Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Hunger Games

Believe it or not, I actually saw a movie in the theater yesterday! My two teenage sons were going to an afternoon show of "The Hunger Games", so I tagged along. It was a "spur of the moment" decision, which is also rare for me, and I'm so glad I went!


It's been a couple of years since I read the books, so my memory wasn't clear on many details. I think that made the movie more enjoyable because I wasn't comparing the two versions. I do think the movie was very true to the emotions and the heart of the book, and the few changes they made story-wise were necessary for the flow of the film. I also thought it was perfectly cast. I was nervous, as the last YA book-to-film I was excited about was woefully miscast and horribly directed and had some jaw-droppingly stupid moments added in. Yep, you know what I'm talking about. It's inevitable that we fans would draw some comparisons between "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight". After all, both books are YA with a leading heroine; both books feature gore and death, though "Hunger Games" is decidedly deathier; and both books have a heart-tugging love triangle. To compare Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence is terribly unfair. But I'm going to anyway. Stewart looks like a cardboard cutout onscreen, and Lawrence shines. Stewart's attempts at subtle emotional expressions look like she's sulking or simply deadpan, while Lawrence's subtlety is perfect and her face is so expressive, even when it isn't spelled out for the audience, we can tell what she's feeling.


So bear with me a moment as I repeat what everyone is saying: that Jennifer Lawrence is brilliantly well cast as Katniss- authentic, powerful, strong, but still a teenage girl, whose heart doesn't know what it wants. She's pretty, but not distractingly so-- she looks real. Believeable. And compelling-- you can't take her eyes off her.


Liam and his hunky-Thor brother, Chris and Chris' eyes. Yum.
Both the men in her life are also perfectly cast: Liam Hemsworth as Gale (I wanted to see more of him, especially since I have a bit of a crush on his brother. Hopefully we'll get more Gale in the next two films. I don't remember the books well enough to say... 


I especially loved Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. He absolutely broke my heart in Bridge to Terabithia 5 years ago. I could tell he was one to watch. Good looking, talented, and has that elusive presence all screen actors try to capture. He was so good as Peeta-- emotive, adorable, smiling at the crowd, heart-breaking when he talked to Katniss, just wonderful. Exactly what I pictured as I read the books. I do have to say, though, that his hair color doesn't look natural to me. Most likely that's because I know he's really not a blond... but it looked fakey-bad... and they left it dark in the flashback scene where he throws the bread out to Katniss in the rain. Um... poor editing? Just confusing? Yes. But maybe only to me. My boys didn't even notice, or care.



The casting is the biggest difference between HG and Twilight. The Edward of my imagination was good looking, Adonis-like, beautiful and muscular. The Edward of the film looks like a British misfit, bad teeth, worse hair (in the first film, especially), skinny and sick-looking. Not what was in my head at all... but with the casting of HG, they have managed to cast people who look exactly like their fictional counterparts, and who lo-and-behold are actually rather talented actors! 


For the first time in a long time, I'm excited to see the sequel next year... or whenever they release it. I can't remember the last time I was excited for a sequel. Unless you count the Avengers... don't get me started...


UPDATE 3/29/12: My friend Diane brought to my attention that I neglected to mention Woody Harrelson, who is absolutely spot-on as Haymitch. I wasn't sure I would like him; I haven't seen him in anything in so long, but I can't imagine Haymitch being played by anyone else! She also reminded me that I forgot to comment on what I call the "Bourne School of Camera Work" shooting of the fight scenes-- especially the one set on the large, metallic cornucopia. I despise scenes shot up close and with the cameraman doing the disco as he rolls film. There weren't a lot of them in this movie, thank goodness, but it was distracting when they shot like that. Thanks, Diane, for helping my forgetful-prone brain on this one! :)

5 comments:

Tiffany said...

I agree with everything you said! You are a very good critic! I didn't know how to describe things about the 2 films, but you hit the nail on the head, and I was like, "Yes! That's it!" I too am excited for the next film. Are you going to go back and read the books again?

Steph said...

Thanks, TIffany! Yes, I will absolutely read the books again, maybe before the second film comes out. I didn't like the third book very much, but I might like it better on a re-read.

Diane said...

Well there you have it. I couldn't agree more. You summed it up perfectly. Now we just have to wait for the next one:)

Steph @ Crafting in the Rain said...

You've made me even more excited to go see this now! And I totally agree with you on your Edward description though I wouldn't have been able to articulate my grievances about him as well :)

Steph @ said...

Diane, thanks and yes... waiting now. Steph, if you liked the book, I'm sure you'll enjoy the movie. You'll have to follow up and let me know. :)