The Hunger Games

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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.

 

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17 responses »

  1. Hi Jessica. You may have already seen on FB, but I really enjoyed the movie as well. I’m always worried about a book to movie adaptation and was happy not to be disappointed. Sure, there are little things here and there but in all, a thoroughly enjoyable film and one I will see again and I’m already anxiously waiting for Catching Fire.

  2. Jessica, I haven’t seen it yet, but my 12yo daughter saw it yesterday as part of a school outing. Not only did she like it, but she thought it was better than Harry Potter. Sacrilege, I say! Now if only I can get my wife to go see it.

  3. My husband will tell you that I’m not a crier when it comes to movies, but I almost lost it in the theater when Rue died. I absolutely loved the movie, but my husband says that he didn’t understand certain parts because he hadn’t read the books, so I wonder how much we brought to it. Either way, it should be out on DVD in time for my birthday in the fall, and it is definitely on my list!

  4. Pingback: Movie Review: The Hunger Games « The Midnight Novelist

  5. I agree with almost everything. I absolutely love Josh Hutcherson, have ever since Bridge to Terabithia, but I was worried about him playing Peeta. He definitely did a great job, though. That part was totally his.

    The only part I wanted to see that wasn’t in there was the bread. I think it would have been very touching. I’m sure those who have read it know what I’m talking about. But aside from that, I think they did a great job. Even people who never read the books and didn’t really know what they were getting into loved it and are looking forward to the next one.

    • Yeah, I was disappointed about the bread being left out too, but I felt they made up for it by including the immediate reaction of District 11. It would have been kind of difficult to explain the meaning of the bread in the movie, too.

  6. Thanks for the review. I haven’t seen the movie yet but this helped the itch. I’ve had my doubts about Peeta’s actor too but I’m glad to hear he played the part well. I’ll propably bawl during the Rue scene :(

  7. I loved the film and agree with your review in the things they got right. The only thing that bothered me is when District 11 (? Rue’s district) revolts in response to what Katniss does instead of sending her the bread. The fact that the entire district spent what little money they had to send her a precious git when she needed it was so much more touching than throwing trashcans and the whole riot act. I understand the riot is more active and takes less explanation than the bread, but still, I loved the subtlety of that gesture. Other than that, I was very happy with the movie.

    • I was sad that scene wasn’t included also, but I understand that I would have been really hard to explain without losing the emotion that makes it so poignant. Such is the gamble of books being turned to movies. I’m glad you enjoyed it, though. I really feel it is one of the best book to movie translations I have seen. I can’t wait for the next installment.

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