Read: The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
Book stars: Five
Movie stars: Five
If you've been living under a rock or on a distant planet for the last six months, The Hunger Games is a young adult novel set in a dystopian North America that was released in blockbuster movie form this past weekend. I was able to go see the movie last Sunday after devouring all three books in the trilogy.
The books feature Katniss Everdeen, the mostly reliable, although sometimes whiny, narrator participating in the titular Hunger Games, a fight to the death between teenage "tributes." It's a fast-paced action story with a surprising ending. Katniss is at times not the best character to be in the head of, but I must say the books are well-written and have a depth to them. Although the surface shows only a heartbreaking death match, there are many other layers. Collins has commentary on poverty, class warfare, the power of the media, propaganda and symbolism, and so much more crammed into the short trilogy.
The movie is, for once, an excellent rendition of the first book. Jennifer Lawrence captures the essence of Katniss's struggles in her home and in the arena. The film also shows what is going on outside the arena, and explains things that Katniss narrates in the book rather than bore the audience with Katniss continually talking to herself. I really enjoyed it. The saddest part of the book was well done in the movie, to the point where I actually cried (which I rarely do for movies!). The ending, however, was not as well-done as the book, which it easily could have been.
I highly recommend reading The Hunger Games before seeing the movie, but by all means, do go see it!