Posts Tagged 'The Hunger Games'

My Thoughts on The Hunger Games Movie

ImageSo, The Hunger Games movie has only been out for six days and I have already seen it twice.  Obviously I really loved it.  It is not nearly as good as the book (I mean, how could it be) but it did a great job of bringing the story to life.  I am going to ramble on about some things I liked and didn’t like about the movie, because I am not talented enough as a writer to turn this into an actual review that flows together 🙂

I will start with what I didn’t like, so that we can end things on a positive note.  Obviously this will contain *spoilers.*

**The Costumes**  There was something that seemed a little off to me about the costumes.  I can’t really describe what it was, but the look of some of them was just “off.”  The clothes in the arena were just fine, and even the outlandish Capital stuff was okay, but I didn’t like most of Katniss/Peeta’s wardrobe.  I didn’t like any of the outfits they wore while they were in the Capital.  That includes their “on fire” costumes (totally lame) and their interview clothes.  I had forgotten just how awesome Katniss’ dress is supposed to be, but after re-reading the book, her dress in the movie is very underwhelming.  And Peeta looks like a waiter from a haunted house in his outfit.

**The BIG Moments weren’t big enough**  One of the things I remember most about reading the book for the first time was all of the HUGE things that happened right at the end of a chapter…Peeta asking to train alone, Peeta saying “she came here with me,” Peeta showing up with the Careers, the spear going into Rue, etc.  Literally at the end of each chapter I would hear the Dramatic Chipmunk theme in my head.

I felt like the movie mishandled most of these moments, especially the two biggest ones, the discovery of Peeta with the Careers and when they announce that two tributes from the same district can win.  In the first instance when Peeta is tagging along after the Careers and Katniss sees him, she looks mildly annoyed.  I wanted to scream at the screen, “WTF, Katniss!!!  This is a HUGE moment in the book and you don’t even look like you are all that bothered!  What is the matter with you!!!???”  And the scene in the book where she finds out that she and Peeta can BOTH win, and she screams out his name….Gosh, I LOVE that in the book.  In the movie, she quietly whispers his name, and is like, “Doh de doh de doh, guess I better go find that Peeta character…doh de doh de doh.”  C’mon Gary Ross (Mr. Director) what the hell were you thinking in both of those scenes.  You totally dropped the ball there.

**The Scene at the End**  One of the most important moments in the book is right at the end when the announcer says, “whoops, wait a minute, only one of you can win.”  When that happens in the book, Peeta reaches for his knife (to lay it on the ground) and Katniss whips out her last arrow to kill him.  That is such a perfect example of who Katniss is (and who she will become by the end of the steaming pile of garbage that is Mockingjay) and who Peeta is and always will be.  In the movie, none of that happens and it jumps right into the part with the berries and everything is rushed and hectic.  I sincerely hope everyone who sees the movie actually goes home to read the book so they can see how it SHOULD have happened.

Anyway, I am being pretty harsh on the movie, but I really and truly did enjoy it.  I only get nitpicky like this with things I am truly passionate about.  So, without further ado, here are the things I loved!!

**Prim**  Oh my gosh, I LOVED Prim in the movie.  She barely registered with me at all the books; she was more of a plot device that got the first book going.  But in the movie, I cried practically every time she was on screen.  When she walks up to the stage and tucks in her little tail……oh man, my heart breaks!

**Gale**  As a firm member of Team Peeta, I have never really been fond of Gale, but in the movie he is great!!!  I loved when he pulls Prim away at the beginning and then again at the end when you see her sitting on his shoulders.  Oh, and he is very nice to look at 🙂

**Effie**  (I am realizing that there is a strong possibility that I might just list characters from here on out, so bear with me)  Elizabeth Banks was so great as Effie!  I missed some of Suzanne Collins’ humor in the movie (a lot of it came from Katniss’ inner monologue) but Effie brought out a laugh with everything she said.  My favorite line in possibly the whole movie is “THAT IS MAHOGANY!”

**The Tributes**  I felt like all the tributes were perfectly cast.  Foxface was awesome (she is actually my second favorite character in the books after Peeta) as well as Thresh and Clove.  I was very surprised with how believable Cato was (I worried I would just keep picturing him as the little skinny kid from Race to Witch Mountain) and really liked his scene at the end.  And Rue, oh little Rue!!!  If I could just put her in my pocket and take her home, she is so heartbreakingly adorable!!

**Peeta**  I was obviously not real happy with the casting of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked him as Peeta.  I always knew he would be great in the part acting wise, but I worried about him being “big enough” to play Peeta.  I found that in the end, it didn’t really matter.  He perfectly embodied Peeta on screen and I only noticed a couple of times when they really tried to hide the height difference (did you notice how Katniss and Peeta spent a lot of time sitting down or not standing directly next to each other).  My favorite moment in the whole movie hands down is at the very end when they are about the eat the berries and Katniss is busy paying attention to the cameras and Peeta reaches over and touches her braid.  In that moment you can tell how much he is totally in love with her. My little heart melts just thinking about it 🙂

**Peeta’s Camoflage Skills**  ‘Nuff said.

**Extra Training Scenes**  I liked the added scenes with Rue and the knife and Peeta throwing the giant metal thing.

All in all, I really enjoyed the movie.  I am so happy that it is doing well, and I am actually looking forward to watching Catching Fire (which is saying a lot since I didn’t like the second book).

So, what did you all think??

Jen

*I didn’t really comment on Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss because I am kind of indifferent to her.  I didn’t love her as Katniss, but I didn’t hate her either.  She was kind of just “there.”

*In the very scary midnight show I was at, the high school girls in the theater literally screamed out “Woohoo Peeta!!!”  “What a hottie!!” the first time he showed up on screen.  Yeah, during the very emotionally charged reaping scene, that was a tad bit inappropriate.

Top Ten Tuesday: Discussable* Books

* I’m not entirely sure that’s a real word, but I’m too tired to look it up now.

This week (please ignore how I skipped several weeks since last time) for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is books that would be good for a book discussion.  My list includes books that I’ve gotten to discuss and were great, books I will be discussing and am looking forward to, and books I would love to discuss.  In no particular order…

1.  Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
All of my answers to Top Ten Tuesday may include Harry Potter.  Everytime I re-read any of these books…or even think about them for longer than one minute…I think they’re amazing and want to talk to someone about how intricately woven they are.

2.  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
If you’ve read this blog at all in the past, you may have seen me reference this book before.  Because it’s AMAZING and my favorite adult book EVER.  I’ve actually gotten to discuss this before and while it was a good discussion, pretty much everyone else was like “eh, it was ok.”  😦

3.   The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I’ve discussed this book officially 2 times in a true book discussion and have another one coming up in March.  Can I just say it: I am burnt out on The Hunger Games!  *whew*  But it does make a good discussion, and next time the discussion is with adults, so should be interesting.

4.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I read this a few weeks ago and instantly wanted to talk about it.  I am so sad that it will not come out in paperback for at least a year and therefore cannot be a true book discussion that I lead or co-lead for a long time.

5.  Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
One of my coworkers and I started a book discussion group for adults (and teens) who want to read YA books.  I would LOVE to do Beauty Queens, but again, waiting for paperback.

6.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
We actually just discussed The Book Thief with our new book discussion group for adults reading teen books and it was a great discussion.  Even though I kind of hate the book (please don’t hate me!), the adults were pretty into it.  Particularly when it came to what the colors symbolized and why it is a teen book.

7.  Chime by Franny Billingsley
So even though I was confused by this book while reading it and wasn’t sure I even really liked it, I cannot stop thinking about Chime!  It has a lot of fabulous elements and I desperately want to re-read it for a true discussion about its narrator, writing style, and fairy tale-esque qualities.

8.  When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
It’s been awhile since I’ve read this, but I definitely remember loving it.  It’s definitely the kind of book you want to go back instantly and re-read, which I think means it would be great to discuss.

9.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This one is FULL of ’80s references and nerdiness.  I read it for a discussion with some friends, and it was great – both the book and the discussion.

10.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
After seeing Midnight in Paris, I really wanted to read or re-read books of the jazz era.  The Great Gatsby is at the top of my list since I haven’t read it since sophomore year of high school and remember nothing besides a car crash and a green light.  (I think?)  If it were part of a book discussion, I would definitely pick it up.  Anybody interested??  (I wish I hadn’t missed when the nerdfighting community read it this summer.)

What books do you want or love to discuss?

– Jill

Dear Josh Hutcherson:

Hi Josh,

You don’t know me, but I am a huge fan of your work.  Now that I think about it, you are probably one of my favorite actors.  Zathura, Bridge to Terabithia, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Kids Are All Right, Firehouse Dog (yes, even Firehouse Dog….that movie is not bad, actually very enjoyable) I have seen and loved (and own) them all.  And man, your performance in Little Manhattan is pitch perfect.  You did a better job of portraying the agonizingly painful reality of being in love than any actor I have ever seen.  The scene with you crying in your room broke my heart into a thousand tiny pieces and I’m not quite sure if I have fully recovered.  So, in short, I think you are amazing.

Back in the innocent days before you had even heard of The Hunger Games

But Josh……oh Josh.  What are you thinking???  Taking the role of Peeta in The Hunger Games movie!!!!???  I knew that you wanted it way back when I read your interview with EW, but I just kind of laughed it off.  “Oh, that’s great, he’s read the book and he liked it, but he’s dreaming if he thinks he will get the part.”

Well, now you’ve got it, and already the internet has exploded with people saying horrible and vicious things about how wrong you are for the part (granted, I am one of them, but I am trying not to be too mean).  I feel very protective about celebrities that I am a fan of, so I don’t want you to have to deal with all of this horribleness.  Anyone who was cast in the part was going to be subjected to intense scrutiny and criticism, but you are going to get it probably more than anyone else (maybe only Alex Pettyfer would have gotten more criticism).

See, the thing is……you just don’t look anything like Peeta.  And I know this might sound silly……Hollywood magic can transform anyone from a brunette to a blond and so on and so forth.  I am worried that all the main characters of the film are going to be so covered in dye and makeup and wigs that they are going to end up looking like people from The Capital.  Honey, it doesn’t matter how good an actor you are, if you look freaking ridiculous, that is all people will see (example: the entire cast of Twilight….although I don’t know if that is the best example since I haven’t seen many of them act outside of that movie).

I think the main issue I am having is that Peeta’s physicality is such a huge part of his character.  In my head, (and in the book!!) he is a huge, solid, hulking presence.  He’s like the big friendly giant.  The picture in my head of a small but muscly Katniss trying to support the huge form of Peeta through the forest while he is hurt is crystal clear.  You might be able to put on lots of muscle so you can throw things around the room during your training time, but (and I hate to say this) nothing can make you taller.  Jennifer Lawrence is the same height as you.  This might sound like a silly thing…..but it is the same as Annabeth having straight brown hair in Percy Jackson; it just doesn’t work.

I have no doubt in my mind that you can play the part of Peeta acting-wise.  You will do a phenomenal job at that.  But the whole time, I will see you, Josh Hutcherson, not Peeta, the baker’s son.

I hope that I am wrong and that this all turns out well for you.  I am going to try to keep an open mind when I go see the movie.  I would like to say that I have complete faith in the filmmakers, but I think (and I could be wrong) they are getting input from Suzanne Collins……and she wrote the craptastic Mockingjay that ruined the series for me……..so, obviously we can’t trust them.

Anyway, good luck dealing with all the horrible things you will encounter over the next year.  I hope for your sake that everyone loves you and you become the next Robert Pattinson and girls stake out your house and get tattoos of your face…….well, on second thought, maybe that wouldn’t be the best thing…

Wishing you all the best,

One of your biggest (and probably oldest) fans,
Jen

P.S.  I’m not even commenting on the Gale casting because frankly, I just don’t care.  Gale is too small a role in the first movie (but I can see them totally beefing that up to make it more Twilight-y) and I hope they don’t make the second two movies because really, I hated those books.

P.P.S.  In a perfect world…..Chris Pratt circa 2002 would have played Peeta and all would be right with the world.

So totally Peeta

My Top Ten Young Adult Novels – Jill

I’ve been working on my list for a few days, and I think I finally have it ready.  My list, like Jen’s, includes my favorite books, not necessarily what I think every teen should read or whatever – although I’m a big fan of every one of these, so in a way I do think everyone should read them.  🙂

Here we go…

10. Graceling/Fire by Kristin Cashore
Sometimes I get these two books confused because they’re sort of related but not really.  Fire is a companion book, not a sequel. Both books had compelling plots, strong female main characters, great male love interests, and different but realistic worlds.

9. Life As We Knew It – Susan Beth Pfeffer
This is a book that REALLY sticks with you after you’ve finished reading.  And while you’re reading, it’s hard to put down because you want to know what’s going to happen.  I love that the plot starts out just like any other day that could happen now, but as soon as the moon is hit and pushed out of orbit, everything falls apart.  Probably the best sci-fi books are the ones that *could* actually really happen.  Plus, I’m pretty sure I have never heard a bad thing from anyone who has read this.

8. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian – Rick Riordan
For me, this series was perfect for attempting to fill the massive void left when Harry Potter ended.  I love books where I learn something while reading without realizing it!  I kept getting on Wikipedia to look up gods and other things from Greek Mythology.  The whole Percy Jackson series rocks, but this one might have been my favorite because it tied up everything and brought some satisfaction.

7. Forever Princess – Meg Cabot
It’s been too long since I’ve read this.  It was awesome and wrapped up the whole series exactly the way we all wanted.  I don’t think I could say it all any better than Jen did.  But I know what you’re thinking: Why isn’t this one higher?  Well, I guess that’s a testament to how much I love the top 6.

6. The Arrival – Shaun Tan
So here’s where I start to get into the fuzzy “Is this a YA book?” area.  Yes, it’s a graphic novel, but it’s still usually considered a young adult book, so I’m including it.  Because it’s my list.  🙂  This book rocks SO MUCH.  Amber and I were assigned it in one of our classes in grad school (though I think it was Children’s Lit but whatever).  I read it one day, and the next I had gone out and bought myself a copy.  The illustrations are GORGEOUS, and I love the sepia colors.  The story is also incredible, and since it’s entirely wordless, it allows readers to interpret the details themselves.

5. The Hunger Games/Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
I promise I did not look at Jen’s list before I made my own.  It just so happens that we love the same books because they’re awesome.  What can I say about this book that we haven’t already said on this blog?  I’ve reread The Hunger Games, which is kind of a big deal since I don’t make much time for rereading, and I read it just as quickly the second time as I did the first.

4. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare
Ah, now we’re getting into the books I loved growing up.  There are a lot of books I loved that have not made the list because I haven’t reread them lately to know whether they still stand up (ex. The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi…LOOOOVED this book like 10 years ago but haven’t read it since).  BUT I did reread The Witch of Blackbird Pond last weekend, and it was just as good as I remembered.  A great strong female character + an extremely lovable male character (oh, Nat…) + historical fiction = winner for Jill!

3. Princess Mia – Meg Cabot
Ah ha, look, more Meg!  Now you’re probably wondering why is  book 9 higher than book 10?
Princess Mia was such a great book for me.  I just loved it.  I don’t think I’ve read it since, but I REALLY want to right now.  I loved the relate-able Mia was.  Really, who hasn’t felt like that before?  I know some people don’t like it because she’s depressed and things are terrible and Michael’s hardly in it, but Mia really pulls herself together in this book and has to truly figure out who she is since the guy she’s in love with is gone and her best friend is being AWFUL.  Whenever I’m upset about something, I should just reread this book.  It’s like therapy.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
Again, I made my list independently of Jen. Promise!  Obviously I love the whole series, and I’m not even 100% sure this is my favorite, but it’s so….fitting for the finale.  It has suspense, actual deaths, reminders that even though it’s just a book, things are not all light and fluffy.  There were so many ways she could have ended it, and honestly after awhile I wasn’t sure how it was going to, but the way it ended is perfect.  Plus, every time I read it, I’m pretty sure I cry through all of the final chapters.

1. The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin
Not entirely sure this is considered YA, but darn it, it’s my all-time favorite book and it’s one of those borderline books, so I’m including it!  I have read this book more times than any other, mostly because I used to reread it annually.  If you’ve never read it, it’s a fun mystery…sort of like The 39 Clues only way better and less multi-volumed.  I’m not doing this book justice at all.  Please just know that it’s AWESOME and you should read it NOW!  🙂

[Oh, and fun tidbit about me and this book.  I interviewed for a job once at the place where the manuscript (the REAL MANUSCRIPT with Ellen Raskin’s HANDWRITTEN NOTES) is kept and studied.  When I realized this, I was convinced this was a sign, and I was going to get the job (which felt like my dream job), but alas I did not.  But I still love the book.  Maybe that tells you how much I like it.  …And, you know, things have worked out in the job area, so it’s ok now anyway.]

– Jill

The Reread

Ever since I read Abby (the) Librarian’s post about The Reread, I’ve been pondering my own rereading.  I used to reread books all the time when I was younger.  Once a year I’d reread The Westing Game.

This is the same cover as my heavily dog-eared, well-loved, small paperback copy.

But unfortunately, somewhere along the way I got busy, and I haven’t read it in several years.  Although I did listen to part of it a few months ago.  Still awesome!  I’ve read some of my other favorites lots of times, but it’s been years since I’ve reread those as well.  Every time a new Harry Potter book came out, I’d reread the previous ones.  When Deathly Hallows was released, it was a challenge to finish the first six in time, especially since I hadn’t left myself enough time…but I did it!  (Still really proud of how quickly I got through #6 – until I think about how quickly I read #7.)

The last book I reread was The Hunger Games before Catching Fire was released.  I had remembered how quickly I read it the first time, so I thought a reread was good to catch more stuff, but holy crap, I devoured it just as quickly the second time!  *Sigh* What a good book.

I’m still in my book rut.  I’m currently working my way through Incarceron (STILL, though mostly now because I usually just read it at lunch at work) and 13 Little Blue Envelopes (which I’m not loving, mostly because of the aunt).  So instead of trying to continue with those, I thought I’d take a break and pick up an old favorite.  I’m going with The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  I feel bad avoiding my HUGE stack of more current, unread books to read, but maybe just reading a portion of this great book will help.

– Jill

Hunger Games News And Yumminess!!!

August 24, 2010!!!!

This is a very important day to remember folks because that is the day the final book in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy will be released.  This is fantastic news!!  That is less than a year after Catching Fire‘s release date.  She must be really cranking these out.

I am assuming that since there is a release date, she has the book finished.  Since it is still really early, this bodes well for people who are interested in getting advance reader copies because they certainly seem to have plenty of time to print them.  There has been a lot of debate about whether or not they even need to do advance reader copies, since the books have become so popular (advance reader copies are generally meant to create buzz around a book, but this one will hardly need it).

Ever since I found out the exact date of the book, I have sort of decided that whether or not I COULD get my hands on the book early, I don’t think I want to.  Some of my best memories are of the midnight release parties for the Harry Potter books and that feeling of anticipation and community that comes with knowing you are about to take part in something awesome.  There are not many opportunities when things like that come along, so I want to take advantage of them whenever they do.

Also, August 23 is my Dad’s birthday, so if any store is having a midnight party, he will be there to celebrate (I got my whole family hooked on the series).  I really want to be there with him, loving every minute of it.

Now, I could totally change my mind, especially since I am going to Book Expo of America this year with Abby!!!  If they have copies of it there, I might have to get one, and then I don’t think I could wait to read it if I had it in my possession.

Anyway….today was a great day with my Twitter feed lighting up with all the people thrilled about the news.  It was Potter-esque.

Oh, and I also discovered (thanks to @tylerbreed) this very awesome post where someone had a contest to see who could bake the very best Hunger Games related cake.  My favorite is definitely the “Yes Frosting. The Final Defense of the Dying.”

Jen

I Used to Be an English Major

Lindsay’s review of Beastly reminded me of an article I read recently in a librarian magazine about pairing modern books with classics.  An idea I LOVE.  It included a few suggestions (like pairing Peter & the Starcatchers with Peter Pan and Leaves of Grass with Paper Towns), and it listed what I consider the GREATEST pairing and I disappointed I didn’t think of it myself:  The Hunger Games with the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.

lottery

Have you ever read that?  I read it for a class in college & loved it!  I don’t want to explain too much about it because it’s a short story and I’d basically give it all away, but it would be awesome to pair with The Hunger Games!  That’s all I’ll say.  🙂  You can read it online HERE.  This was turned into a movie at some point because I caught it on TV one day.  Keri Russell aka Felicity was in it!  But it wasn’t very good, so I didn’t even watch the whole thing.  But apparently I should have because according to imdb, Mr. Feeny was in it!  Shoot.

Anyway, while I was re-reading “The Lottery,” I remembered my other favorite short story that I read as an English major – “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

yellow

(Nerd alert!)  I think I even wrote a critical analysis paper on it.  I read a few years ago that it was going to be a movie, but I don’t think it got much attention, and I’m not even sure if it ever came out.  (Boo.)  You can read “The Yellow Wallpaper” online HERE.

Now I’m in a short story mood.  Have you read either of these?  What do YOU recommend?

– Jill