Saturday, March 31, 2012

review: The Hunger Games (movie)

The Hunger Game
I was so excited to see this movie. I was a moderate fan of the books by Suzanne Collins; I enjoyed the first the most out of the three so if I was going to like any of these potential movies then this would be the one. And although I thought there were a few rough spots where I thought things could have been done better/differently, overall I felt like they did the movie very well.

Things I Liked
- Casting: Using a lot of unknowns or at least lesser known actors was smart. Really popular movie series often define a lot of actor's careers but also give a distinct, cohesiveness to the movie series. Anyways, I thought Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class) looked so much better as a brunette and made Katniss into a scared, stubborn, girl but NOT petulant like I felt the book portrayed her as. Then again what one says in one's mind is different from what one does and it's hard to show what goes on in one's head on the silver screen. Peeta and Gael were exactly like I thought they'd be. Stanley Tucci (as Caesar) and Lenny Kravitz (as Cinna) were excellent additions to round out the cast.

- Plot: It's hard to include everything in a movie from a book with the scope of Hunger Games so I was impressed with how much they were actually able to fit in. I thought they did a really good job cherry-picking the important things and leaving out some of the unnecessary things. Although most of the problems I have are with the plot, I think it'd be hard to improve on what the movie offered without making the movie at least an hour longer.

- Costumes were a big part of the movie because they helped distinguish the Districts and the Capital. The best example is Effie Trinket played by Elizabeth Banks who goes to the Districts every year to choose the tributes to be forced into the annual Hunger Games. She is colorful, outspoken, and flamboyant - the exact opposite of the Districts. The style of the Capital is bizarre - too colorful with odd silhouettes and pattern mixtures.

Things I Didn't Like
- I felt like there wasn't enough time spent on developing Prim and Katniss' relationship. It's possibly the most pivotal relationship in the entire movie as it sets the stage for the entire series. I understand that it's a movie and that time has to be taken into account but this glosses over so much. All you can tell is that they're close and that Katniss mothers Prim.

- The mothering of Prim is due to the fact that their father died in the mine accident which isn't reveal until almost 3/4 of the way through the movie. This is important because the mother gets depressed and checks out for months after his death leading for the tension and estrangement between Katniss and her mother. This is important because it helps define Katniss' relationship with Prim.

Although these are minor issues the may be detrimental to later movies. Overall I thought The Hunger Games was an excellent movie. I worry a little about how the second and third movies will be shot but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I give The Hunger Games 5 our of 5 stars for excellent acting, fantastical costumes, good plot and heart-wrenching moments.

Check out the trailer here!

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