Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Hunger Games Series - By Susan Collins

It's a great feat that I find myself having read all 3 books and watched all 4 movies in the space of about 10 days - especially when you factor in that I work 40 hours of that week and then still have to cook and clean and do other 'adult' activities.

Also factoring in that when I sat down to read this Trilogy a few years ago it took me starting the first book about 5 to 7 times before I finally gave up. I'm not much of a fan of things set in a post apocalyptic world. I'm not sure whether it's because I believe that's the way the world could turn out or whether I don't believe it, but it's just never been something that caught my attention all that much. I guess this time around I just really wanted to know what all the fuss was about and form my own opinion about this story by myself.

I'm the type of person who prefers to read the books before I watch the films - this is why I tried so many times to read the book before the movie came out. But after a while I decided that if I couldn't enjoy the book then it didn't really matter all that much whether I liked the movie or not; being a film student I'm used to watching films for the sake of watching films rather out of excitement or joy.

Initially, it was Collins' style of writing that kept putting a damper on my progression through The Hunger Games. I'd get through the first few chapters but then get distracted by how childishly written it was (says me who can't seem to write coherent sentence). I found that the way she described things just wasn't colourful enough for my taste in reading. I like to be able to feel like I could close my eyes and immerse myself into a setting or a feeling and I just never had that connection with this book.

The first time I watched the movie (whenever it was that it first came out on DVD) it's not that I didn't enjoy it, nor was there anything that I particularly didn't enjoy. It was just an okay film in my opinion. Interesting enough to keep me watching but not so grabbing that by the end of it I wanted to pick up the book and start reading (like I did with The Maze Runner series). After that I wasn't at all interested in watching the rest of the films which in hindsight I'm pleased about because I wouldn't then be able to sit here and write this with both the books and the films still fresh in my mind.

So last week, when I was sick and stuck at my parents house I found myself with these books on my sisters book shelf in front of me, just begging to be read. In all fairness I had been eyeing them up for quite some time, it's just my sister had never owned the 1st book, only the 2nd and 3rd and I'm definitely not the type of person to begin things in the middle. When I found she had finally purchased the 1st book I was quite pleased. So I pulled the book off the shelf and started reading, telling myself if I made it to at least chapter 10 it would be smooth sailing.
An hour or two later found me halfway through the book with no sign of letting up. Somewhere in between chapter 5 and 10 Collins' grabbed me.

I'm not quite sure what it was though - Katniss' character annoys me to no end. She's constantly negative and although a lot of the time her actions seem selfless she is actually quite selfish.
I think the main issue is that I see a lot of myself in her, and that's why she annoys me so much.
If I ever met Peeta in real life I would hate him straight of the bat - far too nice for his own good, puts himself down whilst uplifting others and is just kind of an all around sap.
Gale is sulky and brooding like every other teenage boy out there - wants the girl but doesn't.
I think Haymitch and Cinna and oddly enough even Snow are the only characters that don't frustrate me. Snow mostly because he's a very transparent villian - he's evil and he knows it, the characters in the book know it and we know it as well.

One of the aspects I did particularly enjoyed is how closely the film and books correlate to each other. How well the actors portray the characters internal monologue and the dialogue conveyed from book to film was almost identical.

As I sat and watched frame after frame and scene after scene it was like reading the book and seeing it in my minds eye - except I didn't have to imagine because it was right there in front of me, on screen. Of course there were a few things that didn't turn out the way I imagined they would, and of course your have to give the film makers the benefit of the doubt in creating a world that doesn't actually exist (yet). But I was definitely impressed.

In typical Hollywood style there was more emphasis on the romance than there really needed to be, but being a film student it's something I expected. It didn't take away from the narrative too much but it didn't add anything either.

All in all - if I were to rate this (book and film) I'd give it an 7/10 all around.

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