Movie Review: The Hunger Games

***** BOOK AND MOVIE SPOILERS AHEAD!!! *****

It will be ages before I’ll be able to stop thinking about this movie. Which is exactly how it was when I first read the book. And the second time I read the book. And the third. I have been looking forward to this adaptation for so long, I never thought the date would actually arrive. Every agonizing second spent waiting was worth it in the end. The book is always better than the movie, but this one comes damn close. I have seen when Katniss volunteers as Tribute in Prim’s place over 900 times in the previews and it still makes me bawl like a baby every damn time. Just from THAT, I knew this would be special

If you are looking for a straight movie review, I am afraid I cannot be of service. After loving the book for so many years and reading it so many times, I cannot help but make the comparisons. The movie did not follow the book scene for scene or word for word but I can understand why most of the changes were made. The District 11 rebellion for instance. I am sure that showing that will assist in the following film adaptations. Haymitch’s notes with the parachutes were also new but I think necessary without the gift of Katniss’ inner monologues.

There were of course changes that I can’t quite get behind. I can understand the absence of the character Madge, who was meant to have given Katniss the Mockingjay pin but I am still trying to figure out why Cinna told Katniss to stay quiet about it. Everyone was allowed to take one symbol of their district into the arena in the books. I’m not sure that would have been hard to explain in the movie. I also would have loved to have seen the more united front Katniss & Peeta were instructed to put on, including their matching costumes for the training. Instead, all 24 were dressed alike and they did not stand out as a couple.

Despite the few annoyances, I loved so much of it. I loved the coloring and cinematography they used for District 12. It was so desolate and dirty and sad, exactly how I pictured it. I loved that the people of The Capital were not just pretty people with bright clothes and hair but also strange looking and disturbing to stare at for too long. I loved that we were able to feel Katniss’ solitude and alone-ness even amid the vivid colors and spectacular scenes. I loved that I felt like I was a part of her world, a part of her thoughts, no matter where she was or what she was doing.

The scenes I was most looking forward to seeing on screen were done with the same intensity and perfection I had hoped for with the exception of one. Her ride up the tube and the count down to that first step into the Games was so stressful, I was shaking in anticipation. The brutality of the Cornucopia was beyond what I had ever imagined. I held my breath as Katniss worked for that drop of the Tracker Jacker nest. The hallucinations were done so well, I too felt as if I had been stung. Watching Rue’s death with my own eyes affected me even more than I had ever guessed it would. Hours later the collar of my shirt is still damp with tears. Katniss’ scenes with Peeta in the cave were so lovely that my heart swelled to nearly three times its size. The Mutts scared me so badly that I nearly broke my husband’s arm with my frightened reaction. My one big disappointment was the entrance into the arena: The Girl On Fire. It was so much more impressive in my mind. I can’t even be mad though because it would have been nearly impossible to duplicate what my brain created and everything else was so amazing.

I have been listening to the soundtrack for the film for a few days now. They did a phenomenal job choosing songs and artists that fit the film perfectly. Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars did an incredible job with “Safe & Sound” as did Kid Cudi with “The Ruler and the Killer.”  And while I love almost all of the songs, I was thrilled that the movie itself was not filled with pop songs. It would have felt terribly out of place.

I am so incredibly pleased with the way that this movie turned out. I could write about it and talk about it until I had used every word in the English dictionary. I am looking forward to my second viewing and sharing my second batch of thoughts. The film makers did an extraordinary job maintaining the integrity of an extraordinary novel. I have but one question:

When will it be time for Catching Fire?

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4 Comments

Filed under Movies, Music

4 responses to “Movie Review: The Hunger Games

  1. Dawn

    Yes, yes yes! Agree on everything, especially about the entrance into the arena…it felt too cheesy to me, and I was underwhelmed. I wanted a tiny little bit more interaction with Katniss and Peeta but I understand how much they had to cut out. I adored Jennifer Lawrence, she was perfect. It was interesting to see the cornucopia finally, as it wasn’t what I pictured in my head at all. I really enjoyed the scenes with Seneca Crane as he orchestrated the games and the visual effects and computer imagery etc. Can’t wait for Catching Fire!!

  2. jamie

    Here I am to talk about some of my disappointments and stuff.

    So, I think they had Cinna give her the pin to sneak in because they at that point were already setting the whole Mockingjay pin thing into motion, and I feel like by having Cinna be the one to do it, they’re already showing us Cinna’s part of rebelling against the Capitol. Or possibly to really push it home for the audience that Cinna was more on Katniss’ side than he was on the Capitol’s side.

    I loved the books so freaking much, like SO SO SO SO MUCH! I seen this on Friday and I have NOT stopped thinking about it, sadly some of the parts that I thought should have been in the movie are still weighing on my mind (wah). I know once you get into reading what I have to say, it seems like I hated the movie, but I honestly loved it. I thought it was done SO well, and it was cool to see other things outside of what Katniss’ seen/heard. It was interesting to see how everything was really going down outside of the arena.

    Okay, so here is my deal. I felt like the movie didn’t spend as much time in the arena as it should have. IMO, I feel like SO much of what really happened there got cut from the movie. Like Katniss, who should have been dehydrated and damn near dead wondering if Haymitch was passed out drunk or if he was even trying to help them get sponsor gifts. Instead, she was a little thirsty and instantly found water, Peeta’s leg healed practically within minutes and he was walking like NBD. There was no getting his leg munched on by those creepy ass mutts, or the blood poisoning, and even when Katniss got back from getting him medicine she wasn’t even in as rough shape as she was in the books.The sponsor gifts started rolling in QUICK. It just seemed like none of the other things they had to over come in The Games was shown, at all. It was basically survive the tributes and the Game makers and nothing else was really a danger to them. It also seemed like they were only there for a really short period of time.

    I also feel like they did Haymitch’s character some what of an injustice to the story. They didn’t fully show us the extent of his drunkenness and how incoherent he actually was, and the things they did to try to get him sobered up enough to be able to help them. It was like the Haymitch we know from the books, was present in the movie, but not really present in the movie (if that makes any sense?) They also didn’t show us really any of the things that went down where Katniss didn’t trust Peeta really at all until inside the Games when he teamed up with the other group. I think those things should have been focused on more, especially since they showed so much of the events leading up to the Games…and I think those two things were important in the book.

    I have a few small other gripes, but they’re insignificant. AGAIN, I LOVED THE MOVIE.

  3. emmak

    Agreed with everything. Wonderful review 🙂

    Catching Fire: November 22, 2013!

  4. Pingback: All Around The World | winestainedlife

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