So much for writing more often, eh? I’ve been busy, with track starting up and stuff. I had my first meet yesterday and I came first in my heat, 15.3 in the 100 and 33.4 in the 200. (I ran in exhibition, which means my scores don’t count for points.)
The multi-million blockbuster The Hunger Games made its debut this weekend, to the cheers of its many fans (called Tributes). While I was not fortunate enough to attend the midnight premiere, I did go the third night and was astounded at what I saw. I arrived an hour early and was one of the first people in the theater, but it quickly filled up. When the trailers started at 6:30, I was pretty bored. The half-hour went by really fast, and then the movie started in an inconspicuous way.
The screen grew black and white words scrolled on, explaining the general idea of the Hunger Games. I was rather surprised, because this seemed like an awfully boring way to start a movie. Indeed, unless viewers had read the books, the opening scenes may have bored them. While the cinematography was excellent, I didn’t really understand how someone could comprehend this if they had never read the books. Also, the shaky camera work contributed more to me having a stomachache than to me being wowed by the artsy-ness of the movie. However, I was thrilled with the way this huge project turned out. I am now a big, big, big fan (as Effie would say) of Director Gary Ross, who captured the essence of the story without going overboard or making it cheesy.
In the book, the story is told from a first person, limited viewpoint (meaning that Katniss relays her thoughts and emotions, and does not know anyone else’s. The audience only knows what she knows.) But in the movie, the viewers are given more of an omnipresent viewpoint. We see the gamemakers deviously controlling the arena, which brings this twisted, evil Capitol to light more than in the book. The Capitol definitely lived up to my expectations. In the first book of the Hunger Games, we don’t really get a glimpse of the Capitol, except to laugh at them, so this presence in the movie was an expository element. In addition, I especially liked how whenever Katniss would relate with Peeta, they showed Gale and the viewers in District 12, to give us a taste of the future ;)
Overall, the acting was pretty good. Jennifer Lawrence did a phenomenal job as Katniss. Even though the film gives us a third-person view, she captures Katniss’ emotions effortlessly by just her actions and tone of voice. That was one of the noticeable things about the movie, too. There was not much talking. In the beginning, there is more dialogue because the idea of the Hunger Games is being explained, but later on the dialogue, especially in the arena, dies down quite a bit. But even this is understandable, because you wouldn’t expect fighting people to talk to each other…
Josh Hutcherson does not ‘wow’ me with his job at portraying Peeta. He certainly grows on you throughout the film. I came in going “Gross!” and left going “Well, he’s ok.” Peeta’s role is downplayed in the movie, which is probably why I was iffy on Hutcherson. He’s kind of ugly (sorry fans) and he’s short. He reminds me of the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Rue was great! I love little Amandla Stenburg’s amazing portrayal of her. She embodies the gentleness, the sweetness, the strength of this girl. Her scene *not gonna spoil it* was so amazing. I cried. I almost cried at the Reaping too.
Liam Hemsworth plays Gale, and his role is definitely downplayed. But I’m ok with that because I know more is coming. The actress Willow Shields plays Prim, and she was pretty good for her age and her screen time. The scene with her that really got to me was at the Reaping.
The tributes were pretty good; you don’t really see them. Foxface was exactly how I imagined her, as was Glimmer. Rue was amazing. (again) I cried in *that* scene. I felt like they made Seneca Crane a bigger role than was necessary, and I also noticed that President Snow was made nicer. I pictured a modern-day, Capitolized Nero. I also thought that Effie was downplayed. Her character was as bubbly and frivolous as ever, but Elizabeth Banks didn’t get much screen time. I guess it’s all a matter of what you can cram into 2 hours and 22 minutes.
There are two options when you go to the Hunger Games: you’ll be disappointed, or you’ll be happy. I think I err on the happy side. They didn’t deviate too far from the book. It was pretty true to it, but Peeta keeps his leg… that made me sad :) Quick cuts and shaky camerawork definitely minimize the violence. I was actually surprised at how clean it was. There were a few instances of mild language, and there were a couple romantic spots, but not bad at all. Because of the violence, I would limit the books and movies to those 13 and up, but for a young adult novel and movie, it was relatively clean.
Now the criticisms: the movie left a lot out of the book. For someone who had never read the book, it would have made no sense at all. The Capitol was made to look nicer, not bloodthirsty or evil, as was Snow. Seneca Crane was made too big of a role.
Haymitch disappointed me. He was never drunk, and he was not very funny or slobby. I was picturing an ugly, beer-bellied man that was very unkempt, sitting around with a bottle all day. Woody Harrelson did not portray that. He was too young and too sober.
Elizabeth Banks, while a great actress and great Effie, didn’t have much screen time. Jennifer Lawrence, while portraying Katniss perfectly, was a teeny-tiny bit too solemn. Josh Hutcherson is too baby-faced. (like I said above, Pillsbury Doughboy?) His acting needs to step up just a bit. I was not convinced that he and Katniss were in love.
Liam Hemsworth is great for Gale. Willow Shields (Prim) has a slight unibrow. The Capitol was very fanciful and just like the book, but it wasn’t as believable. It looked much too like CGI. District 12 was perfect. Although I thought the fence was 20 feet high…
Before I leave, I’d like to mention Cinna. Lenny Kravitz was PERFECT!!! The character Cinna was perfect. Cinna is a stylist, but he’s still… manly. I thought that Hollywood would make him something that he wasn’t. :) He was gentle without being effeminate. His relation with Katniss was perfect. He believed that she could win, that she could do it. Although his screen time was limited, he portrayed this perfectly. I saw him as humble and kind, gentle and strong. His eyeliner was cool. :)
Overall, this movie was a huge success. I really enjoyed it, and as a fan of the books, I can tell you that it did indeed live up to what I expected. You can’t get everything you want in a movie, and what they chose to leave out of the movie enhanced the movie, not took away from it. I give this movie 5 stars and I’m buying it when it comes out on DVD. Well, that’s all for today! Enjoy, and Happy Hunger Games!
Effie and Katniss
Gale and Katniss
Katniss and Peeta- “Go throw that weight over there. Go, do it! Now!”
Tributes: Clove, Marvel, Foxface, Thresh, Glimmer, Cato, Rue, Peeta, Katniss, (Gale)