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.
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?