Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Review: Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Its the most anticipated movie since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows parts 1 & 2, it was predicted to have a larger opening weekend then any of the Twilight releases and now its here. Thats right i went to see The Hunger Games. As you may already have heard it was the 3rd largest opening weekend behind Deathly Hallows part 2 and The Dark Knight, both of which i did see on opening day.

I will start by saying i wasn't itching to see this movie. I read the book for book club back in February. I thought it was OK but i wasn't blown away or impressed by it. I have all 3 books in the series but i haven't bothered to even crack open Catching Fire. That being said i was going to give it a whirl and see what i thought of the movie treatment. Just as a warning since the books has been out a while this review does have some spoilers based mainly on the contrast between the book and the film. If you haven't read the book yet you should probably stop RIGHT HERE.

The Individual Character posters

The movie follows the main parts of the storyline. This is no Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, with an almost exact screenplay based on the book, There are some changes, You never get a feel of Katniss' lingering feelings for Gale instead you get a better read on Gale's for her. How Katniss got the MockingJay pin is changed, and the addition of the Head Gameskeeper as a prominent part of the movie as well as lots of President Snow. Those are the major differences from the book. Haymitch (played the the aptly cast Woody Harrelson, I mean who else would you expect in that role?) is not nearly as drunk in the beginning of the film as i expected him to be, But Effie is pretty spot on. The main tributes are all fairly unknowns, Jennifer Lawerence plays Katniss who you may have seen in either Winter's Bone or X-Men First Class. Peeta is played by Josh Hutcherson whom i recognized from Zathura, Laim Hemsworth as Gale, he was in the Last Song with Miley Cyrus which you probably haven't seen but you most likely know his brother who is the main character in a little movie called Thor. The adults in this movie are more names you are probably familiar with, along with Harrelson you have Donald Sutherland at President Snow, Elizabeth Banks who was in Man on a Ledge as Effie Trinket, Stanley Tucci as Cesar Flickerman the flamboyant host and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. I cannot complain about the casting. This was some great casting in my opinion, it all really works.

The screenplay on the other hand has things that i felt just weren't developed correctly. I expected it to be better developed in areas, the interviews with the tributes would have been a great time for character development and it wasn't there. The tribute parade would have been a  great time to show all 24 tributes and what their districts represent since with the exception of District 12 all were in costumes that resembles what their districts were for. instead we got some brief shots of them all from afar, some of District 1 and 4 but instead we got capitol crowd shots and announcements. I mean they had the time considering how long this movie was. Katniss seems to be smarter when it comes to relationships and personalities in the movie than she does in the book. Katniss and Cinna's relationship is much more developed in the book and the way it plays in the film you have no idea how she managed to latch on and trust him so quickly over everyone else. The people in the capitol are just not well explored it seems weird like they are to be looked at and nothing else. Katniss and Rue linking up is pretty swift in the movie but Rue makes an impression on you. Cato seems like he should have been scarier than he comes across in the film. Added to the movie was lots of how the gamekeepers create the Hunger Games and control the environment. This was long in some places and really not as needed. Also i don't know if this is setup for the future movies but that make President Snow seem pretty cruel. Considering how annoyed i was with The Last Airbender adding Firelord Ozai to the 1st film when he's not in the 1st season really bothered me. I'm assuming he's featured more in the later books.

This movie is long clocking in at 2 hours 25 minutes. The movie is rated PG-13. there is no sex (in the book either) and the nudity from the book is completely removed from the film. The rating is based on the fact that the book is violent, the whole premise is that a bunch of teenagers fight each other to the death, there's no way to downplay that. As a parent you have to judge if the violence is too much for your children. Most of it is implied, the multiple deaths at the very beginning of the games there's lots of blood splatter and the noisy gush of contact but its not visible. The only visible contact death we see is Rue's which is played up to be just as emotional in the movie as it is in the book. The mutts from the end that attack Cato are also downplayed as to what they are but we do see them killing Cato very briefly.

I give this movie a Matinee. Its not a bad movie but i didn't love the book so i wasn't disappointed i just wasn't impressed either. If you are a huge fan of the book you won't find too many issues with the movie, its a fair treatment of it, unlike some horrors cough Last Airbender, cough so you shouldn't be upset in that respect. Some things i did take issue with considering the length of this movie. I looked at my clock twice during the movie, its still a drama and until the games actually start its a slower pace.

The Hunger Games is now playing everywhere, probably every half an hour as it is where i live.

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