Autostraddle Book Club #5: The Hunger Games (Plus Movie Feelings OPEN THREAD)

Tonight at midnight, the Hunger Games movie will open in the US, and be the most important cinematic event since Harry Potter, or Twilight, or ever, depending on how you feel about the books/Jennifer Lawrence. The Hunger Games phenomenon — the books, the movie, the combination book/movie hysteria — and commentary on it are sweeping the internet, and for good reason. I don’t know a single person who’s read The Hunger Games without finishing the whole trilogy in a feverish series of all-nighters and loved it. And a lot of smart people have a lot of smart things to say about both the books and the movie!

The Hunger Games’ heroine, Katniss, is being hailed as “a hard-ass hunter with a talent for butchery who becomes a revolutionary folk hero” who doesn’t need to rely on male characters to solve her problems. Salon says it rejects “chrysalis moments” and Cinderella stories by making it clear that Katniss’s pretty dresses and transformation into a “beauty” are a performance, not her authentic self. Also, possibly it’s also going to solve climate change. So there’s that.

Between the movie and the book and THE MOVIE, we all have a lot of feelings. Perhaps you will have feelings about our feelings, even!  Mostly we just all really like Katniss. I mean, number one feeling, you know?

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Laneia

I read The Hunger Games right after I finished Breaking Dawn in 2008, so it’s possible that my expectations had been beaten mercilessly into the ground, but I couldn’t get over how brilliant this book was. It has all the things I want a book to have: imperfect-but-badass female protagonist, personal sacrifice, yelling, crying, suspense, a train, archery and Appalachia. More importantly, it doesn’t have any of the shit I can’t stand: batting eyelashes, helpless females, obsessive emotional dependencies, girl-on-girl hate, diets, shopping, and terminal illnesses. And ok, it’s not like I’m proud to admit this, but I actually kind of liked all the violence? It was fascinating to imagine these children viciously killing each other just to stay alive, and you want Katniss to win obviously, but then that means wanting the other kids to DIE these horrible deaths which is just such a mindfuck!

So excited for the movie that I’m obviously on the verge of a hysterical coma. All Rue all the time.

 

Crystal

As I write these words there are approximately four hours until I get to watch the Hunger Games movie. I’m super excited but also crazy nervous because I don’t want to be disappointed, if this movie adaptation is shit then it might just break my heart. Anyway. My favorite thing about the Hunger Games is Katniss. Such a tiger.

Liz

As of Wednesday at 10pm I’m only about a third of the way through the second book. By Thursday at 10pm I fully expect to be a third of the way through the third book.

So first off, I feel like it’s impossible not to project yourself in to Katniss’s role. I have to admit, I can’t help but want to be a selfless, brave girl with dozens of admirers. It’s easy to imagine myself gallivanting about the woods; hunting, running, surviving, pointing out dangerous herbs. I mean, if you set aside the fact that I’m completely clumsy and lack any sense of direction. But that aside, who wouldn’t immediately want to be Katniss? I have a sneaking suspicion that brought to life on screen, Katniss’s agility, cunning and skill will be all the more apparent. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence is totally hot.

Still, I’m nervous to see The Hunger Games on screen. Here’s the thing about the first Hunger Games book: there is just a ton of gory violence. I’m really curious to see how they handle that in the movie. On the one hand, the The Game scenes are undeniably exciting. On the other hand, Suzanne Collins does a good job of making the violence seem abhorrent and gross. I see her message as directly linked to the abhorrence of war. I’m worried that in the movie the violence will be too glamorized and the point will be lost. Plus, if the Games aren’t horrific then the whole book doesn’t really make any sense.

Also, Cinna is totally gay, right?

 

Brittani

Right now books are particularly hard to come by because at any given moment I may be lacking money, identification, or a mailing address so when I was home over Christmas and discovered my sister owned the Hunger Games trilogy, I had no choice but to read all of them in the next three days in a Harry Potterian fashion. Rue is my favorite character for the same reason Obama is my favorite president…because they both love music. Like any good queer starving for representation, I had to ship Katniss and a female character. I chose Madge so obviously I am full of rage that she won’t be in the movie. I’m so legitimately upset that I’m in no rush to see the film because seriously, what the fuck. Her name is almost vadge. No amount of Lenny Kravitz could make up for this grave oversight.

Carolyn

First of all, I found the Hunger Games awesome and still can’t believe it took me as long to start reading them as it did (post-Mockingjay). Second, what makes The Hunger Games so compelling for me is what a reluctant hero Katniss is. She’s such a badass, but she’s not actually interested in being a badass — she just wants to survive, and have enough to eat, and take care of herself and her sister and mother. It’s everyone around her — particularly the people watching at home, who so obviously desperately need any symbol of hope whatsoever — who make her into something else. (Even later in the series, which I am about to be purposefully vague about, she is left out of people’s plans because they recognize that the thing that they’re trying to do is not her thing in and of itself). In fact, Katniss is really just out to survive, which means that she would be hugely unsympathetic if her actions weren’t for Prim (who, especially later on, seems to function as a symbol of her humanity).

But, in her attempts to survive, she becomes a strong independent female hero — not one who functions like an innately good action hero figure, but one that is more complex, and much more interesting.

Laura

T-minus 11 hours until I get to see The Hunger Games. I’m really excited for the movie but I have a small list of concerns because I want it to do justice to the book. The number one thing I’m worried about is how terrifying the movie will be. See, I need it to be really, really dark so that everything makes sense. If the dogs at the cornucopia don’t feel threatening or if President Snow don’t ooze evil, how am I supposed to believe in the characters I loved? Books are something that you read alone, but movies are something you get to experience in a room full of a hundred other people. I want to love it and I want everyone there with me to love it too.

The second thing is Taylor Swift and her feelings. One of the main reasons The Hunger Games was such a good book was that it totally flaunted the expectation that a teenage girl have nothing but boys on her mind. It wasn’t just that Katniss was too preoccupied with feeding her family to care about romance, she actively made the decision to keep people at an arm’s length as a tiny act of rebellion against the Capitol. I guess I’m just hoping that the fact that Taylor Swift has a song featured in the movie doesn’t mean that the whole faux relationship with Peeta gets turned into a bunch of sentimental Twilight nonsense.

My last concern is about how meta this whole thing is. To be honest, it’s really more about me/society more than about the movie itself. So we’ve got this girl who’s being thrust into this horrific voyeuristic “game” where sponsors pay to help the contestants and viewers cheer on their favorites, right? And now we’re making a movie — with all the swag and advertising that comes with it — about it. I know Panem isn’t real, but I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable when I went to the store yesterday and saw “Hunger Games Capitol Colors” nail polish for sale. Isn’t capitalism weird?

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I just wanted to say that Rue was my favorite character and that I can’t wait to see Cinna’s designs!

 

Discussion questions for you, dear readers. Both book and movie feelings are welcome here, as well as feelings about the book being a movie.

+ Number one feeling?
+ Number one character?
+ Number one wishful thinking gay character/relationship?
+ What does Katniss’s popularity mean in a post-Bella world?
+ Is there a commentary on violence that we’re supposed to specifically understand?
+ How do you feel about how heterosexual relationships (or the performance of them) are figured?
+ Are you worried about the book-to-movie conversion at all?
+ Why do you think this appeals to so many people? Were you skeptical about liking it before you picked it up?
+ How are you going to make Jennifer Lawrence your girlfriend?

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109 Comments

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    I’m really anxious to see how the storytelling translates from such intense first person POV in the books to a format that works with the movie. I feel like Katniss’ motivations depended so heavily on the audience and the people around her NOT knowing or hearing what she is thinking vs how she acts, how will they show that without resorting to voiceover?

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    Re: “Hunger Games Capitol Colors”

    Laura, my store sells Hunger Games action figures. There’s also an advertisement that comes on between the music that plays and it mentions Katniss / Jennifer Lawrence. She’s on all the magazines. It does feel weird.

    I just finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yesterday and finished watching the Swedish film like two minutes ago – it gave me hope that the Hunger Games film adaptation will turn out just fine.

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    Also, also, the movie’s soundtrack, produced by T. Bone Burnett, is fucking amazing. Seriously, it’s so good it got me to like a song featuring feminist nightmare Taylor Swift (Safe and Sound is a duet with the Civil Wars, who are awesome).
    Finished the first book on a train from NYC to DC this past Sunday, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t contemplating getting the other two for a weekend reading project.

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    I am frustrated because I just started a new job, and I have to be there at 8 am, and also I’m sick. If it was just one or the other, I would still go and sleep it off later, but it’s both, so I can’t. I just have to remember that the move will still be there when I feel better.

    Anyway. Feelings. Still have all of them. Number one feeling is: Please don’t let this movie be horrible. I really hope they didn’t leave out too much. Like Madge. I will miss Madge. I loved Madge, and I really wish her character had been given more page time, so that she could qualify for at least a little bit of screen time.

    Rue is the best, forever. And also Cinna. There may be a tie here.

    Definitely wishful thinking, but Katniss/Madge would’ve been fabulous.

    I’m really glad that girls are identifying with/wanting to be Katniss, because she is actually a very good role model. Obviously she is not perfect, but she stays true to herself and she is very strong willed. She cares about things that are not being pretty and being in love. It’s awesome for girls to have an example like that.

    Also, I read recently that archery is more popular than it has been in years. This is not the article I read, because I can’t find that one, but it makes the same point. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-archery-hunger-20120322,0,541535.story

    I probably have a lot more to say, but I am sick and tired and now I can’t remember.

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    Katniss is obviously a lesbian, I don’t care what Suzanne Collins says. She has no feeling for Peeta and no feeling for Gale. Friends keep asking if I’m “Team Peeta” or “Team Gale” and while my first reaction is always “This is NOT Twilight” in my head I say “Team Madge”

    I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t get it, but I feel y’all would understand.

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    I can’t see the movie for another week and I am so worried that they’re going to leave out my favourite character (Prim’s cat, seriously Prim’s cat is the BEST) that I will probably spend the next week interrogating random people about whether or not they noticed a cat anywhere. I wish I were joking and/or exaggerating about this.

    In other news, Jennifer Lawrence really, really needs to be my girlfriend.

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    I have only read the first book because A)The movie is coming out B) My brother kept hitting me with it while screaming “WTF DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS YET? YOU NEED TO READ THIS SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT MY FEELINGS!” and C) I have to read a lot of comics. Between that and school, and writing, sleeping, drinking, eating and attempting to come off as person who doesn’t walk around with Trader Joe’s cat cookies in her bag, I don’t have a lot of time to read other things.

    That said…

    + Number one feeling: *MUPPET FLAILING*

    +Number one character: Katniss. Obvs. Although I love Effie because she’s so goddamn cheerful/obtuse

    + Katniss is so goddamn gay to me. But I dunno who to pair her with, because her and Rue were obviously sisterly and Madge was barely a little blurb…. Me? ME. I have a long bow in my entry next to the wooden swords and nerf guns. I WIN.

    + I think it means there’s hope. I remember sleeping on the lawn of the San Diego Convention Center for Comic Con’s Hall H one year. My friend and I were in the line for something non-twilight related, but there were TONS of girls, in line for the Twilight panel the next day. At around 2 a.m.-ish, between bouts of sleeping on wet grass and filling out character sheets for the Firefly RPG game I had bought, I had to go to the restroom. I ended up walking some 10 girls to a hotel that was letting us use their bathrooms (I dunno why people trusted me with their kids?). They were all between 15-8 years old and I got to talking to them. And OH MY GOD THAT WAS SO FUCKING DEPRESSING. They definitely wanted to all be Bella and all have a ‘Protective, Strong’ boy like Ed that they could fall in true love with and never let go. I mean, all of those qualities that they admired about both Bella and Edward are so fucking unhealthy.
    Anywho, Katniss doesn’t take any shit. So there’s hope for the younger generations…. though they may all have a strong attraction to males in the baking industry…..

    +Collins wrote the book after being inspired by reality TV and out obsession with it and the ‘bloodsport’ of it, as well as her father’s experiences in Vietnam (I think it was Vietnam). To me the book is definitely about our culture’s joy in schadenfreude as well as those in the upper echelons of our society taking pleasure and profit from war and the lower classes the ones truly effected.

    Has anyone listened to the soundtrack? “Sounds from Disctict 12 and Beyond”? HOLY CRAP it’s really good. Like, they have The Decmberists on it. Spotify that mother RIGHT NOW.

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    Number one feeling?
    I AM EXCITE :D
    + Number one character?
    Katniss, of course.
    + Number one wishful thinking gay character/relationship?
    Katniss and Madge of course. And Katniss and the Avox in an AU drabble in which Katniss and the Avox are…screaming.
    + What does Katniss’s popularity mean in a post-Bella world?
    That strong, independent girls never go out of style.
    + Is there a commentary on violence that we’re supposed to specifically understand?
    Yes. War and violence should never be used as entertainment.
    + How do you feel about how heterosexual relationships (or the performance of them) are figured?
    Meh. Katniss and Peeta had to fake it till they make it; well Katniss did. But to be thrown into the unknown territory of feelings and emotions can be transferred through any relationship, despite of sexual orientation.
    + Are you worried about the book-to-movie conversion at all?
    Nope. My pure ideal is this; if the author says yes to the production and oversees, I go along with whatever they say because their word is law.
    + Why do you think this appeals to so many people? Were you skeptical about liking it before you picked it up?
    Its a dystopia story; and its a story that all ages can read; and it has universal themes of adventure, romance, action and tragedy. And if you read carefully, the comedy can be seen too.
    + How are you going to make Jennifer Lawrence your girlfriend?
    I can’t. She’s not in Canada. Besides, I ship her with Kristen Stewart. :D No joke.

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        I just finished marathon watching all of the new Doctor Who and Torchwood. Your comment made me so happy because I ran out of episodes and I miss them. Also I miss David Tennant as the Doctor.

        I should probably say something about the upcoming movie. Like most, I devoured the books in three days and have been anxiously awaiting the movie release! Exciting!

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    I saw it at the midnight session when it screened here in Australia. It was alright, I guess. I felt that the backstory was rushed, and I missed the plot line with Madge (not just for potential girl/girl goodness, but also because it was a real indicator of the ruthlessness of the Capitol. All the scenes with President Snow failed to make up for that).

    I felt like the romance was incredibly sappy, made more so because the way Katniss was playing Peeta was less obvious than in the books. I don’t remember much of the sound track so I’m not sure if this was Taylor Swift related or not. I suppose that it was easier to write a story like that when we had an avenue into Katniss’ head, and quite difficult to translate to the screen — particularly since she is such a private character and doesn’t tend to confide in anyone.

    I’m not really sure what Katniss’ popularity means. It sort of depends on what people make of her: whether she is idolised as bad-ass or as a romantic lead.

    I think people like the book because it’s an easy to read thriller with likeable characters. Maybe also girls and women like it because they are suffering the dearth of strong female characters. I know I liked it more for that reason, but I think I may be more sensitive to that than the majority of the population (witness: popularity of Twilight).

    As to the last question, I’m sort of done having my feelings mauled by straight girls for the moment. Unless she’s Eliza Dushku, in which case I will make an exception.

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    Current number one feeling: AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I’M SO EXCITED TO GO SEE THIS TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!

    Also, I got to have a really awesome discussion on Facebook about The Hunger Games and Brave, and how the lack of movies like them has to do with gender roles and societal pressures and BOTP, of course.

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    I’m gonna finish the 3rd book tonight before I sleep and it’s already 1 AM. I’m gonna watch the movie on Saturday. I hope they show a lot of emotion in it because we won’t be able to hear their thoughts/narration style.

    I might cry when Katniss + Rue = *spoiler*
    T_T

    Oh and I heard a song on Youtube, don’t know if it was an official Hunger Games song but in the middle, they had like a short human whistle and I got teary-eyed!

    OMG FEMALE HEROINE
    It’s like if JK Rowling had made her book Hermione Granger instead of Harry Potter. (I <3 HP)

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    Oh, I’m so excited that this is up because I really want to talk about The Hunger Games. The thing is…I didn’t really like it. And I really wanted to like it! Because everyone else is so in to it, and I feel like I’m missing out!
    Here are my feelings (and full disclosure, I only read the first book)(also, some spoilers):
    1. I really hated the way the book was paced. That was probably my #1 problem. It seemed like Collins had decided on some formula for minutes of story per page, and so really important, emotional scenes got rushed through, while less important stuff got way more attention than it needed. It felt like the book was marching by at this arbitrarily strict pace.
    2. The book had a built in deus ex machina device. That just seems lazy.
    3. I feel like Collins sort of ducked out of most of the morally interesting stuff by only forcing Katniss to have to kill characters who we don’t like anyway. She’s never has to kill someone we like. I thought that was a cop out.
    4. The book kept on TELLING me that things had significance, but I never really bought it. Like, we’re told for the whole first half of the book that looks play a big role, and that Katniss needs to get people to like her in order to survive; but once she was in there, it didn’t seem like being popular with the viewers had much of an effect on her at all. After all the build up, it made the first half of the book seem kind of pointless. And then at the end, we’re told that Katniss is in danger from… the powers that be? Because they’re unhappy with her? Collins TELLS us that Katniss is in danger, but it’s unclear why, or how the characters know that she’s in danger, or what the danger is.
    I do think that Katniss is a great character, and I’ll probably see the movie, because it looks like fun. I might even read the rest of the books. Should I? If I didn’t like the first?

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      dawg i am in the exact same boat. especially agree w/ your fourth point, i came away from the first book feeling like i just didn’t BUY a lot of it – the world-building, the characters and their motivations, all of it. and i also wonder if maybe the second two books would flesh out these things enough for me to care, but i’ve heard from various sources that the series just goes downhill so idk.

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        Read the first book and didn’t care for it. Katniss was alright and Peeta was a decent character, but that was about it. The world just made no sense to me. It kept getting all kinds of raves though so figured it must get better. Things must get fleshed out and the stupid stuff explained in the later books.

        Read the second and third books. Nope. What little I found to like in the beginning was gone by the end. Nothing got better and everything got worse.

        Whatever it is that people see in this series has completely skipped me.

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        Yes! That fourth point articulated what is was that bothered me about the book (I only read the first one too). I didn’t DISLIKE it, in fact I found the story entertaining and I think Katniss is an excellent character. But to echo what thinksmall said, I had trouble buying into Panem’s world, the history that spawned the Hunger Games, and the motives at work throughout the story.

        I’ll probably read the remaining two books anyway, just so I can keep up with whatever the hell everyone is talking about nonstop. And I absolutely plan on seeing the movie. Oh Jennifer Lawrence… I AM SO HOPELESSLY IN LOVE. Swoooon.

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        I mostly want to read the second book to see how Collins gets a whole series out of a plot that seemed, to me, like it was completely resolved at the end of the first book. Like, what even happens in the second and third books?? I’m really curious. But I’ve also been told that I probably won’t like them if I didn’t like the first, so maybe I’ll just wait for the movie to come out.

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          At some point, as an adult reading young adult fiction, I had to allow for some simplicity in the story.

          I read the series and actually liked the last book the best. Each of the previous books added depth to the story and made the third book more satisfying.

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    So… I’m seeing Hunger Games on Sunday on a second date with the first girl I’ve ever dated. And that kind of makes this seem like both a huge deal and something to be both nervous and excited about and, oh god, so many feelings.

    I really hope the movie is better than the book because… god, I hate saying this… I just did not like the way it was written. I thought the plot was interesting and the characters had potential, but the writing style seemed bland and uninventive. I know, I’m awful. I feel awful about it. But… I really want to enjoy this movie, and I want to love Hunger Games, because when I read the part where Rue… you know… I did cry, and I think that was a good sign. I liked that part. And I think this movie could end up being really amazing.

    Also I’m terrified of werewolves.

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    Lenia: I read this right after 1Q84 and I finished the first book in one night. Soo excited for the movie.

    Katniss and Madge; I thought, at least twice while reading book 1, that Katniss was about to become the first lesbian YA superstar (the pin scene being one of them. Looking back on it, I suppose I would have heard about that aspect of the book by now if she was.

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    I love Hunger Games. But I gotta admit, the writing didn’t thrill me (then again, I’ve always despised first person present writing.) Still, the characters and storyline sucked me in.

    I also think I’m crazy, because if I had to put Katniss with any existing character (goodness knows a lesbian Katniss would rock, but I can’t think of any girls in the books that would be a good fit for her) it would be Cinna. Age difference aside, he’s the only one that tried to help her grow as a person, never lied to her, tricked her or thought she needed to be kept ignorant and protected. He wasn’t a huge character, but I really liked him and his form of rebellion. But I’ve never met anyone who agreed, LOL!

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      I go back and forth with Cinna. First there is a total gay vibe on Cinna’s part. I see him most of the time as a father figure for Katniss but there are times when I could totally entertain the idea of a romance. Like when he is instructing her to look for him in the audience and talk to him. Ultimately, I think it is the age difference and that his role is partly one of teacher that pushes me toward father figure.

      I did love how he used his talent and his place in the Capitol to really do some good. To me, he represented the choice we all make when faced with something we can’t completely change. We can join the wrong side, ignore that anything is wrong (thus also joining the wrong side,) or we can do what we can to make a difference. Cinna was by far in my top five favorite characters.

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        Whether Cinna is gay or straight or whatever, I think the key to his relationship with Katniss – one of her only really pure, positive relationships – is that it’s not romantic. It’s not sexual. He likes her, and later there’s actual love there. She’s uncomfortable with anyone who wants something from her she can’t give, like, say, romance or forced passion. But Cinna wants her to be her truest self, and he wants her to live, and that’s all.

        He’s her least complicated friend.

        My favorite relationships are those with Prim, and Rue, and Cinna. Those are when we see Katniss as a person who can love others… she doesn’t know if she wants to even be a sexual being or have romantic love, so her relationships with Peeta and Gale are fraught. She can’t just be Peeta’s friend because underlying that is this whole world she’s not sure she wants or can have.

        But she can be Cinna’s friend, and I absolutely love that character and that relationship. :)

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          Exactly. I don’t think Katniss is ready for any relationship at any time in the book series. Which I love. There’s something powerful and different about a female lead who obviously just doesn’t want a romantic relationship or isn’t ready for one and that’s completely okay! She’s more concerned with feeding a starving family, surviving and struggling with all her messed up feelings after the first Hunger Games. Romance would be the last thing on my mind, too.

          The only reason I ship Cinna/Katniss when pressed to choose (besides the fact that I think she would actually benefit from being with someone significantly older than her) is exactly what you explained. He doesn’t expect things from her. He loves her as she is and it doesn’t have to be anything more than a supportive, platonic friendship. In the real world of my brain (and, you know, if spoiler things didn’t happen in later books), if they were ever together, it would be a long time after the third book if at all. When Katniss knows more fully who she is and what she wants out of life. Katniss needs time to be Katniss and deal with her heart. I think Cinna is the only person in the books who doesn’t depend on her that sees that about her and wants to give her the space to find herself without crafting her into someone else. Plus, I think there are some good chemistry vibes throughout the books.

          Dang. You know the book is good when you start assessing the psychology of fictional characters. Didn’t know I had so many *feelings* about this, LOL!

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    Just saw it. Processing thoughts. Immediate reaction: They left out some details I would have liked added, but I approve (& cried during the Rue scene). Now to crash into my pillow and thank the odds that I get to work in my pj’s and from my bed tomorrow. (is thank the odds too cheesy?)

    One other thought: maybe they should have made it into 2 movies? Fans of the books may have liked that, but I’m not sure ppl just going to see the movie would. Thoughts?

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      I AGREE. I don’t think it let me down at all, considering they’re making a book into a ~2 hour movie. I actually kind of liked it better than the book, because as other people have said, the author’s writing is kind of stilted. Its a wonderful story line, though.

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      i liked it too!!!

      I thought it was more faithful to the book than any other book-to-movie adaptation i’ve ever seen. i just wish it had been 3 hours long. they packed a lot of stuff in there, there was no gratuitous anything. really tight editing.

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    i saw it 2 days ago on a preview night… can i just say DISAPPOINTED?

    – too much time spent pre-games, which at first i didn’t mind at all until i realised that this means we wont get to see as much of the actual hunger games

    – in the book i LOVED peeta and loathed gale. thanks to the awful character swap i faces faced with the EXACT opposite of those feelings in the cinema. i was like.. WHAT? WHAT HAVE THEY DONE! I HATE THAT FUCKING LOOSER PEETA AND WHY IS GALE SUDDENLY SO FUNNY? idgi. also: gale looks like a jacob-werewolf and i wouldn’t be surprised if he spent most of next movies’ topless.

    – the camera management. WHY SO SHAKY??? at times it made total sense (ie. when she’s high on the killerwasps) but at sometimes i was just plain annoyed, i wanted to see shit go down, not feeling like the camera man had a epileptical attack.

    – FAVOURITE SCENE: attack of the killer wasps plus the following high-as-fuck-scene. that was pretty badass imo. also, cinna was AMAZING, just like i’d imagined. he fucking works that golden eyeliner!

    – LEAST FAVOURITE THINGS: that they did invest so little time into the actual hunger games, that there is no official introduction to the other tributes (i mean come on, during the final countdown they could’ve least shown their faces with the district numbers? even when they died you did not always see who died, which made the point of the game a little… disappointing. also, the “rooting”-feeling got lost due that.) i mean i was so ready for foxfire to BRING IT ON, they keep saying “she’ll be out real opponent”, then she gets ~1sec screentime and BAM “ohno, she ate the wrong berries”. OKAY.

    – biggest disappointment: THOSE FUCKING DOGS AT THE END WERENT SCARY. i was so curious to see how they would do that with the dead tributes and all, but then they were only normal dogs. :(

    – in the end, or end-ish it was obviously so obvious that at least katniss would win, so i’d rather they invested some more time into other tributes-introduction so that we could actually ROOT FOR THEM, IDK? tho i have to say, that last turn by the capitol (“oh thx for killing everyone now kill yourself”) was indeed foxy. i loved it.

    – oh and goddamn i lost it when i realised madge wont be in the film (when she got the mockingjay at the hob). WHY OH WHY MUST THEY TAKE “THE OTHER” FEMALE AWAY. argh, jsyk i shipped her and katniss like WHOA :'(

    – one last thing: JENNIFER LAWRENCE. i just can’t get over her. amazing, stunning, incredible, etc etc etc. also, if you haven’t watched “winter’s bone” yet, for whatever reason, you cannot love her properly. go and watch it NOW!

    /endrant

    ah hell. obvs i have too much feelings about this movie. whatevs. i’m gonna cry over my books now and wait for the second movie (IN WHICH *FINALLY* JOHANNA WILL APPEAR! Y/Y? PREFERABLY AS KRISTEN BELL!)

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    Just saw the movie and totally wasn’t disappointed.

    When I was reading the books I didn’t actually cast myself in the Katniss role. Instead it was like I was watching my sister in book form. It makes sense though, because she kind of had to step in and handle things the way Katniss did. It wasn’t quite as life and death but she is a direct contributor to the kick-ass person I am today. So I was terrified that the movie would disappoint. Soooo glad I didn’t go with my sister though. I think I would have crumbled.

    Trying to pick a favorite character and of course it’s Katniss. But I enjoy Gale’s arc too. He does what needs to be done. He and Katniss are cut from the same cloth.

    I see the crazy behind all the marketing for this book too. I wasn’t able to buy any popcorn for the movie. It seemed weird. And I noticed a few weeks ago that my local library was having a “Hunger Games Tribute Training” campaign for kids 12-18 and was so conflicted. I mean I’m all about encouraging kids to read and encouraging physical fitness (and the ages for the program are common) but also it was disturbing for me.

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    I’m permanently on edge about them turning the insignificant love triangle in the main focus of the films. I don’t know if the author is a bad writer or simply not interested but never throughout the story I’ve bought Katniss feelings for anyone and I was genuinely WTF about the end.

    Someone who has watched it already, please reassure me?

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      Personally, I thought they handled it pretty well. Some of the dialogue and face shots got pretty sappy, but I never bought that Katniss had stronger feelings than kinship with either Gale or Peeta through out the movie.

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    I started reading Hunger Games a week ago, just finishing book two now. Despite the fact that the books are written for someone half my age, I absolutely adore them. I’ve gotten so obsessed with the books now that I’m probably gonna have some sort of meltdown this Saturday when I see the film.

    Please be good, film, please!

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    When I read it I was expecting a Battle Royale type situation so I actually felt a little let down. There was too much sitting in tress/waiting in caves and the kissing for “rewards” in the cave made me feel like I was going insane in a bad way.

    I guess I hadn’t heard much about the books so I wasn’t expecting a love story let alone a ‘fake’ one so I guess I was really hanging out for a book with an incredibly strong female character who was out to kill… kind of not making time for any romance.

    IN SAYING THAT if the pairing was between two girls I may have been a little happier with it.

    I still think the book was good but the hype was so high that I couldn’t help but be disappointed.

    In saying that, favourite characters were Rue and the goat.

    I said something similar to this on facebook and everyone ripped me apart and I’m pretty sure I have no friends now. Thank you, hunger games.

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    Rue *sigh* if only I had been cast as a character in the games I would have saved you and then Katniss would be in my debt :) Catching Fire and The Mockingjay would definitely have been delayed as Katniss and I would have been extremely busy repaying debts and all. ;)

    I know you all feel me!

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    I am so excited (and surprised) that the movie comes out this weekend also where I live. normally we germans have to wait a few weeks till they’ve dubbed it/made it weird for ppl who’ve read it in english. (I’ll stick with the original audio and visit the local english cinema)

    I was so effing angry when I discovered that the holy virgin herself/mrs -insert name of T. Swift’s BF here- has a few songs on the soundtrack.
    but there is also arcade fire,neko case and the decemberists!

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    “Her name is almost vadge.” AHAHAHAHA.

    With that out of my system, am I the only one that fell in love with Peeta? My thing with Katniss was much more identification than attraction. In fact, it was pure identification, and I totally fell for the guuuuy! POOR THING, HE BROKE MY HEART. </3
    I don't like the choice of Josh Hutcherson for his role, at least not physically; I totally imagined Peeta as William Moseley. (Which could be kind of accidentally creepy, because I mixed up Jenniffer Lawrence with Anna Popplewell!)

    I WANNA WATCH THIS MOVIE NOW, AND DRAW THE CHARACTERS BEFORE MY IMAGINATION GETS RAPED BY IT.

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    I actually feel incredibly guilty that I’ve seen trailers for the film and want to see it but I haven’t read the books. :( The only reasons being I haven’t known about them long, haven’t seen them in the library, and I haven’t seen them in any charity shops and I try to avoid buying books new where possible unless it’s a series I’m already collecting and and enjoy e.g. House of Night (although saying that I still haven’t bought the latest one).

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    SO many feelings. Also I work full time and can’t see the movie until Tuesday!

    I need to mention that it feels completely hypocritical to have an actress prettied up to play Katniss in EXACTLY the way she was opposed to in the books. The series in that sense doesn’t translate well into our era. With Capitol Colors and Capitol Couture, we’re romanticizing the enemy. Seriously, isn’t that like the world taking on Death Eater ideals?

    Part of the writing I loved about the book itself, was that Collins made luxuries seem alien to Katniss. It’s going to be hard for them to translate Katniss’s confusion and resentment over a shower (warm water raining down on her, wasting the resource); or the makeup and ‘acting’ later on in Mockingjay w/r/t the Propos.

    Another thing I’m really worried about is how gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence is. Aside from the games, I was under the impression that Katniss was purposely very plain, and very much opposed to conventional beauty. I need for her to take on the feral look described near the end of the games.

    I can already tell I’m asking for too much. That being said I’m still STOKED for the film.

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      This whole comment right here. I feel like we are the Capitol, so much. Plastic surgery, a love of televised violence (ufc, anyone?)…and i’m also totally creeped out by “capitol colors”.

      As far as how katniss was supposed to look, the one detail that really bugged me was how perfect her (and everyone else from district 12) teeth were. I’m sorry but you don’t grow up in an impoverished appalachian environment with presumably no dental care and have perfectly white straight teeth. An I being too picky?

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    I haven’t seen the movie yet because I went to Montreal for spring break and can’t find a showing of the movie in French

    I’m mostly excited about the movie because the books were the first books since Harry Potter I plowed through in a matter of days, but I’m not sure I liked Jennifer Lawrence’s casting… In my mind I pictured Katniss as a scrawny underfed thing, and also younger looking than Jennifer Lawrence.

    I don’t understand… Was there suddenly a dearth of underfed actresses to play Katniss?

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      I’m very happy Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t forced to starve herself for this. I’d rather her lean, muscular body than someone emaciated for the sake of some weird ‘realism’.

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    + Number one feeling?
    + Number one character?
    I have feelings! Pick me!!!

    + What does Katniss’s popularity mean in a post-Bella world?
    It means that the world will slowly revcover from the near apocaliptic event that was Twilight!

    + How do you feel about how heterosexual relationships (or the performance of them) are figured?
    Loved Katniss. She didn’t want anything to do with those boys. My friend said that I wasn’t allowed to read the epilogue of mockingjay because of the romance thing that happened and she tore the chapter out of my book just to be safe… so I still don’t know how it ends.

    + Are you worried about the book-to-movie conversion at all?
    I’m affraid it’ll be twilight-ifyed

    + How are you going to make Jennifer Lawrence your girlfriend?
    0.0 can I? Can I realy?? In the trailer when she stared straight into the camera I melted! Gorgeous!!!

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    I spent last weekend reading all three books in about three days, and I just got back from seeing the film with my friends. FEELINGS.

    + Number one feeling?
    WHY IS CINNA NOT MY BEST FRIEND.

    + Number one character?
    Caesar and Haymitch. I mean, I know I’m meant to be screwing the patriarchy and all that, but I thought they were great in the film!

    + Number one wishful thinking gay character/relationship?
    Peeta/Finnick counts, right? But also Katniss/Foxface.

    + What does Katniss’s popularity mean in a post-Bella world?
    SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES

    + Is there a commentary on violence that we’re supposed to specifically understand?
    I don’t think you’re “supposed” to understand anything. That implies there’s a correct reading of the books. I just read them as a commentary on how exploitative the world and humans can be, as well as how kind.

    + How do you feel about how heterosexual relationships (or the performance of them) are figured?
    The Peeta/Katniss/Gale love triangle never really effected me because I worked out the solution to it very early on.

    + Are you worried about the book-to-movie conversion at all?
    It works pretty well. It could be gorier, and better done, but it wasn’t at all bad!

    + Why do you think this appeals to so many people? Were you skeptical about liking it before you picked it up?
    It’s a cool concept and I’m not sure the prose is terribly good, but the characters manage to shine through regardless.

    + How are you going to make Jennifer Lawrence your girlfriend?
    Cheese toasties? Will that work?

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      Katniss/Foxface for me too! I have a thing for clever redheads.

      I was kind of disappointed that Katniss didn’t drug Peeta in the movie. That felt important to me. However, my number one feeling watching the movie was annoyance at how high her elbow was while shooting. I know she trained with an Olympic archer and all, but good form is impressive-looking. I’m just being nit-picky, though.

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    Who has been to hungernames.com?

    Best. Thing. Ever.

    “Your name is Skeeter Babyshaker

    Congratulations! You had the honor of being a District 9 tribute in the 13th Hunger Games!

    You were killed by unfortunate timing.”

    Thank you, internet.

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    #1 feeling: I think The Capital, Panem, & President Rose present a fairly pure rendition of evil. Randomly choosing children to be terrified, tortured, and horribly killed, for entertainment/intimidation? What could be worse?
    So the above not being totally out of the realm of future possibility, considering our violence loving, reality show craving, apathetic about being screwed over continuously by money and power (1%)public, is a pretty good cautionary tale on Collins’ part.
    #1 Character:Cinna. Unconflicted, compassionate, graceful, creative. Love Cinna.
    Katniss has priorities straight, and relies on herself above all. Excellent role model material.
    To me the commentary on violence is that it doesn’t matter to the game maker or the audience how brutal or terrifying it is, because it has become a national pastime, devoid of any meaning other than mind numbing entertainment. The worse the violence, the more alarming the public’s inability to respond humanely.
    I actually like first person POV, so that will be a challenge for Jennifer Lawrence to convey though her expressions etc. That said, she was awesome.
    I find the idea of the story very compelling and the elements in the unfolding of the arcs addictive. Heroism usually sells, and how nice that our hero is a strong, righteous young woman.

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    When reading the book, I preferred Peeta over Gale. Now, having watched the movie, I prefer Gale over Peeta. But on top of everything else Katniss is #1. Can Catching Fire just be a bunch of close ups on Jennifer Lawrence?

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    Hi! I just saw it and I liked it a lot. Like I said upthread, I was impressed by how faithful the movie was to the book, and everything was really tight, I only wished it was longer. I liked Gale better in the movie than I did in the book, but they really didn’t get a chance to flesh him out. For some reason I was sad that we didn’t get to see more of her being excited about all the food, but that’s probably just because i like movies where people get to do fancy things they never thought they’d be able to do and are really humble about it. Anyhoooo… I enjoyed it and my #1 feeling at the end was the same #1 feeling i had at the end of the book which is WHERE IS THE SECOND ONE

    also i feel like it’s really progressive w/r/t gender roles

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    My number one feeling was the books are amazing, the movie was amazing, and it drives me crazy when people walk out of the cinema and say “the books were so much better” STOP COMPARING APPLES TO ORANGES PPL IT’S A DIFFERENT MEDIUM okay I feel better now.

    Cinna is my new favorite character i’d hit that (no hetero).

    Also I ship Katniss/bow that scene where shes pressing the bowstring against her mouth omgah

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    + Number one feeling?
    No shame about almost crying with the 12 year old girls next to me the moment Rue entered the screen.
    + Number one character?
    Katniss, forever.
    + Number one wishful thinking gay character/relationship?
    Caesar and Haymitch
    + What does Katniss’s popularity mean in a post-Bella world?
    Women don’t need fangs to hunt.
    + Is there a commentary on violence that we’re supposed to specifically understand?
    Human nature, Lord of the Flies, and evil evil capitalism.
    + How do you feel about how heterosexual relationships (or the performance of them) are figured?
    It’s so complex and believable. I didn’t need to read her thoughts in the movie to understand what Katniss was thinking and feeling. Survival over desire, it was incredibly human.
    + Are you worried about the book-to-movie conversion at all?
    So happy to say that I loved both. The movie exercised restraint in the violence that was true to the book and did not flirt with gratuity in the gore or romance. I didn’t feel the need to laugh in the serious moments, and I’m SO glad that they didn’t do a voiceover (flashbacks to the wolf pow-wow in breaking dawn).
    + Why do you think this appeals to so many people? Were you skeptical about liking it before you picked it up?
    The story is complex and has more heart than a teen romance. It’s fantasy is stretched just enough to still feel realistic. It makes me feel like I’m 15 and tortured all over again.
    + How are you going to make Jennifer Lawrence your girlfriend?
    Learn how to make a loaf of bread.

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    That scene – where she draws back the string of her bow and for some reason it has to go in her partially opened mouth – I had a boner.

    I would definitely give anything to be that bow. I feel like some how that could be some sort of pick up line.

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    Jennifer Lawrence completely owned Katniss, she was brilliant.

    As for the shaky cam, which took some getting used to, it felt like they were using it to give the film a sort of first person perspective like the books had.

    Overall, I loved the movie and came out ready to immediately watch Catching Fire.

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    i have to say, as much as i enjoyed the movie and books, the racial implications of making district 11 — the agricultural district, where everyone works out in fields all day — predominantly black while all of the other districts seemed mostly white was extremely frustrating.

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        The fuck is wrong with people = my rxn to that article.

        Yeah, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the implications of having a mostly-black district, but I tend to think the districts are really small so I saw it more as a region/part of a city kind of thing (b/c Panem is much smaller than the original U.S., right? Swallowed up by water and all that) in which case it seemed to make more sense?

        And as for casting of characters, I think they tried to go with visual descriptions more or less, which is why most of the tributes were white? Although I liked how in the book descriptions were vague and more like “darker skin/olive skin/brown hair,” which sort of made sense in a future where most people are probably mixed race and qualitative descriptions made more sense, and it’s hard to have that come across in a film.

        Idk if that made any sense or sounded worse than I meant it, sorry if so.

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          I guess, in my mind, for all the “genetic mixing” Collins claims has happened in Panem, it’s still only one district that has “dark skin.” Any one of these characters could have been people of color going off of their descriptions in the books, yet the producers or casting directors or whoever decides these things made one district (and Cinna) black and everyone else lily white. That still rubs me the wrong way.

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      I actually didn’t have a problem with that; I read District 11 as being the American South, where it would make sense that a majority of the population was black. Also, it makes for a really good commentary w/r/t the amount of progress Americans have made since slavery.

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    I saw the movie the day it opened, and I have to say- it was really good for a book to movie adaptation. Obviously they left a lot of things out, but of they did not it would have ended up being an two hour film, which only the hard core hunger game fans would have gone to go see. I did like how they showed Seneca Crane and the game makers manipulating the arena.
    Also- of the books and series in general, does it scare anyone how this could someday be a reality? I mean we would all like to believe in justice in this world but come on. Look a reality tv. Survivor- push em against each other, push em right to the edge of thier physical and emotional limits. Jersey Shore- lets watch a bunch of idiots do wreckless things. I really do think social media and the ease of technology and transfer of information has made us insensitive. How many pictures of starving children in Africa have you seen? How many times does it take for you to casually see it on tv before seeing it in person dosen’t effect you??
    Just something to think about.

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    It certainly is the film of Jennifer Lawrence. I just watched her on the late show with david letterman, she is so cute, funny and relaxed, telling about how clumsy she is and ridiculising the red carpet.

    She has such a good performance in the film. Overall it was a great movie, even though quite a lot of time was spent in building the tension and suspense for the hunger games. Visually, it was less good though, the action and fight scenes seemed not of high quality.

    But was quite disappointed in the end, it could have been better enfolded, it just kills the exciting parts, the little cute couple thing. But, I guess to be faithfull to the book, thay had to do it. A bit ridicule the last scene announcing the losers, the berries and the counterannouncement.

    It is a movie to watch and I highly reccomend it !

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    + Number one feeling?
    Mostly amazing…see next comment. Other than the next comment, I can accept most of the changes as necessary for an adaptation.

    + Number one character?
    Peeta. And my real only complaint about the movie is they really made him way less interesting. I know the love triangle plot was not the central story, I thought the cave scenes were some of the best in the book. Not for swoons, but for the fact that we learned a lot about Katniss through those scenes. Peeta was a breath of fresh air against the other characters in the book. And he still was in the movie, but he just didn’t have the same…edge? I think their relationship and the three dimensionality of it was whittled down. In an effort to not over-play it, they under-played it.

    + Number one wishful thinking gay character/relationship?
    No one specific, but it would have been nice to have an acknowledgement of lgbt-ness in the book
    .
    + What does Katniss’s popularity mean in a post-Bella world?
    That there is a God.

    + Is there a commentary on violence that we’re supposed to specifically understand?
    How desensitized we’ve become; the only bit of violence that really got to me was the little clip they showed of Katniss watching previous games.

    + How do you feel about how heterosexual relationships (or the performance of them) are figured?
    I already explained a lot how I felt about the Peeta/Katniss relationship in the movie, but I’d like to add that I thought the cut-aways to Gale were lol. I don’t mind heterosexual things, but even as a bi chick, I don’t always relate to them that much in stories. But, the Peeta/Katniss relationship really resonated with me in the book. I think there was a point in the first few chapters of Hunger Games that I thought maybe Katniss was a little gay, but I never got that impression later on. I think lack of sex-drive is a general quality lacking in teenage heroes in YA lit. I mean, Harry Potter anyone?

    + Are you worried about the book-to-movie conversion at all?
    I hope people want to read the books. My other concern is how long we have to wait for the next one.

    + Why do you think this appeals to so many people? Were you skeptical about liking it before you picked it up?
    It’s just a really good book. I was never really aware of it until I decided I wanted to see the movie and my friends were all “Omg. You need to reaaaad this.” So, I did. The only skeptical feelings I had was on the first page, seeing it was in first person. But, as I went on, I got why that was a really good choice for this series.

    + How are you going to make Jennifer Lawrence your girlfriend?
    Ha. No thanks. But, she is AMAZING in this.

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    I liked the movie. What really bothered me was the audience. A bunch of 12 year olds were in the theatre screaming and clapping and cheering the whole time. Lots of times they actually yelled things at the screen…it just pissed me off. But what made me kind of sick was how people in the theatre were cheering and clapping when the “bad” tributes were violently killed…did they not get the whole point of the book? The enemy is the capitol, not the other 15 year old kids who are being forced to kill people to stay alive…The whole thing felt a bit meta–in the book Katniss criticizes how society watches the hunger games and cheers when the ones they don’t like get killed..and then here I was in the theater watching the hunger games and people were doing just that. Creepy.

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    …but was I the only one who thought the movie was really silly/cheesy/etc.?

    Maybe I like my movies with a little more grit in them, but everyone was so clean cut and perfect looking, and some of the lines (especially from the older trainer dude) were so silly/cliche/ridiculous. A lot of scenes just made me laugh/scoff…crying over Rue…calling her sister “little duck” every three seconds…getting magical healing cans when they were injured…bands of totally crazy angry kids…it felt overdone, all of it.

    To be fair, I’m a science fiction fan who had no desire to read the book, because the “fight each other in a reality style gaming arena” plot had been done to death on Saturday morning cartoons before I was 12. Maybe someone with a preexisting connection to the characters from a more fleshed-out novel would bring a lot more background to the table, so that relationships and characters didn’t seem as one dimensional and shallow.

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    Just going from the trailers, i’m kinda nervous to see this?
    Like, being all aspie brained I don’t really get “images” of characters in the traditional sense. But I do know to myself what I think they look like? I realise that makes no sense.
    But yeah. I”m kind of worried Lawrence is going to be too good looking. Like when they did the adaption of Pride and Prejudice and cast Keira Knightly as Lizzie. She was supposed to be the “plain” sister. Same as how Katniss is supposed to be your sort of standard practical woman. It even mentions all the whole plucking and shaving and nonsense in the book, she’s only got long hair because it would clearly be far too much fuss to bother cutting it short all the time.

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    Does anyone else ship Gale/Peeta? There’s no way I can be the only one…

    BUT ASIDE IN ALL SERIOUSNESS:
    I have to say I was surprised that, instead of crying for Rue’s death, I cried for District 11, and their uprising. It was so unexpected and moving, I suppose, I don’t really know what came over me. I thought at first it was just because it was the midnight showing and I had all the emotions and tears were the only way, but then I went to see it with some less geeky friends two days later and District 11 made me get blubbery all over again. Very moving scene. Loved it.

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