Tuesday, March 27, 2012
And May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor.
Here is your SPOILER ALERT. Please, please believe me when I tell you this is a wonderful story and if you have any urge whatsoever to read the books, then stop reading my blog right now. This is truly a story where you do not want to be spoiled. You want to experience everything for yourself with fresh eyes and not go into it knowing everything that is going to happen. Trust me.
So again... SPOILER ALERT.
Ok, if you are still with me and you don't plan on reading the books, the movie (The Hunger Games) is based on the book of the same name. It takes place in a post apocalyptic future, where the world (Panem) is divided into 12 districts and The Capitol (which is where the President resides). As a way of reminding the world of the rebellion which caused the apocalypse in the first place (and a warning not to start another one), one boy and one girl (ages 12-18 and known as Tributes) from each district are chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, which is a televised fight-to-the-death battle that takes place in an arena for all the world to see. The names are chosen at random and when 16 year old Katniss Everdeen's 12 year old sister is chosen, she volunteers to take her place. The movie shows what she goes through to prepare for the games, how she endures the games and how she unknowingly starts a rebellion. That's a real short and quick description for you.
I went to see the movie with my 13 year old niece, Emily and my two brothers, Dennis and Jay. All of us have read the book and love it. The theater was pretty full but not overwhelmingly so and that was nice. To say Emily and I were excited would be an understatement. We drank our 12oz, $3.75 (absurd!) slushes while impatiently sitting through the previews (though I was very happy we got to see a teaser for Breaking Dawn Part 2 and a teaser for The Host) and when the movie started we were riveted. District 12 looked exactly how I pictured it in my mind. They completely captured the poor, run-down, starving feel of it and Jennifer Lawrence is so perfect as Katniss. She looked the part and played her so, so spot-on. I was really impressed with her.
Let me give you a list of my favorite things about the movie:
- The behind the scenes stuff with Seneca Crane. I absolutely loved being able to see how they operated things for the games. You don't get any of that when you read the book. I found it absolutely fascinating.
- When Peeta touches Katniss's braid as they are about to eat the Nightlock Berries. It was sweet and it was simple and it stuck with me.
- Caesar Flickerman played by Stanley Tucci. This character in the book just seemed like a silly fella to me. I didn't like him, I didn't dislike him, he was just part of the story. Stanley Tucci brought such life to him that I beamed every time he was on screen. He was so entertaining. I thought he was phenomenal.
- Elizabeth Banks as Effie. She "got" the nature of the character. Her ridiculousness and her "Capitol-ness" were played flawlessly and exactly how I pictured it in my mind.
- The flower bed that Katniss made for Rue. The whole scene was done exquisitely. Emily and I cried and cried during that entire part. So much so, that she had to ask me for more napkins, haha.
- I loved that the Tracker Jackers looked normal and not like giant, mutant wasps (which is how I pictured them when I was reading them). I also loved how they explained them to the audience. It was so clever.
- The Reaping scene. I know this book is an emotional roller coaster but I didn't expect to get as emotional as I did watching the movie. The entire Reaping scene was so well done that it had me holding my breath, trying to hold back tears. If I had been at home by myself watching it, I would have been a mess.
- The Capitol was perfect. The colors, the people, the absurdity of how nice it was, it was perfect.
- Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. The girl can act. The girl can shoot a bow. The girl is kickass and beautiful to boot!
- The shot of all the Tributes on their platforms as they are counting down. It gave me goosebumps.
And now, a few minor criticisms:
- No bread from District 11 for Katniss. Yeah, they showed them uprising (which I thought was brilliant) but I thought that was such a sweet moment in the book. It would have been nice to see.
- I wanted more of the Cave Scene. That is such a big part of the book and truly where Peeta and Katniss's relationship blossoms. We got a tiny portion of it in the movie but I wanted more. I wanted the flirting and the lamb stew with dried plumbs and her tricking him into drinking the sweet syrup, so she could get his medicine from the feast. It may be silly, but I wanted it all.
- I wanted more Haymitch. I get that there is only so much you can cram into a 2 1/2 hour movie but why wasn't he at the Reaping?
As with any book to screen adaptation you lose some of the magic of the story. Jeff hasn't read the books, he has just listened to me prattle on about them for months so I was excited for him to see the movie. We went to see it last night. He said it was okay but he felt like it was missing something. I had to explain some things to him because I knew the background information from the book but overall he said it wasn't bad. I really loved it and was so happy with it. I think It captured the emotion and the heart of the book and you can't go wrong with that. Yes, it's a story about children killing children for entertainment and adults cheering them on but underneath all that, is a story of hope. It's a story about being able to stand up for what's right in a horrific situation and it's a story about courage... With a little bit of a love story thrown in.
Now that the spark is set, on to Catching Fire!