The Hunger Games
Directed by: Gary Ross
Written by: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match.
***This review contains spoilers from the book. Read at your own risk.***
Man, I hate writing difficult reviews. It's just so... difficult. (I bet you can already see how inspired I am.) A lot of my thoughts are jumbled right now and very, very conflicted, but thanks to my friends with whom I chatted with over the movie, I've been able to sort out a lot of my feelings.
This movie. Wow. Was it good? Um, yes. Was it dramatic? Kids killing each other, a side romance... I'd say yes. Was it with the book? YES!!! That right there is where a lot of the points add up. Gary Ross is a genius. He obviously read and understood the book, and he did a fantastic job pulling together chunks from it and spinning it into a format fit for the silver screen. There were some of changes and additions, but they did nothing to ruin the movie or the book's memory. I mean, Suzanne Collins herself was a co-writer for the screenplay. I'd say that if she agrees, then we should all be cool with it.
Everything major in the book is there. Basically, they did a wonderful job capturing the whole book, the best they could've done, really, with a book of this magnitude. It had creative spins that I really enjoyed and enhanced the story. You got to see the background story with President Snow and Seneca Crane and the Beard, which was really cool.
My absolutely favorite part was Rue's death. I'm sorry if you guys have not read the book or have not finished it or have not seen the movie and I've just spoiled it for you. But I just had to shine some light on it. It was beautifully, excellently done. Bravo.
Those of you that have read the book know what happens at the end of the book. The movie? Well, let's just say it ends on a generally happy note. It's very interesting. Frankly, I'm relieved. I didn't want to see broken hearts. However, I am intrigued as to how they will transition to Catching Fire, as moviegoers that have not read the book have not seen and will not understand Katniss's feelings concerning Peeta and Gale. (They did show Gale practically steaming while watching the infamous cave kissing scene. That was rather amusing, and could be the way they present the romance in the next movie.)
Non-book readers will also enjoy this movie plenty. Although, like I said before, because Katniss didn't narrate the story and we don't know everything from her POV, there's some crucial information that I think was left out. I'm sure they'll figure it all out, though. (Click here to see 10 differences between the book and movie.)
Here's where the irony comes in. I was so incredibly excited for this because of all they did to promote the movie and the book. All the awesome Hunger Games-inspired merchandise, of course, but especially the little clips and pictures that they showed us. The problem is, I feel like all those previews ruined what I absolutely would've loved watching the movie the first time. Peeta's interview? One of my most favorite parts of the book with some of my most favorite lines. Unfortunately, having seen the clip already killed what would've been a total "awwww" moment in the theater. Those few minutes of previews made me feel like I had already seen everything in the film.
Last but not least, the film felt too sped up, especially at the end. I know, some of you are probably like "Lucia, are you kidding me? They can't put the whole book there. It'd take forever." I know, I know. In fact, I'm pretty much thinking that they put too much of the book in there (but any different, and I would've been livid that they didn't put enough of the book in there. I'm just weird like that, okay?). What I did want to see more of was the tribute parade (my most anticipated scene) and the cave scene. Those were way too fast for enjoyment. Another review claimed that the movie, already long enough with two-and-a-half hours, did not spend all that time wisely. I have to say I agree.
In conclusion, I'm feeling some pretty conflicted feelings, with fleeting emotions of disappointment, but mostly satisfied and definitely admiring feelings. I think this is a definite must-watch film. For those of you that have not read the book yet, WATCH THE MOVIE. Then read the book. Makes the book 100000x better, although the movie-makers deserve a lot of awesome points and applause. I can't be too disappointed. I mean, if you wanted a one-sentence review of this movie (instead of that super long, tedious review I just wrote), I'd say: They did the best they could and could not have done any better.
P.S. What is up with people splitting final books into two movies? ARGH.