The problem with film adaptations of books is that they are different mediums and can never be exactly the same. Books allow us the luxury of vastly different readings and interpretations. The words are the same but how we hear them and understand them, the pictures we see in our minds will all be different. When it comes to a film a lot of that is fixed into place. Visually everyone is presented with the same images. In terms of audio we hear the same voices and the backing music sets a distinct tone. Films bring our imagination to life yet restrict the variances of imagination.
Up until I saw the Hunger Games I always had issues seeing the film adaptations of books because they never matched the visions in my mind. Things were changed, lines delivered differently, scenes cut, etc. When I watched each of the Harry Potter films for first time I loved them of course, and yet there was always a part of me that was upset about things being different.
After seeing Hunger Games though I realized exactly what film adaptations should be. Because The Hunger Games did it perfectly. It's impossible to directly turn a book into a movie, it's impossible to get every detail right, and you have to cut so much when you don't have the luxury of time. So THG tossed aside trying to do a direct retelling of the story. They threw away the exact scenes and the plot and instead took the ideas which drive the story forward. They built a film around the heart of the story and told it in a manner which fits the media they are working with.
And it wasn't just about the first book, they've made it intending a sequel. I felt like they brought in ideas from Catching Fire because it made more sense to have them in the first film, and in turn some story lines from the first seem to have more relevance in the second film. It's not about telling this story one book/film at a time but telling the story as a whole.
I don't know if I'm quite making sense, I feel like the film is dealing more in the abstract than the tactile elements, but it's beautifully constructed. I'm so grateful for this film and I think it shows a lot of promise for the future of book adaptations.
Hopefully we'll never repeat the awful mess that was The Golden Compass movie. Can we pretend that never happened? It butchered one of the most amazing series I've ever read.
I hope you all are well!