I’ve been thinking about why I’m not going to see it on the big screen. It’s not that I didn’t like the book, in fact, I loved all three of books in the young-adult, post-apocalyptic trilogy: “The Hunger Games,” Catching Fire,” and “Mockingjay.” While I don’t fit into the young adult category these days, it’s a humdinger of a series, whatever your age.
But, there’s always something about seeing a movie interpretation of a character I love, like Games’ Katniss Everdeen, that always disappoints. The characters in the movies just never have quite the richness of appearance, of voice, of clothing, of gestures that they have in my mind.
I’m also avoiding HBO’s A Game of Thrones for the same reason. I know the movie versions of Eddard, Arya and of course, Tyrion from the first book in George R.R. Martin’s series will never live up to my mind’s expectations of them. And once you’re spoon-fed a screen image of a character, he or she will live in your mind that way forever. The Harry Potter books are a perfect example. For many people, those characters will always be the actors who played them in the movies. For all intents and purposes, Daniel Radcliffe is Harry Potter.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with making a movie out of book. Authors often benefit hugely by selling the movie rights and by the fact that movies can drive book sales. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with a book’s character appearing in your mind’s eye the way the character appeared in the movie. But you can lose out on the opportunity for an author to weave a unique picture in your mind and your mind alone. And that can often the most captivating and memorable part of a reading a book.
So, for me, some of my favorite characters are sacrosanct. And I just can’t sacrifice them on the altar of Hollywood. Except I might sacrifice Cinna. Because Lenny Kravitz is going to play Cinna in The Hunger Games movie. Do you think it would be OK if I just closed my eyes during all the non-Cinna parts?