Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Okay, so I loved the book, and was eager to see the movie.  My teenaged son and I counted the days until the movie’s release and rounded up some friends to go with us to see it, and last night was our big night.  So what’s the verdict?

I thought they did a pretty decent job with the story, at least at first glance.  On further analysis when we got home, however, Kevin and I went back over it and realized that we were both disappointed in certain things that were changed or ever left out of the movie – for instance, in the book, Buttercup, the cat Katniss hates, is described as an ugly yellow cat.  In the movie, the cat is black and white.  Kevin thought this was laziness on the movie-makers’ part.  “Would it have been so hard for them to find a yellow cat?” he asked.  Katniss’s acquisition of the Mockingjay pin is different in the movie version than the book version.  Her whole ordeal of nearly dying of thirst in the beginning of the Games is completely left out.

On the other hand, at close to two and a half hours long already, it’s hard to imagine how every detail could have been fit into the movie.  So that’s understandable, I suppose.

I loved the actors chosen to play the various characters; all of them seemed to fit, so it made it believable in that sense.  The musical score is great.

There was some discussion between me and some friends on Facebook the fight scenes, and the general consensus (and Kevin agrees) is that the fight scenes are largely glossed over and not graphic enough.  It’s not that everyone is a fan of blood and gore, but most of the fight scenes consisted of a brief flash of a knife, a quick glimpse of a dead tribute, a fast fading in and out of a mortal wound, that type of thing.  However, it makes sense that the graphic nature of the violence had to be minimized in order to keep the movie’s rating at PG-13, and therefore accessible to the very audience the books are aimed at.

All in all, I thought they did a pretty good job of adapting the book to a movie version.

My biggest issue is the cinematography, and it was a HUGE issue for me.  Lots of quick zooming in and out and shaky, jerky movement.  I believe the intent is to make the viewer feel like they’re right there, a part of the action, running right alongside Katniss in the woods, staring at close range right into the face of Effie Trinket, and then suddenly jerking your gaze away and onto something else.  All the constant motion and shaking made me very motion sick, however, and I spent the majority of the movie trying very hard not to vomit.  I actually had to get up at one point and go sit in the lobby for a few minutes, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to go back into the theater.  I did go back, but it wasn’t easy to sit through the rest of the movie feeling extremely nauseous.  Now, this could very well be chalked up to my currently being in a delicate condition, but several other people I know who have seen the movie also said that the cinematography was difficult for them, so I would caution anyone who is sensitive to motion sickness about seeing this movie.

If I had to rate it, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars (Kevin gives it 4 out of 5, for the record).

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Hunger Games

  1. I read all three books, and I wondered how they would pull off all the sci-fi type scenes without seeming too CGI. I don’t go to movies, so I won’t see this one, but I’m curious how real it seemed to you? Like how did they do the mutant dogs and the Jabberjays and tracker jackers? And from the previews online Katniss looked too old to me…

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    • Patti, most of it seemed very real, but yes, there were parts, like the mutant dogs, which were obviously CG. Aside from the camera work, I thought they did a really good job. And I thought Jennifer Lawrence passed for a 16-17 year old girl just fine.

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  2. Oh this movie…..My fiance and I were also excited to see it after devouring the books together. We left…..feeling a little devoid of emotion about it? Felt it did a fairly good job with keeping true to the books (although Peta wasn’t quite right for me and J had a real issue with the makeup hiding scene, ha), but just was not a captivating film. AKA – I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book but don’t have that sense of anticipation for the next movie. We couldn’t put a finger on it!

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