Tag Archives: Josh Hutcherson

The Hunger Games – the film

The book surfaced quite suddenly from nowhere four years ago, and one moment I had never heard of it and the next everyone was enthusing like mad about it. I thought it sounded horrible. The plot, I mean. And then I wondered if I was missing something and needed to read it. And then when I started investigating, someone suggested it was great for younger readers but not necessarily a book for adults.

So I never did read it. Even Little Flower’s Granny read it, which surprised me somewhat. Some weeks ago Daughter caved in as well, and went out and actually bought (!) all three books.

All I had to offer when she returned to Bookwitch Towers the other day (apart from my lovely company to go and see the film, of course) was a Hunger Games mug (beautiful red) and a Mockingjay pin. The pin narrowly avoided being binned, because I could see it would merely waltz around the house for years, littering, before someone finally threw it away.

Turns out it’s very much the item to have. Some people pay money for it, even.

So, we went to see the film yesterday (and you can read more on CultureWitch for some sort of film review) and it was good, just as they said. It makes a change, really. I’d say that unlike the Harry Potter films, which must have left anyone who had not read the books totally bewildered, The Hunger Games made sense. I got what it was about, although I allowed Daughter to explain a few things, because I could tell she wanted to.

The Hunger Games - Jennifer Lawrence

I’m really very good at hating badly cast actors, and I have a fervent dislike of some actors and actresses (usually for no good reason at all). Wonderful to find someone like Jennifer Lawrence whom I actively loved. Whether I will support Team Gale or Team Peeta I couldn’t say. In fairness, we didn’t see much of Gale, so perhaps leave the decision a little longer. Gale is more handsome, but I suspect Peeta might be nicer.

And it’s a shame that we have to be so suspicious of any novel-to-film in the YA world. There are several fantastic books optioned, but it’s easy to be cynical and expect very little good to come of it.

(Speaking of Cynical, she had quite a bit to say on the subjet of this film. It would seem Cynical is rather an expert. I read her lists of dislikes and minor niggles – which for a film that she loved is an interesting concept – and they made no sense to me at all. So I returned to them after seeing the film, and they made perfect sense.)

Bridge to Terabithia

We took a shortcut to Katherine Paterson’s writing through watching the Bridge to Terabithia film. It was a bit of a surprise, and at the same time it was rather as I had expected. If that makes sense?

I didn’t understand any of the fantasy elements to the story. I mean, I knew they weren’t real, but initially I couldn’t work out if the children were simply playing and fantasising, or if magic occurred and moved them to somewhere else. I gather from reading up on it afterwards that it was the former.

Bridge to Terabithia

Have to admit to finding the real world happenings much more fascinating, and wish that the story had remained on that level, describing the lives of the two children and the bullying and the money problems. That part of the film was really very good, well written and well acted.

So now I don’t know if I want to read Katherine’s books or not. And I’ve had the slightly uncharitable thought that Bridge to Terabithia is exactly what the judges of the Astrid Lindgren award look for. A sort of mini-Nobel.

The Wikipedia entry for the film provides more information than most people will ever need, so at least it answered my question on whether the film is faithful to the book. It is. Very, apparently. The screenplay was written by Katherine’s son David, and I believe the book was based partly on experiences from his childhood.

The child actors were excellent, and I was especially pleased to see a very young Bailee Madison again. But both Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb who play Jesse and Leslie were also really good.

The first third of the film we treated it as any ordinary film, but by the second third we were lost in the fantasy world that Jesse and Leslie think up. Daughter kept saying ‘there must be a point to it soon’. There was, but perhaps not one we could have guessed at.

SPOILER!

There is a death, and Daughter was in tears. It was rather sad and very touching, and I gather some people would have preferred the script to only hurt the child a little, followed by a light coma and then happiness ever after again. I’m glad they didn’t go that route. It’s sad, but it feels real. And perhaps that is why the fantasy jars too much for me.

Or I’m just too old.