On Saturday afternoon, I FIIIIIIIIIINALLY got to see The Hunger Games [insert Kermit flail of excitement]. I was insanely excited about it, and was thrilled that Must Be Thrifty and her boyfriend, Cheap Geek, came along for the ride despite the fact that neither of them had read the book, and had very little idea what to expect.
Anyway, the fact that I finally got to see The Hunger Games means that Movie Monday is going to be a little bit different this week. Because I have a LOT of thoughts and I need to put them somewhere!
In case you haven't seen it yet, I'm going to put the rest after a jump break, because it's going to get spoiler-y up in here. But if you've already seen it, read on, and let me know what YOU thought about it! :) (If you haven't seen it, go and do so, then come back and tell me what you thought. I WANT TO KNOW!!)
Before I say anything else, I have to say this: For the most part, I loved it. Sure, it wasn't perfect. But what adaptation is?? There were some omissions that left me wanting more. But by and large, they stuck to the source material. And now, COMMENCE SPOILERS!
1. My initial thought was that District 12 looked like pictures of the 1930s. I was hugely puzzled by this, and had absolutely no idea why they would have done that, considering the whole futuristic element. But the more I thought about it afterwards, the more I thought it was a stroke of genius. The starkness of life and the dated clothing were the perfect contrast to the luxurious and colourful ridiculousness of life in the Capitol.
2. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing as Katniss. She brought life and emotion to a character that can seem cold and unfeeling on the page. Her anger and frustration when the Gamemakers weren't watching her performance, her obvious fear when entering the arena, her love for her sister, and her reaction to Rue's death were all fantastic.
3. Josh Hutcherson is pretty much the most adorable thing of EVER. (Except that he's nineteen, and that makes me a creepy letch...) I thought he brought to the screen that likeable, wide-eyed quality that Peeta gives off in the book.
4. I thought Elizabeth Banks was brilliant as Effie. There aren't many people who could take on a role like that and actually make her likeable. "That. Is. MAHOGANY!!" I lol'ed.
5. Okay, let's talk about Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. Yes, they changed Haymitch from being a drunken fool into a supportive, entertaining character. But you know what? It worked. I thought he was perfect. And seeing him campaign for Katniss with sponsors, and seeing his notes to her in the parachute packages made him that much stronger a character.
6. Rue's death. Completely heartbreaking. I'm not ashamed to admit, I cried.
7. I really enjoyed the way that the film allowed them the opportunity to show other points of view. It was fascinating to see behind the scenes, to see how the Gamemakers worked. And it gave them a great opportunity to explain some stuff, like the whole inferno thing. Not to mention, knowing about President Snow from the start would be pretty helpful if you hadn't read the books!
8. I thought Lenny Kravitz was good as Cinna, but that they kind of ruined the character. Obviously, they didn't have the time to include everything. But to turn him from a pivotal character into a helpful friend? It made me a little sad.
9. For some reason, I thought the tracker jackers would be bigger. I have no idea why... I suspect that's just what I pictured in my head when I read the book, and that I shouldn't whinge about this point.
10. Gale was...not so great. I'm not sure if it was because he only had half a dozen lines, or if it was because of Liam Hemsworth's acting. But Gale just felt a little wooden to me. And I couldn't help but laugh whenever they showed his reaction to Katniss and Peeta kissing.
11. I actually loved that they played down the "star-crossed lovers" angle. It made Katniss seem like much less of a heartless bitch, leading the poor guy along. Instead, she just came across as caring about Peeta, but uncertain about how much.
12. The violence. Obviously, to maintain a PG-13 rating in the US (M in Australia), they had to limit the amount of actual killing that they showed on screen. You know what? This was a good thing. It's really hard to feel sympathy for a character when ten minutes earlier, they bashed someone's head in with a brick/slit someone's throat/whatever. But it was still graphic enough that the bunch of old people who were there (there was a sold out screening of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on at the same time, so I suspect they figured they were already at the theatre and may as well see SOMETHING) to be cringing and gasping with horror.
13. This one's kind of random, but I feel like there were moments when a voiceover narrative would have been ideal. This would have given them the opportunity to explain things like the three finger salute and "the boy with the bread" story more thoroughly than they did.
14. As with so many others, I wasn't a huge fan of the cinematography. The camera shake during action sequences left a lot to be desired. Although I suspect it was meant to make the audience feel like they were actually there. But mostly it made me feel a little seasick.
15. Considering how much of the book takes place through descriptive narrative and not dialogue, I thought they did a great job of still telling the story.
So, what did you guys think? Did you love it? Hate it? Need to see it half a dozen more times to decide? Want to reread the book for comparative purposes? Share!!