Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Thoughts: The Hunger Games

THE HUNGER GAMES IS FINALLY HERE! This isn’t going to be an official “review” of the movie, but I just wanted to share my thoughts. It’ll be more like random bullet points of what goes on in my head, similar to what I did for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. :)

FIRST of all, some pre-movie madness, I went to the midnight showing (of course!) and was decorated with a mockingjay glitter tattoo, courtesy of the amazing Penelope from The Reading Fever. I happened to be traveling with my family last week, and so I forced them all to go to the midnight showing and wear tattoos with me. It was awesome. (I’d already forced them to read the books, so it’s not like they weren’t planning to see the movie anyway.)

These tattoos are SO COOL, but it’s actually kind of difficult to get them looking as sharp and amazing as Penelope’s were. I think we did a fairly good job though. And several people at the theater commented on them, which was fun.

Mine was below my collarbone:

And my brother did one on his forearm:

(My parents did them too, but I don’t have pictures.) I think in hindsight I would have chosen a different color glitter, because the gold is too similar to my skin color so you can't see the mockingjay as well. But still. Very cool! Thanks so much for sharing these, Penelope!

But anyway, enough of that, on to the movie!

Here, in no particular order, are my thoughts:

Things I Loved:

- How faithful the movie was to the book. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that Suzanne Collins wrote the screenplay (or at least an early draft of it), but it made me SO HAPPY. As far as book-to-movie adaptations go, this was amazing.

- Liam Hemsworth as Gale. I was actually really surprised by how much he was Gale to me, considering that when the cast was originally announced, I wasn’t particularly pleased with any of the main three. But he has totally won me over. I can’t wait to see more of him in the next movies.

- Peeta’s rock disguise. It was awesome! That’s the kind of thing that you can picture all you want in your head, but actually seeing it on the screen? Fantastic.

- The Gamemakers in their control room. At one point in the book, Katniss has a thought about how she can just picture the Gamemakers in their little air-conditioned room, pushing buttons to send fireballs at her, and I LOVE that we actually get to see this in the movie. It was so fun to get to watch them manipulate the arena.

- Everything else that we see outside of the arena while the Games are going on. With the book, we’re stuck inside Katniss’ narrative, which is awesome, don’t get me wrong. But it’s really fun to be able to see everything else. Haymitch trying to get sponsers, Caesar talking to the audience, District 11 saluting Katniss after Rue’s death, Gale watching from District 12, etc. (Although I wish they would have showed him at some time other than just when Katniss and Peeta are kissing. I think it would have showed his friendship with Katniss a lot better, because now it just looks like he’s jealous – it doesn’t really show the depth of their relationship.)

- Seneca Crane. LOVED him. And I loved his scenes with President Snow, particularly in the rose garden. It’s funny, because Seneca Crane is a character you hardly think about in the book because you’re so focused on Katniss, but I really liked how they portrayed him in the movie.

- The tracker jacker hallucinations. I thought that was so well done, especially combining it with flashbacks from Katniss’ past in District 12 and her father’s death. I even started getting dizzy in the theater.

- EFFIE TRINKET. Oh my god, Elizabeth Banks was FANTASTIC. Effie was PERFECT. And Effie and Haymitch together? Haha, it was just so good.

Things I Didn’t Love So Much:

- Katniss and Peeta’s “on fire” chariot costumes. MORE FIRE PLEASE. That was a little disappointing to me. I also didn’t like that the horses and chariots were exactly the same for each District. That’s part of the costume! It would have made a much bigger impact in distinguishing the Districts if they hadn’t all been black.

- The subtleties and intricacies of Katniss and Peeta’s relationship. There is SO MUCH going on between these two, and that’s nearly impossible to accurately portray in a movie, especially in a short amount of time. Their complicated relationship and how intrinsically it ties in with everything else going on is my favorite thing about these books, and I feel like that didn’t really make the transition into the movie.

- I also really missed the little moments of humor throughout the story. Yeah okay, this is not a funny story, by any means, but there were definitely cute little moments in the book, especially between Peeta and Katniss. My favorite? When Peeta tells Katniss, “Remember, we’re madly in love, so it’s alright to kiss me whenever you want.” <3 I also missed Katniss knocking Peeta out with the medicine so she can go the feast without him following.

- The somewhat anticlimactic ending. I love the ending of the Games in the book, with Katniss screaming and unsure whether or not Peeta will survive, the fact that they won’t let her see him until their reunion on screen, her reaction when she finds out he now has a fake leg, her desperation to make everyone believe she’s in love with him… I think a lot of that was glossed over in the movie. And they were in separate chairs for the interview!! How hard would it be to put them on a couch together??

- The fast pacing. I know that it’s extremely difficult to fit a 374 page book into 2 hours and 20 minutes, and I honestly don’t know what I would have had them do differently, because it’s not like I want them to leave any scenes out, but I just felt like the entire arena section was very rushed. It went from one thing to another so quickly, and I don’t think the same sense of tension and peril was achieved like it was in the book.

- I think the pacing also lessened the impact of Rue’s death a little bit. I mean, I was crying, for sure, but for people who haven’t read the books… I don’t know. We didn’t really get to see the two of them develop a relationship. They don’t talk about their districts or do any of that bonding. It’s like, “Oh, we’re together, let’s go blow up supplies!” Again, I totally understand that they have to fit everything in, but that has consequences.

- And with the blowing up of the supplies, I don’t think they fully explained why that was so important. That the Careers were completely reliant on that food source and that unless they were forced to fend for themselves a little more, the game was kind of at a stalemate.

- I guess what I’m trying to say is that for someone who has read the books and already understands everything, the movie is an awesome visual supplement. But for people who haven’t read the books, I feel like a lot is left out or isn’t fully explained or would be confusing and unclear. I’m not sure how successful the movie is as just a movie. You know?

BUT, all that said, I did really love it overall, and I can’t wait to see it again, and I REALLY can’t wait for the future movies. This is definitely one of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations in recent years.

 It’s been a few days since I’ve seen it, and I’m sure there’s a lot of other stuff I wanted to say but can’t remember (I should have written this up right after seeing the movie!), but that’s it for now! :)

Have you seen The Hunger Games? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. I don't think Peeta even got a fake leg in the movie. I'm not sure how the sequel is going to work. And I might be wrong, but I thought in the book Peeta volunteered so he could protect Katniss. (It's been a long time since I read it). I really didn't like the changes they made. I wish we found out about the rebellions and Seneca at the end like in the book and I needed more w/ Katniss and Peeta, but I did love the rock costume. Even my husband did.

  2. I pretty much agree with everything you have listed. I absolutely loved the gamemakers, Seneca Crane and President Snow and all their added scenes (especially Seneca Cranes at the end - omg that was perfect!) I think they did a better job with this book-to-movie than some of the Harry Potter ones (Order of the Phoenix, I'm looking at you). The thing that bothered me most in the movie (and it's seriously trivial) is the way Effie said "may the odds be ever in your favor". She didn't accent the "ever". It drove me nuts!

  3. I also have to agree with you on just about everything. I really wasn't expecting it to as good as it was. It has been a long time since I read the book, and at the end I kept thinking.. I don't remember it being so... easy. So your right about the leg thing, and her intense worry about Peeta. That would have helped the climax.

    Beth ^_^

  4. Awesome list! I agree with you about Katniss and Peeta's relationship not translating very well onto the screen. In fact, during the cave scene, things got a little awkward, unless you knew exactly what Katniss was doing...which you wouldn't, unless you've read the book. And I loved Peeta's disguise, too! It was so awesome. Anyway, I love your list, and I love your pics of the tattoos! I'm glad they worked out, although I definitely should have warned about using a similar shade to your skin. For some reason it never crossed my mind to add that!

  5. I'm so looking forward with the tracker jacker scene. I've read some reviews and they said it really was great. Can't hardly wait to see this movie.

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