I waited to write a Dystopian Review of The Hunger Games trilogy until the last movie had come out. That way I could look at all angles of the story. And now….the saga has ended. The dust has settled. So here we go.
The Hunger Games
The first book was my introduction to dystopian. I didn’t know what the book was about — all I knew was that my sister told me to read it. So I did. In 8 hours. The story is fascinating and, while the concept is heartbreaking and centered around violence, it didn’t get too graphic. I found the first person POV writing intense and engrossing. Though Katniss was a survival-woman, it made sense to her culture.
Personally, I think this was the weakest movie of the four, though they cast it perfectly. I’m sure it was hard to deliver a concept without toeing the “rated R” line. But something was missing — the gripping inside scoop to Katniss’s personality, I think. And there was a little cheesiness with the wolf mutts at the end. Still, even with the cheesiness and certain weaknesses, I watched it multiple times…and cried multiple times. I found the movie appropriately rated and delivered solidly.
This book gripped me a little less. Maybe that’s because, at the time, I really wanted Katniss to end up with Gale and she was stuck in the arena with Peeta. And…there was a lot more kissing. *shrug* Whatever the case, this book stepped up the intensity level, getting a little more violent and digging in to the dark side of the Games aftermath. I don’t like when stories start feeling dark or depressing. And this one certainly got there with the punishments and oppression from the Capitol.
I was blown away.
Seriously. Guys. This movie. The acting. I was in shock! It was like the actors stepped it up to an entire new level of professionalism. The movie tamed down some of the violence and gore from the book, yet accentuated the adventure side of things. Just talking about it makes me want to go rewatch it. And write. And be inspired. I highly recommend this movie.
Now we really get down to it. I hated this book.
Let me put it this way: When I finished reading it for the first time, I threw it. Against the wall. And didn’t care that it got dented. This book is one main reason I grew excited about the movies, because I hoped that the movies would redeem it for me.
What made it horrible?
- The violence. I reread the book in preparation for Mockingjay part 1, and it made me physically ill. I don’t plan to ever read it again. Maybe I’m just squeamish, but I don’t like violence or seemingly pointless death.
- The hopelessness. Katniss lost hope and she became this harsh, unrelatable person I didn’t want to spend time with. Even when she got a semi-happy ending by the conclusion of the book, it was delivered in a depressing manner.
- The author’s distraction. I felt that, in this book, Suzanne Collins was more set on imparting the message that war is violent, evil, and scarring, that she forgot to look for the hope in something so realistic and harsh. Because there is hope, and I never felt it in the book.
REDEMPTION! Phew! The book is split into two movies and done very well. Albeit, these movies have an extremely different feel from the first two — they’re slower, Katniss is changed, and the plot gets darker. But the movies managed to capture that nugget of hope that the book didn’t. I told one of my writer friends, I’d re-watch Mockingjay Part 2 all over again just for the ending (and because when I watched it on Saturday, we were stuck in the very front row and I think I need to just go see it again from a normal seat.)
While the books were gory, the movies had the same amount of action and violence as Catching Fire, which I felt kept it an appropriate PG-13.
These books are powerful, and that can be a dangerous thing. They inspired me to write a dystopian series with hope in it, and the series has caused me to chew on many thoughts.
The movies were done right. I can’t think of how they could have been done better, so cheers to the directors and the people behind it all.
Have you read the books or watched the movies? What did or didn’t you like?