The Hunger Games [A Movie Review]

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Now that I’ve seen the movie twice, teared up a fair amount and talked somewhat about the book-to-movie adaptation in real life, I think I’m ready to write a review around here. It was bound to happen, I mean I read Hunger Games about a month after it first came out. It was so unknown back then and I wanted people to read it and love it as much as me SO BADLY.

And now, almost 4 years later? I’m just overwhelmed with love for this franchise. The last time I felt this way was Harry Potter. It’s not the same thing, it’s not Harry Potter, but still. I can’t remember the last time I bought movie merch. I own a Hunger Games t-shirt and a grossly overpriced Mockingjay pin. This is BIG.

So, without further ado, a little movie review from someone who has followed this series from the BEGINNING. I’m going all out with spoilers, so you’ve been warned!

Here’s what I loved about the movie

1. I thought the narration through Caesar Flickerman/Seneca Crane/Claudius Templesmith was awesome. The book never explained the actual arena the way the movie does with the “game center” where they develop all the disasters and mutations. I thought it was a really neat addition to the movie and I didn’t mind AT all that it didn’t exist in the books. For people who haven’t read the books, it’ll make the whole thing make sense to them. Without Katniss’ narration (or any narration) it would have made no sense whatsoever.

2. In the end, I really liked the casting. I didn’t think I would at all- when Katniss/Peeta/Gale were first announced I was SO upset. But after seeing the movie it makes a ton of sense. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta literally made no sense to me but he was quite charming in the way that I imagined Peeta to be. I think there were a few moments that I didn’t like him, but overall he really portrayed the Peeta charm well. Same thing for Liam Hemsworth as Gale… Although let’s be honest, that grew on me really fast. He is gorgeous. I wasn’t convinced about Jennifer Lawrence until I actually saw the movie. I thought she did a great job as Katniss and although she wasn’t who I pictured for the role AT all, now I couldn’t picture it as anyone else!

I could basically go on about the whole cast because I thought they were all really well thought out. All the tributes and the main Capitol members. Don’t even get me STARTED on my love for Caesar Flickerman. His little smile at the beginning of his show? I giggled EVERY TIME.

Also… EFFIE. She was AWESOME. I mean, obviously, it’s Elizabeth Banks. Can’t go wrong!

3. There was an appropriate reduction on the gore. When I first read the book I was like “WHY DO I LIKE THIS” because gory things are not my style. I was worried for the movie. A bunch of kids killing each other? It’s traumatizing. I think the movie was adequately gory. I mean, a lot of the excess pain and suffering was cut out, which wasn’t bad at all (especially considering it got a G rating). There’s something about seeing teenagers act so violently that really had my stomach churning. The opening scene in the arena where 12 tributes die? That was enough for me.

And of course, what I wasn’t so crazy about in the movie

1. THE FILMING. What the heck was wrong with the cameramen? BOTH times I left the theater with a headache. I mean, I understand following the action and showing the character’s emotions up close, but sometimes you just need to relax with the zoom. As much as I like staring at people’s foreheads and shoulders, it did not come off as artistic whatsoever. It was annoying. Please change this for the second movie, thank you.

2. The underlying “tension” between so many of the characters. Maybe it’s been a while since I read the books, but did Glimmer and Cato really have a weird flirty thing going on? Why was she sleeping curled up with him? It was SO weird. Not to mention Cinna and Katniss. Thankfully I’ve read the book and I know he just adores her and is watching out for her because from the perspective of someone just going to see the movie? Cinna was a BIT much at times. And finally, I hate that as a movie-watcher I have no idea that Katniss and Peeta are originally a whole ruse. Their affections in the arena look VERY legit and they never show any kind of struggle in the way that she had emotional struggles in the book. I like Peeta as much as the next girl, but Suzanne Collins did not write Katniss as a girl who understands love. She’s too busy saving the world for that!

This picture comes from THIS review. Check it out, it’s great! Lots of great moment recaps. 

3. Even though the movie was almost 2 and a half hours long, it still felt very rushed. I thought 2.5 hours would be plenty of time to cover all the important stuff, but I still found it to be just a *little* too fast paced for me. It’s a good thing I saw it twice because I didn’t have enough time to take it all in when I watched it the first time. Ideally there would have been more time for the ending, which I thought was very abrupt, as well as a tiny bit more time to develop Katniss and Rue’s relationship which was a lot MORE in the book.

Overall, I really did love the movie. I know a lot of die hard fans don’t agree, but honestly? It was overall easy to follow along the storyline and all the big moments were there. The writers even kept some fun silly little things like a moment with Prim’s cat at the beginning. If you’re wondering, here’s a LIST of the changes that were made. I think all in all they weren’t so bad at all.

What did you think of the movie? What were your favorite/least favorite moments?

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14 responses »

  1. I agree times a million.. on just about everything! The camera drove me crazy – it was so distracting! I felt the same way with casting too. I was all for Gale from the get go, but Peeta just didn’t look right (especially in that vogue picture!) and Katniss didn’t seem feisty/scrawny enough. After seeing the movie, they all did a great job of getting the personality and mannerisms of their characters down. I fell in love with Peeta all over again. You were right on with the “tension” too. I actually do remember Glimmer and Cato as a “thing” so that was alright with me, but I think they missed the mark with Gale and Katniss. Gale just seemed like a jaded crush.

    Overall, I was happy with it too! I wasn’t expecting to be hooked to the movie like I was the books, but I think it was a pretty great all in all!

  2. I enjoyed the movie too! I wish that the cinematography hadn’t been SO shaky though, we were also in the second row and that made it even worse. The Cinna – Katniss chemistry thing was also a little weird to me.

    Overall I really liked it. I wish I hadn’t gone with Eric though as he really wasn’t into it and kind of ruined it for me a bit. I would like to go again with someone who’s read the book and would be into it like me!! Haha

  3. Thank you! I’ve been waiting to hear about this movie from someone whose opinions I trust. I’ve been so looking forward to seeing it. I loved the books and the last time I saw a book-to-film translation that I really, really loved was Harry Potter.

  4. I haven’t seen the movie and likely won’t until it comes out on DVD… I am just not a book to movie person! I read about the shaky camera thing on facebook – that does not sound good!! But it sounds like they did as good of a job as they could have with it!

  5. i totally agree that the movie felt rushed, the ending just sort of happened, like oh hey we’re here, we won, let’s do this! haha.

    i loved the casting, the acting, the capitol. it was exactly as i envisioned it. ah. just so much goodness.

  6. Great review 🙂 I too was not a fan of the casting at first, then as I saw it, I just felt like they were all perfect! The only one I wasn’t convinced with was Woody Harrelson. I felt like he played Woody Harrelson, not Haymitch. Which fit, but still. The one I was MOST convinced with was Peeta. The way he was so charming at the interview but cried after the reaping. Nailed it! And I think with any book/movie adaptation, you do lose a lot of that deep inner monologue, so I was glad to see that there was a fair amount of tension between Peeta & Katniss. And I think it’s normal for the movie to feel rushed…I felt that too. All in all, I was glad that they really stuck with the book a lot. I felt like they did it justice and didn’t try to make it something it was not.

  7. I LOVED it too! My bff was not as impressed as me. I agree with most of your points too. I really loved the narration through Cesear and Seneca. Even having read the book, being able to see that “behind-the-scenes” bit made the Games and the Capitol seem all the more horrible to me. I definitely want to see it again very soon. And, I also compared my love for this franchise to Harry Potter, which no one else I know seems to get!

  8. It is scary how alike our opinions are on this. I loved the books and wanted to see the movie so badly but was scared to .. just in case. I’m glad I saw it and will probably see it again many times. I agree that the casting was awesome (especially Flickman) and the camera work made me angry .. and there were things left out that I am confused about due to them being referred to later in the books but I have faith that things will work out OK in the end.

    May the odds be ever in your favour!

  9. Melissa, you’re a girl after my own heart – you know how obsessed I am with the Hunger Games and I pretty much agree with everything you said about the film!! There were little bits I was gutted they missed out, like I wanted them to make a bigger deal of the fact Katniss was faking the romance and Peeta realised at the end! &the bread from district 11… but seeing as it was already 2 and a half hours long I guess they needed to leave bits out. I LOVED the bit with Seneca Crane and the berries that wasn’t actually stated in the book!! &, like you said, I thought the “game centre” where they made the dogs etc was a brilliant touch. It wasn’t until afterwards that I thought how difficult it must have been for the directors, seeing as though the books are written in the first person and a lot of the time Katniss says how upset etc she is “…but can’t show it to the cameras” – it didn’t give them a lot to work with! I’m so glad someone else is as obsessed as me!! AWESOME post babe xxxxxx

  10. Can I say I would have loved The Hunger Games if for no other reason than Wes Bentley is back. Man I didn’t know how much I missed seeing him in films until I saw his crazy beard. I actually liked the shaky camera stuff, but I know others who were a little ill from the moving. It makes me kind of want to go back and read the series. Loved reading your take.

    • I WISH I liked the shaky camera. I was so overwhelmed at the beginning by seeing everything on the screen, the camera just didn’t help for me. I NEED to re-read the series though, like ASAP. That and Harry Potter. I’m behind on my re-reading as much as on my REGULAR reading. Sigh. haha

  11. I agree soooo much with your criticisms. Like, the camera work? WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? I know what it was about – reducing the gore aspect and therefore the age rating – but seriously, headache central. If you hadn’t read the books you’d be like, what is even going on here? Same with how rushed it felt. I thought it was so good apart from that, but it kinda ruined large parts of it for me.
    On the other hand, as much as I liked the story and the books, it is not even remotely close to my love of HP! xx

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