I Rewatched/Reread ‘The Hunger Games’ Trilogy in a Week

Welcome!

I want to preface this post by saying I LOVED THE HUNGER GAMES books and movies in middle school. I only read THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy once in sixth grade (nearly a decade ago!!) and never picked it up again. Only recently did I begin re-reading books (see my Sarah Dessen Summer Readathon). I have seen the movies numerous times, but only when they first released in theatres. I may have watched my DVDs once or twice, but I have not watched any of the movies since my junior year in high school (four years ago!). Needless to say, I have not consumed HUNGER GAMES content for more than a few years.

rewatching the films

With quarantine draining my motivation, I decided to watch the movies after I finished my finals’ work for the day. I completely spaced on the fact BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES released within the week. I had not watched the first film since seventh or eighth grade, so I had a general sense of what happened. I forgot a lot of the details, though.

In the first movie, I could tell the budget was lower than the rest of the films because people weren’t sure how well it would do. I forgot how bad Peeta’s hair looked. His hair is so stiff through the entire movie. I also forgot how sassy Peeta was in the movies. As I re-read the books, I laughed at his sass 1000x more. The first scene I cried at with THE HUNGER GAMES movie was Katniss volunteering for Prim. I know, it’s literally less than 30 minutes into the film. This became such a common reoccurence.

I fell in love with Katniss and Peeta all over again. As I watched the first film, I truly appreciated Haymitch and Effie more than I did as a middle schooler. Perhaps that’s a sign that I’m truly an adult. I don’t know. Haymitch’s relationship with Katniss made me cry because he became like a father figure to her through the films. He took care of her but also pushed her in the arena. Effie became just as attached.

By the end of the first film, I was pretty sure I had felt all the emotions and could not cry anymore. I was wrong. Within a few minutes into CATCHING FIRE, I was a mess again.

I knew where the movie ended, so I was prepared for those emotions. For the majority of CATCHING FIRE, I was frustrated with Katniss being blind to her emotions. Actually, I think she just wouldn’t allow herself to truly feel her emotions towards Peeta to protect him from herself. She saw herself as broken, but Peeta helped Katniss see herself as whole again. Katniss helped Peeta, too, in numerous ways.

The scene that got me crying in CATCHING FIRE was when Katniss asks Peeta to stay with her on the Victory Tour. I was not prepared for that scene to bring up so many emotions. I loved everything between them in this film. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson truly brought these characters to life so well. When they kiss in the arena on the beach, I could see the moment in Lawrence’s eyes that Katniss realized how much she loved Peeta. CATCHING FIRE truly did a wonderful job of developing their romance in the film. And, yes, I bawled at the end even though I knew how it ended.

MOCKINGJAY PART ONE was frustrating for me with how much Katniss relied on Gale. What really made me frustrated was how much the film has Katniss and Gale kissing. They kiss way more in the movies than in the books. Perhaps this it to play up the love triangle, but at this point in the films everyone knows Katniss will end up with Peeta. CATCHING FIRE made that obvious. Gale as a whole made me upset. This is how I feel about Gale:

I started crying when Katniss first sees Peeta. In MOCKINGJAY PART TWO, I bawled at the first sight of Peeta. I basically cried any time Peeta was on screen for the last two movies. For PART TWO, I cried five minutes into the film all the way to the meadow scene. Josh Hutcherson did a phenomenal job acting as hijacked Peeta. Rewatching these films reignited my love for Peeta but also Josh Hutcherson. I even made a TikTok about Josh Hutcherson.

I don’t know how much else I can speak about the films because I basically cried through watching all of them. By rewatching the films, though, I realized how much I missed THE HUNGER GAMES. This led me to listening to the first book on audio while working. Once I reached the halfway mark of the audiobook, I realized BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES released the following Tuesday. At that point, I figured out I could actually reread the entire trilogy before the prequel released if I read a book a day.

rereading the books

While listening to THE HUNGER GAMES audiobook, I was surprised by my enjoyment of the first six chapters. I know this is odd, but I specifically remember my entire friend group (myself included) discussing how slow the first six chapters of the book were in middle school. While I was listening, I appreciated how well Suzanne Collins wove in history with action. She did a great job of keeping the pace of the book moving while explaining the intricate history of Panem.

Peeta and Katniss’ connection in the books is more obvious than the films. Gale truly never stood a chance to book Peeta. He has sass, can bake, and helps Katniss see the best parts of herself. Gale meets Katniss where she’s at, but he was just someone who helped her through a tough part of her life. He was never meant to help her grow as a person. The intimate moments between Peeta and Katniss made me cry. I even knew what a majority of those moments were going to be from watching the films, but I still cried!

I finished the audiobook in less than two shifts at work. I even started the first few chapters of CATCHING FIRE, but I finished reading it physically. I read CATCHING FIRE in an afternoon, and I loved how Peeta is rebellious in his thinking. He is more subtle than Gale, though, which I appreciated. He knows how to work the crowd into seeing it as compassion instead of a direct rebellion against the Capitol.

When Peeta brings up a baby, I was confused at first as to how anyone could think Katniss got pregnant. Then I remembered from the train on their Victory Tour and the time before the Games in the Capitol where they slept in the same bed. Naturally, everyone else thought they were having sex, but they weren’t. Peeta is quite something in CATCHING FIRE.

On another Peeta note, I love how Suzanne Collins develops his character more by showcasing him as more than just a baker. I got more glimpses into Peeta’s life pre-Games in CATCHING FIRE. Everything made me fall in love with him more. Katniss also fell in love with him more. The beach scene in the book confirmed my movie suspicions where Katniss truly knows she is in love with Peeta at this point. She doesn’t outright say it, but she describes it as more of a warm feeling when she forgets about the Games. This is where I get the idea she’s trying to protect Peeta from herself since she won’t acknowledge her love for Peeta. But I also have to remember she’s only 16/17 in these books.

When I finished CATCHING FIRE, I forgot Katniss actually saw Gale and was in District 13. The film ended earlier than the book did for dramatic effect. When I started MOCKINGJAY, I knew I had to finish it that day since BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES came out the next day. While I flew through the book, I still cried numerous times. I took a TikTok break or two to control my emotions. In the book, I got so frustrated with how clingy Gale was to Katniss. The scene where they makeout in District 2 got my blood boiling. He KNEW at this point how in love Katniss was with Peeta. Gale literally says he will never be with Katniss while Peeta is around because she loves Peeta. Gale just needed to let her go, especially when he got jealous of Finnick simply talking to Katniss. Like, Gale just… he just needs to stop.

MOCKINGJAY really brushed over a lot of the deaths, too. I nearly missed Finnick’s death (I KNOW!) since I was reading so quickly. Prim’s death is seen more through Katniss’ grief than in action. Suzanne Collins brilliantly showed Katniss’ grief in the following months. I loved how well everything flowed together and emphasized Haymitch’s importance in Katniss’ life. He understood her on a new level after Prim’s death. I appreciated their relationship developing after the Games.

Peeta returning to District 12 made a bigger impact on me than in the films. Obviously, I cried during the movie. But in the books, Peeta is literally planting bushes in memory of Prim when Katniss catches him outside. I love Katniss’ reaction of finally taking a shower, getting dressed, and eating once Peeta returns. He really brings her to life again. But she also anchors him at the end of MOCKINGJAY. Together they are literally unstoppable.

I would also like to take a moment to appreciate how Suzanne Collins foreshadows the end of MOCKINGJAY in CATCHING FIRE. This queen has Katniss talking about seeing Peeta with his future children playing in the meadow in a world free of the Capitol and its Games. Like… let’s just take a moment. There were multiple other moments of foreshadowing throughout the books. I could never have truly appreciated these books without re-reading them at least once. I can see myself reading these books numerous times in the future. I can only imagine what more I can notice with every reading.

If you made it this far, please comment below your thoughts! I feel like I ran a marathon writing all my reactions and thoughts to the movies and books in one post. I am currently reading BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES, but I will be sure to write a (probably spoiler-filled) review within the next week.

xo,

Charley

mortal engines movie review // why did i not hear about this?!?

Doesn’t this movie look amazing? And can you believe it’s a YA adaptation? Somehow this movie (and book) escaped my radar until literally three days ago. I saw a few bookstagrammers post promo package images on Instagram, but I didn’t think too much about those. I thought the book was new and looked cool. Then… I watched an Emmmabooks video for YA movie adaptations reviews where she opens with talking about this movie. I had a day off due to cancelled plans and decided to take advantage of my local theater’s student discount to watch this movie.

Before I walked into the movie, though, I decided to check the ratings and saw terrible reviews. Well, let this review be the one that says otherwise.

I had virtually no idea of what the movie was going to be besides watching the trailer and the short clip in Emmmabooks video where she mentioned it. I was pleasantly surprised. I laughed, cried, and jumped through all the action. MORTAL ENGINES hits the spot for everyone, whether you like action, dystopian, a bit of romance, etc.

I loved the world building in the movie and all the animations. The idea of cities that move and tear each other apart for energy is fascinating. The movie opens up with the action of the cities chasing each other down, and I loved how caught up I got within minutes with all the action. The details in the buildings and landscapes kept me enraptured. I could definitely tell the movie came from the LOTR and HOBBIT filmmakers simply from this detail.

All the characters were unique and had their backstories that made me cry, especially Hester. Throughout the movie, I struggled with loving and hating the same characters simply because of how complex each character turned out to be. Hester was annoying at first because she seemed a little “high and mighty” but then turned out to have the worst upbringing ever by a monster who could not feel. I ended up loving one of the villains (yes, there are multiple) despite all his terrible acts. I was legit crying in an empty theater (besides two other guys).

The plot surprised me multiple times with different twists. I don’t want to give away too much information, but everything about this movie is in the small details. Honestly. Pay attention to the smallest thing a character says or does.

I do have a newfound love for Tom Natsworthy, though.

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from mortalenginesmovie.com

He literally took time during an INTENSE fighting scene to stare at some nice aviator jackets. It made me laugh at the most inappropriate timing considering all the fighting going on. I absolutely loved his character because of all the quirks and knowledge. Honestly, he is the most attractive person for a Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff person. He is so sweet…

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I can’t speak for how accurate the adaptation is because I haven’t read the book… yet. I did some browsing through Twitter though and found that is was a decent adaptation. Most adaptations can’t capture everything the book does simply for lack of time, but this movie is literally two hours long. I picked up the book as well, and the book didn’t seem too thick considering the length of the movie. I will hopefully read the book soon, and then I will be able to speak to the adaptation value.

Keep an eye out for the book review coming (hopefully) within a month’s time!

Have you read/watched MORTAL ENGINES yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Charley

the holiday calendar movie reactions// unique, cheesy, and the perfect amount of romance

Welcome to day three of Blogmas!

My love for any and every cheesy holiday movie is no secret on the Internet. As soon as Netflix put their first holiday movie of the season out, you best believe I was watching it that night. I saw a trailer for THE HOLIDAY CALENDAR and knew I was going to love it. 

The movie, overall, had solid acting and a great storyline. Netflix threw in a few plot twists that surprised me (and hurt my heart) for a cheesy holiday movie. 

These reactions are NOT SPOILER-FREE! If you are planning on watching the movie and have not yet, make sure to avoid this post and come back later in the month (or day) to see if our reactions were similar!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you definitely saw my reactions. I thought it would be fun to add a little more context to these tweets.

As required, I saw the love triangle from the moment “dreamy dad” walked onto the scene. I did like that the dreamy dad was semi-likable (until later on) which made me enjoy the movie more. I did not like the idea of the friend with our main character. The chemistry simply was not there. 

Fernando, the comedic relief, had the best lines of the entire movie. Every time he was on screen, I was guaranteed to laugh. 

I used to ice skate at least once every winter at the park down the road from my house, but, as I got older, I stopped. After watching all these cheesy holiday movies, I definitely think I should start ice skating more often. I think this might be the reason I’m still single. 

This was my conflict with the movie. They suddenly made the dream dad super unlikable in a matter of a scene. His character made a 180 degree change from out of nowhere. While I appreciate cheesy movies having plot twists, I did not enjoy this one. 

Netflix not only plugged its’ own service and movie in THE HOLIDAY CALENDAR, but also in THE PRINCESS SWITCH. Like, I’m obviously already in love with you, Netflix. Do I need more convincing?

Like I said before, I loved all of Fernando’s lines. Also, this is the moment I knew Netflix was going to put Abby with Josh (the friend). While initially I did not support the decision… yeah, I still didn’t like them at this point. 

The movie was actually pretty sad for a bit, and I almost thought Netflix was going to pull a major plot twist by not having Abby and Josh date at the end. But, I also really wanted Gramps to pull the calendar out from behind his chair and save having to put Josh back into the storyline. 

When Abby said the above line, my heart became mush. I do have a human heart in my chest. The final moments of the movie were full of good romance between Abby and Josh, heart-warming scenes, and a solid ending. 

Have you watched THE HOLIDAY CALENDAR yet? Do you have any favorite holiday movies you watch every year? Let me know in the comments below! 

Make sure to come back tomorrow for more blogmas fun!

XO,

Charley

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before // book re-read + movie review

to all the boys i've loved before book coverWhat if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. 


I have definitely been one of many people hyping up the release of the TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE movie adaptation. After watching the movie three times in one weekend, I knew I would never stop replaying the rom-com. After I read the book again (in one day), I fell in love with the magic of the movie all over again.

I will briefly talk about my reactions to reading the book again before moving on to my reactions to the film. Although, if you follow me on Twitter you probably already know most of my feelings for this film/book. #notsorry Spoilers from the book (and the movie) will follow here, so if you have not watched/read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, please stop here.

 

Originally, I read the book back in July 2014, just over 4 years ago already. I just recently got into re-reading books, so I only remembered the general storyline and bits and pieces of details. After watching the movie twice (back-to-back), I knew I had to read the book in order to be truly critical of the movie. (I don’t mean critical like hate, but as someone who is going to be reviewing the movie.)

As I read the book, I realized how much of the Song sister chemistry had been changed along with Peter and Lara Jean’s chemistry in the movie. In the book, Peter and Lara Jean obviously start off with minimal, if any, romantic attraction to each other. The fake dating trope heavily develops into their romance later in the book. Naturally, books have more time to develop character backgrounds, identities, etc. versus a movie which is allotted a certain amount of time to tell the entire story. The Song sisters had a different rhythm in the movie as well (much more welcoming to each other). Kitty and Lara Jean bickered a lot more in the books which made their development and growth together that much more meaningful in Margot’s absence in the book than the movie.

I enjoyed falling in love with Peter Kavinsky as Lara Jean did, but I liked being reminded about the intense love triangle with Josh Sanderson. Josh plays a much bigger role in the book than simply Margot’s ex-boyfriend or the boy-next-door. I still don’t like Josh in the book (or the movie), but his character suddenly made sense to be in the story and more of a tension point between Peter and Lara Jean.

A final note about the book: John Ambrose McClaren is more than an ending scene. I still remember this… boy… from the sequel, but he appears much more in the first book. If you watched through the end credits of the movie, then you know how perfectly the writers set up for a sequel movie. While the the movie does reference John Ambrose as a letter receiver, Lara Jean has no interaction with him beyond that. In the book, however, Peter gives Lara Jean his number, she goes to see John Ambrose at an UN event, and seriously considers reaching out to him as a potential boyfriend. I freaked when he showed up in the movie. If you haven’t read the books, you may not have known why it was such a big deal for him to show up at the end and what it could lead to.

Pivoting off the book and to the movie, I feel like the movie emphasized Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship more than the other boys. Josh was still used as a tension point in the movie, but Josh’s scenes felt disconnected from everything else happening. When everything blows up at the end, I felt like Margot forgave quicker than in the book and Josh had no consequence. The climactic points in the book did not transfer to the movie as well as I hoped simply because of the lack of character development beyond Lara Jean and Peter.

The chemistry between Lana Condor and Noah Centineo as the main characters, however, was beyond what I imagined. To be honest, I was not a huge fan of Noah Centineo in THE FOSTERS when he replaced Jake T. Austin as Jesus Foster. As soon as he showed up as Peter Kavinsky, though, I knew Noah Centineo finally found his part. The chemistry between the two actors made me want more scenes between them which naturally happened. As soon as I saw the scene between them in the diner when Lara Jean tells about the five letters, I knew I was falling in love with Peter and Lara Jean all over again. The rest of the film was basically me geeking out over all the little things.

While the film didn’t have the road trip to the estate sale, John Ambrose McClaren, and a few other things, the movie did have a lot of unique quirks and additions that I loved. For instance: Lucas became a significant side character, Lara Jean and her dad discussed love in a diner, and Jenny Han made a cameo. Peter and Lara Jean had a lot more heart-to-hearts and fell in love in their own way.

I love both the book and movie separately, but the movie also holds up against the book. As far as adaptations go, TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE takes its place as one of the best I’ve seen. (*cough cough* definitely not a PERCY JACKSON disaster *cough*) I am excited to see a movie sequel *crosses fingers* as well as read the P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU again… soon.


Did you watch TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE on Netflix yet? Have you read the books? Did you enjoy either one? Let me know in the comments!

Miss Charley (2)

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The Kissing Booth Movie Review // My Reactions on Twitter

While I was on hiatus, I decided to watch some Netflix which basically meant watching the same movie three times in twenty-four hours and four times in a week. The movie (if you couldn’t tell from the title) was The Kissing Booth, originally a book by Beth Reekles.

When I first saw the trailer, I immediately knew it was going to be a guilty pleasure watch. Then the guilty pleasure turned into unashamed love and many, many tweets. I decided it would be fun to round them all up, give them some context, and share them with the blog! Here’s some of the fun I had from the past week of Netflix watching…

The beginning of my obsession developed quickly:

I watched it multiple times in the span of a few hours:

And then I discovered that Molly Ringwald was in the movie, and I was done for:

Now for some of the chronological reaction fun (spoilers may ensue).

We still don’t have the answer to that one, but, after the beach party scene, I sincerely hope he learned his lesson since the text.

Like, seriously… the Flynn mansion is huuuuggeee. The only place Noah could think of putting Elle is in his room? Not Lee’s? Or across the house?

I couldn’t find the picture then, but NOW…

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If you’ve seen the movie, there are definitely some similarities. Please watch the movie just to agree with me on this one. Thanks.

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And then I got pulled into the love story of Noah and Elle, but basically I was the following:

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The prom was anything but ordinary. I finally remembered the name of Lee’s girlfriend, whose name I swear was only mentioned a handful of times. Also, Rachel got major brownie points for supporting her fellow woman in times of distress.

The Kissing Booth made me really reconsider my potential as a student and all the opportunities of Ivy League schools. Then I remembered Noah’s socioeconomic status, football skills, and probable legacy.

The infamous pavilion gave me serious Sound of Music vibes, but I was all for it.

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And that final scene at the airport is what is making everyone want a sequel ASAP, even me. If you couldn’t tell, I’m also Team Noah.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie despite some of the plot holes. I specifically loved how Lee did not end up having a secret crush on Elle (like I was expecting due to the rest of the cliche movie) and had a wholesome love for Rachel instead. All the loves are wholesome.

My next plan to continue my obsession is to read the book and see how it goes from there.


Have you watched The Kissing Booth yet? Do you have any guilty pleasure movies? Let me know in the comments!

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