Sunday, March 25, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games


 Spoilers for all three books abound!! You have been warned

As far as book to movie adaptations go, The Hunger Games was awesome!

And it was awesome in general too, but there were things I didn't like. I've seen it once (going to see it again today) and the first time around, I couldn't help but be fixated by all the little things that weren't there.

I was okay with Madge not being there, but I missed seeing Peeta's dad give Katniss cookies, I missed getting to know Rue, I missed Peeta saying "come to finish me off, sweetheart," I missed more time in the cave, I missed the Mutts being the dead tributes, I missed Katniss and Haymitch right after the games, and a hundred other little details that weren't there.

The movie is over 2 hours long, and it needs to be. Despite how faithful the movie is to the book, I couldn't help but wish we had more time with the characters. The cave scene with Katniss and Peeta didn't do it for me the way I wished it would. In fact, I never felt the Katniss/Peeta relationship start to develop. That little feeling Katniss gets when she kisses Peeta didn't come across to me. :(

I have hope that it will get stronger with Catching Fire though!

But I still loved the movie. I loved how it stood apart from the book as a fast-paced, exciting movie, while still staying true to the overall story and characters. I loved the tone the movie set, I loved the score, I loved Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, and I (surprisingly) loved Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.

Getting to see some of the things Katniss can only imagine intensified the movie, as well. So much so that I actually liked Seneca Crane and felt bad because I knew how things would end for him. The special effects were awesome too. And the acting! The acting was perfect!! I can't tell you how many times I teared up while watching it and I'm never really much of a movie cryer.

All in all, The Hunger Games was fantastic and I have a feeling my second go around will be even better. I think those who read the book prior to seeing the movie, may just need to see it a second time, to get past all the little details and really enjoy it.

*UPDATED with second time viewing thoughts*

Okay.

So I've seen The Hunger Games movie twice now and I liked it a lot more the second time around. I still miss the little things, but I enjoyed the film more as a whole this time. Most of the changes work well and condense this complex story into a cohesive and enjoyable film.

Would I still liked to have seen a lot of things? Absolutely. But for the most part, the film works without them.

One thing that got me more the second time around was the mockingjay pin. I'm okay with it not coming from Madge, but the symbolism behind it is lost when Katniss just picks it up at the Hob. It's a meaningless, pretty token to her. Then it becomes a sweet gift from Prim and a secret token to bring into the arena. Its meaning is lost on Katniss, as is its power to the districts.

The emotional pull was still strong though. I felt it the first time, no doubt, but I had goosebumps when Katniss volunteers and again when Rue dies and we see the beginnings of an uprising in District 11.

That's another thing I've seen complaints about that I actually enjoyed. Seeing the immediate affects of what Katniss is doing is important to the audience, especially those who haven't read the book. Katniss isn't just some girl fighting to make it home to her sister. Without all of her internal monologue, the audience doesn't get to know her as well, but seeing her affect on others will keep the audience rooting for her. She's fighting to the death, but also maintains the integrity that Peeta says he's desperate to keep.

Katniss stays true to Katniss and despite her prickly demeanor, she's someone who others can rally behind because she's kind and loving deep down.

The Katniss/Peeta relationship felt stronger to me this time around too. Still not so much from the cave scenes, but I had that feeling when Clove eats the berries and Katniss thinks Peeta has died. I loved how she just throws herself into Peeta's arms and you can tell that she really would have been devastated if he had died.

And about Seneca again...I think I love him. He comes across as such a genuine person, despite the fact that he's kind of masterminding the deaths of kids.

Oh, and I liked movie Gale so much more than book Gale.

Please make me eat those words in Catching Fire, Peeta!!

19 comments:

Gina @ My Precious said...

I'm going to watch it today - yahoo!!!

Britt said...

I think I need to go see it again too. The first time it just bugged me the little things I loved about the books were left out. Can not wait for Catching Fire though!

Emily a.k.a WilowRaven : ) said...

I have no idea when I will be able to see this movie but I'm really hoping I can before it leaves the theaters. My mom and sister loved it! I know I will be noticing all the 'missing' pieces too!

Laura said...

My husband can't seem to let the 'little' things go. So he didn't enjoy it as much as I did. I know why the did what they did, but he doesn't seem as forgiving.

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

Nikki I just saw it yesterday and I agree I loved it! I haven't read the books yet so I didn't have expectations and I had no idea about all the little details and scenes that were missing, but I enjoyed it a lot. But I agree with you, I didn't feel and was not convinced by the Katniss/Peeta relationship and I dislike Peeta. But the visuals, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lawrence, the music, everything was great! :-) (I also write up my thoughts in my review of the movie here: http://www.stella-exlibris.com/2012/03/movie-review-hunger-games.html)

Jennifer said...

The hubby and I couldn't go this weekend but we will really soon. He hasn't read the books but is as excited as I am to see it on the big screen. I've heard so many great things about the movie already. So excited!!!

Trisha Wolfe said...

I'm with you all the way. I wish the cave scene really, really could have been longer =( But...I do know how difficult it is to adapt a first person narrative into a movie for an audience. I just hope that those who see the movie without reading first, will now go read the book. They will get so much more out of the movie this way. I'm def going to see it again! Great review!

Danielle Ellison said...

I wanna preface all this with saying: I am completely satisfied. Now, I'm gonna nitpick with you.

I can see how those little things were missing---the only one I noticed while watching was Madge and the mutts. I think you make a good point about Madge and the Mockingjay just being an object, but ultimately, that's something they can repair later. The cave scenes could have been longer, but I'm still content.

I loved Peeta. I am, in all forms, a Josh Hutchinson fan and I think he delivered. I pointed out on twitter that they can only do what they're written to do, and I think they underwrote Peeta a bit. BUT I also think that he did really really good with what he had. I think he and Katniss had this really WEIRD chemistry, which if you think about it is how it's supposed to be in book one. B/c it IS a weird chemistry. I don't know. I was not disappointed in that aspect, but it seems like I stand alone on this side.

I also agree that Seneca is good character in the movie and Haymitch and Effie were spot on. AND OMG--I have never liked Gale but I do in the movie. I DO. I did not expect that.

After two viewings, I still feel satisfied. I do think they changed small things but it's not like HP where it's not fixable. That's the positive thing about Gary Ross directing the next one (and hopefully all of them) b/c he can already have this vision and follow through on it.

Also, how great was his foreshadowing with the roses??

Lori said...

I AGREE! I really, really loved the movie but I have just a few complaints. The biggest is that Katniss and Peeta's relationship is never made clear. I wish they would have added the argument at the end where Katniss realizes that Peeta really is in love with her. Or at least the scene with Haymitch where he say that Peeta is already there. Otherwise, I think it might have came off like they were both acting. More time in the cave would have also helped. I also really loved the scene where Katniss thinks Peeta has died. That was a great glimpse at...real feelings. My other issue was the Cato/Glimmer thing...that was weird.
Other than that I LOVED it. I'm going to see it again today and I'm soooo excited!

Lori said...

I loved the roses!! That was such a fantastic touch.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Seriously, you NEED to see it twice to really appreciate and love it. My second time around was LOADS better than the first.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I hope you loved it!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Emily, I'll see it with you!! We can head to the Nash to see it sometime, if you're free. :)

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Aww, tell him to see it again. I was stuck on little things too, the first time, so I get it.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

OMG, YOU DISLIKE PEETA. That's like blasphemy to me!! But it's okay. I'll forgive you for it. I'm heading to your post in a few too.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

YAY! You should force him to read the books too.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I have a feeling the books are going to read even more now...if that's possible. I feel like everyone and their mom and dad have already read the books, but there will definitely be even more now. Which is great!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Danielle, I swear we have like a hive mind or something. When you were telling me all this in person, I was just like, "yeah, I see that," but now, NOW I GET what you were saying.

I'm with you on Josh. He is Peeta perfection and I think part of the chemistry issues for me is that it truly is a WEIRD chemistry. And Peeta was totally underwritten. But still, I'm satisfied too. Satisfied and soooooo ready for more. More Katniss. More Peeta. More Snow and his roses. JUST MORE!!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I really do wish they did more to clarify the Katniss/Peeta relationship too. I was really hoping for that end scene with Katniss and Peeta, but I have faith all will be fixed in the next one.

And the Cato/Glimmer thing was really weird. I remember seeing them and just being like "oh, that's different," but it is messed up. Like yeah, let's go into the games and get some while we kill people. Wicked strange.

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