Tag Archives: Hunger Games

Thoughts on THE HUNGER GAMES Movie

***Though I have tried to leave this review vague enough for those of you who have not yet seen the movie (or read the book), I am issuing a slight spoiler alert as I have made some obvious references to scenes from the story.***

It’s taken me a couple days to fully process my thoughts on The Hunger Games movie. If you’ve been reading along or following me on Twitter, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve been off the charts with enthusiasm for this movie. On Friday, I spent some time asking early viewers what they thought, and all of them seemed to be quite pleased.

So, when I headed out Friday evening with seven other friends to see it—five who had already read the books and two who had not—I had high expectations and a ton of anticipation for a movie I’d been waiting to see for over six months. Though I can say that we enjoyed the movie to a degree, we also all seemed to leave with the same sentiments, which were voiced very clearly by my close friend:

“Some things are just best left untouched.”

Perhaps my group of friends is the exception to the norm on this whole Hunger Games movie, but I had a hard time fully embracing it. There are things I definitely enjoyed: the acting, for example, was superb. Jennifer Lawrence made an excellent Katniss Everdeeen, Josh Hutcherson played a worthy Peeta Mellark, and Liam Hemsworth made a workable Gale Hawthorne (though he seemed far too old to be playing the character, in my opinion). Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, and Wes Bentley as President Snow, Caesar Flickerman, and Seneca Crane, respectively, were by far the most impressive, easily filling the shoes of the manipulative Capitol characters they played. Elizabeth Banks provided a serious yet comic relief character through Effie Trinket, which seemed to closely fit the Effie we knew in the books. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was also good, and his portrayal as Katniss’s supportive friend came across as heartfelt and representative of the original character.

The depictions of the Capitol and the Districts also felt clever and suitable. The director, Gary Ross, created a land of excess and technological wizardry for the Capitol, surrounding it with images of extraordinarily poor neighborhoods whose hunger, misery, and complete devastation has clearly prevailed after a hostile government’s suppression.

Despite all this great acting and staging, however, I really felt like I was watching a slow-paced, bare bones interpretation of a truly phenomenal tale.

I know, I know—no movie is ever as good as the book, but I think there were a lot of directorial choices by Gary Ross that could have gone differently in order to more closely suit the story. Character development was of course hindered by the length of the movie, but certain pivotal pieces were also purposely left out, such as Katniss’s guilt over leaving Gale behind, and several momentous details about rival characters through the later parts of the movie. I recognize that some of this happened due to a PG-13 rating—a wise move in that the book is for teens, so of course the audience would mostly be filled with teens as well—but some of it seemed unnecessary. Yes, the story was there, but the devastation and torment caused by a Capitol so horrifically murdering children as payback for rebellion seemed cryptically and skeletally pieced together with scenes of a Capitol that we didn’t completely understand as viewers. Had I not read the book, I don’t know that I would have understood what—to me—is the entire essence of The Hunger Games: Katniss’s strength despite the nerves, horror, and fear she feels as she makes her way through the Games and preparation for them. We see only a glimpse of her feelings in the movie, as we rapidly speed through her multitude of obstacles and her eventual care for Peeta. In addition, the “Girl on Fire” chariot scene felt like someone ran through with an extinguisher to tone down the blaze before it came to our screen, but this part was critical for the entire idea of Katniss as a spark for revolution. To me, the whole film felt rushed and yet barren, as if we were meant to wade quickly through a series of images that could have been dramatic and terrifying, but really were just dulled-down glimpses of a society that was supposed to evoke some emotion from us as an audience.

The part I did feel actually drew something out of me was one between Katniss and Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg. Rue’s demise did play out a tad differently in the movie to suit the time frame, but I appreciated Ross’s portrayal of their connection and teared up a bit as I watched.

In the end, I admit I may have been expecting too much. I will of course see the next movie because I have some buy-in with the trilogy, but even the ending did not have enough bite for me, nor did it leave me wanting more—or even realizing there was more, for that matter. Was Snow mad? Did he give up? Was that a shrug of his shoulders and a general dismissal of Katniss? I really had no idea other than what I read, and for the audience member who did not read the book, I don’t know that I’d return for part two.

Am I glad I saw the movie? Yes. Was I disappointed? Yes. Could it have been done in a different way that would have suited my vision? Very possibly. Am I in the minority of viewers?I’m not sure, but I have a strong feeling that I am.

But, more importantly, do I still have half of the third book, Mockingjay, to finish, to reinspire me to fall in love with the trilogy? YES! And for that I’m very grateful.

I know my opinion is likely conflicting for many, but I’d love to know your thoughts. If you’re willing to share, please participate in the poll below.

Thanks for sharing!

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HUNGER GAMES Fever

The time is rapidly approaching for the opening of The Hunger Games, and I am proud to admit that I myself have a strong dose of “Hunger Games Fever.” Quite literally, actually, as I seem to be coming down with a cold!

Undeterred, I do plan to see the movie as soon as possible, as I imagine many of you will too. Whether lining up tonight for the special midnight showing or heading out tomorrow, you still have time to read the book before the movie comes out! It may be only eight hours for you to finish if you’re going tonight, but this book is well worth a read in advance of the big screen interpretation. If you need a little push of motivation, please see my March 7th post, “Review of The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.” There are numerous other glowing reviews out there that will likely inspire you to finish reading before the movie begins, and I encourage you to read them as well—just don’t take too long, because you need time to finish that book!

Sadly, I will not be making it out tonight to see the movie, what with the emerging cold and the 5:30 a.m. alarm that will blare painfully in my ear, but my tickets as well as those of my nine enthusiastic friends are already in our hands as we count down the hours!minutes!seconds! until our showing at 9:15 tomorrow night.

In the meantime, here are a few links to more Hunger Games fanfare:

There are plenty of other online blogs and articles for you to check out as you’re standing in line for the movie, so enjoy them while you await what will likely be one of the best movies of 2012. Stay tuned for my thoughts on the movie over the weekend, as I compare it to Suzanne Collins’s outstanding novel.

As for finding a good seat in the theatre…may the odds be ever in your favor!


Review of THE HUNGER GAMES, by Suzanne Collins

First take: WOW.

Second take: Thank god I borrowed the next book from my friend so I can start it tonight!

I read about The Hunger Games in Entertainment Weekly about nine months ago and found the concept incredibly intriguing. Kids fighting to the death on demand of a Capitol entity, as a punishment for the people’s rebellion? What an insanely unique idea for a novel!

Over the summer I vacationed to Aruba; on the plane, a young man of about twenty sat beside me reading the third book in the series, Mockingjay. He barely acknowledged his soda and peanuts as he pored over the book, eventually lowering it to his tray table with a big sigh.

“What did you think?” his girlfriend asked.

“It was incredible,” he breathed.

He then proceeded to go on and on about the book to the point where I finally said, “Um, hey, some of us still haven’t read it. Can you maybe not give away the whole story just yet?” We had a good laugh, and he informed me that he’d been reading the series nonstop over the last few days and simply couldn’t put it down. 

I proudly purchased my copy just after I returned home. Sadly, I got distracted working on Kyresa (okay, that’s not such a sad thing), the school year started, and various other bouts of drama abounded—but I swore I would read that darn book before the movie came out if it killed me. Well, I finished it, and you know what? The kid was right.

From the first page, I refused to put this book down. Narrated by sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl in the poorest District who volunteers in place of her twelve-year-old sister, Hunger Games contains a carefully blended scene of both science fiction and fantasy. Gone is the world we know, replaced instead by a cruel Capitol bent on punishing the people for their past defiance. Katniss is a skilled huntress who has spent her life unintentionally preparing for the Games, by providing for her family since her father’s death. Headstrong, clever, and hosting a keen understanding of the natural world around her, Katniss is a phenomenal teenage heroine. She bravely enters the Gamemakers’ world, hoping to survive the brutality that has reminded the world of their place under the Capitol in a manner vaguely reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. Once in the arena, Katniss fights against a collection of terrifying opponents, both human forces and natural elements alike. Meanwhile, she also struggles against an acquaintance from home, the questionable Peeta, with whom she learns a bit about herself as well as her transforming emotions throughout the course of the Games.

Though the book is geared toward a younger audience, any adult can enjoy this book (I personally know of four who can’t stop raving about it). The reading is smooth and intriguing, with rich and engaging characters whose complicated flaws and endearing traits wrap you up in concern as you follow their journey. Even the dangerous, bully teens who seek to snuff the lives of those around them are characters you can’t help but feel sorrow for, as their morals are caught in the Capitol’s inhumane rules and expectations. I had a few flashes back to Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” as well as Golding’s Lord of the Flies as I read, though, I have to admit, I took far more pleasure in this read—and I’m a pretty big fan of the aforementioned pieces.

At the gym today, a gentleman asked me how I could move so fast on the elliptical machine while still reading [and clutching] a book. My response?

“Because this book is amazing! You should read it too!”

I’m so excited to read the next book of the series that I’m afraid it’s now time to sign off and read!

(Be sure to check out Suzanne Collins’s website: http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/index.htm for more information on the trilogy.)


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