Saw “The Hunger Games” last week with Jyotsna. I liked the books – Jyotsna liked them better – but they weren’t life changing or anything, so I wasn’t *dying* to see it. And I think that attitude carried over into my reaction to the movie – more “Meh” than anything else, although they did a fair job of sticking to the book and bringing the story to life. I suppose I thought Jennifer Lawrence was only marginally effectual as Katniss, and the actor who portrayed Peeta was totally blah. (He reminded me of that annoying kid that surfaced toward the end of “Facts of Life”. Remember him? ) It’s a tough job to pull off the conversion of a book to film, especially one where most of the interesting stuff (to me)happens inside the character, rather than the plot. The book, for example, makes the love triangle believable, and Peeta is a much more complex character, rather than just a wink and a smile. The scenery and the visuals were considerably less than what I expected, which was disappointing.
One thing I didn’t expect though: How affecting it was to watch children killing other children. In the book, it didn’t bother me as much. Maybe because it’s easier to escape the reality of it in the book, but I was shocked watching it. Maybe it’s because I have kids now, but I find myself noticing violence in general more than I used to.
On the other hand, I read a fantastic book called “State of Wonder”, by Ann Patchett. She wrote Bel Canto a few years ago which I loved as well, and there are remarkable similarities in the books. Her writing jives with me, engaging, descriptive and occasionally revelationary. Both books offer plots that border on the surreal, but somehow make sense given the characters. A surprise and a pleasure. I need more of these book experiences, too much schlock.