I first read The Hunger Games when I was a secondary school librarian. A teen suggested I read it, telling me how the book had made her realise she could enjoy reading. From then on, she devoured books. I read it in under 24 hours, with a soundtrack of Florence and The Machine.
It is truly a gripping book, and as someone who had never really enjoyed 'action' or 'thriller' type books, I was surprised by the power it had over me.
At that time (Spring 2010) the third book wasn't yet published, so me (and many teens) logged in regularly to the official website to watch the countdown to the day book three would be out!
The book, and my passion for it, spread, and there was soon a waiting list for teens wanting to read it. They laughed at how much I championed it, and then, after finishing it, came back to debate and share their emotional responses to our now, shared experience.
The book transformed non-readers to readers, more than once. I continued to bully my friends and people I know to read it for the next two years!
So, I went to see the film today. In the cinema. On the first day of general release. Firstly, let me preface this by saying.....I hate the cinema. I rarely go, and when I do, I hate it. This visit reminded me exactly why I hate the cinema.
1. My back really doesn't cope well with sitting on a chair for long periods of time.
2. People seem to be trained, in a Pavlovian manner, to bring enough food to eat to last a week. All of the food must be in the loudest packet imaginable, and they must eat all of it. In case they starve.
3. Cinemas seem to trick people into thinking that they are at home, and that it's ok to talk to their friends during the film. It isn't.
4. It may be the jumbo sized cola, or the fact that people just like annoying me, but people in the cinema seem unable to hold their bladders for 90 minutes.
5. Although this isn't always their fault, people make noises. They cough, sneeze, and in the case of The Hunger Games, sob and sniff while crying.....loudly.
I find it very hard to focus when there is noise around me, and going to the cinema usually just hurts my back and gets me tense with frustration at the amount of noise people seem to make.
So, the film. Obviously I knew the film wouldn't be as good as the book, but I thought it would be an ok film. It was. It was an alright film. Cramming a thick book, full of character development as well as gripping action into a short film will never satisfy us book worms.
The film had to cut so much out, and I would love to hear from any of the people who haven't read the book, but will see the film. Does the film make you feel you know each and every character? That you ride along the minds of them, and witness and feel everything they do. Does the film leave you thinking about it for days afterward finishing it? The film lacks many of the emotional twists and turns of the book, and edits many of the small details that I loved so much.
It is almost astounding how much they had to leave out to make it into a film. Its actually quite a fun game, realising how much of the book has been imprinted in your brain, despite having read it ages ago.
Are you going to watch the film? Have you read the book?