Review of The Hunger Games ( … for those that have and haven’t read the book)Written by 0 Comments
(Warning: This review does not include a synopsis of the story itself! If you don’t know what it’s about by now, Wiki it.)
The Hunger Games is a movie that has been riddled with hype and controversy. It grossed over 150 million dollars in its opening week and its momentum does not seem to be slowing up. The novel, sharing the same title and authored by novelist and TV writer Suzanne Collins, is doing tremendously well. It’s clear that from the success of this movie, the other two books in the trilogy are in the pipeline. The fact of the matter is, the hype machine (well placed ads, and an amazing online presence) can manufacture success for even the most mediocre of movies. So … is The Hunger Games good? I will attempt to dissect that that question as briefly as I can.
When a movie has source material, people that have indulged in the literary counterpart often ask a very adversarial question: “Have you read the book?” When you reply hesitantly with a “No,” judgement and the “… then you could never possibly understand” expression befalls them. You are not a pariah if you haven’t read the source material! I have a wholehearted belief that a movie translation of a book should not be a literal translation of every passage. The Hunger Games is written in a first-person perspective, and therefore by nature lacks a lot of the omniscience found in stories written in third person. Due to this fact, this perspective is often replaced with a sort of “this person is probably pissed off right now” sort of reflection of the unknown. There is no one way to tell how some things are going outside of the actual Hunger Games outside of this sort of guessing by Katniss Everdeen. This first-person perspective also grants the reader a chance to know the motive behind the mental conflicts that often exist for a person in general. I happen to think that this is impossible to replicate in film form. When people say “The movie is not as good as book,” maybe they are right in some ways. A director’s vision for the source material will never match your imagination. Ever. In short, get the fuck over it!
There are things that have been changed in the movie vs. the book…some of which I will list below:
The Gamemakers who orchestrate The Hunger Games in the book have a single leader named the “Gamemaker” in the movie (he didn’t exist in the book).
There is a de-facto leader of the Capitol, President Snow (he doesn’t exist in the book).
The liberties taken are means to personify an element of the book that was not given much page time in order to focus on the story itself. I’ll accept it. There are several other things that are significantly different and I am willing to accept most of them. Some of them, however, will make you cringe if you have read the book. Ah Well.
So … what about the movie as a movie (and not just a book)? The tone of the entire movie is dark, which I believe it should be when 12-18 year-olds are fighting to the death in an arena. Every death is done in the sort of optical illusion exercised in the shower scene in the movie Scarface. You think you saw someone get their head cut open by a chainsaw, but if you slow it down and truly pay attention, it was just good camera work. The Hunger Games pushes the limit of what a PG-13 movie can do. Other directors take notice!!! The movie was well casted, and no one quite feels out of place. The movie is color porn and accurately depicts each setting quite accurately, and the costumes are very fitting of the movie’s settings.
This movie isn’t without its problems. Backstory is poorly explained and random flashbacks only provide clarity for people who have read the source material. Living in the poorest District in the world of Panem doesn’t mean that you are the curviest woman in the entire movie. Jennifer Lawrence ‘s portrayal of a conflicted, amazingly strong woman comes across rather flat at times. There is a depth to the character that I think that the script didn’t allow her to express. Maybe not her fault. The movie at times feels like a documentary with the shaky cam technique that is exercised can be nauseating. The ending of the movie is horrific. The third act is very good with the last 2 minutes of the movie utterly confusing you.
With all of these things said, it was one of the best movies of this sort that I have seen in a while. It has all the heart, soul, and grit to be just as successful as the Harry Potter franchise. A story that involves oppression and mistreatment delivered in a way that is understandable and watchable is a hard task, and this delivers. The characters are likable, the action is unrelenting when it occurs, and you believe that Katniss Everdeen can conquer the world. The source material is strong and I think that this is a good representation of it. I can’t wait to see what will happen with the next two movies. I highly recommend this movie.
DIRECTOR: Gary Ross
SCREENWRITER: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci,
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
MPAA RATING: PG-13