9. may the odds be ever in your favor

like many others, i have a mild obsession with the hunger games.  i recently finished the third book, and sophia and i saw the movie this morning.  book-to-movie adaptations are generally hit or miss for me, and 98% of the time i prefer the book (the millennium series, the golden compass, harry potter, etc etc…)

fortunately, director gary ross does an excellent job of making a true-to-text rendering of the book.  the majority of the book elements that were left out seemed appropriate, in that they’d just cause the movie to drag on unnecessarily (it was already 2 & 1/2 hours, and i can’t go much longer than that without a pee break).  i thought the pacing was remarkably good, considering that the games don’t even start until halfway through the movie.  that also made me realize how much well-written build-up suzanne collins gave to the actual games.

one of the differences that i missed was the insane psychological impact the bear-like mutts were designed to have on the remaining tributes.  in the book, the mutts had the eyes of the dead tributes; there was no indication of this in the movie.  this psychological element extends through the second and third books (the jabberjays in the quarter quell arena in catching fire and the blood-and-rose scented mutts in mockingjay) making it an important point to highlight.

some other points i wish the movie had elaborated on: the speechless avoxes in the capitol and the way in which the dead tributes are transported from the arena.  hovercrafts are tres cool, no?  also, i had envisioned president snow totally differently when reading the books- i pictured him younger, less wrinkled, and with the surgically-enhanced features they describe in the later books.  in the movie, he was definitely less sinister than i had expected.  all of the other characters were pretty spot-on.

in the movie, the hostile environment of the arena and the luxury of the capitol were incredibly well-executed.  the beauty of CGI, huh?  i also loved how katniss’ inner monologue is clear, without any annoying spoken monologues or voiceovers.  you kick ass, jennifer lawrence.

despite being dubbed “young adult” novels, i found these to be incredibly powerful, relevant, and interesting.  unfortunately, the next movie doesn’t come out until november 2013…looks like i’ll be re-reading the books before then!