You may have noticed that today is Tuesday, not Monday…Oops. Due to some internet issues yesterday and a severe lack in available time, I was unable to get this post together and up on time. Better late than never, right? On to my review.
It is no secret to anyone who follows me that I have been awaiting the opening of The Hunger Games film with great anticipation. I bought my midnight tickets as soon as they went on sale and counted down the days. This past week it finally arrived and I was met with a movie that actually exceeded all of my expectations.
Going into the movie I had more than a few worries. Based on the trailers I thought it looked like the film was going to get the tone and intensity of the books, but I was worried about some of the actors. In particular, I was worried – more like terrified – about Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. I adore Peeta. So much. He is easily my favorite character of the series and I was so scared that Hutcherson would not capture the essence that makes Peeta, Peeta. I have never been so glad to be wrong.
As the film got underway and we got to see more of Peeta I could not believe how perfectly Hutcherson was able to capture him. For once, a movie franchise chose to go with an actor who could actually act the role rather than one who just looked the part and that decision did nothing but enhance the film. Bravo to the filmmakers for making this decision.
It was not just Hutcherson who pleased, though. Every single actor in the film felt perfect to me. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch was just more perfect than I could have ever imagined. It felt as though Haymitch had literally walked out of the pages of the book into the film. Brilliant acting. I was also very happy with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. She definitely made Katniss more likable than she was in the book, but I was okay with that. Most of my frustration with Katniss’ character came from her obtuseness with regards to Peeta and his feelings and, while that plot was certainly in the film, it was not the primary focus, which was a good thing. The film focused more on the emotions of living under the oppression of the Capitol and the inhumanity of the Games as opposed to the start of the love triangle, and Jennifer Lawrence did a great job capturing that part of Katniss.
One thing the film did differently from the book is it showed a lot of the behind the scenes happenings at the Capitol during the Games. I thought this was a very effective tool. It allowed the film to convey information we learn from Katniss’ narration in the book without feeling too expositional, such as when they explained what tracker jackers were, and it also helped show the depth of depravity in the people of the Capitol. Getting to actually see the game-makers discuss things like throwing fireballs at Katniss, follow through on it, and then seeing them coming at her…wow. It is one thing to understand that’s what is happening, but to actually see it – that just takes it to a whole new level. And the scene where the little boy gets a sword and chases his sister down like they are in the Games while the parents look on and laugh in delight shows better than anything else could have how the Games are a true source of entertainment in the Capitol and that they honestly don’t see what the big deal is. It is sickening.
There were several scenes from the book that I was looking forward to and none of them disappointed. The somber atmosphere of the Reaping and the enormity of Katniss volunteering in Prim’s place were spot on. The scene with Rue was absolutely perfect. It was incredibly touching and I am so glad they took the time to really do that part justice. I also thought they did a great job getting in all the emotion between Katniss and Peeta in the cave scenes without dragging that part on too long.
I really don’t have any complaints with this film. It was just as emotional and disturbing and touching as I hoped it would be. I am so relieved that they got it right and I can not wait to see what the next installments bring.
Did you get a chance to see The Hunger Games? What did you think? Did you like the actors or think they were lacking something? Did you feel the film captured the essence of the books? Let me know your thought in the comments.