Before I saw ‘The Hunger Games’ for the first time, I found myself constantly annoyed at the people who were saying that the movie was completely ruined because it had been confirmed that Madge Undersee had been cut from the movie. Couldn’t these people see that a very minor character with maybe three lines in all three books really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things?
Then I walked into the Nokia and watched a lot of the most precious things I held near and dear to me from the books given the same treatment as the Mayor’s daughter.
There was no goodbye visit from Mr. Mellark with cookies. No lamb stew. No Cinna twirling his finger at Katniss in silent support or tapping of his chin to tell her to hold her head high. The Capitol electrical current hair dryer didn’t make it. The District 11 bread gift was eaten by the editors along with Haymitch’s goodie basket. The mutts were merely dogs. Katniss doesn’t run into Haymitch’s arms after recovery and receive a “Nice job, sweetheart.”. She never bangs on the glass in a desperate attempt to get to Peeta and she never accepts a handful of flowers from him before breaking his heart.
As Kimmy turned to me and said, “Wasn’t that amazing?!” I could only muster a nod because I was so conflicted and mad at myself and shocked that it was already over. How could I have let that happen to myself? Why did I go in with so many specific scenes cemented into my head? I guess I just couldn’t help myself.
Yet I knew in my heart that the movie had still managed to stay astonishingly true to the book, the story of Katniss, and the larger message of the books so there was no denying that the movie was fantastic. It was just a different experience, something I thought I knew going in, but didn’t realize fully until Thursday night. All those changes were understandable and in the two weeks I had to think about it, almost all of them were in the grand scheme of things, necessary.
I went to the midnight showing at my local theater here in Hawaii and found that with all the expectations, tension, and anticipation gone, I was finally able to just relax and watch the movie. It no longer felt like I was watching it on fast forward. After the Games is still a bit too rushed for me, but in general, my second viewing was so superior to the first that I’m pretty sure a lot of people are going to see ‘The Hunger Games’ twice. Plus, I picked up on quite a few things I’d missed the first time. I cried way more than I did the first time as well.
If you’re not planning on seeing it again because you’re just mad about everything that was different about it, believe me when I say that there’s a good chance you’ll change your mind if you go again. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need that first time just to “loosen up your corset” and the second time to experience it for real.
I’m going to see it for a third time tonight in IMAX with my husband and a couple of friends and may even go again with my mom (who I just got into the books this week!) on Sunday, which would make it the only movie in my entire life that I will have seen four times by the end of opening weekend.
Happy Hunger Games!