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Friday, April 6, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games (2012)



Synopsis from IMDB


In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. 

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     The Hunger Games is based on the amazingly epic trilogy by Suzanne Collins (who helped write the movie. Can you say bonus?!) The Hunger Games takes place in the future after a tragic world that has left people in ruins. Food is scarce and hopes are low. That is where the Hunger Games come in. Panem formerly known as North America is split up into districts. There are now 12 of them. Each district is asked to sacrifice a young man and woman (ages 12-18) to take part of the Hunger Games. They fight to the death, the winner get riches and food for themselves and their family.

     That is where we get Katniss. Her sister, Primrose (Willow Shields) who just turned 12, was chosen to be a part of the Games. Katniss knows how to hunt and survive in the forest because she does it to save her family. So she volunteers to take her place (such a powerful scene by the way). Along with 23 other kids, Katniss must fight to win for her sister  and depressed mom. Unfortunately winning might be worse because Katniss causes quite the stir with the Capitol.

     To say I was dying to see this would be the understatement of the year. I watched the trailer so many times, I know it would classify me as crazy. But I don't care because the torture is over and I am not sure if I am more or less crazy, but I am happy either way. And trust me, you will be too. Now being the booklover I am, I will try hard to remember not to bash the movie too much for cutting things out. It is to be expected. But believe me, I will be thorough especially for other booklovers who haven't seen this.

     Now I did imagine Katniss to look Native American, but I think Jennifer Lawrence was the perfect choice. She captured Katniss' spirit very well. She is a beautiful and wonderful actress (Best Actress nomination already under her belt) and it showed. Seriously, the girl oozes talent. Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson, was great as he was in the book. I love Hutcherson, but I thought Alexander Ludwig, the actor that played Cato looked more like the Peeta I imagined. Ludwig was a good villain though, just as big a jerk in the book. But I am Team Gale (played by Liam Hemsworth), I won't lie. His part wasn't big, but he was great in the movie. Woody Harrelson was a great Haymitch and made you laugh a few times.

     I loved Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, but the movie didn't capture the warmth I felt from him in the book. If that makes sense to anyone. Just in the book, you root for him and see how much he cares for Katniss. And Rue, oh Rue! Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg, was amazing. Cuter than I thought she would be. Now even though the scenes between her and Katniss were short, doesn't mean it didn't leave an impact. I cried like a baby. When I tried not to (since I hate crying especially in public), my lips were trembling. And I wasn't the only one. There was a lot of tears and sniffling in that theater. The scene was very powerful.

     I love the story. As you already know from the book review. But problem with a book becoming a movie is how much they take out. They left out some key things from the book or add things that weren't there. For instance, the movie never explains the significance of the mockingjay. We booklovers know what the pin represents, but anyone else coming in won't know why it is so significant. Also there is a bit of a surprise during the final stretch of the Games. When the Games are down to Cato, Peeta, and Katniss. It definitely shocked me when I read the book, but that isn't added in the movie. I was a little disappointed by that because I was looking forward to that. Biggest disappointment was the very end after the Games were done. The pace was thrown out the window and it felt very rushed and hashed together.

     The President even has a part in the movie. Now after reading this book, I did spoil myself with the other books since I haven't read them yet. So I know the significance of the President. But he didn't have a part in The Hunger Games book. But I can overlook that only because it is Donald Sutherland. If anyone can pull off a great villain, it is Sutherland. His scenes gave me chills. He always had this look in his eyes that lets you know never to cross him. And the things he said were just scary and creepy. Truly great casting there.

      I both loved and hated the directing. The Hunger Games is about kids killing kids and some have boycotted the books and the movie for that. But Gary Ross (director) did it in a way where you don't actually see what happens to the kids. I liked that. What I hated was the focus of it. When there is a fight going on, the camera is out of focus and shaking like an earthquake is happening. It is hard to tell what exactly is going on. But Ross managed to make the movie brutal enough for adults and still PG-13 friendly for kids. Just please, less shaking!

      I loved the look of the film. Panem just looked like it went back in time. Back to the late 1800s or something. And the Capitol was sooooo different. I am all for the weird and obscure, so I actually liked the style of the world. I definitely see that becoming a trend of some sort or at least used a lot for Halloween. It does capture the eye in a very strange way.

      I could pick this movie apart all day. It is hard when you've read the book and you know there are things the book did better. But I still loved this movie. I already watched it twice this week. And I plan on seeing it again this week. If you read the book, you can fill in the gaps yourself. If you haven't, you still get a great film. We haven't had a great sci-fi action flick in a while, with the exception of a few. This film is worth the hype and I am so happy about that. It was nice seeing this amazing story come to life. And better yet, walking out of the theater, kids and adults were asking about the books. How many are there? What is going to happen next? Book-turned-movie makes booklovers a little itchy. But if it gets people especially kids reading, I say kudos. Amazing flick! I think this my longest review yet. Sorry, but it felt good letting that out.


Rating:






Check out my book review for The Hunger Games HERE


3 comments:

  1. I loved the movie and the cast was done superbly in my opinion. At first i can't imagine Josh H. as Peeta but be totally pulled it off. I am also Team Gale and like you i was looking for my favorite scenes. I wished they kept the bread Rue's district gave Katniss, that for me has significance too. But in any case the movie was done superbly

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  2. Yes, I learned the many parts of the books are often taken out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I really want to see this movie.

    And I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. It's coming soon in my TBR pile. :)

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  3. I had to go see this one as well. I'm on the fence about my thoughts. Still trying to figure them out. But I agree with Cinna. I thought he would be warmer and something more.

    But there were a few other things that I liked and didn't much like, but I think it's because I enjoyed the book.

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Due to the daily spam comments I have been getting lately and to avoid the annoying word verification, Anonymous comments are no more. I do not want bargains on bags, watches, jerseys, boots and other crap. Geez, they could at least spam me with book and movie stuff, I would be somewhat interested LOL! Thank you :D