Monday, April 16, 2012

Faithful at the Movies

Last night I saw THE HUNGER GAMES, the mega-hit based on Suzanne Collins's mega-hit YA novel. Fidelity was the keynote of the experience -- the movie makers' to the book, and mine to my original opinions of it.

I still cannot buy the original premise: That for seventy-four years each district has sent off two of its children, as young as twelve, to fight to the death in televised gladiatorial games, with everyone in the Capitol enjoying the childish blood-letting and no one in the Districts mounting rebellion (until now, and mildly). Not even the Romans pitted children against each other like that. However, if you accept the premise, both book and movie deliver strong characters, exciting action, and moving movements. Visually, HUNGER GAMES is great to watch: the over-the-top fashions in the Capitol, the lovely shots of forest, the expressive face of Jennifer Lawrence. She was terrific in WINTER'S BONE (a much better movie), and she's good here, too.

Some of the reviews have faulted the movie for downplaying the actual scene of violence, rendering them quickly and often blurred. I didn't agree. They are graphic enough, without being pornographic.

Some reviewers have floated the idea that the book is so popular with kids because it emotionally, if not literally, reflects their experience of high school. I tried this notion on three people, all out of high school but with vivid memories, and to my surprise, all three instantly agreed. What on earth is going on nowadays at Sweet Valley High?

At any rate, anyone writing YA should read the book and see the movie, because this is apparently what kids want. SWEET VALLEY HIGH, or LITTLE WOMEN, it ain't. But, then, when they remade LITTLE WOMEN a while ago with Winona Ryder, the movie was a flop.

On a completely unrelated note: Jack and I leave tomorrow for ten days in Rome, so there will be no blogging until I return. Ciao.

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