Girls*Heart* Books: Group Book to Movie Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Group Book to Movie Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.
Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss

We all have our own unique view and opinion on things we see and read. Therefore, each month Tammy, Lana and I will read & review a book (and sometimes a book to movie adaptation) and share our thoughts with you guys. This month we chose The Hunger Games due to the movie release last month. Without further ado, here are our reviews. 

~Mel's Book Review~
When I first heard about The Hunger Games I was dead set against reading it. It didn't sound like anything I would be even a little bit interested in.  Then one day, I was at the local library and the librarian there talked me into giving it a try. I am so very glad she did. I devoured the book in 4 hours without moving once from my couch. I was drawn in from the first page and I literally could not put the book down. 

Katniss Everdeen, our narrator,  is such a strong and complex character.  She may not be the easiest girl to get to know, but it's very easy to admire and get behind her as you read. I think you have to look closer to see the real Katniss. She has no idea how to respond to kindness or show her true feelings (or sometimes even know her true feelings) without putting on a brave face and doing what she thinks she has to in order to survive.

There were a few twists I definitely didn't see coming when I read this book and it is a very fast read. You simply must know what will happen next. This was my first dystopian novel and it really opened up my mind to a whole new genre. I could honestly discuss this book forever but I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't had the chance to read it yet. By the way, if you haven't read it yet-get going to get yourself a copy and you'll see what all the fuss is about. I promise. 
My Rating: 

~Movie Review~
I have to be honest and say I was highly doubtful when I heard the casting decisions that had been made for this movie. To me, they all looked all wrong with the exception of Woody Harrelson as Haymitch; I thought he'd be perfect. When I heard that Suzanne Collins was a producer on the movie, I was relieved and started to really get excited about seeing it.  By the time they started showing the trailer on tv, I was getting chills just thinking about seeing it. 

I'm really happy to say I was not at all disappointed with the movie. They proved me wrong with the casting; it was absolutely perfect in their roles.  I was especially surprised with Josh Hutcherson; he brought Peeta to life brilliantly.Jennifer Lawrence really became Katniss in my eyes; amazing performance by her as well. And my absolute favorite was a tie between Elizabeth Banks as Effie and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. I love Haymitch, anyway, and I thought Woody brought the perfect blend of drunk and snark to the role. 

I felt the omissions and changes were few and necessary when done,  frankly. I think they made Katniss a little more likable in the movie than she came across in the book but I didn't have a problem with it, because the true nature of her character was still showcased flawlessly. And yes, the end was a little different BUT I think that if you read closely you'll see it's not so drastic as some are making it out to be. 

I have to rave about writer/director, Gary Ross; he got right to the heart of everything important in the book and told the story beautifully. I'm very sad he won't be returning for Catching Fire, but I admire his reasons. I really hope whomever comes in will take a leaf from his book and consult with Suzanne Collins on any changes they want to make from the canon. 

I have to mention the amazing job that was done on all the sets, the costumes and the hair and make-up. Everyone looked absolutely perfect and exactly as I imagined them while reading the book.  It was like the book literally came to life as I watched the movie.  I simply adored everything about this movie; I've seen it three times and plan to go again before they stop showing it.  I can't wait for the dvd release. 

My Rating:
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss 

~Lana's Book Review~ 
The Hunger Games is the first novel in the trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I got this book, actually, because my friend told me her and her cousin were competing to see who could finish the series first. Curious, I asked her what books she was talking about, and she blanched because I hadn’t recognized the names “Peeta” and “Katniss”. Needless to say, I was interested when she told me it was about 24 kids being put into an arena to fight to the death.

The book is told from the Katniss’s point of view, and even though at times I disagreed with her thoughts, it was very easy for me to step into her thought pattern and feel what she was feeling. The book was very well described and I could feel the pain Katniss felt the whole way through.

This book made me scream and cry and laugh and sometimes “aw”. Her relationship with Peeta was very well orchestrated, and her conflicted thoughts were quite easy to tap into.

The story in general is very dark, and yet, I can actually see America turning into this place. Though it’s a little morbid of me to think that, it’s quite believable.

All in all, this is a deliciously frightening and heartbreaking story, and I loved it!

My Rating:

~Lana's Movie Review~

The Hunger Games movie was suspenseful and startling. Though I must say, if I hadn’t have read the books, I’d have no idea what was going on. There was a lot left out, when I look at it like a critic, but it was very good for those of us who have read the books.

We got to see Rue, and Peeta’s alliance with the other kids perfectly. We got a closer look into the capital that I LOVED, and Effie, Cinna and Haymitch were exactly how I pictured them, attitude wise.

To be honest, I was a little confused by the ending. Since I’m not sure if everyone reading this has read the books, I won’t give away the ending, but it was changed in the movie, and it makes me wonder where Catching Fire will take off.

All in all, it was a good movie. Though I will still be more loyal to the books, like with most book-to-movies. Even so, I will definitely be buying it once it’s on DVD.

My Rating: 

Lenny Kravitz as Cinna and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss 
~Tammy's Two Cents on The Hunger Games Book to Movie~

I absolutely LOVED this series; read it cover to cover, start to finish in less than a week. This was one of the most graphic book series I've ever read and yet I was engrossed the entire time. I think what made this series so good for me was that I could actually envision this happening in our not so distant future.

In this fast paced dystopian novel by Miss Suzanne Collins the reader is taken on a wild ride to Panem through our heroine, Katniss Everdeen’s, eyes. I love this strong woman as a lead character; she has volunteered for her sister, taking her place in what one can only call a modern day Gladiator's tournament; a fight to the death with only one survivor in which she will likely die. Collins definitely brought us into her world with vivid descriptions of The Capitol and truly likeable characters like Peeta, Katniss, Cinna and Rue (just to name a few). Hell, I even loved Effie and Haymitch.

Again, as I've stated in past reviews, I like that the characters are real. They are, in actuality just teenagers and Collins keeps true to that in her story, especially with the love triangle. Peeta's journey to save Katniss whatever the cost, knowing full well that he will die in the process; it's gut wrenching and powerful to say the least. I found myself in tears several times through all the books; when the realization sets in for Peeta that Katniss loved her sister so much she volunteered for her and his brothers did not even attempt for him, when he admits during the interview that he's in love with Katniss, and oh my god my poor Rue (snot slinging tear fest for that part!). I was, however, on my feet cheering when Cato got his; I actually found myself cursing Katniss for putting him out of his misery.

The Hunger Games was one of my most anticipated movie releases for 2012, right up there with Breaking Dawn II.... My favorite line from the first book did not disappoint in the movie; I have seen the movie twice now and both times it gave me chills "I VOLUNTEER!" I really only have two complaints about the movie: 1.Not enough Cinna (I'm team Cinna all the way!). 2.I didn’t feel there was any romance between Katniss and Peeta. I would have liked to have seen more of what I read in the book translated on screen between them; it was there with Peeta but, not so much with Katniss. 

I am already itching with anticipation for the next movie in this series; I am getting myself mentally prepared for my least favorite part of all the books. (Too many spoilers to post, sorry Tammy!~Mel) I was so GD mad when it happened that I threw the book at the wall, and let me tell you books do bounce! Thank goodness it wasn't my Kindle!!

If you haven't read this series, you must be living under a rock. It is fan-friggin-tastic; a must read!

My Book & Movie Rating: 


  1. Haymitch was BRILLIANTLY cast. And I also liked the casting for Cinna. Jennifer did an amazing job as Katniss ^^ I just loved the movie, but I'm not a big fan of Peeta. In the books and the movie..

  2. Great reviews on both the book and the movie. Like you, Mel, I resisted reading it...for years. I mean, it sat on my shelf and I didn't touch it. But then my daughter did...and she HAD to read Catching Fire...and then Mockingjay (see? Sat there for years, long enough for the rest of the books in the trilogy to come out!). So I gave it a shot.

    Wow. The plot is brilliant. Yes, it's been done before (Battle Royale, a Japanese book from the 90s, is eerily similar) but who cares? The characters were believable, the tension palpable and, most importantly for me, it made me *think.* Stayed with me long after I devoured those last pages.

    And the movie was almost as good. :)

  3. Thanks so much guys! I loved both the book & the movie. And that's highly unusual for me. lol. Normally I'm picking it apart because it's not spot on, but honestly, I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. :)

  4. I loved the books & the movie! They did a great job I think! I can't wait to see the next 2 movies! The main vast had signed on to do all 3 movies, so I think the next 2 will b a success!

  5. YOU PICKED ME A CINNA PIC; FANTASTIC! Don't mind you removing the spoilers Mel, I got a little carried away :-)

  6. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I really enjoyed the book series. I thought the third one was the bravest, truest and best. There are some bitter pills to swallow throughout, but I appreciate that Suzanne Collins didn't pull any punches.


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