Here’s a post about the first Hunger Games movie that I wrote but failed to publish back in 2012. Jennifer Lawrence has continued to crush it as Katniss, and I think the movies are getting better and better. I cannot wait for the final installment – I’m marking November 20th on my calendar.
I saw the Hunger Games movie with the ladies from my book club – always a good time. Here are a few thoughts:
The scenes of the Reaping at the beginning were incredibly intense, reminiscent of films about concentration
camps in Nazi Germany, and were tough to watch. I actually had a couple of moments early on where I thought, “Do I really want to watch this?”
Things that I liked:
- Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. She was great, in a role of a girl who is, by her own admission, not good with words.
- Woody Harrelson as Hamitch was also wonderful, in his Woody Harrelson way, although his casting completely changes the tenor of the character. He’s not the sloppy drunk of the books, falling off of stages and throwing up on the young Tributes.
- The way the violence was handled. There have been complaints that the violence of the books was elided for the films – which, of course it was! The books are incredibly bloody. The movie suggests violence with just a splatter of blood, a red-tinged knife, a cut to an innocent (like Katniss’ little sister)
Things that I didn’t love:
- The way the mocking jay pin was introduced – Of course, I have a lot invested in the pin, as I developed my own little conspiracy theory about how and why Katniss received it. In the movie, she purchases it at the Hob as a gift for her sister prior to the Reaping, and Prim gives it back to her after Katniss volunteers to take her place.
- The relationship with Gale, or lack thereof – you don’t get a lot of back story on this. You do understand that they are hunting partners and that they have some kind of friendship, strong enough that Gale will watch out for Katniss’ family in her absence, but the extent of the relationship is murky.
- The elimination of Peeta’s big moments – Peeta’s demonstration prior to the games is completely removed, so he goes into the arena effectively castrated in the eyes of the viewers.
Generally, the ‘love story’ between Katniss and Peeta is confusing here. Because you aren’t inside her head, you can’t tell how much Katniss is truly feel and how much she is just playing the game. And Peeta’s declaration of love to Ceasar Flickerman before the television cameras comes out of no where – he’s a very opaque character in the movie (as he is in he books, actually) – what’s his motivation? Does he really have a crush on Katniss, or is he playing a game? How much does she return his feelings?