to happen. And half of the movie  focused on Katniss's life and the Capitol, much like the book, but there was something about it that felt rushed.Where I cared so much about the characters in the book, I found myself bored with them in the film. Everything was just slightly off -- the music (or lack thereof) wasn't quite right, the acting just a touch wooden (though it made sense for the characters to have their emotions in check, and the actors were not poor by any means). Maybe if they had extended the movie for even another half hour, it might have let the viewer live and feel with the characters a bit more.

Once again, I would like to point out that this film was in no way a bad adaptation. In fact, it has several factors that worked very well for the movie. The first of these was the Capitol. The film did a wonderful job at bringing the vibrant fashion and high class living to life. Effie was an especially excellent treat, and I found myself enjoying her character much more in the film (That is mahogany!). There were other not so likeable characters that made a much stronger impact on the silver screen as well. The main one that comes to mind is President Snow, who barely makes an appearance in the book. In the film however, he is the one creating tension and brings forth that strong sense of wrongness as he talks about using hope as a weapon. Then, there is his message to the gamemaker at the end of the film. I won't mention what it is just in case someone hasn't seen the film, bit it has an amazing impact. It had one of those impacts that stayed with me since the movie's opening day. 

Still even with its great moments, the film could have definitely amped up in some of the other areas. The main one that always comes to mind is when Katniss is stung by the tracker jackers and starts hallucinating. In the book, this is quite terrifying as she starts to see green puss leaking from the stings, orange blobs that take over, and then ants start crawling out of her wounds and eyes. The last bit is extremely unnerving! The film... Well, it certainly makes it known that Katniss is hallucinating, and it has an enjoyable bit where Caesar turns up -- quite the chuckle and lets you be very aware of her state of mind. The scene itself wasn't bad, but it didn't have quite the impact that was possible. I felt it should have been more terrifying and certainly a lot more surreal. The other huge part in the film that really missed its mark was the climax. Near the end of the Hunger Games, a series of mutts, or genetically engineered creatures, are sent after the remaining players. In the film, the mutts are cool looking, but overall they are just neat dog like beasts that chase after our heroes. The book, however, has them bred with the players that had been killed off. The beckon the other humans like a human would, and the eyes are still human. That just adds another level to how messed up the Capitol is. The book also prolongs the pain Cato goes through when he is taken down by the mutts. Yes, you get the screaming agony in the film; however his death doesn't feel nearly as awful as the novel. I was extremely disappointed with the film's climax. Everything else was more minor, such as I didn't feel Haymitch was slovenly enough to start out. He was still an enjoyable character though.

As per usual, the book holds up better than the movie. Yes, the movie followed the book, but it lacked the emotion that the book brings out. A lot of this is probably due to all the information that needed to be given, but it was too rushed and too emotionless throughout most of the film. I wouldn't say it's a movie to stay away from, but I wouldn't say it's worth shelling out money for either. Stick to the book.

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