Postscript: Catnip, Peeta & Gale:Here I Come!

On Thursday, I posted about my anticipation regarding the midnight premiere showing of the movie, THE HUNGER GAMES, which I was going to attend with my children,their friend and my husband. Lots of you asked me to report back, so here’s what I have to say.

Source: tressugar.com via Sara on Pinterest

 

QUICK STORY DESCRIPTION:ย For those of you who don’t know, the book takes place in post-Apocalyptic America where the people, who live in 12 distinct districts are controlled by a central power located in the Capitol, a modern city, which the district people are not allowed to visit unless invited. THE HUNGER GAMES are a tradition created by the Capitol to keep the districts from rising up against the Capitol, as a now-defunct 13th district once did. Every year, two children from each district are chosen randomly to fight each other until the death in a complex, manmade arena. The battle for the victor is televised for the entertainment of the people living in the Capitol.

FIRST: I am so, so, so glad we went. It was well worth the loss of sleep that night.

SECOND: The movie was engaging, entrancing and stuck to the story told in the Suzanne Collins novel. There were a couple of places where they skipped what I considered to be important details from the book, which I think diluted the plot and also made some future actions harder to comprehend. The photography was breathtaking, the acting was very good, but I wish they hadn’t edited out some of the relationship building scenes from the book that made you root for the characters while also struggling with the horror of what they were going to have to do to win.

THIRD: THE HUNGER GAMES is a horrific story. The book describes the violent killings of children by children and the disturbing manipulation of the conditions in the arena by the Gamemaster, who wants the reality television to be as dramatic and exciting as it can be. There are moments when you are reading that you have to stop, take a deep breath, and move on. The movie did not portray the violence quite as graphically as the book. I think this was deliberate, as the movie is rated PG-13 and the primary audience for the movie is pre-teens and teenagers, but I also thought it may have been softened a little too much. We did see a few killings, blurred but obvious, but somehow the horror that I felt reading did not come through as clearly in the movie. I think that lessening the visual impact of what is happening in this story also lessens the horror felt by those watching, which lessens how disturbed we are by the conditions of this world that is an ugly prospect of what could be if we don’t treat each other with kindness and equality. I didn’t want to see the blood and guts of one child knifing another, but I wish there had been more visual acknowledgment of the absolute inhumanity of the games and of the Capitol.

If you’ve seen the movie (or when you see it), will you let me know how you felt about it? I’m curious if others had similar or very different reactions.

Sara

Sara

I write about daily life, arts & culture, food, books, nature, animals, parenting, relationships, self-discovery, & more.

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15 thoughts on “Postscript: Catnip, Peeta & Gale:Here I Come!

  1. I haven’t seen it yet (plan to this coming week). So looking forward to it. I wondered how much of the violence they would portray in the film. I, too, worry about how numb so many have become to violence these days. I wouldn’t want to see blood and gore either but the point needs to be driven home that violence towards each other, whether with weapons or words (or insane public policies) should never be tolerated.

  2. I just got home from seeing the movie with my husband – we got to see it on IMAX, which was awesome. I thought they did a pretty good job of translating this into a movie – the actress who played Katniss was perfect, and I think the actor who played Peeta was dead on.
    I too, thought there were a couple areas where they messed with some backstory where they maybe shouldn’t have, and I thought the point of view shifts were at times really obvious information dumps – but I am not sure I would have thought that if I hadn’t read the book first, so it is hard to say.
    All in all, I thought the cinematography was beautiful, and I thought they captured the dread and anticipation leading up to the event perfectly, even if the actual games lost a little bit of their horror.
    So…pretty much, I give the movie a B+ and I give your review an A+++! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I also thought the casting was really good. Cinna was one of my favorites in the book and he was equally wonderful in the movie. The actor who played Peeta was the loveable little boy in the Bridge to Terabithia so it took me a couple of minutes and the dyed blond hair to see him as Peeta.

      I’ve never gotten an A+++ before. I will do my best to live up to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thanks for the review! Very well written! ๐Ÿ™‚ I read all three books, and I will probably take myself to see the movie next weekend since my husband won’t care to see it. I loved the story – I LOVE YA dystopian novels. But I wasn’t crazy about the writing style. I’m interested to see how they put it together in the movie. Just as I always am when they make a movie out of a book I love. which reminds me I still need to see Water for Elephants…

    1. Water for Elephants. The book is soooo much better than the movie. Don’t go in with high expectations. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Well, call me an old idiot, but I do not understand why parents are not more disturbed by the points you mention here in this blog, Sara:

    “THE HUNGER GAMES is a horrific story. The book describes the violent killings of children by children and the disturbing manipulation of the conditions in the arena by the Gamemaster, who wants the reality television to be as dramatic and exciting as it can be. There are moments when you are reading that you have to stop, take a deep breath, and move on. The movie did not portray the violence quite as graphically as the book.”

    Excuse me, but do parents not find it UNUSUAL that their 10-14 year-old-children are ingesting and digesting this kind of violence? Practically every parent I know (family or friend) finds it shoulder-shrugging OK. that their kids are doing just that.

    My my my.

    1. The hard part is what some 14 year olds can handle/process is so much different than what other 14 year olds can handle. It is a horrific story but it also presents some ideas about good and bad and the role power plays in our lives that I think is not too advanced for teen minds to start to understand. We read Lord of the Flies in middle school and I was so blown away by the ideas of the book that the horrific treatment of children upon other children really didn’t stay with me in any way more than as a means to tell a story. I know not all kids are ready and there is something wrong with making it very accessible to them by calling it YA and rating it PG-13, but I also feel like there are subtle (and not so subtle) ways that our kids are getting messages from our culture that are more of a threat to them than being told a story that points out the difficulties inherent in a system where very few have the power. There is a strong point of view of a girl who has a mind of her own and has strong feelings of love toward her family and her close friends. These are portrayed so beautifully in the book and makes this not simply a slasher novel. Maybe that disturbs some too.

      Mymymy. Our culture serves up a lot of violence to our kids daily, not the least of it in the news. It is hard as a parent to know what is okay and what is not. I think many of those shrugging their shoulders are not weak or foolish but just trying to find the balance of what to permit and what to forbid amid all of the violent influences out there.

  5. I must be the only one on the planet who hadn’t really paid any attention to “The Hunger Games” (books or movie) until all the hype over the movie started. Guess I’ll have to try the first book. The movie will have to wait until it comes out on DVD – we hate going to the theater any more.

    1. Not the only one. With this post, I’ve gotten many responses from others like you. I only know about the books because of my teenagers. It’s very polarizing – these books and this movie. I’m in the for camp.

  6. Great review. I also wish they had been a little more graphic out of a desire to really portray the violence of the book. They really toned down Peeta’s injury — in the book Katniss has to drain it, and that scene is singularly pretty disgusting.

    I’m going to have to ponder what I think about that a little more, specifically about what is age appropriate. All in all, I don’t even think they pushed the limits of their PG-13 rating, and I think they should have for many of the same reasons you mentioned. I also kind of wish they considered releasing an R rated director’s cut or something, because I think that could have been done really well. I agree that the horror of the entire premise got diluted.

    1. An R rated directors cut is a great idea. In a way, by dumbing it down, they actually made the story seem to be more about kids killing each other than about the corruption of power, which I think is a worse message for kids. But who am I to say: I haven’t ever written a movie and my novel isn’t published yet. So.

      I read your review as well and thought we were on the same page. I don’t have the exact link, but others should get a chance to check it out at emmiemears.com.

So what do you think?