The Dart follows “Hunger Games” fan, sophomore Anja Browning, on her journey from the books to the movie.
BEFORE THE MOVIE
When did you first become interested in the series?
I first heard about it freshman year. Ms. Dolan asked us what our favorite book was, and there were so many other girls who were talking about “The Hunger Games,” “The Hunger Games,” and I was like, whatever. But then I heard they were really good, so I was like, fine I’ll try it. I read it probably about a year ago, maybe a little more. But as soon as I read it, I was like, they were amazing. I’m sure my homework suffered plenty, you know, I hid it in my desk, opened it up. But I was addicted. It was a drug for me.
Why do you like the books?
At the beginning of freshman year, I was into “Twilight,” but I think reading “The Hunger Games” sort of put Twilight in perspective for me. So, partly I love them because they helped me get out of the Twilight phase. But I also like them because they talk about real issues, like poverty, the rich exploiting the poor, fighting back, standing up for what you believe. So I think it speaks to a lot of maybe issues that we have today. It’s written in a way that there’s a sort of hopelessness that seeps through all the books. But there’s also a sort of a hopefulness in the last paragraph. I memorized it, no joke. It’s like, we’re gonna get through this, we’re gonna grow, and we’re gonna teach people this isn’t okay. So I think there is a little hopefulness, at least for the next generation.
Any comparison between “The Hunger Games” and “Harry Potter”?
There is some, like standing up for what you believe in, and standing up for what’s right, not giving up when times seem absolutely horrible. But they’re completely different stories, one is magic, one is children are going off and being sicced on each other. [“The Hunger Games”] is probably a little more likely, because if Hogwarts existed, I would be there right now.
Yeah, Rachel Moran and I actually had an interesting discussion about whether or not Katniss should have kids as we were coming from Latin. I think people know I’m probably the most obsessed kid here, but yeah, it is something I could have a discussion about. My sister and I will talk about it, “Is this right,” and “What’s up with this?”
What do you think about Katniss’ character?
I definitely don’t think she’s stereotypical. I’m really glad I got to hear [the story] from Katniss’ point of view because so many people look up to her in their world, she’s the Mockingjay, and yet you can still see that she doesn’t think she’s doing enough, she doesn’t think she’s doing it right. And I think she is such a powerful woman, and girls and women will relate to that. You know, I might not think I’m so good, but other people may appreciate me. In comparison to Bella [from “Twilight”], Katniss is an amazing person. She’s gone through so much, and she still is such a strong person, whereas Bella is weak and basically has no bones.
Have you read all the books in the series?
Multiple times over. I’m currently like, re-re-re-re-reading the Hunger Games because I have to have everything in my mind just to make sure [the movie] gets it right.
When are you going to the movie?
[I’m not going to the Midnight Premier], only because of school. I would if I could but I can’t. I’m going with a bunch of friends, but we’re still figuring it out. But if I have to I’ll go alone. We’re going to the Plaza. 7:00. Be there or be square. This is my ticket. I’m probably gonna frame this. Just kidding…
Are you excited?
I’ve probably been counting down days for about a month. I just started counting down hours yesterday. As of right now, March 21, 2012, there are 55 hours until I see the movie. think it was 23 days before the movie, I go, “Yes, 23 days before the movie!” My sister asks, “How many days until your birthday?” and I draw a blank. I have my priorities straight, clearly. And probably every single one of my Facebook statuses has mentioned “The Hunger Games.” Okay, maybe not all, but 99.9 percent.
What are your expectations for the movie?
I’ve already seen a few spoilers, so I know that they’re gonna cut out Madge. I know they have to make some artistic adaptions, but I just hope they stay true to the book and the feeling that the book has. I know that they’re gonna have to change it to make it fit inside two hours, but, I hope they are parallel enough with the book to make it work.
Do you like the cast?
I do. At first I wasn’t quite sure, but then I stalked everyone via Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else, and I was like, yes, I definitely approve, because each of the actors had some of the characters in them, especially Josh Hutcherson. He says over and over he always thought of himself as Peeta.
Have you done anything in preparation for the movie? You said you went to a Hunger Games event at the library?
Sophomore Anja Browning, from left, and sophomore Libby Torres discuss Browning’s Hunger Games “Tribute Guide.” Browning won the book at a Hunger Games event.Last Friday by the Plaza Library, and [my sister and I] were all like, “Yes yes, we’re gonna go!” and we get there, and they’re having us build fires out of pretzels and marshmallows, and we’re just like, okay. [We were expecting] a little more effort. I was expecting more people my age, but they were all 6th and 7th grade, like my sister’s age. But I won a Tribute book, a poster, and a bookmark and a pen!
What effect do you think the movies will have on the books?
I think people are turning this into like a Twilight sort of phenomenon, with Team Peeta, Team Gale, completely obsessed, and I’m just like, first of all, yes, I love the books. I am obsessed, and I am counting down the days, but I really wish people would stop being so little girl about it. I think honestly that’s what’s gonna ruin the books. I’m a fan, and I think being a fan means being true to the books, actually taking them to heart.
Is Hunger Games just going to be a fad?
I hope it’s not just gonna be a fad because it does speak to a lot of things. It won’t necessarily be a classic, but I think it still speaks volumes about the human race. So I hope people are still going to be interested in 20 years.
AFTER THE MOVIE
What did you think about the actors/actresses?
Caesar was good. Not exactly what I imagined but pretty darn close.
Exact doppelganger for Mr. Sanem, I kid you not!
They showed Katniss as really independent, and I liked that. Jennifer Lawrence is an incredible actress. She played Katniss’ role extremely well. But I just don’t think that [director] Gary Ross gave her enough to work with.
Effie was a character that really made an impression on me. So perfect. She was mouthing the words [along with the video]. I think that just shows how brainwashed they are. And “That is mahogany!” I love that.
I’m a little obsessed with Peeta. When Peeta was called [for the Hunger Games] he sort of had that stunned expression that I imagined when I was reading it. I love Josh Hutcherson. When Peeta touches Katniss’ braid near the end, that was adorable. I thought it was absolutely precious.
I really liked Gale. It’s not just that it’s Liam Hemsworth. I actually felt for Gale, which is hard to do because I generally hate Gale.
[Cinna] didn’t look like how I imagined him. I thought the way he talked was kind of staged, giving everything to the movie audience, but I liked the way Katniss acted toward him.
Katniss-Prim, couldn’t have asked for more, their relationship. Katniss was so sweet and caring to Prim and everything. I liked that [Katniss] sang Prim to sleep with a song. That was sort of foreshadowing for Rue I thought.
[Haymitch] doesn’t do the head dive like he did in the book. Haymitch was pretty good. I think overall he was a little too friendly of a character. He’s supposed to be harsh and sort of a jerk, but he was more like the buddy-buddy kind of drunk guy. He’s supposed to be completely a wreck and just barely able to keep him alive.
President Snow was good. He just kind of sent chills down my back.
The relationship between Rue and Katniss, I know it was short in the book too, but I feel like they had more of a connection in the book, and I feel that Katniss cared more for Rue in the book than she did in the movie. I just didn’t find Rue as likeable of a character
Comments on other criticism?
I think some people thought the violence wasn’t enough since they had to cut down to make it PG-13. When they opened up and there was the cornucopia scene, there was plenty of violence for me. When Cato killed the boy from District 3, that was scary.
The mutts were supposed to be the dead tributes, that’s actually okay with me that they weren’t. That would have been even more creepy. Not sure I could have handled that.
What did you like best about the movie?
The scene in the car where Effy is telling them how lucky they are, and Peeta’s crying, only scene I almost cried in. I didn’t cry in the whole movie, which makes me seem heartless, but I can’t cry in movies and that one almost made me cry, so it’s a success.
I liked how throughout the entire piece they showed the Gamemakers working. That was really good.
I like how in the Tracker Jacker scene, Katniss remembers her father dying.
Cato’s little speech [when the mutts arrive], you know, I was brought up for this, then he yells to the camera, “Is this what you wanted?” Oh my god, I never would have imagined that, but that was really good. That was the most sort of dissent toward the Capitol because he’s a Career tribute.
What didn’t you like about the movie?
I feel like [the movie] didn’t quite explain Katniss’ anger at the Capitol and the entire system of the games. She didn’t necessarily have to narrate it, but they could have flashed back to what Peeta was saying at the window, like “I don’t want them to change me.” I think they could have done that better because I never really felt that she had this hate for the Capitol.
They could have taken away the bath scene at the beginning and added 5 more minutes to the cave scene, where Katniss got to show that she might not be romantically involved with Peeta yet, but she clearly needs the boy with the bread to survive. They weren’t given enough in the cave scene, that’s what makes me angry.
At the end in the arena, when they announced there had to be a victor, Katniss goes “No they don’t.” She’s not supposed to say that! They’re supposed to be able to have the whole crazy in love thing.
What overall rating would you give the film?
8.5-9 out of 10
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m dying to see it again.
Opinion on the books: I loved them! They would be my favorite series, although I didn’t really enjoy the 3rd book.
Favorite character: Katniss
Opinion on the movie: I thought it was really good and stuck to the book well.
Opinion on the books: I love them!!
Favorite character: Katniss
Opinion on the movie: I didn’t like it very much, surprisingly. I thought it was a bad representation of the book, and it was cheesy.
Opinion on the books: I loved all of the books. The second was my favorite.
Favorite character: Katniss
Opinion on the movie: I thought the movie was really good. I liked how they showed some behind the scenes stuff during the games. They did leave a couple of important things out though.
Opinion on the books: I thought the books were fantastic and well-written, making the reader want to read more. “The Hunger Games” was the best of the series.
Favorite character: Rue, but now that she’s dead, it’s definitely Katniss.
Opinion on the movie: I thought the movie was really good. I didn’t like how they changed some things (i.e., how Katniss found the mockingjay pin instead of Madge giving it to her. I mean c’mon, that was such a pivotal moment in the book) and left some things out (like when Katniss realized the Mutts had the eyes of the dead tributes).
Opinion on the books: I thought the books were the hardest things to put down.
Favorite character: Peeta
Opinion on the movie: I thought the movie was super good, but really different from the books. SHE DIDN’T BUY THE MOCKINGJAY PIN.
Opinion on the books: I absolutely loved the books, maybe even on an obsessive level. I read all 3 of them in under a week because I just couldn’t put them down.
Favorite character: Peeta
Opinion of the movie: I thought they did a really good job on the movie. I was worried that it wasn’t going to be good because I had such high expectations and expected so much after reading the books. The movies left some stuff out, but considering the amount of time they had to work with, I think they did a great job. They did a really good job picking characters that match the characters in the book.
Also, check out this Roseblog about the Hunger Games written by Erin Sellers!