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.