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[personal profile] lace_agate
I started reading the books a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to read them before the movie came out. I raced through the first one and it just stuck in my head, so I went out and bought the second and devoured it in an afternoon. The third took me a bit longer because I was finding it a bit too grim, but I finished it the day I saw the movie and the ending made me cry in a good way.

First off, I really liked Katniss. I know some people found her difficult to relate to, but I found quite a lot to identify with - like Katniss, I'm socially awkward and bad at reading people, I also love to sing, and I can empathise with Katniss's desire to be her own person and with her mental health problems.
I also liked the books' narration style. I know that they're not brilliantly written, but for me that actually adds something to the story because they felt like they could have actually been written by Katniss. I like that Katniss is a somewhat unreliable narrator and I even like the limitation of the first-person narrative to some extent - I'm a politics student; I like trying to figure out for myself how exactly the regime change took place (but that's an essay for a different time).
I liked Peeta and I ship Katniss/Peeta pretty enthusiastically. I like that Peeta tries to be good and kind, and that he sometimes fucks up or doesn't understand how people will react to his kindness.
I didn't particularly like Gale as a person, but I liked him as a character - I could see how he came to be as angry and ruthless as he is.
I felt that the books did a good job of fucking with traditional and expected gender roles. Katniss's role in the story is a role more often filled by male characters than female ones: a humanised hero, a survivor, a bit ruthless, a bit morally ambiguous - compare her to many action heroines who are portrayed as sexualised cardboard cut-outs (I know this is a generalisation; of course there are exceptions!). Peeta and Finnick would likely have been female in many versions of the story - Peeta as a baker, an artist, a more nurturing character than Katniss, fills many feminine archetypes, while Finnick is a tough fighter who happens to be a survivor of multiple rapes and forced prostitution - how many female action heroes have rape as their backstory? How many male ones? I could go on, but you get the idea.
Now, about the film... I really liked it, but I felt that the arena in the film lacked the visceral horror it had in the books. I'm sure this was partly to avoid getting an R rating, but it made some of the violence feel a bit glossed over. The shaky camera was a bit distracting at times, but for the Reaping scene it was perfect. I liked the decision to show Seneca Crane and the gamemakers as a subplot; it filled some of the gaps left by the loss of Katniss's internal monologue and added a bit more horror to the story.
Now, about the Great Casting Kerfuffle: I don't mind that they cast a white woman as Katniss, but I'm pissed off that the casting call specified Caucasian - non-white actresses didn't even get a chance to try for the role. The whiteness of District 12 also bothered me a bit. As for the disgusting racists who complained about Rue, Thresh and Cinna being black in the film - STFU and learn reading comprehension! Rue and Thresh are black in the book, Cinna could be any ethnicity, and all three actors were perfect for their roles. I hope that the filmmakers cast more people of colour in the second film: how about Johanna? Finnick? Mags? Beetee and Wiress? Anyone?
tl;dr: books were fantastic, movie was good, read the books, see the movie, opinionate, flail or rant in comments.

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