Reviewed: The Hunger Games movie [SPOILERS]

Katniss Everdeen The Hunger Games

It took less than three days to read The Hunger Games trilogy, but I’ll have to wait about three years to enjoy the trilogy in movie form. After watching part one this weekend, I hate having to wait that long.

Whenever they make a movie based on books people love, it’s inevitable that something will be off, like the casting, or they’ll just miss the mark completely. With this one, author and co-writer Suzanne Collins kept it relatively in-line with the book, the casting and sets were phenomenal, and some added adaptations fit well. All that being said, I do have a few criticisms.

The books were largely about the politics of this society, and to me the movie seemed to hint at it instead of going into a bit more detail. Katniss’ many inadvertent thumbs in the face of The Capitol were hardly touched on until the ride back to District 12 when Haymitch says she upset them by forcing two winners. With how the story progresses, the sparks she creates here play a huge part in future events, but for whatever reason they decide to not delve into it more.

Another key point missed was the importance of Katniss playing up her feelings for Peeta. They make it clear that Peeta has feelings for her, but it’s not so obvious that she’s putting on a show to keep them alive. The fake relationship also plays a key part in her relationship with her best friend Gale, but we’re barely given a sample of the struggle she goes through doing what she did.

I know some adaptations have to be made for any film, even if the book isn’t that big, so I’m crossing my fingers for them to touch on some things that were glanced at, a bit more in the next two movies.

As I mentioned before, the casting and sets were phenomenal. While the characters didn’t all necessarily look the same as I had pictured, they certainly acted the same. When it came to the two main ones, Katniss and Peeta, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson made them come to life much better than I could have imagined.

Sets are just as important as the actors in many cases. For this one, it was as if my imagination was on the big screen in many cases, but especially in the Games. Whether it was in the forest trees, the cave or in the open cornucopia space there were times when I couldn’t believe how perfect they’d actually stuck with the book. So often I picture one thing, then when it’s in a movie I think I read it all wrong – not this time.

Forgetting it’s an adaption of a book for a second, I can say this was the best most entertaining movie I’ve seen in a long time. If I hadn’t read the books I would have given it a higher score, but I did, so I can’t forgive the fact that key plot points weren’t touched on enough. I give The Hunger Games a 4.5/5. After some reflection, I edited the score to accurately reflect my review a bit more. Like I mentioned in a sentence above, if key plot points were focused in on a bit more, it would have deserved the 4.5-5 rating.

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The Hunger Games trilogy: Impossible to put down

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Given its ‘young adult’ tag, The Hunger Games trilogy didn’t really appeal to me, but I’d heard a lot of chatter of late, and the preview for the movie piqued my interest, so I decided to give it a try. Let me just say, Suzanne Collins wrote it well enough that they would appeal to any age group. Over the Christmas break I began reading The Hunger Games, and two days later I’d finished the next two in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay – the books are that addictive.

The story is told from the point of view of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year old from District 12, in the country of Panem. It takes place sometime in the future in a post-apocolyptic world where Panem is a large country spreading across North America. It is ruled from the central city called the Capitol which also oversees 11 other districts which produce various goods to feed the main city.

To give a bit of an outline of what you’ll find in the first book, the Hunger Games is an annual tournament where a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are drawn from a pool in each district and sent to compete in a battle televised for all of Panem, but for the pleasure of those in the Capitol. The games are yearly reminder that the Capitol rules the district and it is meant to quell any thoughts of rebellion that may arise.

The first book’s main focus was the Hunger Games, and as a standalone book it was great. As I moved on to Catching Fire and Mockingjay the overarching story developed into a society on the brink of collapse and eventually a full-on rebellion against the Capitol by the Districts. Expanding the story gave it so much more depth, and made it into one that dealt with the problems in this broken society, and not so much about the games themselves.

When it comes to the characters, Collins’ writing brings the cast to life. Each one, especially Katniss, Peeta and Gale, has a distinct personality and throughout each story you see how those personalities come into play. As with every novel that I love, each of the main District 12 characters have a solid back story so you get a sense of what made them who they are. They’re supported by many other characters from across Panem, and though there are many to keep track of, it rarely gets confusing.

The one thing irked me the most was what that after spending so much time leading to the final showdown in Mockingjay, the conclusion read as if it was point form notes to let everyone know what happened and how the characters fared. It didn’t do the story justice to rush through the end like that and it left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth.

All that being said, I still enjoyed the story overall and would recommend it to everyone who’s a fan of the dystopian theme a la 1984 or Brave New World. I give The Hunger Games a 5/5, Catching Fire 5/5, and Mockingjay 4.5/5.

What did you think of the trilogy?

Before you go, check out the trailer for the movie, which is coming out in March and starring Jennifer Lawrence:

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