Spoiler Alert – During this movie review I am going to spoil it, so if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, beware.
First, I’ll give my rating. I give The Hunger Games, 5 stars! It was excellent. The pace of the movie was good, the most pertinent information was covered and it left a bit of a cliff-hanger so we can anticipate the next movie. And fans must agree because this movie had the 3rd best debut in history with $155 million in opening ticket sales according to Fandango.
There were lots of bulls-eyes when it came to the movie and few misses. Below are my biggest 3 of each.
Jennifer Lawrence. I couldn’t imagine a better Katniss than Jennifer Lawrence portrayed in the movie. The scene where she is alone with Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and is getting ready to ascend into the arena I forgot that she was just playing a part. My heart ached for her because I could feel her fear oozing through the screen. She was visibly shaking and her eyes were as big as saucers. Regardless of what other critics may say, I think she nailed the part!
Rue’s death scene. It didn’t quite go down how I had imagined it in the book, but it was much worst. Rue (played by Amandla Stenberg) reminded me of my own little sister when we were young and carefree. After she was killed, I was audibly sobbing and could hear others around me doing the same.
The incorporation of President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Seneca (Wes Bently) – the gamemaker – into the movie plot. I know they didn’t have roles in the books and so at first I was skeptical to see them portrayed so prominently in the movie. However, I soon realized that the reason these two characters were so downplayed in the book was because Katniss never had meaningful interaction with either of them. The book is completely from her perspective and her interaction with other characters. The interactions between Snow and Seneca are the only times that the film deviates from this perspective. Kudos to the screenwriters!
Off the Mark:
If you didn’t read the book ahead of time, I hope you brought someone with you who did. There are a lot of instances of implied knowledge that the film assumes its viewers already have. Such as the fact that Peeta was throwing Katniss the bread because he could see that she was starving. Otherwise, we would have been more impressed if he had thrown her an umbrella. The electrified fence that Katniss goes through without getting shocked made a few heads in my row at the theatre turn to their reading friends to ask a few questions. Why didn’t she get shocked? Why have it there if it’s not on?
Downplaying The Hob. The Hob, a sort of black market in District 12, is seriously downplayed in the film. I guess it would have been hard to convey the importance of this market on the District 12 people, but it’s too important because this is where Katniss gets her non-conventional, rebellious attitude towards the Capitol.
- The Mockingjay pin. In the book, Katniss receives the mockingjay pin from her friend Madge, the governor’s daughter, as a parting gift when she leaves for the games. In the movie, Katniss barters for the pin in The Hobb and then gives it to her sister for good luck during The Reaping, only to receive it back from her when she volunteers herself to play The Games in place of her sister.
Other than that, I would like to say to Suzanne Collins and the other Executive Producers: Thanks so much for not making us sit through an agonizing attack on Cato by the dogs at the very end. I loved that right away Katniss ends the attack by shooting him in the head. In the book, Katniss and Peeta wait for hours as the dogs chew Cato to pieces without killing him – a torturous read.
The Hunger Games is rated PG-13 for a reason. While the book had more descriptive violence and nudity in it, the movie itself is pretty gory too. Not to mention that the premise for the movie is that kids ages 12 – 18 try to kill one another. Please take caution in taking your kids to view this film and make sure they are mature enough to handle the content.
I gave you my three biggest Bulls-eyes and Off the Marks. What are yours for this movie?