Yes, I waited four whole weeks to go to the movies to see The Hunger Games. FOUR – can you believe it! Partially due to To-Do List madness, partially because I refused to sit with teens and their loud jerk-ness at the theatre. (if you are the anomaly of a quiet teen, I apologize.) It was hard, and I complained about it, but finally got to experience Panem this past weekend.
So, after all the hype, what did I think? Great movie…however nothing compared to the books. Sorry, I’m all judge-y. While reading, I imagined so much more in my head that was forgotten during filming. Suzanne Collins‘ knack for description had me enthralled in all three books in the series. I only hope that “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” explode onto the big screen in a bigger way.
Don’t get me wrong, like I said, I liked the movie. Much like the first Twilight movie (sorry), it was good for what it was – the first film outing in a book series that has gained mega-popularity. While slow to progress in the beginning, I understood why it did – there’s a story to build. But, those that haven’t read the book felt it was just molasses for almost an hour. I felt the relationship between Katniss and Gale was not emphasized as much as it needed to be. Sure, you knew they were friends, but it wasn’t shown as important a relationship as it is.
Also, WTF was up with Peeta? Sorry Josh Hutcherson…I don’t like you. You or your smarmy car salesman greasy hair and sideways smirk. I honestly wanted to punch your face. Peeta has a way with words that the people love – and that wasn’t really explored or shown very well in my opinon. I vote for an actor replacement – but I know that won’t happen. Maybe I liked Liam Hemsworth in “The Last Song” too much that I was pre-dispositioned to like him better. Whatever. Team Gale all the way.
Now that I am done with my fangirl rant, on to what most of you care about – the violence. Honestly, I know it is PG-13 rated, but I was disappointed in the fight scenes. The fast moving camera work obviously took away from what was really going on. Kids are getting brutally killed in the opening scene at the Cornucopia – this is a FIGHT TO THE DEATH people! For viewers to fully understand the impact of what is going on, they need to see what is actually going on. Not a camera swirling around so fast all you see is blurs. The tracker-jacker nest scene was pretty good, although the fireball scene was decent at best.
My large gripe was with the genetically-altered muttations at the end. Cato gets ripped to shreds by these things, and Katniss shooting him with an arrow is a moment of generosity to put him out of his misery – we don’t’ get that. She just shoots him. I didn’t feel anything, no emotion. We are supposed to feel bad for him – a boy who was made to be such a heartless killer getting slaughtered by these horrific wolf-like creatures. My major gripe was the mutations themselves. Collins paints a picture perfect version of them all looking like the dead Tributes. Katniss recognizes Thresh, Glimmer, Foxface, Rue and Marvel. The mutations were bodies of wolves with the faces of the Tributes trying to kill Katniss and Peeta chilled me to the core as I read it. All that was lost, with non-book readers not even knowing this torture ever existed. Such a poignant moment masterminded by Seneca Crane was never brought to life. You hate the Gamemakers for making the faces of already poor dead children be seen again in such a snarling terrible fashion. I wanted to shoot arrows through Crane’s face while reading it in the book. Maybe CGI is expensive? Who knows, but I was mad.
All in all, even though it may not seem it, I liked The Hunger Games, and recommend seeing it if you haven’t done so while it is still in theatres. Luckily, it is also being re-released on IMAX screens across the country for a shirt time. I didn’t get to see it in IMAX, and maybe it would have made it better.
If you have seen it, what did you think? Let me know if you were a first-timer or if you read the book first. I am interested to see the difference in your movie experience.