When the movie was first announced it seemed like it would be a lifetime away. But tine flew as marketing strategies for the film came and went. Of course Dan Chiz and I went to the midnight showing in our custom made Hunger Games attire to be among the first folks to see it. The theaters were packed with fans of the trilogy dying to see their favorite story unfold on screen.
I’m going to attempt to write an unbiased review, but in reality this is the review of a super fan. I’ll also attempt to be an adult and understand that it would be impossible to fit every detail into the film adaptation.
As a whole it is like reading The Hunger Games on speed. The story zooms by on the screen and if you blink you might miss seeing Gale (My true love.) entirely.
But before we get to Gale, let’s start with our heroine, Katniss. A huge challenge is that a majority of the book is Katniss explaining her feelings and reminiscing about the past. While Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job expressing her thoughts via facial cues you can’t help but miss Katniss’ inner sassi-tude from time to time. It’s hard to say that I wish they had spent more time explaining the relationship and history between Katniss and Gale because it would cut even more from the meat and potatoes of the actual games. The character of Katniss itself feels a bit different than when reading the books. Though she showed her strength and courage when nominating herself in place of Prim, I feel she was a bit soft and that threatening overall.
Josh Hutchinson as Peeta = I was worried about this casting because of his size, but he was on point and completely changed my mind.
Elizabeth Banks as Effie = Incredible.
Donald Sutherland as President Snow = This was really the only one that made me go, “No.” He should be perfectly groomed. Styled to perfection. He looked like he just left the games himself.
Amandla Stenberg as Rue = Adorable. Great casting choice.
Stanley Tucci as Caesar = I pictured him slightly different, but he was perfection.
Gale, Haymitch, Prim, Cinna and Cato were all done well too. Nothing majorly noteworthy as good or bad. Might have more opportunity to explore these characters in Catching Fire.
Most of my disappointment in the film lies in the scenes where the tributes are prepping for the games. It looks just… low budget. ( And probably was. ) The people of the capitol make it look like we are in a multi-colored emerald city. CHEAP. I wanted more facial alterations and glittery tattoos. Make them look a bit freaky and funky. ( Really want Amanda Lepore or Jocelyn Wildenstein to play Tirgis in Mockingjay ) The costume where Peeta and Katniss were on fire looked WEAK. I’m sorry, but this is the highlight of the book. Find a little more money in the budget to make this look like something of worth.
Now to the games themselves. I loved how they utilized Caesar as the announcer to explain certain pieces of the story. This and the use of notes on the parachuting gifts were a very resourceful way to explain bits you might have otherwise missed. The action scenes were probably some of my favorite parts to watch. They really brought these scenes to life through the editing. They felt as sporadic and intense as they do while reading the book. I definitely had a tear or two coming down my face when Rue died, though I think it’s only really because I read the book and understood the connection between the girls. You didn’t exactly feel the connection there from the few short clips they showed. The scene to follow where District 11 begins to revolt was a great insight you don’t exactly get from the book’s description. Towards the end I found it hard to keep track of how many tributes were left in the game. Then, out of the blue, Peeta counts the remaining tributes (In an effort to help this very problem.) and refers to “Fox Face” as if everyone has been calling her that all along. In the book Katniss’ nickname for the ginger tribute is said a billion times by now, but here it seemed awkward that we were just supposed to have understood who they were talking about. It seems minor, but it bothered me.
Much to my point that the film is made for fans of the book. Not as much for newcomers.
It provides a great insight into some visuals and is very stimulating, but if you’re not already familiar, I could see it being a bit confusing.
Overall, as a super fan, I really enjoyed the film adaptation and felt that it definitely added to my overall Hunger Games experience in life. Of course I wish they had split it into two films and provided more accurate portrayal of the book I loved reading, but it more than serves its purpose.
I can’t wait for a large budget for Catching Fire. (Release Date Announced as Nov 22nd, 2013) Now THAT could be something special.
Who do you think would be cast at Finnick?