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Some Thoughts on The Hunger Games Movie

on April 6, 2012

I haven’t posted on here in a while and one would think seeing The Hunger Games in theaters a few weeks ago would inspire a rant on how it good it was. But, strangely, it did not. And it wasn’t because it was bad, in fact I enjoyed it very much. I went and saw it again by myself. But for all it’s awesomeness and faithfulness to the books and the great acting, I can’t say it inspired me to write about how much I enjoyed it. Maybe I just expected it to be good and was thusly not surprised when it was??

Let me start off by saying that visually, it was pretty much exactly what I imagined in the books. I’ll owe that in part to Suzanne Collins for painting a clear picture, and to Gary Ross for having the vision to put it on screen. I wasn’t really sure what I thought the Capitol was going to look like. I suppose I never imagined the city as a whole, I just imagined each scene and each building and each room Katniss was in. Even when they were on the roof my focus wasn’t on the city itself. Overall though, I found the representation of the Capitol and especially the citizens to be RIGHT ON. Again, I didn’t have a fully formed picture of the zany things people  of the Capitol wore, but Gary Ross sort of filled that in for me.

I was underwhelmed by the Girl on Fire sequence. My personal opinion is that the fire needed to engulf them even more, like it was emanating from their pores. I also kind of imagined Katniss’ face looking like that of Natalie Portman in Black Swan when she’s full on Black Swanning. I was thinking equal parts gorgeous and lethal.

Cinna was underwhelming. There was basically not emotion in his performance. It wasn’t bad, it just sort of wasn’t there. I was pleasantly surprised by Haymitch, whom I suppose I was most worried about. I thought Woody Harrelson really got across the idea that Haymitch drank to escape his woes, and then as the Games go on he sort of straightens up just enough to help out Katniss. And of course, Effie was great. “That’s Mahogany!”

Loved it when Katniss attacks Peeta after he admits he loves her in his interview. It was a fave part in the book, just the physicality of it, and I loved it in the movie. Jennifer Lawrence is so badass.

Oh did I forget to mention how badass Jennifer Lawrence is? I mean, she’s basically the perfectly Katniss. Sure, I would have liked her to be a little more steely, but she really did embody that idea in the books that in her interview, for instant, she really just sort of became someone else for 5 minutes. And throughout the games she did managed to do a pretty good acting job. When Prim asks her if the thing with Peeta is real and she totally evades the question? Perfect. Though not sure if the weight of that relationship really came off on screen to people who hadn’t read the books. I’m not sure they established particularly well that they would pretend to be in love with one another, and then afterward once Katniss kissed Peeta in the cave it wasn’t clear that Katniss was faking it, and then at the very end it wasn’t totally clear that Katniss had basically told Peeta it was all a ruse. I mean, he was obviously upset about it, but they could have spelled it out with one more line of dialogue or something.

For the record, I didn’t like the love story in the books, I didn’t like it in the movies. Although while I’ve never been much of a Peeta fan, Josh Hutcherson gave him a real authenticity that I didn’t get from the books. In the books he was too good and perfect, and in the movies, while his character held to that, he didn’t seem like a total deer in the headlights. He seemed to have the potential for flaws whereas in the books he was just nice and helpful all the time no matter how much Katniss mistreated him.

Prim was awesome. Rue was cute as a button. Mutts were disappointing. They moved well but they didn’t look very real, both in their design and in their execution CGI-wise. That’s probably just a result of the lower budget.

Gamemaker room was AWESOME.

“Contain IT.” ~ President Snow to Seneca Crane gave me the shivers. Adding more President Snow was PERFECT. His character emphasized the political undertones of the film which come across in the books via Katniss’ thoughts, but without Snow in the movies that idea probably would have been missing completely.

Katniss’ fight with Clove was BADASS. Clove has always kind of been my favorite evil tribute. Just the fact that she can throw knives is pretty fucking badass.

Loved the movie, can’t wait to see Catching Fire, though rumor has it Gary Ross won’t be directing, which would be a damn shame. As long as they get a good director to do the second installment… I’ll be nervous about it until I hear definitive news.

And yeah, I think that’s all I’m going to say on that.


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