“Welcome, and happy Hunger Games.”
I have to say I was extremely excited for the release of this movie. This being said, I did not necessarily have high expectations because I was unfamiliar with the director, Gary Ross, and his previous work. I did hope that it would receive a positive reaction. “A little hope is effective; a lot of hope is dangerous.”
The Hunger Games takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting called Panem (North America after its destruction). The story revolves around the life of a female character living a poor life, fighting each day to keep her family, her mother and sister, from starving. Each year, in order to remind the citizens who is in charge, the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games. The games require twenty-four children to enter an arena for a fight to the death. The plot begins to unfold when the main character, Katniss Everdeen, volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the games.
There was extreme hype previous to the release of this film. Despite all of the obsessive fans, there were vast expectations that came along with displaying this film. Cases tend to be as such when one makes a film adaptation of an extremely successful book. I think the biggest concerns revolved around the scenes that would be cut out and the portrayal of the lead characters.
It was possible to bring only so much of the essence of the book to the screen. The book is told from a first person perspective. In film, it is easier to portray emotions instead of actually being able to hear a person’s thoughts. The complexity of Katniss’s character physically versus mentally being brought to the big screen worried me a little bit. After seeing it… why was I worried?
The one thing that really got to me was some of the little details which were cut out of scenes and I thought made a big deal to how you interpreted the scene and the tone it set. It also caused a lack of the extra impact which could have been added to the built up intensity. This bothered me so much because as a film student, I know they could have easily been fit in. There were also additional scenes added into the movie, which I believe were very well thought out. “This is the time to show them everything. Make sure they remember you.”
The violence and gore were noticeably limited. The reasons for this are understandable, although I wish there had been a little bit more horror incorporated, with the sound effects, if not visually. The children entered in the Hunger Games range from the ages of twelve to eighteen, so it makes sense why they tried to keep it a little bit lighter—keeping the age of the target audience similar to the characters’ ages in the movie. This was a little disappointing for me because the whole idea and setting of the Hunger Games was portrayed to be quite dark in the novel.
I haven’t seen a good science fiction film release since 2009’s Star Trek. This movie hit the mark and did a great job selling its genre. It also incorporated action, drama, and romance into its storyline, with the occasional jokes and dry humour.
Completely disregarding the book, there were things really well done in this film. From a technical point of view: the visual effects and makeup were extremely well done; the choreography for the action scenes was great. The soundtrack for the movie was truly atmospheric, and though this is probably going to cause a debate, I thought the camera work was well done. There was some shakiness, but it added to the action of the movie. Acting was outstanding. I can’t even emphasise enough, what an amazing job the actors, especially Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss, did.
All in all, someone having read and being a huge fan of the books, I left the theatre more than satisfied with the film. I don’t think it’s fair to give this movie a rating based on itself just as a movie because it made such an effort to stay as true to the book as possible. As satisfied as I was leaving the theatre, thinking that adaptation-wise, it was perfect for me, I’m finding more and more issues with it. Still, it is absolutely worth a watch, and should be appreciated for what it is—because it’s not bad. The soundtrack is phenomenal, and they more definitely aced that aspect of the film. I’m looking forward to the movie editions for the next two books!