SPOILER ALERT: Hunger Games Movie Review

Maggie’s Take:

Overall:  4.75/5

Come on, it can’t get a five, it’s not the book!  While I understand changes have to be made for the story line and time restraints I don’t have to like them.   I hated the shaky camera during the first bit, I remember thinking if this is the whole movie I’m going to have a problem but that was quickly remedied. 

I didn’t cry like I thought I might, though I got a bit teary eyed at parts.  I think the fast pace really helped with this or was to blame, however you look at it. They cut so much of Katniss and Rue together I almost didn’t feel any connection to her. I liked that we saw some of the characters more than you did in the book since you saw the Capitol from time to time.  I’m torn on the Seneca addition since he wasn’t in the first book (major points for the beard), but I loved the scenes with him and President Snow.  When he is in the room with the berries?  Greatness. 

I’m sad about the dogs too.  I could see where they might come off not looking really like the tributes but they could have tried something.  The collars with the district numbers?  Fur the color of their hair and eyes the same color?  Anything. 

The ending scene with Snow was another great addition.   I LOVED the ominous air of President Snow watching.  A great ending to a movie that helps build tension and anticipation for the next movie, even if it’s over a year away.  😦

Characters:

Peeta:  I feel like they downplayed Peeta on the romance side not there was much to begin with. . . but geez give my bread boy a break.  I knew they would cut down on the cave time but I think they took a bit too much away from his adorable self and his love for Katniss.  On that same note, I think they tried to play up Gale with the cutaways while they kissed, or at least try to gain sympathy for later love triangle use.  I know there was a love triangle in the books but to me it wasn’t as tension filled as what it looks like they are possibly going to build too.  Also in cutting so much of the cave you lose the all of the manipulation Katniss uses on Peeta to get supplies.  The notes from Haymitch helped but I felt like if you didn’t read the book you might be slightly confused since everything moves so fast.  When they get back to the district and they didn’t talk about how it was all for the cameras?  You lose how hurt Peeta was by her admission and how much he really loves her.  Again if you hadn’t read the books to me it just shows he did the same but to a different extent.  Lastly, I’m a little confused with Josh as Peeta is the leading man role.  I love JH, he is adorable as is his character but it was difficult to grasp him as a leading man.  I’m not giving up on him though. 🙂   SIDE NOTE:  His camouflage??  AWESOME! 

 

Katniss:  I think Jennifer Lawerence kicked butt!  She is a great Katniss, cares for her family but is socially awkward.  Question:  Where is the heck was the bread from District 11?  To me that was significant to show another district supporting her but they cut that to show the uprising which you don’t even find out about in the first book.  It’s like they were more worried about setting up CF than getting the important details for HG.  Another detail they failed on, where was my gut wrenching Peeta yell?  When they announce that there can be two winners is they are from the same district she lets out this scream for Peeta that to me unconsciously shows how much she cares though she “doesn’t know” how she feels.  To turn it into to a whisper was disappointing.    I feel the same on losing the trip back to the Capitol once they are taken out of the arena.  Am I the only one who remembers her screaming for Peeta here as well?    It’s like the movie doesn’t want you to pick a team so to speak.  (I’ve got your number Lions Gate, Team Peeta all the way!!!)

Gale:  UGH.  That bit at the end with Prim on his shoulders??  VOMIT.  Gale bothers me, I’m sorry.  That probably comes more from having already read the entire series but he wasn’t at any point my favorite character.

 

Caesar:  What in the heck is going on with those teeth?  They look like chiclets.  Other than that as I’ve previously stated, I love Stanley Tucci!

Cinna:  The costumes?  AWESOME!!  I loved the girl on fire outfit, though I think they should have left the hand holding as Cinna’s idea.  Lenny Kravitz nailed this role as far as I’m concerned.  I think I’m more excited to see him again than more of Katniss herself. 

Haymitch:  Oh Woody. . .it wasn’t horrible but I felt he acted a bit too light hearted.  I saw Haymitch as a dark, damaged, AND drunk person.  To me WH played up the drunk side more than anything.  Maybe if they fix his hair before the next movie?

Dixie’s take:

Overall: 4.5/5

Seeing a movie based on a book, you don’t know what to expect going in.  Will it do justice to the book?  Will the actors fit the characters?  What will they cut out?  Will the movie suffer under the hands of a director who takes too much license with making the actors look cheesy?  (Catherine Hardwicke, I’m looking at you.)

The Hunger Games is a book that had a very big impact on me.  It was so well written, set in a dystopian future that seems entirely possible, with a cast of characters that were genuine and flawed and perfectly imperfect.  So just how are they going to screw it up?

I loved the way they presented District 12.  In the book, we learn that it is what used to be called Appalachia, and rather than look like a futuristic version of the area, it looked like a throwback to the Hatfield and McCoy era, kind of backwards.  The people looked impoverished and generally hopeless.  To see that compared to the way the Capital was so outlandish and over the top in everything, you could really see the dichotomy, the haves and the have-nots.  It was really eye-opening.  It was so much worse than what my imagination conjured. 

I really liked the additional scenes with Seneca, they showed him as a “director,” manipulating the arena, which explained a lot better than the book did, actually.  And I loved that they added Ceasar and Claudius narrating the action, it helped with the exposition of the things we would have known from Katniss’s narration, like explaining the origins of the tracker jackers.  I cannot think of a superlative for Stanley Tucci as Ceasar that is both appropriate and descriptive enough because in the book, he’s great, but the character in the movie stole the scenes. Phenomenal?  Close enough.

Characters:

Peeta: Josh did a fantastic job.  His face when his name was called during the reaping, so totally tragically shocked.  They didn’t show that the “romance” was all an act, fabricated by Haymitch in order to get them sponsors.  But I think that made Peeta look more genuine, so I didn’t mind it so much.

 

Katniss:  Jennifer Lawrence IS Katniss.  I cannot see anyone else being her.  She made Katniss more…what’s the word I’m looking for…sympathetic?  In the book, she’s a little cold, but we don’t know everything that’s going on in her mind here, so Katniss just looks like a girl that is trying to survive.  And maybe here, too, she really thinks that Peeta is doing it all for the camera. 

Gale:  I have to say, I actually liked the times they showed Gale.  And I have come to appreciate Liam Hemsworth.  All of the scenes with him added to the story, even though he wasn’t in the book as much.  He and Katniss had a lot of chemistry and maybe they were setting us up for Catching Fire, but I’m glad his love for her won’t come out of nowhere.

Cinna:  Loved. 

Haymitch and Effie:  Yes, they made Haymitch a little funnier than he was in the book.  In the book, especially in the beginning, he’s a brooding, belligerent drunk.  In the movie, he’s a semi-charming, belligerent drunk.  Effie was superb.  Elizabeth Banks made her hilarious.  The two of them together was especially fun.  I think they should get married and have babies.

The Tributes:  I have to say that I loved that they fleshed out these characters more than the book.  I loved all of the ones who survived the initial bloodbath at the beginning.  Cato, Clove (awesome!), Marvel, but especially Rue (not enough screen time) and Thresh (who they fleshed out…in the book, his presence was very intimidating, but in the movie, they actually show him smile and seem human).

There were some slight differences between the book and the movie, but I don’t think they really effected the movie negatively.  Here is a list of the differences, great article, check it out.

So, those are our thoughts.  What did you think?

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8 thoughts on “SPOILER ALERT: Hunger Games Movie Review

  1. Candice March 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm Reply

    I’m glad you both enjoyed the movie but avoided the “OMGITWASSOFANTASTICIMUSTSEEITAGAIN” attitude so many of us had (me included). Although I agree with a lot of your criticisms. I was a little put out that they didn’t seem to capture the romance between Peeta and Katniss, but I still felt giddy because I knew what was behind all their interactions. I didn’t really feel like the ending was missing their argument, although I love that set up for a sequel (book) and love how Peeta is upset, but I wondered if maybe they let it be a closed ending in case a sequel (movie) wasn’t coming? I dunno.
    I’m currently reading the book again so it’s fun to see the differences/similarities… of course now I want to go see the movie all over again and gain yet another appreciation for THG! 🙂

    • Gone Pecan March 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm Reply

      i might be going again this weekend, a friend’s husband wants to see it…

    • Gone Pecan March 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm Reply

      I’m going again too! Lol. Girl movie #2 is already in development. I think it’s supposed to come out November 2013? I think they used a lot of time to set up for the next one and we can see Snow in all his evilness! ~Maggie.

  2. Tee March 29, 2012 at 11:01 am Reply

    Oh man, Cato and Clove were such badass evilpants. Clove was scary. Like if I was her friend in real life I’d be afraid she’d kill me in my sleep. She has that kind of look about her. I still can’t really decide on my beloved boyfriend Gale because I really hate Liam Hemsworth’s face. I’m sorry. I know he’s perfectly handsome and all, but he’s not Gale for me. Hopefully that will change. It’s hard to make a call with this movie. I agree that he and Katniss seemed to have good chemistry though. Josh Hutcherson was a good Peeta, but me, being all lanky and tall, had a hard time getting past his insane shortness. I’m totally biased against short men (I even have a hard time when Stepanie Perkins talks about how short St. Clair is. It ruins the moment for me). I liked that they didn’t delve too far into the romance-y stuff because I was so afraid that would come of all cheesy like Twilight. Plus, in the books, Katniss is so clueless in this area. I’d forgotten that she screams for him after the games and also, do you guys remember how when they’re reunited on stage with Ceasar, Peeta kisses her and gently pushes Ceasar away? Oh le sigh. I would have loved to have seen that part. I’m totally ready to see it again, but it probably won’t happen anytime soon.

    • Gone Pecan March 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm Reply

      Oh there are so many little things I wish were in the movie, but hey we have three more for them to try and get it perfect!! Clove was creeptastic. . .I’ve never seen the movie, but she was the little girl in Orphan. BUH. I love Josh, short and all young like. I will continue to say, I’d totally break my rule that he should be able to legally buy me a drink if he wanted to call me up. 😛 Short works for me bc sadly I just looked up his height. @ 5’7″ he is 4″ taller than me!! ~Maggie

    • Dixie March 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm Reply

      Maggie likes Josh because she, too, is short. I agree that the shortness threw me off, as well as the blond hair (cause blond men are WRONG). i had the same problem with Etienne.
      I think Josh is totally adorable as a brunette, despite his shortness. and Peeta is full of swoon. I just love him. they could have put more swoony parts. i didn’t get the feeling really that he liked her that way (and it wasn’t all just an act), not like they spell out in the book, anyway.

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