Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match. (summary from IMDb)
The Hunger Games is everything I wanted and more! In a word - AWESOME!
I'm sure I don't have to go into detail about what this movie is about...if you don't know yet, well, where exactly have you been?! Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins, I have been eagerly...even desperately...waiting to see this movie. There's been such a build up of promotion and anticipation surrounding it's release that I couldn't help but be excited...and seriously, I was almost giddy as I counted down the hours until I could finally watch it. It was like being a kid at Christmas, waiting for the time I could open my presents! I will also admit to being a tad nervous...I was worried that I'd been so excited that I might have set my standards too high. But you know what? There was most definitely no need for that worry, because I think the transition from book to screen has been done pretty much flawlessly!
Since the first casting announcements I've been damn pleased with the actors that signed up for this movie. I've thought that every one of them was going to be spot on...and they were. Each actor brought every character that I love - and hate! - alive. I really adored Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss the best. With the book being from Katniss's point of view, we were privy to her every thought, especially the times she was thinking one thing but had to put on a front. Where the movie couldn't get in her head quite the same, Lawrence was still able to telegraph Katniss's every emotion and thought to a T. I cannot praise her enough! I know not everyone has been on board with Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and that's always confused me...I wonder now if that thinking is different, because that boy overloaded me on cuteness and Peeta-ness, just like I knew he would. The cave scene? Oh yeah, you know which one I mean, right? Absolute 100% sa-wooooooon! He's just...both Hutcherson and Peeta alike...so earnest that it makes my heart soar!
Now I'm sure we're all prepared for the fact that no movie is ever exactly like the book...after all, there are just some things that can't translate. Now it's been a while since I've reread the books - I'd planned to, but decided to take it for what it is, as separate, and then reread and rewatch! For the most part I think The Hunger Games is pretty spot on...enough so that I don't think there should be any complaints, at least. I certainly don't have any. I loved the extras that were an addition...like the going ons with Seneca Crane and the production of the televised Games, Snow's tidbits (can I just say that I'm dying to see Sutherland take Snow into the rest of the series? Dying!), the glimpses of Haymitch, Gale, and the Districts watching, and the commentary from Flickerman and Claudius? I found all of this to be perfect, as it really built the tension and added a lot more insight that would've been missing otherwise. I don't believe anything too major has been cut or changed...the scene that stands out most to me is with the dog/cat/beast creatures at the end, where they skipped the heartbreaking fact of their genetics (I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling, but if you've read the book, I'm sure you get it). I also think something to do with District 11 was slightly altered? Way to be vague, I know. But again, I don't want to spoil anything...plus my memory of the book is hazy on that one. Overall though, I don't think the movie could be anymore exact.
I wondered how people who haven't read the books would take to the movie...I saw it with my mother and cousin, both of whom haven't read them, and they both liked it. I kind of grilled them after it, I couldn't help myself!! My cousin (a total guy, ok?) wanted more blood and gore...and I know that there's been reviews that wished the same. For me, I'm effected more when it's not in my face, and I think The Hunger Games handled that brilliantly - the way the fight scenes were edited, to be fast and sharp and close, it increased the desperation and aggression to the point that I got so tense throughout them. Personally, I wouldn't want that changed. Now, a bit more of a major thing that I think lost a little of it's depth is the relationships between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. My Mum? Totally believed that Katniss was with Gale at the beginning, and so couldn't understand Katniss and Peeta. Now I take this with a grain of salt, as it were, because I really don't know how she made Gale and Katniss's relationship more...there wasn't any handholding or anything to suggest they were more than friends. So take this lightly if you've yet to watch the film, because I love my Mum...but REALLY?! However, as much as I adored the chemisty between Katniss and Peeta and think they nailed it overall, the flashbacks to that moment when Peeta throws Katniss the bread? I don't think they quite got across the importance of that moment for Katniss. If they could've someway, maybe my Mum wouldn't have judged the relationship between Katniss and Gale quite the same...but who knows? That is pure speculation. Most assuredly however, they got the point across that there's more of a love triangle going on!
So overall, The Hunger Games kicks ass. I don't think there's going to be any disappointment with this one, whether you've read the books or not. If you haven't seen it yet...oh my God, what are you waiting for? GO! NOW!
Director: Gary Ross
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci
Release date: 22/23 March 2012