At last March 22 has finally arrived, which only means one thing to me – The Hunger Games movie! I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out for so long, but since my husband works late on Thursday nights, we decided to watch it the next day instead – which was March 23. However, I realized in the afternoon that I really couldn’t wait for one more day, so I asked him if we could watch the 9:50 pm showing tonight instead.
Anyway, after a very quick pizza dinner at home, we literally half-ran and half-speed-walked to the nearest cinema, and got there about 5 minutes before the movie was set to start. I tried to settle in, but I was nervous about three things –
1) whether the movie would stay faithful to the book,
2) whether my hubby – who hasn’t read the book – would like it, and
3) whether I – who has read and re-read the book many times – would love it.
And after more than 2 hours at the cinema, I’d say there’s nothing to worry about 1 and 2, but I’m still slightly on the fence about 3.
Did I like it? Yes. But did I like it as much as I thought I would? Not really, and I can’t seem to figure out why. I decided to write this post tonight, while everything is still fresh in my mind, before I start reading other movie reviews. That way, I can be sure to capture exactly what I thought about the movie, and not be influenced by anyone else’s opinion.
So here goes…
1) I totally understand now why Jennifer Lawrence already has an Oscar nomination. Her Katniss was brilliant – nuanced and conflicted, BUT….. I thought she lacked a little bit more vulnerability, especially in her scenes with Peeta. She barely even smiles at the guy.
2) I still think Josh Hutcherson is too short to play Peeta (sorry fans), but he was actually quite good! I have to admit that I didn’t really like his casting at first, but he proved me wrong. He was charming and likeable, BUT……… he had too little screen time. Seriously.
3) The movie is quite faithful to the book, and included small details that fans would appreciate, such as Prim’s duck-tail. And for this I’m really glad, because it’s so frustrating to go see a movie that you think would bring a beloved book to life, and it turns out that the book just got the characters, the settings, and then went on a different direction with the story. No one would ever accuse this movie of doing that, BUT…… could it be a little too faithful perhaps, and included too many details? I’m still not sure about how I feel. For fans of the book, I guess we won’t mind, but for others, it may seem somewhat dragging.
4) I love the gray-ness of all the other districts, and the vibrant colors of the Capitol. And I love everything that Effie wore, BUT…… why isn’t President Snow’s lips red? I wonder… Maybe Donald Sutherland (who is one of my favorite actors) can’t rock some red lipstick.
Here are some of my other “complaints” –
– The “love story” inside the arena of Peeta & Katniss was underdeveloped (or is it because they want to make it clear that this franchise does not revolve around romance like Twilight).
– It wasn’t very clear in the movie that for the most part, Katniss was just pretending to love Peeta as part of a strategy. I thought this was quite an important plot point, and I felt that this was not dealt with properly.
– There was too little musical score – too often in the movie, there’s just silence in the background. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
– The whole story seems more… brutal somehow. I guess that’s the difference between reading a kid’s death in a book, and seeing some curly-haired teen about to die, and seeing his blood afterwards. Also, the scenes where Seneca Crane and his crew were controlling the fireballs and all, or the scenes where the Capitol people were celebrating the hunger games, just seemed more…. heartless. I especially love the scene where Haymitch watches Capitol kids playing with a toy sword.
Perhaps I’ll try to write another review some other time, after I’ve had the chance to process things for a bit.