I hope no one thinks I'm being the proverbial party pooper here. And if I come across too whiney or bitter, I promise I'm not. I just have been thinking a lot lately about this whole Hunger Games thing, and the blog was practically writing itself. So here it goes...
I haven't seen it yet. I know, I know. I have gushed plenty about how this is my favorite book and I'm a huge fan. And for approximately 12 months my heart has simultaneously leapt and dropped at the mention or glimpse of anything HG. But for some reason I have lost the motivation to see the movie! I know you're probably thinking "Gosh what is wrong with this whiney girl?" Don't worry...I'm wondering the same thing. What is wrong with me?
Well, let's start at the beginning. A few years ago...the summer of 2008 to be exact, I fell in love with a little series of books called Twilight. Go ahead, judge away. "My name is Jessica and I liked Twilight." There, I said it. I even got another blogger friend (who I won't throw under the bus) equally obsessed with the series. At that time, there was hardly a movie poster to be found. It was rare to meet someone who even knew who Bella & Edward were. And then IT happened. The pop-culture craze that hit like the plague. Like memories of a zombie apocalypse, it became an epidemic. Everywhere we turned: hysterical teens, awkward brunette actresses, boys covered in glitter, pure pandemonium. Bookstores began stocking novels now covered by actors shelved next to "companions" and calendars, bookmarks, buttons and posters. By the time the first movie came out, I was hiding behind Jane Austen novels afraid to admit that once upon a time I too was torn between a 17 year old vampire who shimmered and a werewolf who rarely wore a shirt.
So, yeah. Part of me is afraid to get into this new craze. For over a year now I have been begging the universe..."please, not this book! Not this series!"
But it's not just The Hunger Games. Almost every book I've read and loved have become movies. My friend Becky made a good point on the topic, "Hollywood is running out of ideas". True story, friend. I don't exactly know how to take all of it. Is it a good thing or a bad thing...an homage to literature...or a slap in the face? You see, I have always been a major movie buff. And a book worm. I should be delighted by the collaberation of the two, right?
Seriously, what is my problem??
Well, I came up with a few points to consider...
1. People forget it was ever a book. In fact, some people never know it at all. Example: The Oscars. Six of the nine Best Pic nods were originally books. Did you know that? Do you know which ones? Should we be thanking the movies for making them famous or blame ourselves for not knowing the books even existed? How would you like to be the author of The Descendants...no one will ever believe her now. But don't feel bad for her...she got a cameo in the movie.
2. It replaces the book in my memory. This is strictly a personal issue. But you know when you read a book, you create your own visions of the people and places of the novel. Once you see the movie, it's hard to get back the original vision you had. It's all replaced by visions of Robert Pattinson. And unlike 2.2 million American girls, I'm not okay with that.
3. Books were not meant to be movies. If you're an aspiring author, it's something you just have to come to terms with. If your novel gains any success, it will likely become a movie. You may or may not have a say in it. If we wanted to write movies, we would be screenwriters. And be warned, if your novel does become a huge success and turned into a blockbuster, you probably will not be invited to be on Jay Leno or Ellen and no one will recognize you on the street.
4. People don't need to read books anymore. Now, I realize this point isn't entirely true. Most people who saw/loved Twilight or The Hunger Games read the books first. In fact, I believe Twilight created a whole new generation of "readers" and for that, I think it was an important series. But you certainly didn't need to read the books. In fact, you didn't need to read Water for Elephants, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, My Sisters Keeper, Pride and Prejudice, The DaVinci Code...you get the idea. But as we all know...the book is always better. Jokes on you Hollywood.
5. Money, money, money. This is the one that irks me to my core. I just picture a group of sleazy business men sitting around counting their Benjamins and laughing. Evil laughing. Cashing in on a popular novel's fan base is an easy way to make a buck these days. Millions of them to be exact. Just check out your local Hot Topic. You've seen it. How much of that money do you think the original author sees? Which, by the way, is probably not what he/she wrote the novel for in the first place. Authors make the fans, movie-makers make the money.
I apologize that this is becoming the length of a novel (pun intended).
6. Amazing adaptations. Who out there is going to deny the amazing work done with film adaptations such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy. My dad is a huge Tolkien fan and even he was blown away by the films. I feel these were entirely an homage to the originals. Literally like watching your dreams come to life.
7. Fans unite. There's no place like the line at opening night for a group of fans to come together. Films have proven to be a lot of fun for fiction fandom.
Okay, I think I've been on my soapbox long enough. I just hope you all see that I wrote this mainly from the perspective of an bookworm/aspiring author/movie lover. I'm torn, I love seeing a story I love come to life, but when I think of some rich producers in Hollywood taking control of my stories/my characters/my baby...it makes my heart ache.
So, let me just end by saying this. If you were standing in line at 9pm on Thursday night donned with your shiniest Mockingjay pin aside your best friend dolled up as Effie or Katniss, I commend you. In fact, I envy you. You see passed all of this and you enjoy a story and it's characters for what they are. You are a fan, plain and simple. And I think you rock. You make the authors proud. I mean no offense to you or the movie, which probably is, as you have claimed, an excellent adaptation of the novel. Thank the sweet movie-making heavens for that.
My point is only this...don't stop reading. Just please for the love of Peeta, don't stop reading. As long as there are readers like you, there will be authors like Suzanne Collins.
And for the record, I do still plan on seeing it. At this point, it's just a matter of finding a babysitter ;)