I admit that I had high expectations for this film. Higher than any other book-to-film franchise. Why? The book is almost written like a screenplay, in my opinion. It's very visual -- the readers can see what's happening in their minds as they read. Suzanne Collins did a great job describing her dystopian Panem and bringing it to life on the page -- of course it would translate beautifully to film. The futuristic setting and action-packed plot are way too cool and exciting not to convey well on the screen, especially in the day and age of high-quality, realistic CG technology. The one thing I worried about was all of Katniss's internal dialogue that goes on in the book. How would that work in a movie? I imagined a lot of cheesy voice-over and that kind of had me worried.
Alas, every expectation I had for The Hunger Games was met and most were even exceeded. Every worry I had (too much shaky cam? Too violent? Too much cheesy voice-over?) was dispelled. I thought the film was perfectly done. Perfectly. Definitely a satisfied Hunger Games fan here.
First: Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson (Katniss and Peeta) were brilliant, individually and together. See picture down yonder. Their interactions felt so natural. There was not an entire moment where I cringed and thought, "Oh man, that was totally forced and awkward." Unlike every scene between Bella and Edward, ever.
Second: Seneca Crane. Maybe it was the beard, maybe it was the red shirt, maybe it was his piercing blue eyes, I don't know. But I couldn't peel my eyes off him. He was mesmerizing. And SPOILER ALERT!!! I was so sad when he had to eat the poison berries at the end. When Dill's done filming Phase 2 of the New Testament project (oh yeah, the beard's coming back for another round) I am going to shave his beard into this:
Third: The Capitol and its people was portrayed perfectly. Effie Trinket? Caesar Flickerman?! Stanley Tucci is the man. And I loved the juxtaposition of the Capitol and District 12. So stark. So true to the novel.
Fourth: Rue. So darling. They definitely hit the mark when they cast her. And I definitely bawled when she SPOILER ALERT!!! was killed.
However, this movie is definitely rated PG-13 for a reason. So, please don't take your toddler to it so she can disrupt The Cave Scene with her 30 seconds of loud wailing. Yeah, that happened. Still bitter, obviously. But I digress: if you're OK with your kid reading the books, the movie will be fine. That's just my opinion; obviously, you are entitled to yours.
I posted on Facebook that I thought The Hunger Games was a better book-to-film adaptation than Harry Potter and my opinion was met with some dissent. Let me explain myself, though. I think HG had the unfair advantage of being a relatively short book, fast-paced book without a ton of backstory and zero plot deviations. Also, it's written in first-person so we only have to follow Katniss's point of view, which probably makes it a lot easier to write a screenplay. Harry Potter is a very intricate, complicated and LONG book series, written from an omniscient point of view, so it's impossible to transfer it to the silver screen without losing some elements in the process. As much as I'd love it, they can't make a seven-hour Harry Potter movie.
So, when I say the HG is a better book-to-film adaptation than Harry Potter, I mean exactly that, and I mean only slightly. The Harry Potter books will always be my favorite series. But I do enjoy the Hunger Games series as well and was more than happy with the movie adaptation. Bravo, Gary Ross and Co.
Alright, now it's your turn! Favorite parts? Favorite characters? Things you hated? Things you wish they had done differently? Let's talk!