I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and I was disappointed by the movies over and over again. By the fifth movie, I was not expecting anything good. (I absolutely loved Deathly Hallows Part 1, so the series did redeem itself.) Because of the Harry Potter movie franchise, I feel more prepared for The Hunger Games. I'm not going into this expecting to see a perfect representation of the books on screen. I don't care what the characters look like, as long as they capture the essence of the character. (We could get into the controversial whitewashing, but I'd rather not.) The movie is nearly a year away, and I'm already hearing (reading, actually) fans say, 'They're going to ruin it.' 'They don't know what they're doing.' You can find general outrage anywhere - on the Facebook fan page, on youtube videos, livejournal communities, etc.
This has got me thinking about what these books must mean to the fans. Yes, they get upset over little things (does Peeta being blonde really matter in the grand scheme of things?), but I think it's because they've really fallen in love with these characters. The world of Panem has become so real to them that to think of it in somebody else's hands, eventually on screen, is tough. When people read books, they create the world in their heads based on the words given them. When people make movies, it's a collective effort to turn words into a visual experience. As readers and viewers, we have to realize that they are two separate art forms. Although the skeleton of the story may be the same, the flesh and blood of the two are going to be very different.
What's important to me when it comes to The Hunger Games movies is the messages it has about war, violence, classism, and entertainment. Katniss' brokenness is going to stick with me a lot longer than the clothes she wears. The horrific nature of war is going to mean more to me than whether Cinna is young. That's what, for me, made these books so moving.
I cannot wait to write a book/movie comparison post for this movie when it comes out. In the meantime, I'll write one for The Princess Bride soon!