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'Hunger Games' proves book usually better than movie

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Recently, I took a group of students on a weekend trip to Disney’s Blizzard Beach and after getting bored with the water slides, I sat down at the fake beach and read “The Hunger Games” cover to cover.

I really enjoyed the book, having in the past refused to read it on a few principles.

I generally don’t like to read mainstream book series due to the fact that some seem to be like the horrible Kardashian family: They are famous for being famous.

I’m talking to you, “Twilight.”

I was wrong thinking the same about “The Hunger Games,” part one in a series by Suzanne Collins.

The book is about a brutal competition that takes place yearly in the country of Panem, which is a futuristic and dystopian leftover of the United States.

Originally the country was comprised of the rich Capitol city and 13 Districts, held captive by the Capitol until they revolted in a Civil War.

The Capitol destroyed District 13 and created the Hunger Games, a competition in which a boy and a girl are chosen at random as “Tributes” from each district to compete in a death match so they will be reminded of how the Capitol will always be in control.

The last tribute standing wins.

It is upon this backdrop that we meet Katniss Everdeen from District 12, who is preparing for the “Reaping,” the day in which they pick the tributes.

She is a skilled bow hunter and survivalist who supports her family by hunting game in the forests of her district, which is comprised of the leftovers of Appalachia.

When Katniss’ 12-year-old sister is chosen to compete in the games, she volunteers in her place and is sent off to the Capitol to train with Peeta, the boy tribute from their District.

The book is a page turner, from the fascinating descriptions of futuristic technology to the vivid clothing, hair, and makeup of the affected citizens of the Capitol.

If you haven’t read it, do.

Now you’ve probably been wondering why I’ve been describing a book for the past 300 words of a movie column.

Allow me to explain.

Monday, having finished my preparations for school, I excitedly sat down to watch the movie, which came out on DVD a few weeks ago.

Needlessly to say I was excited.

Then, two and a half hours later, I was not happy.

While the movie was well made, followed to plot (loosely), and wasn’t completely awful, it fell prey to one of the oldest paradigms in the world: It wasn’t as good as the book.

They cut out characters, failed to show some of the best pieces of the book like the cool technology, and left out plot lines like the Avox (read Traitor) who was captured in the woods in District 12.

My least favorite parts were the shaky camera work that literally gave me a headache and the fact that they added “made up” parts to the film, like most of the parts with President Snow and District 11’s revolt.

Now while I say that, I have to let you know that the book is short, around 200 pages.

Some things are unclear of how they work, but I think that is part of its magic.

The production of movies differs from books in that the people who make films have a huge amount of people that they have to please, whereas when a book is published for a first time the author only has to make their literary agent and agent’s boss happy.

Take the Harry Potter books and movies.

Those books are way too long to include everything in the movies so the screenwriter and director are forced to cut things, but with “The Hunger Games,” it wouldn’t have been hard to include more information in the film.

That’s where I take issue.

I don’t mean to label it as a horrible film, but it could have been much better, included more from the book, and been truer to the story.

I look forward to reading the next book in the series but I’m not hopeful about the film adaptation, but you can bet I’ll see it.
Tagged under  Entertainment, Literature, Media History, Movie, Voices

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