I loved the books so I obviously had to go and see The Hunger Games as soon as possible. I don’t think I have been this excited in a long time to see a movie. Maybe the fact that I was so excited about it was part of why it didn’t live up to my expectations. I guess I liked it but I didn’t love the movie.
Let’s break this down into things that worked for me and things that didn’t work for me:
The actors, I think every single one of them did an awesome job portraying their characters. Some are obviously outstanding:
- Jennifer Lawrence simply is Katniss, she brings her to life like nobody else could have done it I think. She has that toughness about her, that stoicness, that kick-assness, she portrayed her perfectly in every facet.
- Lenny Kravitz was awesome as Cinna, just perfect. Cinna is one of my favorite characters in the book and he did such an awesome and classy job with this part. His scenes with Katniss were awesome.
- Woody Harrelson, there are parts of Haymitch that I disliked (but more about that later) but he did an awesome job and his scenes with Katniss are great.
- Elizabeth Banks, I’m not a fan of Effie but even I have to admit that she did such a great job and she’s exactly how I pictured her in the book.
- Stanley Tucci, now I love everything this man does and yet again he was perfect as Caesar.
All the scenes with Rue were wonderful and I cried both times I read the book when she died so obviously I had to cry when she died in the movie. I really liked the scene in district 11 they put in after Katniss’ salute into the camera, it fit perfectly. Speaking of salutes, the quiet salute she gets from district 12 is impressive in the book already but it’s even more so in the movie.
I really liked the silentness of the movie also, it fit the story I think. At first I thought I would have liked some background music but in retrospect I really liked the way they did it now.
The Capitol was amazing, I really liked the way they envisioned all the architecture, very well done! Also in the Capitol are the game makers of course, one aspect I thought was really well done, it was great to see behind the screens and get a better idea of how these games are actually constructed and how much planning goes into them. I also really liked the commentary of Caesar during the games from time to time, they kinda explained certain things you could only know if you read the book so this was a good way to solve that.
The video Effie showed before the reaping was really well done and a quick way to introduce people who didn’t read the book to the history of Panem and the Hunger Games. Also, I can totally see them doing this every year during the reaping to have people never forget.
The thing that bugged me most were the battle scenes that were filmed way too quickly. The book is gruesome so film people deal with it! Show what these games are really about and don’t just have us imagine how they are. Especially the last scene with the showdown between Cato and Katniss/Peeta and the mutts was done way too quickly. I get that they couldn’t have dragged it out endlessly but a little more longer to show how bad things were at that moment would have been nice.
Josh Hutcherson’s face, seriously his eyes are too close together. And yes, I realize this is a very random and shallow observation. I’m not a bit fan of Peeta anyway so I didn’t really care for him but that’s a story for another time as this is about the movie.
Haymitch, he was kinda too young and sexy but that was not the biggest concern because Woody did an awesome job, he should have been way more extreme though, more drunk and mean.
While I loved the Capitol’s architecture and all that, I was kinda disappointed by the people, they made them less extreme as they are in the book and there were a couple of bright recurring colors in their clothing, hair and make-up that seemed to be just a little too much calculated in the sense that it seemed like after so many pink, the needed so many blue etc.
The written explanation at the beginning of the movie, I think it would have been better to have it start right away.
The absence of Madge! I thought it was kinda weird that Katniss got the pin elsewhere and not from Madge, the movie was so long already they could have included this part too.
President Snow, I’m not sure what to think about him; I think he should have been and could have been more creepy than he was, although he was pretty creepy already.
All in all
I really liked it and I think they did a great job staying true to the books mostly, with some little flaws that I can live with. Other changes they made really worked in the movie’s advantage so that was really well done. I think the only thing that didn’t work for me are the actual action/killing scenes, the camera was too shaky and too quick, and as I said before already, it simply needed more gore.
I think I’m going with 4 from 5 stars but I might be influenced by the fact that I love the books so much, which gets 5 stars.