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?