Note- this review will be fairly in depth and in more than one part.
The Hunger Games Movie Review Part 1
As I sat down in the movie theater with my younger sister (I’m nicknaming her Duckie), I popped open my box of Jr. Mints and prepared to watch a movie I had seen once before and felt incredibly conflicted about.
First of all, usually I hate the movies that are made from books. Ella Enchanted, for example, is a wonderful book that the movie-makers botched into oblivion. Some books-made-into-movies are pretty good, even excellent (LOTR and HP are in those catagories). Usually the longer a movie is, the more attention to detail and plots the makers took.
Anyway, back to HG. After the first showing I felt like the movie-makers had given the book a good shot, but missed the mark at several points. I also didn’t like some of the actors and was missing some audience/on screen character connections, which is quite important if you ask me.
Since viewing the movie for the first time, I’ve read some articles and interviews that have the insight from the cast and crew and I now understand some of the decisions that were made. Not all of them, because that would take me sitting down with all of the collaborators and a tape recorder, but I have a lot more understanding than I did going to see the movie the first time.
This time, I wrote down everything that passed through my head while watching the movie and compiled 6 pages of notes. Yes you heard me, six pages.
Note: I will probably not write about everything I wrote down, but I will touch base on the most important stuff.
Right now I have lent out my copy of HG to Bombalurina (will be shortned to Bomb, Bombs, or Bombie), so I can’t refer to it to double check a few things, so please grant me grace if I make a typo.
HGMovie- Beginning to Train Ride to Capitol
I liked the Treaty of Treason. That’s something you don’t get to see in the book and I loved seeing it in the movie. It lets the people who haven’t read the book understand what is essentially going to happen. Same thing goes for the promo video they show at the reaping. It gives back story that is in the book that needs to be shown for the movie. I believe they show the promo in the book, and they did a good job transferring that into a movie.
The opening of life in District 12 annoyed me. It was shaky and made me feel ill both times I saw it. I think they could have cut that and gone straight to when Katniss is comforting Prim. I did like how Katniss sang to Prim and I wished that they could have sung the song all the way because now I have half of a tune stuck in my head! However, that’s just personal preference and I’m sure the sheet music will be out there somewhere.
I liked the incorporation of background track verses silence throughout the entire movie. It was very effective and helped the movie to move along where it needed it, and let the audience “live in the moment” during the silent times.
When Katniss and Gale meet in the woods, the first time I didn’t really like the scene. Second time I looked for the little things in the scene and felt that it flowed okay and accepted it, I even liked the easygoing interaction. The first time I saw the movie I wasn’t totally a fan of Liam H’s acting (Gale). However, I gave him more a fair shot the second time around and found that (in my opinion) he did a pretty good job for someone who is in the movie so little. I’ll judge his acting more on the second movie. Again, the second time I watched the movie I was looking for the little things rather than the “how are they going to do this?” approach I had the first viewing. The actors did a good job of showing the familiar and close bond that Katniss and Galge have. They only let their guard down around each other when they're hunting, and you could definitely see that.
The Hob was great, and I liked the portrayal of District 12 in general. It was very 1930s Great Depression. Except for the peacekeeper outfits. Those almost looked modern day. I don’t know what I think about that. In general I think the filmmakers did a good job making something that was old/new/future/not too far away accessible as possible when you’re making a movie about children killing each other. However, we shall talk about bobby pins and wig lines in a later post.....grrrr.
Yes I know they changed how Katniss got the pin, it was a good book point, but not practical for the movie- ergo I have no issue with Katniss picking up the pin in the Hob. I did miss Greasy Sae…Maybe she’ll appear in Catching Fire?
Some people didn’t like Effie- personally she was one of the few people who looked exactly like I imagined her in my head. I’ll make a list of those people right now so I don’t have to keep saying who they are:
Rue (Excpet in my head she has a cornrow type hairstyle).
It’s a short list, but hey- at least there were a few people that I didn’t have to go “oh, that’s how someone else thinks of them.” For the most part, the casting was great. I can’t really complain - however I will always imagine them MY way when reading the book.
I really like Effie’s accent, and the capitol insignia. They aren’t related, but they are minor details that I found delightful.
Great job on Jennifer L’s part for the reaping scene. I almost cried both times. She did a fantastic job with such a challenging role. It’d be difficult for anyone to portray Katniss. She’s probably about as close as you can get to a “happy medium” for all of the fans (Happy medium is like a compromise, but people actually are okay with it, for those of you who didn’t know). The salute of District 12 was great too.
For the flashbacks to the day when Peeta throws Katniss the bread…here is my first BIG issue.
Why couldn’t they have gotten another actress for young Katniss? She’s supposed to be 12, not 16. That’s a significant age gap, especially for looks. Peeta looks fine with the different haircut, he’s got a boyish face and that works for him in that scene. I think they needed a different actress for young Katniss. But hey- that’s my first major criticism after seeing the movie a second time.
The first time I saw the movie, I didn’t really like Prim. I felt she was weepy and clingy and not very endearing. However, after watching the movie again, she is still weepy and clingy, but I remembered how Katniss has almost taken over role as Prim’s mother. Heck, I’d be weepy and clingy and un-endearing too in that situation. I’m going to wait for further movies before making an opinion of Prim and Prim and Katniss’ mother. I already love Buttercup and that will never change.
Now we get to the brief part about the train.
I LOVE THE TRAIN!!!! Art Deco and wonderfulness! End of Story. Wished they had carried the theme throughout the capitol a bit more, but what the hay- I LOVED THE TRAIN!!!
Also- Haymitch was fantastic. I didn’t imagine him like that at all, but I like the movie Haymitch just as much as my imaginary version of Haymitch. Movie version is a lot more likable and bit less biting, but it works. I also really liked the Effie/Haymitch conflict that did show in the movie. I loved it in the book, and was glad at least some of it made it into the movie.There will be more on Haymitch later as we get to further parts of the movie.
Overall note - I wish there had been more bookverse. The dialogue in that book was made to be put straight into film. I know a lot had be to rephrased and cut out, but I still wish they could have put in more. Especially later on in the movie. However, I will write about that in my next post!
Until the Next Post! (Due sometime tomorrow or Wednesday).