Anyway, I SAW THE HUNGER GAMES LAST NIGHT!
Click here to read my blog post about when I read the book and a short synopsis of the story. This is one of those rare times when I feel like I read something before it became really popular. But unlike many (insert some kind of art/music here) elitists, I'm really glad that something I loved went mainstream. Although the thought of watching kids kill kids didn't originally cause me to give jumping high-fives to strangers, I have to say that I was psyched to see the movie. After my plans to see it with a friend fell through, I went to see it with two people from work.
Where to begin? It had the right feel, do you know what I mean? It was dark, athletic, quiet, tense, things that I felt while reading the book. One thing that I was worried about was the explanation of the main character's actions. Since she is alone throughout much of the book, we get to experience her thoughts, fears and hardships through narration. Were they going to have her say out loud, "I'm very thirsty and can't find water!" Or "What's Peeta's deal...is he with me or against me?" I'm glad to say that they handled this well. I think they relied on the audience's ability to intuitively know how she must be feeling instead of telling us. I think part of this comes from the author's large input on the creation of the movie.
I loved that we got glimpses of things happening outside of the arena while the Games were happening, such as into the gamemakers' headquarters and District 12. I loved what a stark contrast they painted between the Districts and the Capitol - one place where people are literally starving in the streets and picking at chicken bones, and another place with such disgusting over-indulgence and opulence. They laid this out perfectly without being obvious.
A couple thoughts on casting. I thought Jennifer Lawrence was perfect...she looked young enough but had the angsty quietness that I liked in Katniss. Josh Hutcherson made Peeta even more likable...for some reason I never pictured Peeta as particularly attractive in the book but Josh's interpretaion made him desirable. Stanley Tucci blew me out of the water with his strange and over-the-top portrayal of over-the-top Ceasar Flickerman (his insane smiling got me every time).
Yes, they showed the kids dying. In a way, this was even gorier than the book because Katniss doesn't see the bloodbath at the Cornucopia in the book...she's too busy running away. We see it in the movie, and I'm not sure if I'm a psychopath because I'm kind of glad they did? I mean, I had wondered just what exactly happens there, you know? There's a lot of blurry, shaking shots so you don't see detail. A lot of quick editing and panning away. They show blood, but it's more like the blood left over on a knife or splattered on a wall than actual wounds.
That last paragraph was pretty macabre.
I really recommend it, if you have or even if you haven't read the books.