Why I Probably Won’t See “The Hunger Games”

I picked up the book, “Hunger Games”, last Saturday from a local bookstore. I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about. You see, the past 2 weeks, the movie’s been screening in maybe 16 of the 20 cinemas in the greater Mandaluyong City malls (my usual haunts). And I didn’t want to see the movie till I’d read the book first.

I finished the book in less than a day. And this much I can say about it: I understand why the book is so popular with the kids. Katniss, the heroine, is Lara Croft, McGyver, Dr. Quinn (Medicine Woman), and a Disney princess, all rolled into one. (To those of you too young to know Dr. Quinn or McGyver … sigh … there’s always Google.)  And mushy, heart-on-his-sleeve Peeta’s just one to swoon over, isn’t he? The main protagonists even manage to remain honorable despite their severe circumstances (Katniss kills only 2 of her fellow tributes; one, in defense of another, and the other, out of mercy. Peeta manages to kill only 1; unintentionally at that). To an adult and a parent, that one day in the future we may have to see our kids enslaved and drafted into participating in some reality death “game” is certainly frightening. But the obsessive-compulsive in me couldn’t suspend her disbelief long enough to appreciate the logic of the storyline. (Too manyArgh” moments. Yes, the book was probably much too young for me.)  If this had been interactive, I would have raised some serious issues. If I were a tribute whose counterpart got killed off right from the get-go, at the Cornucopia, for example, I would have vigorously remonstrated against the mid-stream rule change that allowed 2 tributes from the same District to win the Games together.  How unfair and prejudicial is that?  I would have also raised a howl about the Muttations. Hell, if I were a parent of one of those tributes that got “mutt-ated” …. Yes, all hell. Helllll.  Would break loose.

The movie could prove to be one of the few exceptions to my general experience that movies don’t live up to the books they’re based on. Thing is, I probably won’t see it.

12 responses

      • I COMPLETELY agree. I liked the movie more than the book. The book was a tad too preachy, and seemed like it did not stand alone from the other books. The other books were not as good in my opinion, a tad too glittery (if you know what I mean), and a quick, light read, but nothing special. The movie was a lot more fun. I’ve never felt that way about a book before, that the movie was actually better!

  1. ‘one of those tributes that got “mutt-ated”’ — I am nit-picking here but in fact the tributes were not really “mutt-ated” (this is explained in Catching Fire, the second book in THG series). It was just a disturbing trick of the Game-makers.

    I think there are a lot of subtle messages in the series but I guess everyone interprets things differently.

    The film is actually very good. I went to see it yesterday and am in the process of writing my review which will be published in the next day or two, if you’d like to check it out. 🙂

    • Thanks for pointing that out. I feel much better now. Now you’ve piqued my curiosity; I might just pick up the next book to see what that “disturbing trick” was. As for subtle messages, maybe I’m too much of a Virgo to have caught them. I have been told the movie is very good. I might try to catch it on dvd. Really. As I told another blogger who posted a comment, the storyline certainly is the stuff movies are made of. Thanks for your comment and I will check out your review.

    • Hi. Just picking up after I read your post on your blog (which is great, by the way). I’m still not sure I get what you mean by the book having a lot of “subtle” messages. I mean, the novel is so over the top as far as being “dystopian” goes. The book does say a lot; by golly it does. I’m just not sure I enjoyed it; as a book, er, as a piece of literary fiction (if that makes sense), like I did, say, “Lord of the Flies” (which also says a lot about “us”). Again, maybe the book was just too young for me. Or maybe I’m just a ninny. : ) But the movie, judging by the trailer, promises to be entertaining. I am even more convinced now to go see it. Thanks again.

      • Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. 🙂 I’m not in the target audience for The Hunger Games either but a lot of people outside that audience seem to be enjoying it as well. And for some people, I guess it just isn’t their cup of tea. To be honest, I didn’t think it would be mine and I was surprised by how much I liked it.

        “the novel is so over the top as far as being “dystopian” goes” — yes, I suppose that’s true but it *needs* to be shocking. Dystopian situations are all about human misery, oppression, etc and I really like the way Suzanne Collins portrays the different levels of society in the totalitarian world of THG.

        Sure, a lot of the messages are obvious but there are quite a few hidden away which I guess is what I mean by subtlety. For example, the very fact that half the world seems to be crazy about reading THG, going to the movie theater to see it, buying Hunger Games merchandise etc is ironic, considering that Collins portrays the Capitol, whose citizens also flock to do the exact same things that we are doing. Okay, so it’s real in the book and not quite the same but when I read it I felt that Collins was commenting on our own society and that we, the readers and the eager consumers, are in some ways like the Capitol audience.

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