Books to Movies: The Hunger Games

A few weeks ago I finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy. It was a great experience and was almost a tear jerker to read at times. I decided to watch the first adapted Hunger Games movie on Netflix and found myself a bit underwhelmed.

Certain aspects of the movie were great, Jennifer Lawrence makes a perfect Katniss Everdeen, her family, their town, and the announcer for the games were all spot on in my opinion. However, the film falls short of my expectations. It didn’t feel as wrenching or as “epic” as the novel. What I mean is, by the time Katniss gets to the games and is flung into the arena, I don’t feel as connected to her as I did in the book. It didn’t really feel like she had a lot at stake or that those running the games were really bad at all. Although I can’t really fault the filmmakers for trying to condense the whole novel into a two hour movie. There’s only so much screen time.

I still loved the movie because I already knew the plot and characters from the novel. But if I had not read the novels beforehand I feel like I would have had a difficult time following the movie’s fast-paced adaptation.

The Hunger Games is one of those novels that would have been just fine without being turned into a movie. Books are books, movies are movies. There’s so much cross-pollination now between the two that there’s nothing original. If the Hunger Games was supposed to be a movie then it would have been a movie and not a novel.

There’s always an exception to this which in this case is Forrest Gump, a movie that was based on a novel and ended up winning several awards. On the whole though, I think it’s always better for a piece of work to stay in its original format because there’s usually so much that’s lost in the translation.

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