Last night I finally got to see “The Hunger Games”.
Yes, I just said finally. About the movie that’s been out for four days. But when everyone on your Facebook page is gushing about something, it feels like it’s been out forever and you’re the only one left out. This has now been rectified.
Where do I start? First of all, the scenery was gorgeous. The genuine Appalachian setting of District 12, the ritzy opulent Capitol, the famous arena… it was all beautifully done.
The camerawork? Not so much. It tended to be a bit choppy. The studio couldn’t risk an R rating that would lose half the audience, so the film relied on quick or wobbly cuts to preserve the PG-13 rating in fight scenes. As I watched, I started to wonder if the camera man, editor, somebody was ADD. During the whole movie, I saw a handful of long takes. Apart from those, the scenes constantly jumped forward and around. It’s hard to build suspense when Katniss is fumbling with ropes… no, on the ground… no, running… no – I give up.
I was iffy at first about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. She’s much older than the character, and I’ve already mentioned the racebending controversy. However, she was excellent. Haymitch – another casting ‘eh’ I had – delivered some original and hilarious lines. “Know in your hearts that there’s nothing I can do to help you” indeed.
Naturally they had to cut some things, but overall, I thought the movie hit all of the important points. A few subplots weren’t mentioned in enough detail. The movie makers clearly assumed that viewers had read the books, because some things – Katniss’ relationship with Rue, the ruse she played with Peeta, and the whole bread scene (all we see is Peeta chucking a loaf of bread in Katniss’ direction) – aren’t fully explained. However, cuts to commentators or Seneca Crane did their best to keep viewers up to speed.
What was my favorite part? Strangely enough, it’s a scene that didn’t even happen in the book. If you recall, after Rue dies, Katniss is sent a loaf of bread from a grateful District 11. In the movie, instead, angry district members revolt against the Peacekeepers, filling the screen with the first of many riots. Although the rebellion doesn’t start until book 2, I thought this added another layer of emotion to the scene, as well as foreshadowing Katniss’ future role as starter of a rebellion.
Overall, this was one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve seen, and I’d definitely recommend seeing it. Still, read the book first.