Movie Adaptation: The Hunger Games (2012)
Disclaimer: I have read The Hunger Games and the rest of the series prior to watching this movie so my opinions may have the basis of having the experience of being able to “read” the characters’ thoughts and emotions. There may be spoilers in regards to the movie adaptation, but no spoilers of the book/story.
I headed to see The Hunger Games on Saturday afternoon. The theatre was packed with teenagers, families, and adults [mostly teenagers though]. We were lucky to be seated around people who weren’t whispering and eating loudly [yay for a good movie atmosphere].
First off, I thought all the characters were nicely cast and very well acted [I’m not going to be able to mention all of them in this post]. Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss nailed it for me. She was full of emotion and emotionless all in the space of an hour and I found it in sync with how I imagined Katniss to be. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was great, especially during the “interview” scene. Charming, funny, and adorable – he was an awesome choice for Peeta. I loved loved Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman! He was so so good – that’s all I can really say. I imagined Haymitch to be more unrefined but Woody Harrelson did the job, especially when he shows that he actually does care for Peeta and Katniss. As for the tributes, stand-outs for me were the actors for Rue and Thresh, they were almost exactly as I imagined. Cato (played by Alexander Ludwig) was a little too “pretty” for my image of him as a “killing-machine”. And damn! Lenny Kravitz can pull off a mean gold eyeliner!
I did not have an issue with how the setting of the movie looked. The Capitol was as flamboyant, ignorant, and insane as I imagined it to be. And the districts were nothing special – which I guess is what it’s meant to look like. The arena was done really well, I thought. The cornucopia and the forest surrounding was perfect for the atmosphere.
The individual training scene was done perfectly and Jennifer Lawrence’s acting was absolutely great there. The bread flashback scene wasn’t explained, however well done it was, there was no significance to audiences who haven’t read the book. The “trackerjacker” scene, I thought was really well done and one of my favourites of the entire movie. I think the shakiness of the camera and the hallucinations and blurriness really brought it to life. The death scene (yes, THAT one with THAT person) did not make me tear up when I was reading about it. But –crazily enough– it did bring tears to my eyes when I was watching it on the screen. The “cave” scene wasn’t as deep emotionally as I expected it to be. That relationship needed to develop and although it did, in a way, it was not enough to satisfy my take on it from the book.
Book-to-Movie – The Good and the Not as Good/Different:
[this will be a list of random words or phrases other than what I’ve already mentioned above that will hopefully not spoil much, if any, of the book if you have not read it]
Good: President Snow’s creep-factor, tribute opening ceremony costumes, cornucopia battle, the “feast”, tracker-jacker hallucinations, mockingjays, Peeta’s camouflage, Effie Trinket, forest fire, salute from D11
Not as Good/Different: cave scene, gore (I know, PG-13, but still would have added a real-ness to the movie), hovercraft at the end, Peeta’s leg thing, cough syrup, Avox girl, muttations, Rue/Katniss relationship development, Katniss/Peeta relationship development
Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie! You can’t fit an entire book into 2.5 hours and expect to please everybody. I think Gary Ross did an excellent job with the help of Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray (screenplay co-writers w/ Gary Ross). It definitely wasn’t a disappointment and I am already awaiting Catching Fire (my favourite of the trilogy).