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The Hunger Games: A Review

by on April 7, 2012

So, after days and days of equivocating, I finally decided to go see The Hunger Games. I suppose I could launch right into what I thought of it, but let’s get a few matters out of the way first. Namely, the trailers.

First off, have movie trailers become more numerous lately? I clocked it at fifteen minutes of them, give or take.  There were the car commercials and the Coke commercials and the commercials for the latest Tim Burton movie with Johnny Depp in it (some vampire thing or other). The Avengers trailer was very nice. The Breaking Dawn trailer…was not. I must admit, though, when I saw the clip of a peaceful little deer, and then suddenly the clip does a dramatic cut to Bella lurking ominously in the woods, I had to stifle a laugh. I imagine I was supposed to be terrified of her. Yeah…that didn’t work.  At any rate, they really need to dial back the trailers a bit.

Now, as for the movie: I liked it. One big distraction, though: the camera work was so shaky as to be nigh-on Cloverfieldian (and I didn’t see that in theatres, I watched it at home, and still). I heard somewhere that they did it so the fight scenes wouldn’t be so obviously graphic and bloody. Be that as it may, (and I do think it was effective in the chaotic Cornucopia fight scene), I don’t see why they needed to do that through the whole movie. It was shaky even during the opening scenes in District 12, and that wasn’t really graphic at all.
But that was my only real complaint. They did change some things, of course, and here I suppose I’d better issue the obligatory SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t seen it yet or read the books, I suggest going to read something else less spoiler-y. Like the Catrina Chronicles, for instance. No spoilers there.  Just sporks and space hamsters and a Panda of Unusual Size. 😛 )
Moving on, I did miss Haymitch falling off the stage, and the line about “She has no idea, the effect she can have”, and they might have brought it out a bit more that Katniss was only pretending to be in love with Peeta. The dialogue at the end of the book when Peeta realizes she was just playacting was very effective and shattering (though not nearly as shattering as the end of Catching Fire, and they had better leave that line in the movie when it gets made. You know the one). On the other hand, changing the origin of the Mockingjay pin actually worked, I think; getting the pin from Prim made for a very poignant moment. I liked the stuff they added, with Seneca Crane and the Gamemakers behind the scenes, and having Caesar Flickerman pop in with commentary was inspired. It reminded me very much of the kind of commentary you’d seen when watching the Olympics or the NCAA, which makes for that much more of a horrific contrast when he’s treating the Hunger Games like just any other sporting event. Side note: all the shiny tech the Capitol has, especially in the Gamemaker scenes, reminded me very much of the Alliance in Firefly. Was I the only one who had this thought?
As for other stuff I liked, the entrance of Katniss and Peeta in the parade of tributes, with their outfits being on fire and all, was well worthy of the description in the book. I got chills. I was worried about the scene with Rue and “Deep in the Meadow”, especially as that was such an emotional moment in the book; well, I needn’t have been. They kept Katniss singing, and while it wasn’t quite the tune I had for it in my head, it was good enough. And they kept the flowers, and Katniss’s salute, and it was all very powerful. That, and the moment in the Reaping where Effie asks for applause for Katniss, and no one applauds, and they do the salute instead. So, they kept in the important parts, and the changes they made didn’t really strike me as being dramatically unfaithful, like, say, Susan kissing Caspian at the end of Prince Caspian, or cutting out the Scouring of the Shire from The Lord of the Rings.
I suppose I should say something about the actors at this point; I liked ’em all. I suppose I could be nitpicky and point out that Cato and Peeta look maybe a bit too similar, and so especially in the final fight scene it was hard to tell who was stabbing who (and the shakycam didn’t exactly help that). But then I wouldn’t dream of being nitpicky. (He said, sarcastically). Really, the actors were great. President Snow almost looked like Santa, if Santa were creepy and tyrannical (Which he might be, you know; he does see you when you’re sleeping, and he knows when you’re awake.) The music was great as well, especially the “Horn of Plenty” anthem that plays when the tributes come in. Really matched the scene (I think that was my favorite scene, thinking back on it. Katniss: the girl on FIRE! Oh yeah!
This may be a tangent, but you know how Jennifer Lawrence was Mystique in X-Men First Class? Would it not have been interesting to have Magneto in the Hunger Games? Actually, I suspect Magneto wouldn’t even bother playing. He’d probably lift the whole Cornucopia with his powers and drop it on President Snow’s head, squishing him like a tracker jacker. Which would considerably shorten the movie, and yet, I don’t think I’d mind. Magneto’s always been one of my favorite supervillains.

But, I digress. To sum up: good movie all around, but I do hope they dial back the shakycam a bit for Catching Fire. It’ll be interesting to see who they cast for the Quarter Quell.  And I am very much looking forward to seeing You Know Who deliver That Line  at the end. ‘Til next time, and may the odds….oh, you know.


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  1. The movie was great. As long as you’ve got blood and gore and a good heroine you can’t really go wrong, I think.
    I agree, the only things I didn’t like was that Peeta didn’t get his line at the end, and then maybe that I didn’t picture President Snow as a Donald Sutherland who looks mysteriously like Santa Claus. I like that they kept the rose in his pocket though.

    • I don’t think I remembered to check his pocket for the rose, but I do remember they had the scene in the rose garden, so close enough. But yeah, I didn’t even picture Snow with a beard, let alone a Santa beard.

  2. Great review, my friend!
    I can see your work on the big screen someday too!

  3. So the shaking-camera thing wasn’t just annoying to those who’d been up since 5 am? Lol. That was my main complaint too, especially at those opening scenes you mentioned when everything should have felt worrisome and poigant, and instead just felt like a headache, lol. Yes, yes; agree agree.

    In other news, I got a surprise in the mail today!!! *Catrina Chorus Begins Humming Wagnerian Melodies In Ominous Tones* HOORAY!

    … and yes, the version of your Catrina in my head (ahem–she isn’t violet, thank heavens, but she does have some strange tan lines from fighting bad guys in weird sunlights; very un-princess-like I imagine) and the correct version of Catrina in your head should certainly have a chat via storyline 🙂

    Don’t believe I’d pictured Snow with a beard either, come to think of it. hmmm.

    • Hooray! I’m glad to hear it arrived safely; one never knows about the mails these days. 😛
      I suppose I should send Catrina on a vacation so she can get a nice even tan; she certainly deserves it, what with getting killed so many times and all. Kumquat City probably has some very lovely beaches…
      I definitely hadn’t pictured President Snow with a beard, anymore than I’d pictured Seneca Crane with one. But then, Seneca Crane’s beard was a thing of beauty.

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