Thursday, April 7, 2011

No More Hunger Games News For Me

I, along with the rest of America, waited impatiently to find out who would be playing Katniss in the Hunger Games movies. I gasped in horror at some of the Gale/Peeta choices that I felt were inappropriate. My finger hovered over the mouse when I found that Forever Young Adult had obtained a copy of the Hunger Games script and was dissecting it over at their blog.

But I didn’t click.

When the Gale/Peeta casting was announced and the entire internet was in an uproar, I found myself on the outside of the furor. For one thing, I don’t really know who those dudes are. And for another, I have officially decided that I am done reading anything about the Hunger Games movie.

A while ago, I read a piece on the AV Club (which I can’t seem to find to link to now; sorry AV Club!) about how the anticipation of entertainment was becoming more important in our culture than the entertainment itself. We get so excited for the latest superhero movie. We follow every step of the production, from learning that our favorite young hunky up-and-comer has been cast as Captain Awesome, to the inevitable online leak of the Captain Awesome script, to the set pictures, to the Comic Con panel that shows the first ten minutes of Captain Awesome at his Awesomest, to the reviews we read on every blog before we actually watch the movie ourselves. After this level of scrutiny, no movie, no matter how awesome, can possibly live up to our hopes.

This is especially true with adaptations of beloved novels. The movie version will never possibly live up to the version in our own minds. Any actor who is cast, any shot, any costume, any setting will never be exactly right because we will all say to ourselves, “That’s not the way I pictured it.”

After a disastrous trip to the movies to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I swore to myself that I was never again going to reread the books before watching the movies. I had sat in that theater analyzing each segment of the plot—what had been left in the movie and what had been cut, what happened quicker than it should have and what took too long—in such detail that I completely forgot to let myself be carried away by the magic. And if I’m not leaving the theater in a haze of childlike wonder, then why am I going to see Harry Potter in the first place? Since then, I have decided not to reread any of the books until the last movie comes out. The specifics of plot and character have faded to the point that when I see the movies I feel like I am rediscovering old friends. I enjoy the movie as a piece of entertainment, and I couldn’t care less what parts of the novel got left on the cutting room floor.

From this point on, this will be my attitude toward the Hunger Games movie. I will read no more analysis of the casting choices. I will look at no set pictures. And I most certainly will not look at the script. But above all, I will not reread the books until after I have seen the movie (or movies). It’s the only way I will be able to truly enjoy them.

However, I will continue Googling the upcoming Real World/Road Rules Challenge every single day to find out if new information has been posted. They are pairing enemies together and forcing them to work together as a team! Aneesa and Robin! Kenny and Wes! It’s gonna be so awesome. I can’t wait.

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