Tuesday, March 27, 2012

That movie everyone's talking about

I recently saw the Hunger Games, like everyone else in the world, and I've got to say, I loved it. There were two parts of me that loved the movie: the book lover and the feminist.

My book lover side really liked the movies, because, let's face it, when it comes to turning books into movies Hollywood just doesn't get it. Most book adaptations are terrible. Ella Enchanted was one of my favorite books when I was younger, but the movie belongs with the Hulu free movies the menfolk in my house sometimes watch, like "Cannibal the Musical" and "Killer Clowns from Outer Space." The only thing the Ella Enchanted movie stayed true to was the title: There was, in fact, a girl named Ella in it and she was, indeed, enchanted. But she picked up an obnoxious sidekick, two extra villans and a lot of uneccesarily cheesy dialouge (and that's saying a lot for a fairy tale retelling) when she hit the big screen. When I saw the author, Gail Carson Levine, speak at BYU, the first question someone asked was how much she hated the movie and she managed a very gracious reply about how they "certainly went in a different direction." Yes, if "into the garbage can" can be considered a direction.

But back to the Hunger Games. They actually followed the book! Unlike other franchises (I'm talking to you, Harry Potter, Eragon, Twilight...) they realized that if the books sold millions of copies to people who normally consider reading as fun as getting their wisdom teeth out, then maybe the author did something RIGHT and they shouldn't fix what ain't broken (well, okay, maybe Twilight was broken already, but casting Kristen Stewart didn't help their cause). If J.K. Rowling didn't see the need to burn the Weasleys' house down, maybe it didn't need burned down. In the hands of most directors, Katiniss would have probably made out with Haymitch (who was weirdly adorable in the movie) or found out Peeta was a werewolf or some other such nonsense.

The other thing I liked about the Hunger Games is that Hollywood managed to make a movie with a strong female main character that didn't fit into every single other young female role ever: helpless sexy or catfight sexy. Usually the person carrying the movie is a studly dude and his love interest ranges from "Please save me while I'm wearing this wet T-shirt because I get knocked unconscious every time an errant feather lands on my head" or "Let me don some movement-restricting skintight leather and catwalk-worthy stilletos to knock out some bad guys and then get in a sexy fight with another girl before I change into the wet T-shirt." I mean seriously, every woman in the world knows there is NO WAY anyone would ever put on four-inch heels for a situation that involves running and jumping, unless they were in desperate need of a broken ankle. So props to Katniss for being a girl who knows the value of a good pair of flats. If more women ran around dropping genetically-engineered wasp nests on peoples' heads the world would be a better place (in the movies, at least).

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