Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scattered Thoughts on The Hunger Games

I don't know how to review or talk about The Hunger Games. There's too many variables at play. I read the books just last year and loved them even though with my admittedly terrible memory who knows if that actually means anything. It's also one of the films this year I was most anticipating especially with the cast they've assembled so there are those expectations as well. I think what's best is for me to do an old-fashioned bullet-point reaction list to anything and everything I can remember, positive, negative and everything in the between. I'm going to put these after the jump because there will obviously be spoilers, but if you just want to know if I think you should see the film then YES SEE THE FILM. Also read the book, but I am curious to see what those who haven't read the book thought about the film.

- The casting was pitch perfect. Even though I clearly pictured them all differently in my head when reading the books, none of the actors picked felt wrong to me on screen.

- While this film was not perfect, Jennifer Lawrence's performance really elevated it. Even the Katniss in my head was almost no match to her and that's saying something. She really was able to convey a lot without saying much. It's useless trying to pick a favorite scene of hers but her shell-shocked state after volunteering, her extreme agony at her leg burns, and her scene with Rue stick out to me.

- Rue... RUE! When she asked Katniss if her and Peeta's relationship were real with her goofy smile, it made me smile for a brief second then extremely sad at knowing what's next.

- Speaking off, very intriguing decision to show the uprising on District 11 this early. I do miss them giving bread to Katniss in the book as a show of rare support between districts and would've shown that Katniss is becoming a revolutionary figure that other districts can get behind. As it is, it just looks like District 11 was emotionally reacting to Rue's death (which isn't any less valid or correct) instead of Katniss' show of kindness. But let's see what they do with it in the second film.

- Peeta Mellark. UGH. I'm so so so happy they showed the burnt bread flashback. One of the scenes that stood out for me was seeing Peeta openly crying when Katniss and he were in the car with Effier driving away from District 12. After that amazing Reaping sequence, that was too much for me to handle.

- I'm glad they're not really pushing the love triangle. I mean the shots of Gale being all jealous watching Katniss and Peeta at the Games were a bit too spot-on, but not too much so. With that said, I do wish they somehow got across the utter confusion and complications of the Peeta/Katniss dynamics. Are they in love? Are they just doing this in front of the camera? True feelings? Half true half fake? Totally fake? It's all there on the surface, but I think they could've gone deeper with it.

- Needed more scenes with Cinna. Cinna is a major part of Katniss' life in the Capitol. I think he, and in turn his relationship with her, were shortchanged in the movie a bit. Even his entrance was a bit abrupt and kind of a throwaway. I wanted his relatively simple fashion style be more highlighted in contrast to the excess displayed by everyone else in the Capitol.

- Prim's reaction right before the Reaping was flawless. The actress really did an amazing job having a panic attack. Pretty sure that would be the only sensible reaction to the whole thing.

- I randomly ship Haymitch/Effie. I don't think I felt that way in the book, but Banks and Harrelson really were fun together. Plus even though she didn't really get to do much Banks as Effie was amazing. "That's mahogany!"

- Seneca Crane was unexpectedly great for me. And his final scene, which wasn't in the books, was also surprisingly well-done.

- Cato, Marvel, Glimmer, Cloves, Fox Face, Thresh... yeah, pretty much how I imagined them. Though I wished we had gotten more of Thresh than what we had gotten.

- I know it's pretty useless to talk about this, but I do think that Jennifer Lawrence was a bit too pretty, too clean at the end there. Then again so was Peeta post-cave scenes (he looked positively dreadful while they were in the cave which was good). By the time they got to the end with the berries, they should be both clinging to life and terrifically physically damaged. I know they had to tone it down, but I think it was a bit much.

- I AM glad they didn't go through with the muttations. I mean they obviously they made an appearance, but having human faces like they did in the book would have given me unending nightmares. I'm glad they chickened out there.

- Having Caesar and Claudius do a running commentary to the "audience" was a nice way of getting a lot of exposition through without it being felt too forced. Tucci's teeth will give me nightmares.

- Have to say, I was slightly disappointed by the Tribute parade and the fashion of the tributes in general. Only slightly since they were still pretty good, but this is one aspect where my imagination was 100x better than the film. I wished we had lingered a bit more on the other tributes' costumes as well.

- Peeta's lines which most likely were in the book, but I had completely forgotten, but now gave me a lump in my throat: "I hope I don't forget." "I want to still be me."

- Also Peeta, step away from the paint. His camouflage at the end there was horrifically humorous. I don't know how else to describe it. I didn't know if I wanted to cry or laugh or both.

- I ship Katniss/her bow. That is one beautiful relationship.

- How did I not mention Donald Sutherland as President Snow yet? Yikes! Very good. His scene with Katniss towards the end was as chilling as I remembered.

- The countdown to begin the Games was perfect. Loved seeing people watching everywhere and then giving us a five-second silent scene with Gale overlooking the forest. Excellent decision. And that Cornucopia opener fight battle was as bloody as they could do it and I'm glad they didn't hold back.

- Finally, I just really applaud them for making the parts of the movie that was supposed to be bleak... bleak. District 12 looked appropriately shabby. Cato's final speech was a nice addition as well. Also appreciated them for taking their time in the forest when Katniss was by herself. It wasn't fireballs and massacres every other second.


  1. In the theatre I was in, the audience started counting along in hushed voices during the intro to the games. It worked shockingly well.

    Katniss/her bow. I think I want to follow you up the gangplank to that ship.

    I was expecting the tribute parade to be a little more like the entry of charioteers in Ben-Hur, myself. Could have been a bit better, but still good.

    Total, complete agreement on Peeta's makeup. My theatre cracked up so hard the next couple lines were lost. And yes, they were nowhere near as beaten up as they needed to be.

    Whoever Prim is, she's an awesome actress when it comes to freaking the heck out. Her reactions hit me in the gut hard.

    Cinna may be my new favorite character.

  2. I did not like the characterization of Cinna in the movie one bit. It HAD to be because they had to cut so much for time, but the Cinna/Katniss relationship felt so creepy to me. I did not like it.

    And I think that is my *only* complaint. Little things that changed made me go "hmmph" but nothing earth shattering, except the Cinna debacle.

  3. Interesting mix of reactions regarding Cinna. He's one of my favorite characters in the book and I actually thought the casting for Lenny Kravitz, while surprising, was pretty damn good. But he was neither my favorite in the movie nor did I find him creepy. I still think his biggest problem was that a lot of his scenes especially w/ Katniss weren't in the film. Maybe next movie.

  4. I didn't mind Cinna's characterization, but I think that goes along with the major problem I had watching this, which was that despite only having read the book once, now well over a year (or two?) ago, it is still so deeply imbedded in my brain that it's hard for me to push it aside to watch the movie. So I was mentally inserting every piece of knowledge I needed to know, and I was just SO happy to see Cinna that any weirdness wasn't noticed.

    Katniss/Bow shipper. HARD. If I were still an LJ'er, I would need an icon for that, pronto.

    And hilariously, for all of my screaming and bitching about the love triangle during the books, this movie actually made me feel emotional about the relationships. Again, it's muddled because we don't have the same are they really/aren't they really as in the book, so it'll be easy for the tween set to sigh about Peeta/Katniss. But based *solely* on the movie, I actually was rooting for the two of them. Which was so surprising, it irritates me.

    I need to blog about this ASAP. Too many feelings.


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