After finishing the book just last weekend, I was fairly late to The Hunger Games hype. However it did have its advantages, I didn’t have long to wait for the movie to come out! I booked my tickets early this week, and was at the advance showing at my local Vue cinema in Portsmouth, dragging along the boyfriend, Terry.
As a late comer, but complete nut of the Hunger Games book, I understand that my review will be slightly biased, so I have also asked the Terry (who has not read the book) to add his comments at the end so you can get both perspectives. As always there is NO spoilers of the book or film in this review.
|Summary courtesy of IMDb: 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. Based on the book by Suzanne Collins.
My first impressions were this was very well done. Anyone who has read the book will know that around 2/3rds of the content is dominated by the main protagonist, Katniss’ inner monologue. Going into the movie I did wonder how they would over come this problem, and make the film interesting! It really is Kaniss’ thoughts, feelings and knowledge of the wilderness that create the tension and drama within the book. Yet it was the inclusion of the reality television style panel (consisting of the blue haired TV host, Caesar Flickerman & Claudius Templesmith the games announcer) to give commentary and explain events that non-readers of the book would not otherwise recognise, namely what Tracker Jackers are and the symptoms of their stings. Other events are also played out very well, with shaking camera shots, ringing ears sound effects and extreme close ups all provide a great alternative to Katniss’ thoughts.
|Katniss, Primrose, Peeta & Haymitch
did a fantastic job of communicating a thousand words with the smallest facial expression.She brought Katniss’ character alive in the most tangible of ways, and was really well cast. Willow Shields who plays Primrose Everdeen was also fantastic and looked exactly how I imagined in the book. Other castings however were a surprise. I had imagined Peeta (who I didn’t realise until I saw the trailer of the film was pronounced Peter) to be a round faced and unimposing baker’s son but in fact played by the rather attractive Josh Hutcherson
. Haymitch was also portrayed as being a lot younger, and some what more civilised character than I had pictured him whilst reading the book. The biggest surprise to myself however was the casting of Clove, the female tribute from district 2, played by Isabelle Fuhrman who also played Esther
in possibly the scariest horror movie I have ever seen, Orphan
. Something of her previous role stuck with me to make her a truly horrifying character.
This is a film made about a book however, so naturally I am more critical. Several scenes were shortened to almost extinction, while other aspects of the film, such as the origins of the Mockingjay pin were changed completely. However, this was also done okay! No key scenes were really left out, and the changes made from the book made logical sense to tie the narrative together. Although it is a YA book, there was a certain amount of censorship of the stories true brutality at times to make it a 12A, but we have been promised an extended DVD edition to bring back more of the action which will be bumped up to a 15.
The one thing that really did disappoint me is so small it is barely worth noticing. However the book did do a fantastic job at aiming itself at young girls (and 20 some thing’s) by providing details such as hair, and nail art designs that girls could really latch onto and replicate. Although the signature side braid was included, my personal favourite girl on fire nails, which consisted of flames painted on the nails for the opening chariot ride to the games were completely absent! As I said, a very small detail, but disappointing to a nail polish fan like myself.
|Picture of me, shamelessly copying Katniss’ style with the signature side braid.
This photo was taken after the movie, but still 1hr and 41mins before its official release…. I’m so sad!
Perhaps the one thing I did enjoy about the film more than the book is the flash backs. The back stories of the characters were provided quite freely and frequently within the book, not making you wait for any relevant information. However in the movie these were peppered throughout in a series of short black and white teaser clips until they built up to reveal the whole story.
“I liked the film. It was alright, if not a little bit predictable. Even though I haven’t read the book, I understood everything. Defiantly enjoyed it enough to watch the inevitable sequel, and not just because Marie will force me to come along regardless!”
Overall I felt that this film did a great job of portraying a fantastic book without resorting to 3D or IMAX sound and flashy effects. Instead it relied on good camera angles and minimal special effects to create a more tangible Panem. Terry and I whilst talking the movie on the way home both agree our mark, now out of 10, for this movie without any discussion.
Thanks for reading,
Terry & Rie x