IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Seventh-graders in the book club at Brown Middle School saw "The Hunger Games" Friday. Here are a few of their comments:
• "We all say we would never do these things, but look back to the gladiators when we watched humans kill each other. Now there's reality TV. How far are we away?"
- Memorie Morrow
• "I related most to Katniss. She was brave, fearless. She cared about others."
- Jerri Dossett
• "The movie shows you nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it."
- Meghann Common
After watching the near-nonstop action and whiz-bang special effects in the film version of "The Hunger Games," some middle school students were ready to offer their own review.
The book was better.
Apparently, even today's tech-savvy teens, expert at texting, tweeting and Facebooking, can be won over by a centuries-old pursuit - reading a good book.
For Brown Middle School students who on Friday saw "The Hunger Games," the long-anticipated movie based on the best-selling book by Suzanne Collins, the film was first-rate.
But they still gave top billing to Collins' book, the first of a trilogy that uses a government-sponsored fight to the death among 24 kids ages 12 to 18 to explore a totalitarian regime, a voyeuristic society, violence and humanity.
"The book shows more detail and emotion," said Brown Middle School seventh-grader Jerri Dossett. "You don't have as much time in the movie for those things, and I liked the movie. I just liked the book better."
Jerri and other Brown Middle School seventh-grade book club members saw a 9:30 a.m. showing of "The Hunger Games" at the Rave Cinemas in East Ridge. The students finished reading the book earlier this week and were primed to compare the book with the movie adaptation, said Jananna Cornette, a seventh-grade language arts teacher.
After posing for a photo next to "The Hunger Games" Imax poster in Rave's lobby, a quartet of seventh-grade girls from Collegedale Adventist Middle School filed into the 4:45 p.m. showing. Two of the girls, Brooke Bound and Zoe Graham, said they didn't have the time to read the book before the movie.
"Oh, I made time," their friend Sydney Davis said.
Sydney's excitement started when she bought tickets at the box office that day, said her mother Candace, who also was the chaperone for the Collegedale crowd.
"[The book] is really good," Sydney said. "I want to see everything be in the movie. The book was intense."
Cameron Skees, 17, and his friend Dustin Weimann, 16, both from Murfreesboro, Tenn., put seeing "The Hunger Games" on their list of things to do when they visited Chattanooga on Friday. Both read the books and both called the movie "good."
But Skees, a freshman at Motlow State Community College, had a hint of apprehension in his review.
"I wouldn't have picked those actors," he said. "But the movie kept my attention. It started slow but then got better."
Skees cited how the fate of some characters in the movie was different than depicted in the book.
"If I take what I know about the book out, I liked the movie a lot," he said.
Meghann Common, from Brown Middle School, thought the book was more "intense" than the movie, and the characters in the book were more richly developed.
"I thought Katniss would be more vulnerable in the movie. And I thought Gale would be more rugged," she said.
Reading the book first, she added, helps prepare "you for what's going to happen. And you can pay attention to other things going on in the movies besides 'what happens next.'"
The movie also made fans of the book question their strategies if picked as Tributes - aka contestants. Sydney said she would pick the strategy similar to that of the character Rue - a more effective strategy than Sydney's original one to "cry" and "be scared."
"Rue was always hidden in the trees, I'd probably do that," she said.
However, Katelin Anderson, a 10-year-old from Brainerd Baptist Church, would take a much more cunning approach if picked for The Hunger Games.
"I'd be like Foxface," she said. "She was sneaky."
Contact staff writer Chris Vass at 423-757-6317 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact staff writer Adam Poulisse at email@example.com or 423-757-6592.