Sci Fi Monday — The Hunger Games Movie

 

Oldest and I went to see The Hunger Games on Saturday. We both read the book and the initial reviews were very promising, so I knew we had to go. I have to say that the movie lived up to the hype, and then some! First off — reading the book isn’t necessary, but I think it really helps. There are some details which are glossed over in the movie but expanded in the book.

Secondly, the casting is perfect! The only person I was initially unsure about was Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, but five minutes after he showed up on screen I was officially Team Peeta. He really captured Peeta’s open and charming nature. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is amazing, believably awkward in a dress and at home in the woods. LOVED Haymitch, played by Woody Harrelson.

The movie is pretty violent, but then the book and its subject matter are violent also. The Hunger Games is less of a teenage romance than a political thriller, basically an indictment of everything from reality TV to consumer culture to fascism. There are a few shots of people getting killed close up, which I think are more shocking because we simply don’t see young teens getting killed in that brutal fashion very often. None of it feels gratuitous. For me, the Reaping was more emotionally distressing than much of the Arena scenes.

Oldest did have one criticism, which I think is valid. Since the story takes place in the future, a future that has been repressed until it resembles the past, he was baffled as to why there weren’t more ruins and evidence of earlier civilization. In particular, District 12 is a mining area and we found it odd that they chose to have it resemble a mining town during the Great Depression. The book makes it clear that there is very little technology allowed in that area relative to the Capitol, but it still seems like there would be remnants of tech, books, clothing and so on dating later than the 1930s. My one criticism was actually answered in Catching Fire — I noticed that all the boys stayed clean shaven in the arena and wondered how. Then I went home and started the second book and Katniss wonders the same thing. HA.

Overall, Oldest gave the movie 8 out of 10. I gave it 9 out of 10. Definitely not for kids (the PG-13 rating is well earned), but I think the books are best for thirteen and up in any case. Younger kids will miss the symbolism, and the next two books — Catching Fire and Mockingjay — get progressively darker. In fact, I’m not sure how they will avoid an R rating for the next few movies. I just finished Mockingjay last night and still cannot get Panem and these characters out of my head. I even have a suggestion for the next movie — the character of Finnick Odair should be played by Dave Franco. His looks and swagger would be awesome.

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Posted on April 2, 2012, in Sci-Fi Sunday. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. They get darker?!?? I just finished Hunger Games yesterday, and am still sort of weepy. (Combo of SADS and TMU, I think.) It was a great book, and I hope to see the movie someday.

    • I finished the first book and had to put the series aside for a couple of months, because it was so intense for me. Then watching the movie triggered a compelling desire to find out what happened to the characters, so I read the last two books. In a day.

      Yes, they do get darker. In fact, I had a major chat conversation with a close friend today because I really needed to dissect Mockingjay. They are good books, but not easy reads.

  2. I had kinda decided not to read the books until after I see the movie. Partly because movies never (in my experience) live up to the book and also because I’m not reading much these days that isn’t food or sewing related. Sad but true.

    Blimey you read the last two books in a day? One day? Bloody hell that’s quick.

    • I read Catching Fire in 3 and 1/2 hours, and Mockingjay in 4 hours (8 to midnight — could not put it down). So yeah, I read fast but the books are also a quick read.

      I found that I enjoyed the second and third books more after seeing the movie because I could picture the characters in my head. I do think the books are better though — there’s a lot of internal dialogue that Katniss does in the first book which you don’t see in the movie, and it helps explain some of what she’s thinking and feeling.

  3. I couldn’t believe how many LITTLE kids were in the theater watching tweens get macheted at the Cornucopia. Hire a sitter, y’all; that shit ain’t right.

    • Maybe because we went to a matinee, but I didn’t see anyone under 8 or 9. That still seems young to me, but I know some kids that age are reading the books so….

      On the other hand, the dad who took his elementary-age daughters to the R-rated showing of 21 Jump Street last week? I hope you had fun explaining all the penis jokes to your kids, sir.

  4. Did you notice the whole “Nazi Germany” visual metaphor? It took me two viewings, but I’m pretty sure that’s why most of the tech looked like it was more than a few decades old. And then there were the red banners with the eagle on them, which is set up a lot like the symbol of the Nazi party, The Parteiadler (an eagle).

    Yeah, I’m a big geek. But, I’m really a book purist, and even I have to say, this movie was fantastic!

  5. I cried like a little whiny bitch during the reaping and at Rue, but I didn’t think the death scenes were any more violent than they had to be — plus, I liked the way everything got all blurry and hard to follow, the way fights really work!

    • I know, right? I didn’t cry, because I rarely cry at movies, but I choked up at the Reaping, and at Rue’s death…oh, and at the chariot showing thing. And about three or four more times. You know, when I wasn’t gasping and clamping my hand over my mouth.

  6. Gads. I cried through about half the book. I don’t think I’m going to see the movie. Or read the rest of the books. Except… Peeta? Gale? Haystack (Or whatever? he just didn’t enter my head)? Prim? Rue’s family?

    • Haymitch, haha — he becomes a much more important character later on. Oh, the book broke my heart in a thousand million little pieces but I love it anyway. The movie is actually easier to watch than I think the book was to read (but I cry over books rather than movies, so YMMV). It was watching the movie that made me want to continue the series and I’m glad I did, even though my heart? Still hasn’t recovered.

  7. Ok, I’m gonna be the one, I guess. I read the book. I really enjoyed it and was curious to see how the movie treated it. I am usually really harsh on movies made from books I read, so I was prepared, but so many people who read the book said they did a really good job of translating it to screen, so I was hopeful as well.

    I think maybe the hype got to me, because I didn’t particularly enjoy the movie. I mean, if I had not read the book, I think I would have liked it. It was well done and entertaining and enjoyable on a certain level. But I felt the characters were flat, especially that Peeta. The missing inner dialogue from Kat was sorely missing, because that was really the heart of the book and gave you her motivation and her warring emotions, etc. They left a good amount out that I think they could have easily kept in there, especially with Peeta and Haymitch, that would have fleshed them out more like the book did. I don’t know, I was just disappointed, knowing how well the book created the characters and how the movie glossed over a lot that made them who they were.

    Ok, let the stoning begin. Sorry.

    • I agree about the internal monologue, I missed it in the movie too. However, I also feel like internal monologues are HELL to film — they run the risk of getting boring and telling too much, rather than showing. I guess I feel like the movie left out just enough that people will be compelled to seek out the book and that’s a good thing.

      I think the books really do show the flaws inherent in telling this story from a first person limited perspective. There’s a lot of action that happens behind the scenes in the second and third book, and I’m hoping the movie adaptations will do a better job than the books did of toggling back and forth between the scenes. I’m also hoping that they will smooth out the ending of Mockingjay the way they did with the ending of the first book because I felt like all the books ended a bit on the choppy side.

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