Book Review by Sharon Powers.
QUICK BOOK REVIEW OF THE OFFICIAL ILLUSTRATED MOVIE COMPANION
(THE HUNGER GAMES).
The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated
Movie Companion, by Kate Egan is 160 pages;
it sells for $9.99 to about $18.99, of course,
depending on where you buy your book.
The Movie Companion is divided into six parts, as follows:
(1) The History of The Hunger Games;
(2) The Cast of The Hunger Games;
(3) The Look of The Hunger Games: Places and Props;
(4) The Look of The Hunger Games: People;
(5) The Filming of The Hunger Games; and,
(6) The Legacy of The Hunger Games.
The first section on the history of The Hunger Games covers the history of Hunger Games. It also deals with violence and the "challenge of how to present the violence while still maintaining a PG-13 rating" so the intended audience can view the movie (as well as read the book). (p.14)  I found this section very interesting and of great interest in examining how the violence was handled in the book and movie.
One page showing beautiful glossy photographs of actors,
Woody Harrelson, as Haymitch, and Lenny Kravitz, as Cinna.
Obviously, one of the big draws of the book is to talk about the major stars of the film. This section discusses how actors were selected, gives us comments from the actors, views of the director, producers, and others, and shows us amazing glossy, beautiful photographs of the actors.
Section three is an extensive section that relates concepts like how locations portray "power and might and authority" (p.49) or how a forest area was selected because it had hardwood trees instead of coniferous trees, to convey the feeling of a "uniquely American" location. (p.59) Also, considerations of colors, for example, the Capitol, food and clothes, to be vibrant in "Blues, oranges, greens...but not any pastels, not any earth tones, Nothing brown." (p.81) This is a huge section of the book that covers a lot of material, and the importance of some themes in the movie--like food. Everything from how several pigs were roasted and how the apple was placed in its mouth for Katniss to shoot, to the importance of bread and the types of different rolls, their color, and symbolism.
Section Four, not only shows photographs of the costumes of the actors, but actually goes into how the "look of the characters," came about. (p.88) Makeup artists, colorists, and costume designers had their work cut out for them.
Personally, I found Section Five to be the most interesting section in the book. The author states that one of the very most important things about adapting the book into a movie is "to convey the immediacy, the first-person point of view that the book has." The author, Kate Egan, explains that in adapting the book to the movie, they wanted to make sure that wherever possible, they kept Katniss Everdeen's point of view--as did the book! (p. 138)
The final section, although the shortest, covers some of the most important material. The author speaks to the timeliness of the book's/movie's themes, and Director Gary Ross explains how people were manipulated into participation in The Hunger Games. He says that by getting people involved in that horrendous contest, they become invested in the contestants. They begin "rooting for their favorites,"
which is more effective than attempting to subjugate them. The end result is people participate "in our system." (p.154).
One page from Kate Egan's book shows the beginning
of a scene. This is pages 66 & 67 in the book. This scene
shows Peeta and Katniss (actors Jennifer Lawrence and
Josh Hutcherson.). Thank you to my husband, Carl, for
holding the book for me while I took the picture.
Reiterating part of Section Five, the author, again, speaks to the importance of addressing controversial themes, but takes that notion a step further, addressing the importance of readers questioning the relevance of elements of books in their own lives. I agree with this idea and have addressed this concept in other blog posts. Books are so very important and can expand a person's thinking and reasoning skills if the reader asks pertinent questions about the book.
CONCLUSION OF MOVIE GUIDE:
I really enjoyed this movie companion to The Hunger Games. The background information on the actors was fun, but more important was how the book was adapted to fit the big screen and still keep the integrity of the book. It is always a dicey thing to adapt a book to another media, such as big screen, so I enjoyed looking at how the movie makers approached this huge task. I also really enjoyed the discussions about the controversial themes, and how the author and movie makers addressed this big problem. I give this guide 4.0 stars out of 5.