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News-Sentinel reporters Sara Jane Pohlman and Katie Nelson dish on their deep ‘Hunger Games’ obsessions

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Sara Jane Polhman

Katie Nelson

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 8:46 am

Sara Jane Pohlman: ‘I can’t wait to read it again’

I may be 22 years old, but I am not ashamed to admit my love for young adult novels. From the works of John Green to Sarah Dessen to Libba Bray, it seems there is always something relatable about young men and women dealing with challenges on the cusp of adulthood. Suzanne Collins took that sense of battle to a tangible level in “The Hunger Games.”

This story draws me in because it is centered on a fight more important than romance: sheer survival. Not only must Katniss Everdeen outlast the other tributes, she is also forced to wade through the politics of the Capitol. On top of that, Katniss has to deal with the morality of children killing other children in a livestreamed reality show. It’s heavy.

The most poignant moments of the story are not of Katniss with a love interest. They are of her defying the Capitol and endangering herself to support her family. I love that teenagers are so wrapped up in a story with a larger context than finding out who gets the girl.

A common complaint of movies based on novels is the plot strays from the original story. I don’t have a problem with changing the route as long as it leads to the same conclusion. It’s impossible to cram over 200 pages of detail into a film, no matter the length. But if that’s a real disappointment, see the movie first. Reading the book then adds richness to a familiar story.

This is a book of strong ideas with complex characters. I can’t wait to read it again.

Katie Nelson: This is a classic case of ‘the book was better’

As a book series, “The Hunger Games” definitely had me laughing one minute, then throwing the book angrily on the floor the next.

I was a bipolar reader, loving every sentence of Suzanne Collins’s trilogy in one paragraph, then gaping and  yelling out loud to myself in my apartment the next.

Some may think it’s crazy, but I know I am not alone in this. There are moments where you absolutely love everything about a character, down to the clothes they wear. And there are moments where you want to rip the pages from the spine because you just can’t stand a character’s attitude any longer.

It is the push and pull that makes Collins’s trilogy addictive, so needless to say I was hopeful to see how Hollywood fared in replicating “The Hunger Games.”

And for the most part, Gary Ross’s adaptation is commendable.

Avid fans will notice clear exemptions from the movie, including the Avox girl and Madge, the mayor’s daughter. In the film, the exclusion works — as the movie is already two and a half hours long.

However, the amount of time spent on character development is lacking in the film. The books truly get you to identify with a character. You sadly realize you end up having a love/hate relationship with most of them, despite the fact that the book is a work of fiction.

This is why the books are so appealing. Characters are relatable.

However, the film does not do that. I would have loved to see more relationship development between Rue and Katniss, or Cinna and Katniss. Both Rue and Cinna are two of my favorite characters in the series, but they are hardly in the film at all. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to see more of Lenny Kravitz?

Overall, this is a classic case of “the book was better,” even though the more I see it, the more I like the film.

I guess I will have to keep going to the theater. Life could be worse.



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