How the Hunger Games Movie Stacks Up to the Book

Greetings to all my returning and all my new subscribers!

Today I wanted to briefly look at how movies inspired by books compare to the books themselves. A bit of background on me, I can be nitpicky about my movies, but I consider myself a fair assessor of accuracy in most regards.

I was fortunate enough to catch The Hunger Games last weekend as I was coming back from a weekend trip. We were able to see it in EFX – Enhanced Movie Experience – not sure how much of a difference it made, but no matter. The theater was packed. Entirely. Good thing we got there a bit early! While waiting for the movie to start, I got a chance to see many, many previews. Nothing memorable (at this time), but I do remember that it took the movie nearly 20 minutes to start! argh!

Regardless, I was struck by the background and scenery done for the movie. It really fit perfectly in to the idea of Appalachia being the basis for District 13. Actually having been to many parts of Appalachia myself, I can attest to the authenticity of the depiction (if government and social services cared not at all for the populace) in the older, run down, and more rugged parts.

Setting? – Check

Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg, during a training scene in the movie.

Characters – Did they match the characters invented by my imagination? That’s hard to say, but also not fair to judge. I think that every reader creates an image of what they are reading in their own minds, characters, setting, etc. Some people dislike seeing movies based on books because the characters in the movie won’t be their own (Or even having characters illustrated in their story! See the Illustration Conundrum post for that discussion)

I thought the actors/actresses playing the parts did an excellent job, and (Spoiler if you haven’t read the book) Rue’s character and subsequent death scene were very touching. I read the book a while ago, so that part stood out vividly to me because I hadn’t remembered it much from the book. Goes to show you how emphasis on certain parts can change the perception of the audience. (On a side note, there were tons of people insulted at the number of African Americans portrayed in the movie, which is not only ridiculous that some people still harbor these feelings, but also stupid because that’s exactly how Suzanne Collins described the characters in the book itself!)

I thought the director did a good job trying to bring life into the world and move the story along without eliminating too much of the story. That being said, I thought the first part of the movie dragged on…and on… and on. But it was still interesting to see the world of such a well loved book come to life. There were other movies that have done a worse job of transferring from book to movie (Read the actual ‘Man on Fire‘ book at some point. You’ll be really confused!)

Loved the movie, loved the books too. Would give it an 8/10 stars because of the slow pacing at points. Also, got to sit through an entire movie with a talkative two-year old in front of us. Not the movie’s fault, but just saying! Check it out, totally worth seeing!

The Realities of a Steampunk World

A quick look at making your story match the technology and things within it.

So I went to see the move John Carter yesterday. We shelled out the extra money to see it in IMAX, not because we really wanted to see it in IMAX, but because our local movie theater doesn’t like to show movies starting around 9 pm (It likes 8pm and 11 pm, but little in between) After being deafened and blinded in the previews, we were treated to a real spectacle of a movie. But I digress, this post isn’t a movie review, but rather how I saw a ton of amazing ideas that I COULD use in my novel, but will most likely choose not to.

The most challenging thing about a steampunk world is that you have to remain true to your specific subgenre. For example, Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books) includes undead, guns, airships, etc. But it stays true to roots without using ray guys, rocketpacks, or technology that is beyond what the locals *could* realistically have designed.

When I saw John Carter, the thing that stood out to me the most was this…

Yes, one of the coolest designed airships I’ve ever seen. And I would have loved to somehow make mine (in Brass Legionnaire) as cool as those. But I won’t for a few reasons.

1.) Believability – My Romans are still running around using steam power. Those are definitely not running off steam power.

2.) I don’t want to copy someone else’s idea. Could I take a few pointers from how they look and add descriptions to my story? Sure, but I don’t want to just blatantly take an idea and throw it into my story because it’s cool. That’s a bit too crude for me. Ideas and a story have to match.

3.) It would take my story in an entirely different direction than where I want it to go. I want my books to show technological process and advancement book by book. I don’t want it to be a ‘oh, look, in the last two months we developed this awesome airship that doesn’t rely on hydrogen, helium, or steam power and it works perfectly. By the way, we armed it with these artillery pieces.’

I guess the point of this post is simply to make sure that your technology matches your story. I’m not saying you can’t – or shouldn’t! – be outlandish, but I’m one of those people who get’s thrown out of the story when the main character pulls out a weapon that doesn’t match the rest of the world or story and just pulverizes the enemy.

It’s like the green skinned aliens in John carter who run around with spears, swords, and projectile guns, but aren’t lugging around the alien equivalent of the RPG – they aren’t up to that yet. If your steampunk story has guns, then give them guns, but they shouldn’t have an M16 while everyone else has a muzzle-loading rifle. Technological progress doesn’t move in that way. If one country or place has it, soon enough everyone else will beg/borrow/steal/take by force that technology.

A good book to read is Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Great read on a topic of technology among cultures.


PS – book editing is halfway done, hopefully it will be ready to go by May!

Eat, Pray, Love, then eat some more!

Hey all, Glisten here. Just wanted to let you know that I’m almost done reading Eat, Pray, Love, and I’ll aim to have a review up on it before Friday! (when the movie comes out) So check back before Friday to learn what all the buzz is about! See ya soon!

– Glisten17

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