I know, I know what you're thinking. "Jessica, you run a book blog--why are you saying goodbye to a film franchise?" I suppose there is only one way to answer that and it goes a little something like this. All the way back in the late 2000s, when the first book in Suzanne's bestselling series came into my life, I was just a bored little high school student. It goes without saying that because of its start as an incredible, dark and breathtaking book series, I feel I can say a proper goodbye as the last of the films makes its rounds during opening weekend.
But back to the novels. Back to where it all started.
I didn't know what I would be getting into by picking up the first installment to the trilogy. I had no clue. The Hunger Games was hardly a blip on my radar. Something to pass the time, really, and it never once crossed my mind that I would consider it amongst my favorites in the years to come.
You see, I had purchased it to pass the time while waiting for other series I liked to finish their run.
Really, I didn't even know what the novel would end up being about. I only vaguely recalled its brief summary after purchasing it and set it aside. I had no idea that in just a few short books, I would be completely immersed in this dystopian series, so much so that it would rival my love for the Harry Potter books. Until one day I was home, sick with a flu virus, and I picked up the novel and dived into the world to forget feeling so crummy. Despite feeling so poorly, I stayed up all night--yes, all night--reading that first book and just like that I was hooked. It was more than a good distraction in my eyes after the first few chapters and I knew it was special.
Little did I know, in spite of being intrigued by that first book, how much this series would grow to mean to me. Let's asses this, shall we? I devoured the books, firstly--this goes without saying. Those who have read these little beauties know exactly how easy it was to get lost in pages of the trilogy. And what still strikes me as awesome is that I didn't lose interest in it like I have so often with other things. Besides Harry Potter, the only other book series I was ravenous for was Gossip Girl.
The Hunger Games, and its sequels, were fast additions to my favorite shelf and even now, as an adult, that trio of books stand by. Needless to say I loved our girl who was on fire, the boy with the bread and all the other vividly bright characters in the series. I feel like they became my friends in the very way HP and company did. The next thing you should know is that, not long after Mockingjay (the book) was released, I had just adopted my beloved puppy dog and named her Primrose.
To say I was obsessed would be an understatement.
When the movies were in the beginning stages of planning, I was a little worried. Although I loved the adaptations for Hollywood's taste on HP, the track record for adaptations of books I adored was very bad. As more and more details came out, I was skeptical about the casting choices beyond who they picked for Prim and Rue. Even though I was concerned, I dragged my best friend out into the cold the day The Hunger Games was released to theaters--and I loved it just as much as I loved the book. Sure, there were minor details I didn't enjoy (no Madge, Buttercup not being like described in the novels) but the fact of the matter it was one of the best book-to-screen takes I'd ever seen.
By the time Catching Fire came out, I knew instantly just how solid these adaptations were and would continue to be. Because I was too young for the first three or four films of Harry Potter to go on opening nights, The Hunger Games marked my first big "I am determined to see these films the day they are released" venture and that was a huge deal for someone like me. I've never hated film, but I've never been much of a movie goer unless they are based upon books or musicals I am familiar with and even then it was never much of a "I have to see this NOW!" thing for me, so believe me when I say this was a huge deal.
And now, after seeing the second part to Mockingjay, I have to say it again. By far the best film adaptation of a young adult book series to be released. There's so much to say about this. From the excellent casting choices to the proper adaptation in keeping it closely to the books to the fantastic sets and costumes, it has been a privilege to see The Hunger Games brought to life so incredibly.
Much like how I felt when Harry Potter ended, I am faced with a great sadness over saying goodbye to these characters and not anticipating another release. But I also feel incredibly grateful for being a part of the generation that got see and follow the books and the films. This is me saying goodbye and thank you to the cast and crew and anyone involved in the production of the films. And of course, to Suzanne Collins for bringing us this gift.
(You're never truly gone for as long as I own the novels and the movies.)