Ever since I saw The Hunger Games last weekend, it’s been on my mind. Seeing the movie rekindled my love for the book. Maybe it’s time for a re-read.
It definitely wasn’t a perfect movie and it didn’t elevate the source material but I think it did a great job of bringing Katniss’s world to life. I absolutely loved both Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as Katniss and Peeta respectively. Neither actor was exactly how I pictured when reading the book (Peeta in particular) but I rarely get hung up on looks so long as they get the character right. And I thought they did.
Some quick thoughts…
– I never thought I’d say this but the movie was too faithful to the book. It was almost like the filmmakers were worried about backlash from book fans so they didn’t take any creative license at all. And that’s probably why…
– It was a touch too long. I can’t pinpoint exact scenes now but there were a few in the first half of the movie that seemed to slow the momentum down.
– Ugh, shaky camera work. I understand the use of it during the action scenes, especially at the cornucopia, but at the reaping too? There was no need and it just gave me a headache.
– There should have been more backstory about the isolation of each district.
– Even though I was bawling at Rue’s death, I didn’t feel that connected to her relationship with Katniss. Their bond came across much stronger in the book. I know I just complained that the movie was too long but I would have loved just a couple more scenes to show more of their interactions.
– The BIGGEST disappointment of the movie for me was that they didn’t show District 11 sponsoring the bread for Katniss after Rue’s death. This scene is so important to show Katniss as the spark for the rebellion and would have set up the next movies nicely.
– I felt like there needed to be more admission from Katniss that she was playing the game. In the books, the reader has the advantage of being in her head and understanding the motivations behind her actions. I wasn’t always clear about that in the movie, especially when it came to Peeta. I think the movie tried to show the debt of gratitude she felt for the bread he gave her when she was starving. But the intensity wasn’t the same — it’s too bad because this really conflicts her during the games.
– Of all the scenes to change, I wish it wasn’t the ending. I would have liked for Katniss to admit the truth to Peeta in the end.
– Oh, man. When Katniss volunteered in Prim’s place, the tears would not stop streaming down my face. That scene was so amazing. I also loved how Prim stopped to tuck in her shirt… just like in the book. So effective.
– Effie screaming “That is mahogany!” when Katniss stabbed the dining table with her knife. HILARIOUS.
– Peeta waving to the capitol citizens as they arrived on the train. This scene, along with the moment when he was seen crying on the train, is what sold me on Josh Hutcherson.
– Stanley Tucci was PERFECT as Caesar Flickerman. AMAZING.
– Woody Harrelson as Haymitch was MUCH less drunk than I pictured him to be but I loved his reaction after Katniss shot an arrow at the gamesmakers at her evaluation. LOL.
– Rue stealing Cato’s knife during training with Katniss and Thresh smiling up at her. Gawd, she was downright adorable.
– Cinna is one of my favorite characters and Lenny Kravitz wasn’t *quite* how I pictured him to look (I imagined him more over the top or something) but I loved the quiet intensity he gave to the role.
– Katniss stepping into the tube that would take her to the arena and the look of absolute terror that she gives Cinna… I got CHILLS.
– Cato’s death scene and his realization that he was only a pawn in the games.
– Peeta touching Katniss’s braid just before they’re about to eat the nightlock berries. ILOVETHISSOMUCH. He’s about to die with the girl he loves in defiance of the hunger games and instead of giving her a hug or a kiss, he touches her hair. LOVEHIM.
It was a difficult movie to watch (I could barely watch the bloodbath at the cornucopia) but I’d like to see it a second time to soak in more details I’m sure I missed the first time. Highly recommended!