The Hunger Games: Did You Ask For Seconds, or Send It Back to the Kitchen?

Chances are you’ve seen The Hunger Games by now.

So, let’s talk about the movie (not the book): A great work of cinema? A standard Hollywood franchise launch? Great performances? Cheap special effects? What’s your take on Gary Ross’s movie?

Or maybe you came away and thought, “Why all the fuss about this story? Why not bring ___________ to the big screen instead?” What novels have you read lately that would make great movies?

Me, I walked away from The Hunger Games thinking, “What we really need to see on the big screen are the young women from Sara Zarr’s novels. Nobody writes about the lives of teenage girls and young women more thoughtfully and powerfully than she does. When is somebody going to film Story of a Girl or Once Was Lost or How to Save a Life?”)
I would weigh in with my opinion on the film, but I already have, here in this conversation with writer and Response magazine editor Hannah Faith Notess.

Other friends of mine had quite the debate during a live Kindlings Muse event, which is available as a podcast here.

Your turn….

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • Travis

    Thanks for the link back to your conversation with Hannah Notess. I have a lot of comlex feelings about THE HUNGER GAMES, and I don’t want to get into them too much here.

    So I will just say that I enjoyed it enough to ask for seconds. There won’t be thirds for a long while because it doesn’t have the rewatchability of something like MINORITY REPORT (some similar themes). I appreciate HUNGER’s embrace of difficult questions. It’s a good conversation starter (blah, blah). And I thought it was worth a second look to see if it affected me the second time just as much as the first. Most of the movie didn’t, but seeing the people of District 11 return Katniss’s salute still sent powerful shivers down my arms.

    Also, I’ve read Sara Zarr’s STORY OF A GIRL, and if there ever was a YA book that was ripe for film, it’s that one. In the hands of the right filmmaker, it could be another STAND BY ME (in how a story looks at growing up, I mean…GIRL really doesn’t really have a whole lot in common with King’s story).

  • Jonas

    I’ve read the book and, of course, wanted to see the movie. I had the normal qualms about adaptions but as far as it goes it stayed relatively faithful to the story. But as a movie, aside from the books, it felt rather mediocre and normal. Admittedly, it had some definite perks in the acting (Donald Sutherland is incredible, and Stanley Tucci was enjoyable, and Jennifer Lawrence was good albeit not as ood as in The Beaver).
    The movie itself tries to be fast-paced but felt….slow. And not in a good way. After awhile I was like okay I get it kill, kill, kill. And during that process there was almost no real meditation on the consequences of these actions. There was minimal emphasis on the barbaric aspect of the violence and became almost, “What the heck it’s kids so that make sit terrible but let’s still glorify in it.”
    Overall it was standard Hollywood action fare with a little more than normal thought but not much.

  • Kirsti P

    My sister and I saw The Hunger Games once in theaters; I left initially quite impressed. Then in the next weeks I mulled the movie over bit by bit, and found less and less to consider or enjoy. It is, certainly, a great discussion starter, and I gladly recommend the books or film – in tandem with a study of our Constitutions history. That’s about it.
    The Hunger Games otherwise remains something like spicy popcorn: packs a punch but doesn’t last.