I have been known to have a thing against popular teen books being turned into movies. Then I get into it, and then I think.. what is wrong with me. This movie? Nah-uh. It is fantastic.
I started to read the book way long ago, then life stepped in and said no, you can’t. It is still sitting in my Kindle Fire halfway through. So I took two cousins of mine along who were HUGE fans of the book to see their reaction as well.
The Hunger Games takes place in the future- exact time is uncertain, but long gone is the world as we know it. The new nation is called “Panem.” Due to an unsuccessful uprising by the districts of Panem, a raffle (known as the “reaping” which will remind most of us of “The Lottery”) is held to choose one boy and one girl, aged 12–18, from each of the twelve districts to participate in the Hunger Games, a competition in which each contestant, or tribute as they are called, battles until only one is left. The winner receives honor, gifts, and enough food and supplies to never worry about anything ever again. The Hunger Games are a yearly reminder to the 12 districts of the Capitol’s authority, and punishment for their rebellion over 70 years ago, in which the 13th district was supposedly destroyed.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Laurence) is a sixteen year old girl from District 12 who cares for her unstable mother and her sister “Prim.” It is Prim’s first reaping, and she has the misfortune of being selected for the 74th annual Hunger Games, until big sis volunteers and then Dictrict 12 selects their male tribute, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). They are whisked off to The Capitol where they meet their mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson)- the only living winner from District 12, and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz)- their image consultant who dresses them to appease viewers, and sponsors.
After being paraded down The Capitol, getting “rated” and flung in front of an audience for an interview with Ceasar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) (think Seacrest meets Springer), the tributes are all taken to The Arena- which is a huge TV set where the producers control the elements. It is a game in which there is only one winner- not just a game of survival but of learning the dark side of the human psyche.
Laurence is incredible as our unfortunate heroine, Katniss. She embodies Katniss’ sadness but never once loses her strength and agility. What I love? This is a girl that isn’t swooned by a boy… instead of being the damsel in distress or the moody girl always hating the world, Katniss is full of a silent beauty and enpowerment, and Laurence shows that without so much as uttering a word. Just a simple look or the right placing of a breathe, and you can see Katniss’ thoughts. Brilliant.
Of course there are love interests. What teen favorite wouldn’t have love? While we didn’t see much of Gale (Hemsworth), what we did see establishes a connection that not even the characters may be aware of yet. Bring in Peeta (Hutcherson) and his confession for what he feels for Katniss, and we have a good ol’ love triangle on our hands. Fans of the book know how this ends… but for me, I couldn’t tell you who I wanted Katniss to end up with- if at all. I loved both boys, and I love how Katniss didn’t have to be this flirty little thing- she was smart, and powerful and she still had guys after her. Woo!
What can I say about the rest of the cast? Awesome. Lenny Kravitz (who I heard was one of the roles people were originally doubting) was fab as Cinna. Stanley Tucci as the altenate reality talk show host was hilarious and swarmy. But Elizabeth Banks was my fave… even underneath that bizarre costume she shined with wit.
The direction by Michael Ross was incredible in that even in it’s slow points, you never lost focus. Certain shots were in slo-mo and others with shaky cam, but all sucked you into the world that was created for the movie. When Katniss was running from fireballs- I was right there with her because of the camera shots made me feel there. Without 3D! Pieces of the film showed a dark beauty while other just filled you with terror.
Did they change the book? My cousins said they actually stayed very true to the book- added a couple things here and there, but overall was almost exact. Better than any Twilight or Harry Potter. Were they disappointed? Not at all- they loved it and are actually going to see it AGAIN tonight! 🙂
This is a movie you have to catch on the big screen and I recommend running out and buying your tickets like NOW. Ladies and gentlemen, let the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games begin!
No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.