Genre(s): Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Action-Drama
Official Website: The Hunger Games Movie
Director: Gary Ross
Producer(s): Jon Kilik, Nina Jacobson, Suzanne Collins, Robin Bissell
Writer(s): Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Main Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Find it: Currently in a theater near you.
- Metacritic: 68/100 (critics); 7.8/10 (users) [http://www.metacritic.com/movie/the-hunger-games]
- Rotten Tomatoes: 86% (critics); 95% (users) [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_hunger_games/]
- My rating: ★★★★★
Disclaimer: If you are reading this review I am assuming that you read the book and already know the story and what happens in it. What I want to do here is to just mention what I thought of the movie in general, the castings, the settings and the accuracy of the story. If you haven’t read the books yet, and/or simply don’t want spoilers, please visit this link instead.
In this case, I can breathe easily and honestly say that the movie The Hunger Games stuck extremely close to the original story. The few variations that the movie had weren’t that bad. Although I’m not surehow they are going to introduce the characters they eliminated when the trilogy continues on November 22, 2013.
The movie is, in one word, amazing! But then again, so is the book. My only complaint is that the few light scenes from the book –like the everyday on district 12 and such– where eliminated which made the movie even more emotionally heavy than it already is. The only comic relief comes from Effie Trinket’s character, which was nailed to perfection. This in turn made the movie slow; even the action scenes felt slowly paced. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, I did – I think is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations to date; but that doesn’t alter the fact that it felt like it lasted an hour longer than it truly did, sorry folks.
Only two districts are shown; districts 11 and 12. Of District 11 we only get a glancing view of the place and I suspect the only reason is due to the riot. District 12 has a bit more screen time, but only barely. There are little interactions in here other than the reaping and the occasional flashbacks. The hub only comes out twice (unless I miscounted). Even the Capitol doesn’t gets too much screening time. The bulk of the movie is focused on the actual hunger games and the competition on the arena. Still, the contrast between the Capitol and District 12 is heart wrenching. Just like in the books, the Capitol has this air of sheltered opulence and extravagance that clashes drastically against the deprived and starving districts.
- Katniss Everdeen – played by Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence looks different form the character in that Katniss is describe as a 16 year old with long black hair, grey eyes, olive skin and a small frame. Lawrence is older than the character’s description, and not exactly a complete look-alike; but she still manages to embody Katniss and display the same strength that book-Katniss radiates. Lawrence also displays awkwardness towards her surroundings, whether this was intentional or accidental without Katniss’ inner monologues we, the audience, cannot tell for sure.
- Peeta Mellark – played by Josh Hutcherson. Peeta’s character is such a sweet, lovable character. A charming character that can make any girl fall in love with him. Although Hutcherson played Peeta well, I couldn’t (still can’t) take the idea out of my head that he might have played the bad guy better. At one point during the movie I was wondering about how the movie would have come out if they had switched Hutcherson with Alexander Ludwig (the actor that plays Cato).
- Effie Trinket – played by Elizabeth Banks. I have to say, I tip my hat to whomever design the Effie’s character transition into the movie; it was spot on and probably the best interpretation of all the characters. Elizabeth Banks didn’t just look the part; she was brilliant when it came to playing Effie, giving much needed comic relief throughout the scenes she was in.
- Haymitch – played by Woody Harrelson. Another great performance. Harrelson presented us with a less drunken, far more willing Haymitch. I love that they hinted to his feelings for the Capitol.
- Cinna – played by Lenny Kravitz. I’m going to be honest, when I read that they had chosen him for the role I was like “?!?!?!” I had no expectations what so ever in regards to this particular casting. Now, I am beyond glad that they chose him, Kravitz brought Cinna’s poise to the table elevating his interpretation of the character. I simply loved it!
- Seneca Crane – I might need to return to the book on this one, but for some reason I always imagined Seneca Crane as a middle age man, not the fully energized and charismatic young man that was played by Wes Bently. In the books we only see what Katniss sees; so watching Seneca Crane, and the other characters' interactions throughout the story is a welcome perspective. Actually watching his road to ruin was another great addition.
- President Snow – played by Donald Sutherland. Can’t wait to see more of him in the next movies, especially on Mockingjay.
- Caesar Flickerman – played by Stanley Tucci. I love Stanley Tucci and I love many things he brings to all of his characters. I was smiling every time he came onscreen.
- Prim and Katniss’ Mother – played by Willow Shields and Paula Malcomson respectively. Both actresses only appear for very short periods in the movie, even less than in the books. As a side note, I saw the movie with my sister, she insists that they producers got Prim’s cat wrong. I don’t remember him perfectly, but the one in the movie is black and white.
- Gale Hawthorne – played by Liam Hemsworth. So far I like him, but like Prim and Katniss’ Mother, he is only shown sporadically.
- Rue – played by Amanda Stenberg. I wish they’d given Rue more camera time, she deserved it. I cried when I was reading the book and I cried when I saw her death in the screen.
- Cato and the other Tributes – I think that the producers ask an artist to render the images from the book and then they searched for the act@rs that best match the physical description. It felt like they came out of the pages, seriously great work! Imagine how good these kids played these characters that near the end, when Cato dies, the vast majority of teenager in the theater began clapping and whistling because the bully had died. Yes, you read that right, they were clapping. Now what that says about our teenager’s views towards violence, that a topic for another post.
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