As some of you will be aware (due to excited Facebook status updates regarding a certain Operation Death Frisbee and/or Sherlock and John in Sainsbury’s), I went to see the Hunger Games yesterday. The Sherlock references are, probably, a story for another blog post. One with pictures.
We were running incredibly late – panicking on the bus, then leaping off as soon as it eventually stopped and legging it to the cinema. When we got in, we fought with the ticket machine until it gave us our carefully pre-booked tickets, which took some time, before dashing up the escalators and sliding all over the slippery floor as we sprinted around to reach the next ‘Up’ escalator, and then to our screen (Screen 10).
It’s a big screen, that one. When I went to the Woman in Black, it was almost full, though the ten of us did manage to find seats despite being late.
However, the Hunger Games was a different story. “We won’t get seats! Hurry up!” We ran into the cinema, fully expecting it to be reasonably busy but perhaps not too crowded, since it was a Tuesday at around 5pm.
Our dramatic entrance was ruined by two things. First of all, the adverts were still going on, though we were twenty five minutes late. No cinematic arrival during the opening credits, then. Secondly, there were four people in the cinema.
There were three of us, so that made seven.
That was it.
I mean, at first I thought it might be completely empty, but no, there were two people in the middle and two people higher up, to the side – and that was it. We could’ve taken the Premium seats and no one would have known (and after struggling to sit cross-legged in the reasonably small chairs, since I seem to be incapable of sitting in any other way, I wished we had).
Seven of us for a blockbuster film that only came out on Friday… *shakes head in despair*
Throughout the film, about half of my brain was watching it. The other half of my brain was watching me watch it. Now, I understand that sounds a little weird, but it’s true.
One half of my brain is being used to take in the pictures, and react accordingly. The other half of my brain is sitting there going, “Hmm, you’re reacting differently to this to how you did with the book. You were rooting for him, then, but now you’re rooting for her.” Or, “The music they use here is very clever – you’re getting very emotionally involved.” Or, “Did you realise you’ve completely changed your allegiances to the characters?”
It’s true. I had.
When I was reading the books, I read them as a writer. I read them and at every twist of the plot I was planning out exactly how I would end them if I were the one writing them. I worked out who would live and who would die and who would kill who in what manner. I knew how I would write them.
Most people, when reading, try and second guess the author’s intent. I don’t bother. I just think of all the horribly cruel things I’m going to do to the characters, with the result that I rarely become seriously emotional involved with them. Now, this isn’t with all books, but that’s what I found with the Hunger Games.
When watching the films it was a different story. I found myself wanting things to be okay, wanting it to work out for Katniss, wanting Peeta to live. (With the books, I spent the entire trilogy longing for him to die and plotting all the ways I would do it if I were Suzanne Collins.) I was almost in tears at moments that weren’t even particularly sad, probably because of the soundtrack (always a deciding factor for me with films).
I don’t know whether it’s because it’s a visual experience, or whether it was because I couldn’t race ahead and had to sit through it at the pace it had been made (which was about the same length of time as it took me to read the book), or whether it was the music, or whether it was a combination of the three, or what… but the truth is, my reaction to the characters as they were portrayed in the film was totally different to my reaction to them in the books.
I’ve never had that same experience so strongly before. Have you? I’d be interested to know if anyone else feels the same way.