Thursday, April 5, 2012

From Book to Big Screen

So I read the Hunger Games trilogy and then saw the first movie because...oh, forget it. If I have to explain, then you just don't get it. Anyway, the thing is this: I was disappointed.

Shocking. I know. I mean, who reads a book, loves it, and then doesn't love the movie?

All sarcasm aside (you're welcome), my disappointment with the Hunger Games movie actually brought me to some deep thinking. Why do we see movies of books we love if we know they will never meet our expectations? I think I've got the answer (and Hollywood has known this far longer than I have).

When we fall in love with characters on the page and then find out they will be projected before us on the big screen, we are intially elated. We love the idea of seeing our vision materialize before us, of possibly feeling that much closer to the characters we've come to identfy with. Yet we know, even before we see the movie trailer, that we are going to feel let down. We know that no film maker has really been able to project what is inside our protagonist's heart - at least not to the extent that the original author did. Still, we pay our dollars at the box office and hope.

Since I saw the movie, I've been pondering this. I think about my own novels, about how I've visualized them on the big screen since the moment the characters were born. I think about the soundtrack that would accompany my story, and I think how perfect my books would be for the movies.

But now I've come to respect my own writing and, without doubt, the words of every single book I've ever read for the beauty that comes not from what the eyes see but from what the mind and heart see. I appreciate a good screenwriter but choose this platform to show my reverence for the great storyteller - the book writer (which, of course, includes Suzanne Collins) - whose craft lacks the aid of visual effects and therefore must be held in the highest regard for its profound artistry.

That being said, I am not ashamed to say I will return to the theater to see Catching Fire when it is released. And I embrace the dichotomy in my heart.

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