So I finally saw the Hunger Games…

In the month or so I’ve been gone, I’ve been doing a lot of reading.  A lot.  And one of the books I read (well, set of books, I guess) was the Hunger Games trilogy.  Now, I don’t want to ruin them for anyone, so I will warn you that there are spoilers.  Although if you haven’t read them, what are you waiting for?!?!  Really.

I really enjoyed the books.  They were fairly fast-paced, the characters were likeable, and it introduced an interesting possible future.  It  also created an incredibly vivid picture in my head and made me not want to put it down.  I had a great time reading them.

No lie, Peeta was my favourite.  I liked Gale enough, but he was so pushy and demanding.  Peeta made no demands on Katniss, he expected nothing from her; and still, he did everything for her.  He was super likeable and sweet and charming and no matter what he did, I just wanted to cheer for him.  Now, I’m not saying a push-over guy is great, or that a guy should do all he can for his girl with no regard to what that means for him, his life, or his future, but still.  I loved him.

So of course, like most fans of the books, I was über excited for the movie.  I didn’t watch it on opening weekend ’cause it seemed crazy, and I was waiting for my boyfriend to finish reading them.  So off we went the following weekend.

I hated it.

Well, it was okay.  It was done well, it was fairly close to the story, and the characters looked like what I’d pictured.  The problem is that the violence was toned down enough to be almost non-existent, which I guess was to get a kid-friendly rating.  If it wasn’t really suitable for someone who’s, say, 9 years old, it was removed or severely edited. The Hunger Games themselves seemed like a big game or afternoon in the park. There was no suspense, no action, and the kids seemed like it was just another day in the park for them. The camera spends way too much time being shaky, and the acting is not very good.

The problem with this is that if you’ve read the books, you know just how brutal, violent, and crazy the games can be. I mean, it’s 24 kids in a fight to the death.  Some of them are trained for this!!  Some are brutal, some a manipulative, some are opportunists – but all are killers.

I expected at least most of that craziness, which for me is what made it so vivid and disturbing. Sadly, I was very disappointed.

Even worse, the characters were pretty sucky and flat. Katniss, who in the book comes off as an actual competitor in the games seems incredibly flat and boring, with almost no emotion. Peeta, who in the books is sweet, incredibly likeable, and yet a smooth-talker comes off as a wimpy, pathetic, useless boy that you don’t really care about. Cinna is not nearly as awesome as I was expecting, which is sad, because Lenny Kravitz did an awesome job for the short amount of screen time he had. Haymitch is not nearly as drunk and funny as he should have been, and all his drunken antics, like vomiting everywhere and then not noticing as he’s covered in it, were removed. Effie is not nearly as ridiculous-yet-lovable, just kinda superficial and silly.

The movie also leaves out anything that could be considered violent or questionable behaviour: Katniss nearly dehydrating herself to death is cut out, the hallucinations are cut down to almost nothing (no melting skin or crawling insects). Peeta’s gangrene-infected leg wound is really just a scartch (so no, there’s no scene where pus is being removed). Katniss doesn’t drug Peeta so she can get to the banquet, he’s just sleeping.  The cut she gets from fighting Clove is just a scratch, so Peeta doesn’t wake up to her laying in a pool of her own blood.  Cato only suffers for a few minutes, not hours, and at the end, Peeta is perfectly fine, not bleeding to death and losing a leg.

Yeah, can you see why I was bored??

Not to mention, I didn’t really feel a connection to Rue.  I mean, I did, ’cause I read the book, but the movie didn’t really make me care about her at all.  District 11 never even sends the bread!!  To me, this was an important event for Katniss, and it’s kinda important to the second book.  And Katniss giving Peeta the berries??  It seems way more calculated here than it should have been.  And at no point do you realize that their romance is fake.  My bf, who hadn’t read the books, had no idea.

In fact, when we left the theater, I had to explain a bunch of things to him that were either not explained because they assumed we’d already know (asshole move, btw), or because they seemed odd.

I really did like the little snippets we got into the outside world while the games were on.  That doesn’t happen in the book.  Watching Haymitch deal with sponsors and Gale watching Katniss and Peeta on the screen was a bonus.

In the end, I really should have stayed home and re-read the books.  My bf could have done almost anything else with the money spent (although I love that you took me!!) and we could have rented it.

Will I watch the next two??  Probably.  But I may wait until they’re on DVD to do it.

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Don’t judge a book by its cover – unless it’s actually a book!!

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Everyone’s heard that, right??  You should take the time to find more about it, since what you can see on the surface isn’t everything.  Unfortunately, this isn’t advice I ever follow – at least not when it comes to actual books.

While I totally get this about people, which is really what I feel that sentence is for, I completely ignore it when it actually comes to books.

The cover is the first thing I look at.

It’s funny, because looks are not at all the first thing I notice in people.  Sure, I notice things like eyes, dimples, bitchface, and all that, but the overall look isn’t what I look for. Cliché (and unreal) as it sounds, I look at how people are, and who they are.  Personality is big for me.

But not in books.  I can buy a book simply because the cover interested me.  It’s actually how I shop for books when I’m looking to get something new.  I walk around, wait until a cover has my attention, then read the summary.  And then I buy. The draw for me can be anything: cool design, bright colour, haunting picture.

Honestly, I’ve discovered a great deal of amazing books this way.  It was how I discovered the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (although I first saw the fifth book, “Fiery Cross,” which has since become one of my favourites.  It’s also how I discovered the hilarious writing of Carl Hiaasen.

I can spend hours going through books at Chapters or Indigo.  I’ll wander through the stacks of fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, true crime, history, and politics.  Sometimes it’s just browsing, but here and there a cover will catch my eye long enough to get me to read what it’s about.  And then I’ll decide if I should buy it.

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2012 Reading Challenges

This year I’ve decided to do a few reading challenges.  I’d never seen this before, even though I’ve been blogging for years.  Clearly I need to pay more attention to other blogs!!  Anyways, I plan to read as much this year, both books I’ve been wanting to read, and those I’ve read and love enough to read again.  Once I’ve read a book I’ll try and write at least a short review, in case some of you were wondering what I thought of it.

I’ll also make this a separate page so that it’ll be easier to update.  I’ll cross them out or change the font or something once I’ve read them.

I encourage everyone to at least take a look at these challenges.  Some of them are pretty good!!

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