Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunger Games Movie Review + Links

Last night I went with Daniel and friends to see THE HUNGER GAMES movie.  Before I headed to the theatre, I read a ton of reviews, including one from Entertainment Weekly (LS gave it an A) and one from Posh of Forever Young Adult.



Posh prepared me for the good (Mockingjay Moments) and the not-so-good (Trackerjacker Stings), so I went in with medium expectations.  For the most part, I really enjoyed this adaptation.  It was amazing to see Panem come to life on screen.  The sets and costumes rocked and the overall production was slick. I loved how the credits started rolling at the end with the Arcade Fire song Abraham's Daughter (perfection!).

I thought the actors did a great job with the screen time they had, but I wanted more character moments for many of them.  The only characters we really get to spend adequate time with are Katniss (and Jennifer Lawrence owns this part - so, so good), Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci wowed me), Seneca Crane (loved his final scene) and President Snow (best experienced in small doses).  I needed more Peeta, more Haymitch, more Cinna, more Effie, more Rue, more tributes.  Rue gets a few great close-ups (and yes, the tears flowed) and Effie has her big scene at the Reaping, but in general, I wanted to see more. Everything just went by so fast, in a blur.  There needs to be a extended version DVD, for serious.

The most serious drawback for me was the hand-held camera work.  It was so shaky in places, my friend actually had to leave the theatre less than halfway through.  I don't do well on spinny rides or roller coasters, and I left the theatre with a serious headache.

I was also disappointed with the lack of chemistry between Katniss and Peeta.  Though both actors played their characters well (and Josh nails Peeta's charm, especially in his interviews with Caesar), they didn't sizzle together. I have to agree with Posh that it seems like the filmmakers were team Gale.  Gale is only in a few scenes, but the looks Gale and Katniss give each other show way more desire than anything in Peeta and Katniss' whole arc.  Maybe we can chalk this up to Katniss' playacting her feelings for Peeta - but if I were a Capitol citizen, I would have been pretty unconvinced of their star-crossed romance.  Their kiss was all kinds of awkward. Though, my heart did beat a bit faster in the cave scene with the wiping of the blood from the brow - so it wasn't a COMPLETE swoon desert as Posh declares in her review, but it was close.  ETA:  After rereading THE HUNGER GAMES, I notice there really isn't much swoon in book 1 on the page either.  Apparently, this is something I built up in my head, so my apologies.  Their choice to play it uncomfortable makes more sense now.

Can't wait until the DVD comes out (extended version please!) so I can watch approximately 100 more times.

And now for some links:

This week on the League, I talked about my own HUNGER GAMES reading journey: The Hunger Games owes its Success to Me

YA Highway has an interview with a movie extra (she played a Capitol citizen)

Kimberly F of Stacked reviews the movie (she also doesn't like the shaky cam)

OK - now I have to go reread THE HUNGER GAMES book.  Let me know your movie reactions in the comments!

15 comments:

Melissa said...

Oooh, great review! I'm really excited to see this now :-) Just have to get the book back from my friend so I can give it a quick re-read before going, as is my habit with books adapted onto the big screen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the movie!

Kimberly F. said...

Thanks for the link Lenore! I hope there's an extended DVD too.

Claire Merle said...

Oh, I want to see it NOW! Sounds great!

Kimberly Sabatini said...

Ugh!!!! I can't wait to see this!!!!!

Julie@My5monkeys said...

Great recap and nods in agreement with many of those thoughts.

bermudaonion said...

I'm reading the book now in preparation to see the movie, but the shaky camera work makes me wonder if I should go see it. That makes me feel sick too.

Dan O. said...

Good review. Maybe The Hunger Games is going to be the one young adult franchise that really lives up to the hype. Thankfully, it’s no Twilight- meaning that future installments will actually be something to look forward to and there won’t be any mopey romance angles. Fancy that! Check out my review when you can.

Zibilee said...

I am hoping to take the family to see this over the weekend, but if it doesn't work out, we will be there next weekend for sure! It sounds like it wasn't an A+ adaptation, but that it was very good nonetheless. I can't wait to see what we think. Great review today, Lenore!

Diana (Not So Closet Geeks) said...

So much goodness in this movie!

Beth S. said...

Hmmmm... I never really felt the chemistry between Peeta and Katniss to begin with so that part probably won't bother me.

The possibility of motion-sickness, however, does worry me a tad. As I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, I felt that way a few years ago when Johnathon and I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum. I hated that movie because all of the hand-held camera work made me dizzy and woozy. I realize this is an artistic choice and helps you feel like you're part of the action, but I'm definitely not a fan.

caite said...

i am anxious to see this one...mainly to see Panem. i was concerned about the casting..glad you liked it.
but i get motion sick. hope that is not an issue. maybe I need a barf bag..lol

candice said...

Great review, about the same reaction I had. I loved Stanley Tucci, perfect Flickerman; his lines were just perfect. I laughed out loud at their ridiculousness, great satire. Could have used much more Haymitch!

Steady-cam was kind of distracting. Definitely can't take my mom to see it on the big screen, she'll have to wait for the dvd. I hope they fix this in the other movies.

One content complaint, missing/changed the final book train scene. They are probably saving it for the opening of Catching Fire, but still.

Kailana said...

I am glad you liked this! I look forward to seeing it when the crowds die down a bit. :)

Michelle Shannon said...

I really loved this movie. I heard some people complaining that there was not enough of the love triangle, but since Suzanne Collins helped write the screenplay, I think the movie is as close to the visual interpretation of Collins' true story as we can get. It was definitely one of the best adaptations I've ever seen!

Mel - Thedailyprophecy. said...

I don't know why, but Peeta annoyed the heck out of me? I never felt something for him, from the moment I saw him.. And I'm reading the first book for the first time right now and I just don't feel the romance now?

I loved the movie and the cast! Haymitch was wonderful :D