Millennium Post

May the odds be ever in your favour

Series. Something we always associated with television, but then books happened. The irony however is that these series gain momentous popularity the very moment a production house laps it up and out comes a movie that grabs some great 70mm time and mind space.

Philip Pullman’s The Dark Materials became big news after the release of The Golden Compass (the book is titled Northern Lights but USA saw the release of the book with the other title). The movie bombed and suddenly people were no longer interested in The Subtle Knife or The Amber Spyglass. The movies were also not made.

The trilogy that took our breath away was JRR Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings, the movie versions being - The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The prequel - The Hobbit, now has the audience by their collars with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again (the last film is yet to release).

Staunch Tolkein lovers, however, still swear by the books, the untrilogised (for the want of a better word) treasure houses that opened up Middle Earth for us.

Now, with the latest series, The Hunger Games waiting to release their third movie installment we are going to ‘discursivise’ it all. Much like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book to the much loved series, that got made in two parts on celluloid, Hunger Games’ last book - The Mocking Jay is going to have a part one and two.  Hold onto the audience for a movie longer and see the box office figures mounting. They haven’t done too badly thus far. Of course this argument must also include the Twilight series, but we shall keep Stephenie Meyer out of this.

Hunger Games, is by far, one of the most mature books we have read in the young adult category that it ideally belongs to. The violence, the politics and the entire human drama on paper, reads far better than it plays out on screen. Admitted, the protagonists are exceedingly pleasing to the eye, but for this once, take our suggestion and read the books before you take on the movies. Ideally, for us old school kids, books trump movies hands down though we do love the movies, but for those with the attention spans of a tea cup, the movies will work better.

Debating this matter gave us the chance to re-read the entire set of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and The Mocking Jay. The bad part was that the movie scenes kept popping up in our mind evil thoughts and gradually one realises that there is no separating the two - not any longer.

For those who have already seen the first two parts, not read the books and are waiting with bated breath for the next two - we won’t spoil it for you guys, but take it from us, this series wraps up with such poignant moments of catharsis that it shakes you up to think that Suzzanne Collins actually believes that young adults will get the feel. Or maybe this is just telling them subtly - it is time to grow up.

Maybe the movies help the books come out of the depraved obscurity of the shelves. Sad, but true. But as they say in business, often, whatever works.

However, do yourselves and your kids/siblings/friends a favour and get them to read The Hunger Games first (Scholastic still has the original covers in place, not faces of the protagonists - get those), the movie will be hacking away a lot. And as we wrap up, we must duly confess that we cannot wait to see how the director sets up an ending like that!
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