Welcome, welcome... Happy Hunger Games!
Well, where to begin? I just went to see the highly anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel The Hunger Games and hmm... was left feeling a bit disatisfied...
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Every year, the 12 districts of Panem each randomly select a boy and a girl to participate in the hunger games to remind them of the historic rebellion which lead to ruins and destruction, and the annual sacrifice gives them a sort of hope that by winning, they can reap the blessings of the Capitol.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) offers herself as a tribute when her sister Primrose is chosen in the reaping. Along with male tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss must enter the hunger games and fight to the death till a lone victor remains.
For a more detailed plot summary, see my book review.
The film was mega rushed. That is inevitable. But I felt it left too much of the emotion and the evokation of feelings out. Whilst the film was successful in condensing the main events of the book and reproducing them back to back on our screen, we hardly feel the emotions that run deeply into the characters minds.
One of the main issues is that there is a lack of character development amongst the other tributes- they become disposable very quickly and you really don't care that they die- you almost expect them to.
I also found the special effects rather patronising and unrealistic. The flames on Katniss and Peeta's costumes were bearable, but when she gets stung by the hacker jackers, when the apples fall from the career's storage pyramid in slow motion... that was too much to handle without cringing.
At times, the script also doesn't seem to flow as well, with some lines feeling a bit dumb- eg when Peeta tells Katniss 'it feels better' when she is applying lotion to his leg. Seriously?
Whilst it seems like I am being overly critical of the film, I did really enjoy seeing the images of the book brought to life. The dullness of District 12 compared to the Capitol was stunning- I loved the imagery that the film manages to portray... all the Capitol styles, the colours... the grandeur. I thought the set was extremely well chosen and a lot of the locations sort of feel like how I envisaged it from reading.
There are also a few scenes which really brought the book to life- I especially liked the reaping- seeing it in the trailer really got me thinking the whole film would be as real, as genuine to the book as that scene... but I was wrong.
The minor changes that the film makes to save screen time or whatever reason they could give was uncalled for... for example, the source of the mockingjay pin. What I found really interesting was the inclusion of some scenes which are more 2nd book material which I guess will aid in the progression of this film to the next as it will be more seamless.
However, the thing that annoys me the most is how 'convenient' the film makes it seem as the events occur- because of the truncatedness of how things play out, you don't see the struggles Katniss has, the time it takes for her to recover, it just seems like she's invincible and everything is going her way and people just miraculously die without explanation...
Having read the book, I can mentally fill the gaps myself, but for those who haven't, the film will not be as solid as it should've been and rather predictable. The twists and turns that I experienced in the book was not all 'shocking' on screen... you somewhat expect it.
The ending was good though should've been more suggestive at the contents of the next film to leave it a bit more of a cliffhanger- President Snow should've said something a bit more sly at the end. Like with the books, I kind of feel that all three films should perhaps be watched back to back as you kind of feel like what happens was 'too easy/convenient'... but of course this leads into the next book...
Jennifer Lawrence- Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson- Peeta Mellark
Liam Hemsworth- Gale Hawthorne
Stanley Tucci- Caesar Flickerman
Elizabeth Banks- Effie Trinket
Jennifer Lawrence does a good job- most of the time she manages to look dazed/confused at what is happening to her... I thought the scene with Rue was great until she started going in a rage and a bit crazy... Elizabeth Banks as Effie was fantastic, as was Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman.
Liam Hemsworth (in the small amount of time he was in it) was horrible and didn't bring anything to the table and Peeta, well he was just Peeta.
~~~GALE OR PEETA~~~
The film makes it an obvious choice really... the scenes with Gale were laughable.
The film was adequate, but not deeply satisfying. It had the potential to be truly amazing, like the books, if only they fleshed it out a bit more by improving character development and just making things a bit more difficult for Katniss!
I don't totally hate the film, but the books were so good in comparison that I don't feel this movie does it justice. Maybe the next film will do the series justice.