Saturday, March 24, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Thursday night/Friday morning I sat in the local theater and viewed the midnight premiere of one of the most anticipated films of the year, The Hunger Games.  I didn't know more than a week ago that I would be attending the midnight premiere.  My friends that all love the books have jobs where they can't go out at midnight on a work night.  My sister came up to me one day last week and said "We're going.  Get your ticket."

So, there I was Thursday night waiting for the movie to begin.  I was excited.  I love the series.  I was nervous. I was afraid the movie might not live up to the book and our expectations.  That happens a lot.

What did I have to be nervous about?  The movie was great.  A few things were changed, but the story, the inside and the outside, was the same.  It was right.

I think Jennifer Lawrence was perfectly cast as Katniss Everdeen.  She's beautiful in this plain way, which I absolutely adore.  Looking back on the movie, I keep thinking about how, with her archer's bow, she looked so much like Susan Pevensie from the Chronicles of Narnia played by Anna Popplewell (with much smaller lips).

I do remember in the middle of the movie this is something I could watch again and again and again.  That's the mark of a good movie.  You want to watch it again.

Ten Things I Liked About the Movie (some spoilers if you haven't seen it)
1. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
2. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna
3. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch.  I was pleasantly surprised by his performance.  It felt shaky in the beginning, but he really fit the role.  He stereotypically plays characters like Haymitch so it's not a stretch to put him in this role.
4. Having the announcer, Caesar Flickerman, along with others, describe events in the games.  In the book we get inside Katniss's head, but the movie doesn't have that luxury.  So Caesar Flickerman as commentator of the games for the viewing audience was able to explain things to the real audience.  One cannot just assume everyone has read the book and knows what's going on.
5. Amandla Stenberg as Rue
6. Not showing Cato's gruesome face when attacked by the muttations as described in the book.  I was so not looking forward to that and fortunately, it was not in the movie!  The attack was, but not the gruesomeness of his face.
7. The sets.  They did an awesome job with this.  The District really felt cold and lonely.  The Capitol felt rich, but lonely.  The furniture in Katniss's room in the Capitol was amazing.  I loved the green chairs.
8. Costumes.  This movie better be nominated for an Oscar in Costumes.  It's a tragedy if it's not.
9.  Seeing behind the scenes of the games, seeing them control what is going on.  I love how advanced their technology is and how they control every aspect of what is going in the arena.
10. Katniss and Rue.  They were great together.  I wish Rue had more time so we could see more interaction between Katniss and Rue.  From the minute the two partner up to Rue's funeral is beautiful.  I could feel the sisterly bond that formed between them, though I've always felt it was just Rue taking Prim's place because Prim wasn't there and Katniss wasn't sure she'd ever see her real sister again.

Five Things I Didn't Like in the Movie
1. Not enough emphasis on the "romance" between Peeta and Katniss.  It was there.  It has to be there.  The story doesn't make sense without it.  It wasn't focused on enough, so I don't think the non-book reading audience is going to see how important it is in keeping Katniss alive.
2. Seeing Haymitch and Crane discussing something they want to happen in the movie.  It felt like a cheat.  It's something we're not really supposed to know until book/movie 3 and we're already getting hints about movie 1.
3. Caesar Flickerman's lips were not blue!  Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the book his lips were dyed whatever color he was wearing.  He was wearing blue.  He had blue hair.  But, he had no blue lips.  I was a little disappointed in that.
4.  Haymitch does not fall off the stage!  No!  He wasn't even present at the lottery.  I wanted him to see him fall off the stage.  They really needed to play up his alcoholism, but his whole character is really downplayed in the movie.
5. I didn't feel the same connection between Katniss and Gale in the movie that I did in the book.  Maybe it's me expecting more than what's there, but I didn't feel it.

Forget the things I didn't like.  They're minute.  They don't matter.  The movie was great.  It portrayed what it was supposed to from the books. I'm really excited for Catching Fire.  Can't wait.


  1. The Hunger Games has as much to say about oppressive politics and the bloodthirsty, heartless media as it does about the internal struggle among the combatants. Still though, everybody here is great, especially Lawrence in a star-making role, and definitely has me pumped up for the sequel. Good review. Check out my review when you can.

    1. I'll definitely check out your review. I love reading what people have to say about this movie.