Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Hunger Games:: Movie Review


The up and coming book to movie franchise that has been sweeping the nation; one that appeals to both the female and male population has finally made its way into our theaters! Here is my take on The Hunger Games first film adaptation of Suzanne Collins three book series:

Ever get the feeling when you are sitting in the theater, that no matter how much you know the storyline and the outcome of the movie because you've read the book, you find yourself a nervous wreck, a ball of emotion, because you are suddenly inside that characters perspective, to the point you question the next step in the storyline? Everything else is out the window, forget what you knew the outcome to be (even if it is exactly the same as the book) it doesn't matter, your emotional ties and instincts will overrule.

Katniss Everdeen and her family live in District 12; which is one of twelve Districts of Panem. Right away the audience gets a sense of the life in this District; poverty stricken, hard workers, minors. This is quickly in comparison with life in the Capitol; huge sturdy buildings, people overly dressed to make a statement,not having food is not in question. In the book, Suzanne Collins is detailed about the difference between each District and the Capitol- although we do not get a chance to see every district come to life, I believe director Gary Ross did a fantastic job at portraying the dramatic differences between life in District 12 and the Capitol.

 Katniss finds the Mocking Jay pin while trading in goods, this is a major difference from the book. One that I wasn't fond of, until I saw Prim hand Katniss back the pin. I believed it tied her to the storyline more, making winning for Prim that much more a goal. Although I am still interested to see how the this will tie in later from the events that happen in the later books

The audience is seeing this story through several viewpoints... as an outsider for the most part. We get to follow Katniss' journey right along with her, but still able to see the reactions of the people able her to the events that are occurring. Once in the area, we are more "becoming" Katniss! The audience gets a sense of how Katniss feels; after the Tracker Jackers I loved the part where it shows the hallucinations. That is exactly how the book described Katniss feeling after being stung and we got the chance to see how she would see the arena.  

We also get to see the game makers in action. Which isn't in the book- their changes are but only through Katniss' point of view and understanding. I liked this change- sets up the story well. And it also gives insight into Katniss trying to figure out "the game plan"

Main Characters::
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen- Jennifer nailed the role! As someone who was skeptical from the beginning about 21 yo being able to portray a 16 year old, I couldn't have been more blown away her performance. Her emotions were our emotions! Burns- I've never felt so much pain in my life! The shaking, the tears, the lip biting... she didn't have to utter a word for anyone to know how much pain she was in. It was all so real.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark-- I loved the emotions he showed and lack there of during the reaping ceremony, the way Peeta knew how to "wow the crowd' with his charm at the Capitol, Josh did just that!  

Liam Hemsworth as Gale- We don't get to see much of Gale in the first book. But right as he came on screen I cringed a little- he just isn't "Gale" to me, he looked too modelesque to be in District 12. The chemistry was how I thought it would be- they are nervous about the Reaping so they keep the conversations short, but the care and compassion for each other as friends is there.

Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen, Katniss' sister who gets called at the reaping. WOW! just wow! If there was one actor I could pick out of this entire movie, who really stood out to me, it'd be Willow. She didn't have a prominent role, but one that left a lasting impression.  Once Prim's name was called, there was nothing but void, as she slowly made her way down the aisle. As Katniss darts to her to say she wants to volunteer, the emotions are everywhere. I think its one of those situations where you as yourself, would I do the same? And throughout the entire movie, Katniss is always going back to Prim. She is fighting for her sister! She has a motherly instinct over her Prim which led to her protection over Rue. I was very happy with the way Rue's death was filmed. Then there was the flash scene to the District 11 revolting against the Capitol, which sets up for the next movie.

Chemistry: 
The brother/ sister chemistry I felt between Katniss and Peeta, worked well for this film! Katniss was never positive of her feelings for Peeta, she couldn't commit to them because in her mind she playing a game. She would do whatever she needed to survive. So there was skepticism written all over Jennifer's face at times, and then it would click that Katniss needs to pick up the flirting to get what they need to win the games. It was always about survival for her, even if there was some deep underlying love- survival was first, and THAT was evident throughout the film!

The chemistry between Katniss and Cinna I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to write about! I admire both of these characters; Cinna makes Katniss a stronger person- gives her the confidence she needs, she already has the knowledge and strength, she just needed the encouragement.Lenny Kravitz wasn't who I pictured as Cinna, I expected someone a little more "out there" and crazy and chipper, but the chemistry between these two overruled any thoughts I had about how I originally perceived Cinna.
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A big negative, which could ultimately make or break the movie for some was the camera work. Seeing The Hunger Games in IMAX, I would not do it again, unless maybe taking some Dramamine before going. In the beginning of the movie we are shown District 12 through a person's eyes; therefore, it almost looks like a home video- very unstable. I loved the concept of this and I think it could've turned out awesome, it was just poorly done. During "The Games" as all the Tributes are on their stands, as they take off towards the cornucopia once the buzzer goes off, the camera pans to one tribute running... then back to another few tributes fighting, then pans back to that first person. It was very difficult to tell what was going on. I'm not a movie expert but to me if they panned to one person, and cut to the next, we would've had the same effect and actually been able to see who was fighting who.

Overall, despite having to get past the awful camera work... I loved this film! The book to movie adaptation was great! I was floored by the detail that was taken into consideration. The screenwriter for The Hunger Games, I want to thank because even though there are a few parts that I noticed were different and aren't in the movie, I haven't really been able to come up with any lines or scenes that I truly wish were included. Yes, there were differences from the book to the movie- like all book to movie adaptations- but the story stayed true! The emotions that I had while watching the film were the same that I had while reading The Hunger Games for the very first time... and getting those reactions from a fan is what truly counts!

** A great post with all the differences.. THG book to movie differences

2 comments:

Krista said...

I loved the movie as well! I just saw it again yesterday! I cannot believe you saw it in IMAX! I would have thrown up, lol :) Seriously, I was close to the front, which is usually where I sit for movies and it doesn't bother me. I was getting so dizzy I had to look away. You made some great points. Awesome review!

andrea said...

Thanks! I absolutely love IMAX movies, so seeing THG at midnight in IMAX was so exciting to me... but I guess it just doesn't work for all settings? lol I mean, even in the regular theater the cinematography was still very rough, but I didn't feel the need to look away so much.

I'm glad you enjoyed the movie overall!!
-Andrea
Dark Readers

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