Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Thoughts on The Hunger Games Movie

Let me just preface this review by saying that I am a Hunger Games fanatic. I have been since I read the books years ago, and I was terrified to watch my precious baby undergo the hazardous process of becoming a commercialized, highly anticipated film. I balked at many of the casting choices and fretted over the plot changes. At one point, I flat out refused to watch the movie. 

However, my curiosity got the best of me, and I saw the movie on opening weekend. I am thrilled to say that my fears and doubts were in vain. I went in with extremely low expectations and came out babbling on and on about how well the film makers captured the essence of the books. I can list one or two things that disappointed me, but I can talk for ages about the rest of the movie.

It was as if Suzanne Collins' world had been brought to life. From the slums of District 12 to the gleaming Capitol, everything was perfect. I was fascinated by the details. The futuristic technology was present, but thankfully it was kept to a minimum and didn't steal the show. The residents of the Capitol were just as naive and eccentric as I'd pictured them. 

The Characters: 
I'll admit that before seeing the movie, I was totally against much of the cast. I thought Josh Hutcherson was a horrific choice to play my favorite character, Peeta. However, I adored him in the film. Seriously, I've never had such a quick change of heart. While he may not look how I pictured Peeta, he captured the character's personality beautifully. The cave scene- gah, it was just so perfect. 

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss was spot on. She claimed that role and made it her own, and I couldn't imagine a better girl on fire. She was terrified yet resolved, brave yet not unfeeling. Just watching her expressions drew me into the story and convinced me that the movie was fabulous. 

All of the characters were brilliant. Gale, Cinna, Rue, everyone. I applaud whomever composed this cast list. Pure genius. It turns out looks aren't everything when you're casting a movie. Who knew? 

The Arena: 
Um. Awesome. Just awesome. I swear, it's as if they read my mind and tried to portray the arena as accurately as possible. The fire, tracker jackers, and bloody battles were as intense as I'd imagined them. 

The Plot (spoiler): 
Other than a few minute changes, the story was nearly identical to the books. Sure, some details were left out due to time constraints, but the important aspects were all there. My biggest complaint is that Katniss never admits to Peeta that she only pretended to love him. People who haven't read the books walk away thinking that Katniss is simply head over heels for the boy. 

The Effects: 
The fight scenes were very realistic, as were the characters' injuries throughout the Games. No ketchup for blood or over-dramatic punches here. The Game Maker's technology was equally convincing. Unlike some other book-to-movie adaptations I can think of *cough*Twilight*cough*, there are no ridiculous additions (men jumping from tree to tree or zipping around). 

Overall, The Hunger Games  is one of the most successful novel adaptations that I've seen. I left with the urge to race home and devour the books all over again. The sequel film, Catching Fire, is due to hit theaters in the fall of 2013. I'm not sure I'll be able to wait that long. In the meantime, I'll just have to watch The Hunger Games several more times and ramble on about it endlessly. If you haven't seen it yet, go. Now.