The other evening I watched the movie, The Hunger Games, and although I'd read the books a few years ago, I hadn't yet seen the movie ... I was curious. I usually avoid Hollywood movies that were based on books that I've enjoyed as mostly they butcher them so badly that I hardly recognize it as being even loosely based on the book, but as I said, I was curious to see how the director would handle this particular one. Settling down for an evening of what I was sure would be disappointment, I had my scathing remarks ready for utterance when appropriate, to end the night with "the book was so much better" speech I'd used so often before. Instead I was impressed..very impressed!
I enjoyed the movie so much that I had to pull my book out again just to make sure they actually did follow the book as much as I remembered. Much to my surprise, the movie followed it faithfully and was every bit as good, if not better, than the book. Being only human, I had to continue reading, to remind myself what transpired in the second of the series, Catching Fire, which naturally whetted my thirst for The Mockingjay, the final book of the series. I have to say that I enjoyed reading them as much as I had the first time. I loved the complexity of Katniss, the goodness of Peeta, the intensity of Gale. Heck, all the characters were terrific, none were one dimensional, but instead so interesting with all their inner and outside conflicts. I loved all of Collins' characters, from the gentle Rue to the evil power mad president, Snow. The "show business" talent and stylists were amazingly talented but clueless of the world outside of the Capitol, much like the entertainment world of today.
I've heard it said that, ideally, the conflicts between countries should be resolved by pitting warriors against each other in an arena and fighting to the death, the survivor to reap victory for their country rather than entering into all out war. While it sounds good on paper, Collins showed how devastating to the fighters, their family and friends this solution can be, and how frivolous and morally bankrupt the non participants become. It would be extremely difficult or even impossible to remain compassionate when war is a spectator sport staged for our entertainment, with none of the repercussions felt by the audience. The tributes are put into the impossible position of killing the others in order to survive or retain their humanity and die in the arena, a horrible cost. There can be no winner, only a survivor with a slow death struggling with their memories.
The contest arena of The Hunger Games was a terrifying place, danger, alliances and betrayal everywhere as each tribute fought the elements and each other for the right to stay alive. Although not a genre that I usually read, I just loved this series, would happily read more...and am waiting impatiently to see the other movies. Just learned that Mockingjay is to be split into two parts, the first with planned release of November 2014 and part 2 in 2015. Really looking forward to them!