Amanda Gates

Movie: The Hunger Games

I went and saw the Hunger Games on Friday. Pre-kid, I used to see movies on their opening weekends all the time. Now I’m lucky if I see two or three movies a year. So, it was a treat to take a day off from work and see it on opening day. I planned to go all by myself, but after a work thing fell through, my husband was happy to join me. He’s seen all the Harry Potter movies with me (but hasn’t read the books). And while I would never subject him to awful-deliciousness that is Twilight, I did think he’d like the Hunger Games. He’s a huge Running Man-Terminator-movie-type-of fan, so while for the younger set, this movies was up his alley.

And we liked it a lot. I always go into movies based on books without too high of expectations because you can’t possibly fit it all in a two-hour-twenty-minute movie. And that’s the truth in this case. While completely entertaining and fun, I wished a few of the characters (Haymitch, Cinna) were more fleshed out, like in the book. I found myself watching through the eyes of someone who hadn’t read the book and thinking, “He might not understand why Haymitch acts that way; they should expand that a bit” or “Does the movie really portray how much Katniss loves Cinna? And why?” (Kravitz’s part was too small for my liking). In the car on the way home, I ended up (over)explaining some things then, like “You realize, Haymitch had to mentor kids for years just to watch them die? That’s why he’s drunk and prickly.” The movie doesn’t go into Haymitch’s situation, but then the books are running together for me, so maybe that actually comes in the next one anyway?

Besides some of the parts where I felt the movie missed some character development—but again, I already knew this stuff—I really enjoyed it. The first half dragged just a bit, but then it did in the book too. I wish the actual Games part was a bit longer and more gritty. My husband thought the same thing. He thought they could’ve amped that part up just a bit. Though the first scene after they jump off their pedestals was pretty intense. And even though I knew what was coming—Rue will die here, those crazy dogs are coming—I still jumped at those moments.

I also really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes scenes with Seneka Crane and his helpers managing the game. (Help me out: does the book go into that as well as the movie, or not at all?) I never pictured what that room would look like, so seeing the technology, the maps and the thought-process of Crane was super cool. I actually liked him and President Snow better in the movie than in the book, maybe because I got more of a connection. (Obviously, “like” isn’t the right word, but you know what I mean.)

My husband thought it could’ve been even stronger in the propaganda department and he thought the studio should’ve created a more male-friendly trailer; guys will like this movie, but might not know it from the trailers that are out there.

Enough has been written about Peeta in the movie, and it’s true, he’s lost the depth of Peeta in the book. And Gale gets no love, but hopefully that amps up in the next two movies. But in the end, it’s Katniss’ journey and this was a great start.

For more: My thoughts on Hunger Games, Catching Fire & Mockingjay. While the story went downhill for me, I still plan to see all the movies.

 

Comments

Thanks Shannon!

Here's a link to EW's review, where she talks bit about Peeta's watered-down character:

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20419951_20567672,00.html

I concur pretty much

I concur pretty much completely with everything you said. I haven't read much about the Peeta thing, but I'm going to go look for it because I'm curious. I loved most of the characters and how they were portrayed, especially Katniss, Cesar and Seneka, but I was only eh about Peeta.

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