Friday, March 23, 2012

...Then Again, Maybe Not?

Well, here it is Friday and I have no idea if we are going to see The Hunger Games in the nearby theatre.  I assumed it would be a done deal after my wife blazed through the books in a week.  She likes to read and does read quite a bit but it is often sporadic.  When something holds her interest and I find her nose buried in a book I try to find all of the books in that series and get them.  Besides, it gives me another reason to visit the bookstore and I could always go for that.

The trailer for the first movie in The Hunger Games trilogy has been showing recently.  I posed the trailer in my last post.  The trailer looks pretty decent to me and has piqued my interest.  I still have a little under 200 pages left to read but I would see it whether or not I am finished reading the book.  She watched the trailer and said it looked pretty good but after a few days she said something that was totally unexpected - "I don't know if I want to see the movie because they'll just ruin the book".  I admit that I was a little surprised by this revelation.  My surprise came from my misconception that people that are not fans of role playing games, science fiction, fantasy, comic books, and other assorted geekery did not generally worry about such things.  Lesson learned :-).

I know the book vs. movie debate - maybe better called original vs. adaptation - has been discussed before by many other people.  I am not trying to start up that debate again.  FYI, I do generally prefer the book or original when it comes to film adaptations.  Even though I usually prefer the book or original source I can enjoy other adaptations and see the merit (if any) in some of them.  I started this post just to comment on our indecision on seeing The Hunger Games today but I started thinking about the whole original source vs. adaptation debate.  To sum it up, some assorted thoughts on the subject are included below...

Chronicles of Narnia: I read these as a child and have recently bought new copies.  I own the audio adaptations by the BBC (iirc?) and those are amazing to listen to with the different voices and sound effects.  I thought the film adaptation of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was done really well.  I believed that Narnia was going to get the proper treatment it deserves.  The second movie was not bad but it seems to be missing the charm of the books.  I have yet to see the third movie. 

Resident Evil: It seems to be in a special spot of admiration with me.  I have played most of the games and enjoyed them.  I have read all of the novelizations and enjoyed them.  I own the first 4 movies on DVD and will in all probability buy the fifth one.  I have heard some the desire the movie to be a walk through of one of the games.  I think that is a bad decision.  I can separate the games, books, and films into separate story lines and enjoy them all so I do.

Spider Man: My uncle had issues with the Spider Man movies right from the start.  The organic web shooters bothered him because he remembered Spider Man changing the formula of his webs to win in certain circumstances.  I enjoyed the first two movies and thought the third stunk.  I viewed Peter Parker as the "everyman superhero" so the organic web shooters made sense to me.

Stephen King's MISERY: The book was fabulous and did an amazing job of describing the feelings and emotions of Paul Sheldon during his captivity.  The movie was really good also but one area I felt where it exceeded the book was in the ending.  When the server looks at him and says, "I'm your number one fan" you can almost feel the anxiety from the character on the screen.

WATCHMEN: People seem to either love or hate this one.  I did and still do enjoy it tremendously.  Regardless of what is said otherwise, I believe the ending in the movie is better.  I am ready for the flames on this

Maybe I will follow up on this later...


  1. I haven't read the books, but I'm definitely giving the movies a pass. I've heard (though feel free to verify this on your own) that the characters in the book were "ambiguously brown", since everyone had gotten over their race hangups in the future, but the people who cast the movie were specifically looking for white actors for the roles.

  2. @Doug: I am speaking as someone who has only read 200 pages of the first book so my thoughts may change. I do not get that impression so far BUT I have not been paying special attention to skin color or race of the characters. I do recall a few facts about some of the characters. Prim is described as having blonde hair and eyes; she is the sister of the female lead Katniss. I believe her mother is described in a similar fashion. If I recall correctly, one of the males - either Peeta or Gale - is also described with blonde hair. I have not noticed one way or the other if everyone is described with somewhat of a sameness or not. I can definitely understand the irritation if that is the case. This reply of mine probably isn't much help since it is based on the first 200 pages of the first book but it's all I have to go by.

  3. I just remembered something that was really irritating from the old Tim Burton BATMAN movies. Harvey Dent changes race between the first two movies and the next one with Two-Face. Ugh!

  4. Great topic for discussion, Charlie.

    I must be one of the few people that have no clue what the Hunger Games is all about. My eleven year old daughter had to explain it to me the other night. After she had finished, I made the observation that it sounded a bit like King's 'The Longest Walk' novel. She couldn't see it.

    Speaking of adaptations: I love Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, but it doesn't come close to capturing the stronger points of the Stephen King novel.

    I know they eventually did a television miniseries adaptation that was quite good - but the movie is pure Kubrick, not King.

  5. @Eric: Thanks, Eric! Yeah, I think Hunger Games sounds a lot like The Longest Walk also. Granted, I haven't read The Longest Walk but it does seem similar to me.

    I really enjoyed Kubrick's The Shining. I saw it before reading the book. I must agree that it is truly Kubrick playing with the story and characters from the King novel. I still like it so that's cool.

    The Shining mini-series is well worth watching and much closer to King's novel.

  6. I haven't read the book, but did go see the movie on Friday. From a quick google search, there are differences, but it is not like it is "ruined." The changes were ones that were necessary for it to be a movie, i.e. removing characters, scenes, not fully establishing connections between characters. The biggest change is that the movie is not done in first person so you get other scenes with other characters that help flesh out the world.

    It was an ok film. I don't understand the obsession of it all. I mean there are plenty of books/movies with the same basic plot. However, I think I prefer those other films. While I have not seen the Running Man since the 90's, I do recall finding it more entertaining.

    Not sure if it is the books or the movies, but I found myself wishing it would go one of two directions. One, actually be social commentary with wit and really get into the details of the society and the characters. Two, play up the violence and conflict. Just get down to the action and make Katnis a bad ass survivalist who cunningly plays the game and wins and do so with the intention of bringing down society.

    The move seemed more about the emotional journey of Katnis going through things and how she could bring herself to lie and manipulate when necessary to save her own life meanwhile she would break down in private. I have a feeling the book is the same way. Meh, I don't really care.

    For my tastes, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was so much better than this film. But then again, I am probably not the Hunger Games exact fan base.

  7. @Darius: I have yet to see it myself. My wife is still debating on It is good, however, to know that the changes do not "ruin" the movie.

    Yeah, there are definitely other movies and books that handle similar stories and subjects as The Hunger Games. I still find the Running Man very enjoyable to watch.

    I just finished the first book last night. In the book, Katniss seems to switch between the two directions you mention. I admit that I did not read it with a discerning eye towards her motivation. I just sit back and let the story lead me where it may. All in all, not a badly written book and I praise it for being a young adult book WITHOUT a severe case of kiddie gloves. If I do read it again sometime, I will particularly pay attention to the motivation and thought process of Katniss.

    I have yet to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

  8. Well, if you are looking for something else to read, my new game is out. SteamCraft, the definitive uber awesome steampunk rpg is now available at if you are interested.

    FYI, your blog gets the world exclusive scoop on this since this is the first place I have mentioned that it is out.

  9. @Darius: I am there, man! You do good work and I will definitely be checking this out. Thanks for the world wide exclusive!

  10. I admit to being afraid The Hunger Games movie will ruin the book, but it actually looks really good, and I'll see it, either way.

    I liked Watchmen, but I didn't read the comics. I enjoyed the first Spiderman and second, but lost interest after that. I haven't seen the Narnia movies yet, but will eventually. I really like Resident Evil, but I never played the games. And I thought Misery was pretty good. You're right; the ending is great. So there ya' go!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  11. I'm stopping by to say hello before the A-Z challenge begins. I'm a new follower here :)

  12. @Shannon: Cool observations and The Warrior Muse is a great title!

  13. @Martha: Welcome aboard! Now I need to go check out your blog...

  14. Amazing post! I came across your blog via the A-Z Challenge. I now follow your blog :) Please check mine out over at

    Good luck with A-Z!!!

  15. @Yadin: Thanks! I'm on my way to check out your blog. Good luck with the A-Z!

  16. I blazed through these books and thought they were well-written and hard to put down. I had no reservations about seeing the movie, and I don't think they did ruin the book. Obviously things are different, but still amazing...all that said, of course I prefer the book because we tend to like whatever we were first exposed to better.