Book or Movie? Or Both?
One of the most anticipated movie events of the year is rolling in on March 23rd. That’s the date that The Hunger Games, based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling YA dystopian, hits theaters. This isn’t the first big book to movie release and it won’t be the last, but whenever a loved story becomes a movie, I wonder how people will react. I know HG is already selling out movie theaters weeks before its release, but how will fans of the book feel about it when the movie is over and the lights come up in the theater.
Thinking about The Hunger Games, I’m curious to see how the producers of the film bring the fictitious country of Panem to life. The cast is impressive, the special effects look like they could blow you right out of your seat, but the world I created in my mind when reading the book is somewhat sacrosanct. I like it the way it is. I already have clear images of Katniss, Peeta and Gale the same way I had my own ideas about Bella and Edward from Twilight and I don’t want someone else’s ideas to conflict with mine. As a reader, I always think the book is better than the movie version of the story. It’s not because the movie will be bad, but when I read, the details imparted by the author come to life my head. It’s mine alone and that makes the experience special.
We all know that message boards, Facebook pages and Twitter light up after a book to film release and the discussions are, in a word, intense. Did the film do the book justice? Did the casting ring true? Was the plot line undisturbed? But even the pre-production discussion can generate a lot of buzz. The casting of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games was passionate, with people asking if Jennifer was “too pretty” for the role? The readers, both teen and adult, are faithful fans who have unique visions of the characters…just like I do. Just like you do. And their questions will soon be answered.
My library’s copies of The Hunger Games have been circulating for weeks. Some of the readers are first timers, who refuse to see the movie until they read the book. Others are return readers who want the story fresh in their minds. There are those kids, and adults, who will stand in line to see the film, and then read the book. They’ll have an idea of the story and characters, but they’ll still read that book cover to cover hoping to glean some extra details from the text, some insight into the characters or just to set themselves up to read the sequels. I fully expect Catching Fire and Mockingjay, books two and three in the Hunger Games trilogy to start flying off the shelves very soon.
But what about those people who just see the movie? Are they missing out?
Two very popular YA books, the heart-wrenching If I Stay, by Gayle Foreman and the dystopian romance Matched, by Ally Condie, have been optioned for feature films. Both books tore at my heart and have a lot of potential for the screen. But once again, I wonder how the nuances of each story will be captured. How the directors will bring those characters to life and I wonder if a movie will ever, truly do a book justice.
So what is it for you? Book, movie or both?
Jeannie Moon is a high school librarian from Smithtown, New York who loves that she has a job which allows her to immerse herself in good books and call it work. She is an avid reader of both young adult and adult romance, and spends the time she isn’t in her library spinning romantic tales of her own.