Let the Games Begin!

For all of you Hunger Games fans, there’s only fourteen days left until the movie hits the big screen!

My kids and I have watched the trailer a gazillion times, and we discuss all the ways the movie could be great and all the ways it could fall short of our expectations.

As readers, do we expect the movies to be as good as the books? Are they ever? And do they need to be? Comparing books is interesting. Comparing movies is fun. But, when we compare books to the adaptation in movies, it can sometimes be rather frustrating. How could they possibly erase your favorite scene or character? How can a movie feel legitimate when the book is written in the first person and we never see what’s going on anywhere else in the story? Or when most of the plotline is internal rather than external conflict?

I have super high hopes for The Hunger Games movie, and that worries me because there have only been a handful of movies that have been as good as the books.

One of the best that I can recall was John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. That one lived up to the book. The Twilight movies? Not so much. Could any actor live up to the Edward in the book? I think not. That character seemed so perfect, so cultured, so special that no matter how cute other people might find Robert Pattinson, he is clearly not Edward. Not my Edward. Not the Edward that lived in my mind. So, instead of being moved by those movies, I find them kind of funny.

When we do compare a book to a movie, I’d be interested to know whether you saw the movie first. And if that makes a difference. I saw the movie The Outsiders before I read the book, and I loved them both equally. But, I didn’t use my imagination in figuring out what the characters looked like. Not when I had that fabulous all-star cast to recall. Would I have thought Ralph Macchio was the perfect Johnny? Or Matt Dillon as Dallas Winston? I’ll never know. And, oh, my love for Pony Boy…

I recently read the first four Harry Potter books. I never saw the movies because I wanted to read the books first, but I had seen enough previews to put an idea in my head of those charactersl. And I loved the movies as well as the books.

The same can be said for The Thornbirds, Gone with the Wind, and The Notebook. I saw these prior to reading the books, and I loved them all.

There are too many movies to list that have fallen short of the book, for me anyway. And all the ones I didn’t like were the books that I read first. I can’t help comparing and critiquing the movie while I’m watching it. It takes away from the movie experience completely. I wish I could flip a switch and just watch the movie without trying to compare it to the book. I wish I could just enjoy it for the sake of enjoying the movie.

Do all writers do this? Do we pick apart the movie because, in our minds, the written word is more powerful for us? Do we feel kind of sorry for the other movie goers who clearly have no inside information about the backstory of the character? The motivation? The internal struggles that have led to that particular scene?

What movies made from books have disappointed you the most, which ones have you loved, and which ones have surprised you in some way?

With regards to enjoying the upcoming movie…may the odds be ever in our favor!  🙂  (I just had to work that in!)