A Long Time Coming
We have been looking forward to watching the movie for The Hunger Games ever since reading the first book two years ago. Both Amanda and I enjoyed the books and generally like books with a dystopian future theme. Amanda’s book club had read all three books for discussion and my book club is reading it for our April selection. We enjoy discussing the characters, plot and themes of the books.
Thanks to Twitter I had been following several of the actors of the film and a few fan sites. I saw some leaked photos of the on-set pictures while shooting was happening in Kentucky, but have tried to avoid spoilers and reviews until after seeing the movie.
We bought our tickets a few weeks early on Fandango anticipating long lines on opening weekend so we were surprised when we walked into the theater an hour and a half early to find we had our pick of all the seats. Perhaps this was due to choosing a 1:00p.m. showing.
What I Thought of The Movie
[Spoilers beyond this point]
My reaction to the film was wholeheartedly positive. Even though I knew what was going to happen from reading the book the reaping and the buildup to the games had me fully on edge. I was choked up with emotion when Katniss volunteered, and when Rue died. I agree with some reviewers that the movie was made for people that read the book. If you didn’t know the back story, I can see how you would be underwhelmed or disoriented by the movie.
I agree with most people I talk to that the film was perfectly cast. I was initially skeptical at Jennifer Lawrence being chosen as Katniss thinking she was chosen based on the momentum from Winter’s Bone, but she fit the role perfectly. My favorite person to see on screen was Cinna followed closely by Effie. Stanley Tucci is fantastic in anything and he brought Caesar Finkelman to life.
I was a bit disappointed in the depiction of District 12 (with the exception of the scene in the Hob which was better than how I had imagined it). I had pictured it to be much more forlorn, destitute, and dusty. The book depicts everyone on the cusp of starvation and the kids at the reaping looked well fed and ready for a hoedown. I was also underwhelmed by the Peacekeepers. They were hardly menacing and looked more like helmeted valets instead of futuristic SS troops.
The Capitol and its citizens were spot on. The “how” of their technology and the “why” of their crazy couture weren’t discussed, but it didn’t take away from the experience. The scene where the Capitol parents, full of joy and festiveness, purchase the toy sword for their kids and laugh as they pretend to slay each other was disturbingly ironic.
The training room dripped of deadly surgical precision (just like Seneca Crane’s facial hair). I think just enough time was spent between the reaping and the games. The train to the Capitol, the apartment, the presentation of the tributes, training, was all great to see.
One of the best scenes for me was Cinna and Katniss in the holing area and seeing her in the tube about to be raised into the Arena. The bond between the two wasn’t built up in the movie, but knowing the depth of the book it was something I’d looked forward to.
Violence of the Games
Like many I wondered how the graphic nature of the actual games would be depicted. Would it be disturbing to watch 12 to 18 year old characters fight to the death? I was bothered when I saw a group of kids two rows behind us at the theater for a birthday party, most of whom were early teens, but with one boy who had to be 7 or 8 years old. Each kid was dressed up as a character from the movie and was excited to be there, but I’ve gotta think that was a little too young for this movie. I’m still undecided on what age I think is appropriate for kids to be allowed to read the book, but I think the PG-13 rating is a good ballpark.
I’ll probably try to catch the movie again in the theaters before it’s gone, and then begin the long wait for Catching Fire.
What did you think of the movie? Do you think it was a worthy adaptation of the script?