I read the first Hunger Games book and am halfway through the second (my Kindle battery died yesterday while reading in Central Park... gotta recharge it!). I absolutely loved the books. They are an easy, quick read, but also a great introduction for younger readers especially into ideas of challenging authority, rebellion, sacrifice and what it means to be a member of "society."
The reason 1984 changed my entire way of thinking was because it made me move through the world differently. I looked at cameras on buildings and thought Big Brother. I looked at ads on magazine covers and thought of manipulation.
What do I think of when I see Hunger Games ads? Do I think of the meaning of the book? No. After seeing the movie, I ironically took a cab home that had a Hunger Games advertisement on top of it. I walked up to my quiet little apartment and am writing this now with my A/C cooling me down. The Hunger Games movie made no lasting impression on me like the first book did, or like 1984 (the more adult version of the Hunger Games - in my opinion, people) did.
Within the book - 1st one at least - the Hunger Games killings were jarring and affecting. I could not stop for a moment to put the book down. I had to see what happened. I wanted Rue to be avenged. I wanted Katniss to survive, but more than that, I wanted her to show the game's organizers and the districts to be INDIVIDUALS, to stand up to society and salute, to threaten to kill oneself to manipulate those that manipulate you. What did the movie give me? It "sort of" got these ideas across, but focused so heavily on Katniss' pretty dresses, the fire, the eyeliner, the cuts to Gale watching Katniss and Peeta embrace, etc. that I missed something. An idea was brushed over, camoflauged like Peeta on the forest floor.
I'm still mulling all of this over as I write this, but something about being in an audience full of people all so excited to see this movie rarely happens for me - I'm meaning that I'm also excited. Normally I'll go see Twilight opening night just to laugh at everyone crooning over the Werewolf (whatever his name is).
I think what I'm getting at is my broader thoughts about Hollywood in general. It's not that I put myself outside of the mainstream on purpose, or try to be a dissenting voice, I know Hollywood needs to make huge amounts of $$$$. I'm an actor. I'm not an idiot. But, when a book as violent, bloody and powerful as The Hunger Games is candy coated and hidden with shaky cam action and less backstory about its significance, I'm upset. I was worried going in knowing that it would obviously have a PG-13 rating and my worries were confirmed. I shouldn't be surprised. What disappoints me is that there was more laughter in the sold out audience tonight than gasps or tension in the crowd. Stanley Tucci stole most scenes with his quick grin, then Rue's sad passing. I don't blame this on the actors. I blame it on the system. We need a rebellion. I think I'll watch Battle Royale soon, see what that's all about. At least it won't be hiding behind a curtain of glitter.