Yesterday, I FINALLY got the chance to watch the Hunger Games.
The verdict? I seriously loved it. I thought it was extremely faithful to the movie (except for a few minor parts but I understood that it was to make the movie simpler). here’s what I thought:
I thought the casting was excellent and it was the first movie that matched my imagination. I initially had doubts about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss (I thought someone like Kaya Scodelario would have fit and looked the part better) but I’m glad that they chose Jennifer Lawrence instead. She played the stoicism and toughness well, but wasn’t too harsh that you couldn’t see the tenderness to Primrose or Rue, or the fear and will to survive. And that awkward affection with Peeta was exactly how I thought someone like Katniss would be.
I was also originally a bit weirded out that Josh Hutcherson was Peeta (him blond is a little bit awkward) but the thoughtful, intelligent way he portrayed Peeta made me wish he did even more in the first movie than he already did (but that movie was pretty long already so I guess that was unrealistic).
I haven’t seen Liam Hemsworth in anything so I was wondering how much acting he’d already done but he seemed to fit the Gale part well. Although the role was just way too small in the first movie to really make an impression beyond “he has an awesome back. And he looks like Gale!”. If the object of choosing him was to really drive home being torn between Peeta and Gale for Katniss, then he definitely succeeded in wavering my full-on Team Peeta mode for the first few minutes.
The tributes were remarkably accurate. Cato, Glimmer and Foxface even looked exactly the way I thought. I didn’t understand why some people thought Rue and Thresh would be white (Really?? I didn’t figure that at all) but Rue was so lovely and sweet, that I cried buckets into Rain’s shirt when she died.
The District 12 team of Cinna (Lenny Kravitz. Seriously inspired), Effie (Elizabeth Banks was completely unrecognizable and completely solidly Effie) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson? Didn’t see that one coming but I’m glad the casting director had a greater imagination that I did) only had one flaw: they had too little screen time.
Donald Sutherland as President Snow was a little bit grizzlier than I pictured but I know he can be excellently cold and I’m looking forward to Mockingjay where he really shows all that cruelty. Stanley Tucci has always played these flamboyant side characters that sell the bejeezus out of how good a movie is (The Devil Wears Prada, Easy A, Lovely Bones, Julie and Julia) and as Ceasar Flickerman was just the right amount of razzle dazzle that kept it from not being too annoying. I’m very glad Wes Bentley was Seneca Crane (he’s seriously underrated) and kind of pissed that he (SPOILER) died. That beard deserved to stay.
LOVED it. It was gritty and had an indie feel to it. It also did a lot to alleviate the intense violence of the books. Sure, I kind of wished to see a bit more but the end goal is not to trigger little psychotics in tweeners. I liked how a lot of times, the camera was an intense close-up and did a lot for the emotion of the story.
Well, Suzanne Collins was one of the screenwriters so it couldn’t have gone badly! It was very close to the book (I even fully understood the relationship between Katniss and her mother and to me, that wasn’t even an integral part of the story!) although they toned it down at the end (that was not precisely how Cato died…), all in all, it did justice to the movie.
Overall, it was a bit blander than I hoped but for a movie I had very little hopes for (seriously?? I couldn’t imagine such a violent book being made into a movie!), it did SO well. It felt like an hour but it was 2 hours and a half!
Here’s to the next 2 movies!