The Hunger Games: An Amateur Review

So, while there aren’t a lack of The Hunger Games movie reviews out there, I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts after watching the movie last night.

What I liked

Overall Essence of Book Achieved:
As I watched the movie, I remembered what made the books so captivating. For me, I was caught up in the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. I was never really sure where she actually stood with him, what was real or what was for the cameras. The movie nailed this aspect of the movie. This tension made it just as uncomfortable to watch the movie as it was to read the book. It takes a lot for a movie to match this kind of emotional intensity created by a book.

Events Happening Outside of Katniss’ POV
The book is written from Katniss’ point of view, so it was a pleasant surprise to see what was happening in District 11, District 12, and the Capital during the games. An even better surprise, to see that Suzanne Collins worked on the screenplay! As I have read the second book in the series, it was nice to see these glimpses into activity outside the arena that may indicate some events in the future.

What Surprised Me

Katniss Dominating The Screen
I never doubted that Katniss was beautiful, as well as strong, smart, and agile in the book. In the movie, Katniss stole every scene. The lighting, the make-up and the wardrobe made her a force to be reckoned with.

Chemistry between Katniss and Cinna
What the what? Great fodder fan-fiction and that’s all I have to say about that.

What I Didn’t Love

Shaky Camera Work
During several of the action packed scenes, the use of the not-so-steady cam made it hard to keep perspective on what was happening. I don’t know if it was a device used to blur the violence of some scenes or not, but it was distracting all the same.

Lukewarm Girl on Fire
While reading the book, one of the most moving scenes was when Katniss and Peeta arrived in the Tribute Parade. I was expecting a lot from this scene in the movie, and I was left underwhelmed by the on-screen version of events. I could sense Katniss’ apprehension and reluctance, but the powerful impact of their appearance was missing. For months, I have imagined what music would accompany this scene in the movie. Now, I can’t even recall any specific music during the scene. So, the next time I watch it, I will imagine this song instead (“When I arrive, I bring the fire…”)

In summary, I think this was a good movie and true to the essence of the book. It was also great being in a theater for a movie again and hashing over the movie with friends after. What opens next week?

6 thoughts on “The Hunger Games: An Amateur Review

  1. Great review! I would add to it that I thought the essence the characters were captured wonderfully by nearly all of the actors. Stanley Tucci in particular was wonderful, but Woody was great as Haymitch and the back and forth between his character and Effie was well done. And is it just me, or is Wes Bentley, who played Seneca, an amped up version of Adam Scott??

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004747/

    • Thanks for adding your thoughts! I’m surprised not to have heard more about Peeta. 🙂 I agree, Stanley Tucci was perfectly over the top. Adam Scott would have made a great Seneca. I mean, he has the hair for it, right?? I’m going to try and get my own dress with flames for Spring Fling.

  2. It was fun to get out to see a movie and hash it out afterwards…need to do that more often!
    I agree about the Katniss and Cinna thing – they had incredible chemistry and my favorite moments were between them.

    As someone who did not read the books I felt like I understood everything and came away with the book/film’s message in place.

    An interview with Donald Sutherland was in the Sunday Tribune, he talks about some of the out of POV added scenes you mentioned: this is a video of the interview –
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/68906247/News/Hunger-Games-Donald-Sutherland-A

    And someone at The WallStreet Journal was on the same wave length – here’s an article comparing HG to that other movie:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/03/23/the-hunger-games-vs-battle-royale/

    I’ll be waiting to see that flaming dress!

    • Oh, thanks for the links. I should check out the Battle Royale movie.

      Yes, the flaming dress will be awesome. I may need all the closet space in our SF room, ha ha.

  3. I agree, overall it was very well done; I think it really shows that Suzanne Collins was in on the screenplay. I too, was extremely disappointed in the score though…so much potential for awesome music, and it was completely flat. I suppose that is our inner music nerd shining through! I think my favorite character overall was Haymitch, I thought going in WH would be good for the part, but he really nailed it…I’m excited for the next one as his role increases!

    • I agree–the music was sadly forgettable. Imagine the intensity had it lived up to the rest of the movie! I agree with your thoughts on WH and Haymitch. Also, Cinna/Lenny Kravitz was quite captivating. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Have you read Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles) by Suzanne Collins?

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