Friday, April 6, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

There's always some trepidation when you find out one of your favorite books (of all time!) is being made into a movie.

There's always that sense of fear that it's going to be a let-down because you don't think the directors could ever make it as awesome as you pictured in your head.

Believe me, I had all these fears about seeing the movie, but I mean, come on, of course I was still going to watch it! It's the freakin' Hunger Games!

And honestly? I was pleasantly surprised upon finishing the movie.

Let's start at the beginning.

First off, I think the directors did a great job with the whole set of the Hunger Games. I think the portrayed District 12 perfectly. Granted, it's not quite how I imagined it in my head--a little shadier and poorer-- but I think it stayed true to how Collins wanted District 12 to be like. The Capitol, on the other hand, was a little more futuristic than I personally pictured but I loved the set up for when all the tributes made their big appearance--you know the scene: when Katniss officially become The Girl on Fire. That was perfect.

As for the casting.... okay, I know I didn't exactly make it a secret that I didn't really like the casting choices, but ohmygoodnessgracious, I would like to take back every bad thing I ever said about Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. YOU GUYS, I was so wrong--he was a fantastic Peeta! Believe me, I did not expect him to be--I had much rather it had been Alex Pettyfer or Benjamin Stone---but I'm pretty sure that just about everyone who saw the movie was presently surprised by Hutcherson's performance. He practically oozed Peeta-ness! Granted, I'm still a little peeved that he's longitudinally challenged, compared to Katniss, but hey, nobody's perfect.

My personal choice for Katniss was the fabulous Lyndsy Fonseca (who plays Alex in Nikita), but, all the same, I think that Jennifer Lawrence did a fantastic job portraying that independent, rough-around-the-edges, angry Katniss Everdeen.

Liam Hemsworth as Gale was utter perfection. Seriously. There couldn't possibly be a better Gale Hawthorne out there.

Haymitch, on the other hand, was totally not what I was expecting, I mean, I knew he was a drunk and pretty darn lazy, but I didn't expect him to be so.... Oh gosh, I don't know, scruffy? I mean, he did make a good Haymitch, but just... meh. Not what I was expecting.
Effie Trinket was also different from how I imagined. I mean, kudos for all the drama and flair that they dressed her with, but I just envisioned her to be more youthful. Otherwise, I don't know, with all her make up and stuff, she looks a tad creepy!

I have to say though, the casting people definitely hit the jackpot with their picks for Rue and Prim. Honestly, it's like the casting crew peaked into my head and plucked them out of thin air! They were absolute perfection. They couldn't have picked better people it they'd tried!
I know there was some controversy because Rue was black, but seriously? Who cares? If you've seen her in the movie already, then you know she was the right girl for the job.

One of the things the directors added to the movie, that I adored, was the whole Control Panel + Seneca Crane scenes. I loved that you got to see how they controlled the Game and watched everyone--which we never got to see in the book. Really, really enjoyed that.

I think just about the only thing I didn't really like was the shoddy camera work at the very beginning. Maybe it was just me and my position in the theater, but it felt like the camera work at the very beginning was kinda jerky and headache-inducing.

All in all though, for a book-turned-movie, the Hunger Games was a huge, phenomenal success. Seriously. The pacing was great--possibly a tad slow in the very beginning, but believe me, once you get to the Game itself, you will be kept on the edge of your seats, without any time to even chow down on movie treats! I know as far as movies go, Hunger Games a little on the long side--not Titanic-long, but still... but believe me, you do not feel it at all!

Another thing the directors did super duper extremely well was the emotion aspect of the movie. Some of the scenes in the book were so chock-full of emotion that kept me awake into the wee hours of the night, and I think the movie translated that amazingly! My top 3 favorite emotional scenes in the movie were
1) The Reaping--one of the greatest scenes in the book and I was worried at first that the movie wouldn't be able to hold a candle to all the turmoil and selflessness Katniss felt in the book, but honestly, the scene almost made me teary-eyed!
2) Rue's death--undoubtedly one of the saddest moments in the book, and I will unabashedly say that my eyes got a little watery when I watched it in the movie! Especially seeing how Rue's district reacted to the whole thing! Just... plain AMAZING.
3) Katniss and Peeta in the cave---I don't know about the rest of you, but that was kinda the moment when I really fell in love with Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. It wasn't exactly like it was in the book, but nonetheless super sweet and romantic and you could totally see the chemistry between the two! Loved it!

All in all, the movie was flipping fantastic! Probably one of the best book-turned-movies I've ever seen!
5 stars.
If you haven't watched it, then I highly recommend that you do!

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