Last week I posted my thoughts on the first installment of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy – Finally saw the movie and…it was a really good summary of the book.
The Great: This movie did a phenomenal job of bringing to life the ostentatious style of The Capitol. I loved the costumes and make-up – it would’ve been so much fun to be an extra in this movie!
The imposing grandness of the Capitol was well established too. Quite the sight after the terrible living standards we see in District 12. You easily feel the Capitol’s excess and the abyss between the haves and have-nots.
Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as Katniss Everdeen. She captured the character’s vulnerability, courage and keen intelligence beautifully. Lawrence showed emotion without betraying Katniss’ need to always be strong – an interesting balance perfectly kept by the actor.
Pleasant surprises: Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellarck. I admittedly know nothing about him as an actor – my only comment to a friend sitting next to me was “I always envisioned Peeta being taller”. Hutcherson brings Peeta’s charisma to the screen quite well. Too well actually as it is easy to doubt Peeta’s intentions towards Katniss.
I didn’t expect for there to be so much emphasis on Seneca Crane – but, I guess for the film version it would be necessary to see the man in charge of the spectacle making decisions about the images being fed to Panem and the manipulation of the arena for the tributes. Also, the commentators breaking into the games at key moments was a clever way to fill the holes in the movie to keep the audience informed about the rules of the Hunger Games or descriptions of genetically engineered creatures found in Panem.
The Meh: As good as Lawrence was in the character of Katniss, it simply is not the same as following her internal monologue – her questions, her doubts, her feelings about Peeta and memories of her home are essential to the development of her character. We see glimpses of that – in her alliance with Rue, flashes of the memory of Peeta and the bread, Gale’s reactions to the games – but, it isn’t the same. The development of the characters and their motivations isn’t present in the movie which makes it difficult for an audience to really care about them.
Everything that happens in the book that makes it so good is shown in the movie. But, it feels like the movie skips from major moment to major moment. The movie tries to encompass everything that makes The Hunger Games a great read, but it still felt like something was missing.
Speaking of something missing, what happened to the blood? So much of the novel focuses on cruelty and sheer violence. The violence of the games is missing, the blood is not there. That’s what made Katniss’ final moments with the berries so desperate and poignant. The move in the novel didn’t feel quite so calculated.
Final Thoughts: this movie will not disappoint. It is full of beautiful people in all the right roles (the boys are adorable and Katniss is a natural beauty). Rue and Prim are so sweet it is easy to see why Katniss must protect them, and the Careers are every bit as vicious as Collins describes them. The movie remains true to the story – there is nothing that distorts the plot and might offend die-hard fans.
For those who haven’t read the books, the movie delivers a cool tale about what it’s like to grow up in a futuristic dystopia. And, it’s pretty neat to watch Katniss in action with her bow and arrow too.
Did you read the book and watch the movie? Do you think the movie did the book justice?
images courtesy of: http://www.fivezenses.com/2012/02/capitol-sighting-new-pictures-from.html