Monday, May 21, 2012

Team Katniss

As most of you know, if you follow me on Twitter, I was recently introduced to the Hunger Games series of books by Suzanne Collins. I finished the final book today. There is no shortage of reasons why I loved each book equally - just to name a few, the story, the characters, the conflicts, the emotions, the shocking moments, the possible comparisons to our own society, I could go on all day. But, the biggest reason I loved these books is Katniss Everdeen. She is my current hero and she's completely fictional. But that's ok. It's almost better. Katniss is presented in each book as a real human being, with strengths and weaknesses, all of her best qualities along with her worst flaws. Despite being pegged as unlikable, I found her lovable. I wanted her to succeed. I wanted her to live. I wanted her to find happiness in the wake of all the tragedy that relentlessly pursued her. If you haven't read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, go read them right now. Devote a little time to these books, and I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

Maybe my affection for the books goes even deeper than just appreciation of a good story. I think the book raises major life questions. Such as, who can you really trust? Do you ever really know someone's true motives? What drives us to either lay down in submission or rise up in rebellion? I know the books are fictional, and I think it's silly to say they're prophetic in any way. They're not. But they do reflect certain realities. The books reminded me of our obsession with entertainment. They reminded me of the greed we've been the victims of the last few years. They reminded me of all the societies and empires that have risen and crumbled throughout history.

I was impressed with each storyline, twist, and subplot in the book. And even though I had no idea what was coming, I loved the ending. In fact, I burst into tears. I was that moved by the ending. And I was also sad, because I had to say goodbye to those characters I'd fallen in love with. But, I can honestly say, the ending was perfection. And I won't spoil it for you.

I saw the movie The Hunger Games last week. And I loved it. The movie was definitely a condensed version of the book, but I've never minded that. I was very happy that the author Suzanne Collins co-wrote the screenplay and was an executive producer on the project. Her vision definitely comes through in the movie. I know some people are criticizing the movie for not following the book exactly, and for changing certain details, but the point is, the primary story is kept intact and the emotions I felt in the book are the same as the ones I felt watching the film. I realize a 350+ page novel cannot be transformed into a movie without some changes being made. As it is, the movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes long. I highly recommend the movie as well as the books.

Jennifer Lawrence was amazing as Katniss. She really became the character, portraying all of the emotions and internal conflicts with a really natural confidence. I was truly impressed with her performance, along with Liam Hemsworth, who plays Gale, Josh Hutcherson, playing Peeta, Woody Harrelson, as Haymitch, and of course, my man, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. And a special shout out to Elizabeth Banks, who gave me life as Effie.

I can't wait for them to make a movie from Catching Fire, the second book in the series. The books would have made an amazing mini-series as well. But, because the books are so popular with young people, movies were probably the more profitable choice. The Hunger Games is still doing well at the box office, and it's been in theatres over a month now.

I'd love to discuss the books and/or the movie, so tweet me!