Earlier this month, I indicated that probably the thing I wanted most for Christmas is time. Our wonderful nanny gave us exactly that last night, as her Christmas present to us was to take our girls for the evening so that Lauren and I could go out.
Date night found us at the local movie theater watching Catching Fire. Back in 2010, after our first daughter was born, we found ourselves driving a lot--in part to show off the first grandchild on both sides--and one of the things we did a lot of was listen to audiobooks together, including the entire Hunger Games series, which kept us so rapt that we would find ourselves sitting out in the driveway after we had arrived somewhere, waiting to finish the chapter.
So how was the film adaptation? Especially given my recent comments denigrating the ability of film as a medium to do book adaptations (vs. the television series format)?
It was really, really good. Really.
I should say that it's been a solid three years or more since I read this book, which in some ways is probably a good distance from which to view a film version, because my comparison between the two is mediated by the fraying strands of memory. And I haven't seen The Hunger Games since it was on the big screen in... whenever that was. But we both thought the film version of Catching Fire really nailed it.
It worked as an adaptation, hitting all the main points of the book. But it also worked as a film (which in this case is ultimately more important). The writers resisted any urges they may have had to over-write the script, instead managing a perfectly understated script that allowed the actors to act, and with all the talent in this film, they could certainly be relied upon to carry the film, to bring the characters to life and tell the story without any more words than were necessary.
Also, from the previews, another YA dystopian book-into-film series looks like it could be solid, as we saw the preview for Divergent. I've still only read the first two books in that series, but the film looked really good (as much as we can draw any conclusions from a preview!). I, Frankenstein, on the other hand, looked pretty terrible. I could be wrong, and I thought I saw some potential in there, but just based on the preview, it will not be a date-night movie. It will not be seen at the drive-in. And we probably won't rent it. If we hear good things, we might bring ourselves around to watching it on Netflix some day in the far-off future. No promises, though. Pompeii? If you were to say to me "You know nothing, John Sherck," I would have to agree--I have no idea if this movie is going to be rotten or righteous, but I'll bet I would like it better if it was based on the Robert Harris novel Pompeii, which I'm pretty sure it's not.