Surprisingly, being the bookworm I am, I didn’t get to see The Hunger Games in theatres. My boyfriend did however and thats why its taken us so long to actually watch it after I bought it in November, since he got addicted to the novels and wanted to finish it before we watched it. The Hunger Games is possibly one of the most interesting reading experiences I’ve had. It was very addictive, especially since it was in first person narration. I’ll have to re-read those books though. Sitting through this movie, I started getting glimpse of the novel but was missing details here and there.
Director: Gary Ross
In the now ruined North America, Panem is now what the nation is called, because of its past revolution, it is now separated into 12 Districts, each with their own specialty to contribute to the Capitol. Every year, children are chosen randomly: a boy and a girl to join the Hunger Games from each of the districts, resulting into 24 tributes. They are put into a designated area where they need to battle each other until there is one tribute remaining. That tribute will win the games and be rewarded a lot of wealth and comfort for their future. Some children will have their names in more times than others because in the poorer districts, like the one in District 12, where The Hunger Games start, children use this to trade in for more ration to help feed their families. District 12, we see the morning of the tribute selection, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) meet to hunt outside of their boundaries (which is illegal) just before they need to prepare for the selections.
This year, Katniss sister, Primrose is also in the run to be selected. At the selection, Primrose “luckily” gets selected and to protect her sister, Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place. Going with her is another boy who had saved her before, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). As they get whisked away onto the train heading to the Capitol where the games are held, they meet their mentor, previous winner of District 12 and a man who drinks away his sorrows, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and their guardian of sorts, Effie (Elizabeth Banks). In the Capitol, they need to be prepared to show off and prepare for the games. In the parade, they end up meeting Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who is their costume stylist and also from afar, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) who starts off the games. After a while for preparation with all the other tributes on skills and impressing their possible sponsors, we are lead to where the games begin and as they say, “may the odds be ever in your favor”.
Hunger Games is possibly one of the most gripping movies I’ve seen in a very long time. Because the Bluray I had seemed to be so quiet and the conversations were so quiet, I ended up moving closer to the TV in order to focus into the movie and not miss out. That usually is a sign that its something that peaked my interest. I can’t remember the last time that I did this. The action, the quiet, the buildup was all very similar because I already had read the novel beforehand. The fact that it could still capture my full attention and make me feel the tension that the story is definitely a sign that it was made extremely well. I would have to say that it is one of the better novel adaptations that I’ve watched.
One of the major contributions to the success of this movie has to go to its cast. I have never seen Jennifer Lawrence before this flick. However, her interpretation of Katniss Everdeen was as perfect as it could be. She portrayed the emotions right on and it made it even more real. Her chemistry with her fellow co-actors whether it be Josh Hutcherson when expressing mixed emotions towards her companion and opponent in the games or Woody Harrelson as her mentor. Her emotions carried us through the movie perfectly. The outstanding cast can’t be forgotten in this as well. The rest of the cast really pushed it up to a higher level as the cast itself with Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland just to name a few, are veterans in the business. Even the younger actors, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth (the little part he was in) did their roles very good. Aside from that, the supporting role that impressed me the most was Lenny Kravitz who played Cinna. He gave me the exact impression of the personality of the character that I read.
The actors may be important but the director did a great job at shooting this film. He managed to capture the environment and tension very well and matched it with the emotions that were all over the place. The drama and the violence that came from the games itself and the whole process was shown perfectly. What really helped was the interpretation of the Capitol itself because with the book, it was first person narration and now, they help us by seeing not only through the eyes of Katniss but elaborating what was originally in the novels.
For me to judge this movie as a standalone work is hard, I’ve already read the book and was really drawn into it. I think this movie is a great adaptation and I look forward to the next movie, Catching Fire coming out this year.
Have you read the Hunger Games novels? Did you think it was a good adaptation or not?