Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Hunger Games - Movie Review

This is probably the most excited about a movie opening as I’ve been in awhile. I almost considered going to the midnight showing, but tons of screaming pre-teens is a little bit of a turn off. So I waited patiently for a more convenient time and a bargain showing.

Recently, my daughter read the last page of The Hunger Games and then walked out of her bedroom, handed it over to me and said, “Read this now!” I’m currently half way through the second book. I would like to read all three straight through, but I keep getting interrupted with other books.

As usual, I saw this movie opening weekend, but failed to write my review. I’m really trying to be better at this. I get so excited I run out to see new stuff and then have a hard time putting my butt in the chair to write about it.

The Hunger Games was a fantastic book. If you wonder why this book and film has received so much attention, then you simply haven’t read the book or seen the film. I guarantee you it won’t be long before this book is required school reading. It has appeal for both girls and boys (and adults), has foreshadowing, metaphors and topics for debate. It such a good book that it’s easy to be concerned about its film adaptation.

If by chance that has held you back from seeing the film, rest assured, the printed text gets a rare excellent translation to film. Of course changes had to be made. One of the most publicized discussions was how they would deal with the violence. Actually, in the first book, the violence is never described in gory detail so it’s not surprising to not go for the gore on the screen. The violence clearly conveyed and I felt the filmmakers only blew it in the final scene of “The Games.” This was the only time I felt they needed to push the envelope a bit more. If you read the book, you know the scene I’m talking about. Cato’s scene is a bit brief in the film and somewhat dilutes the action of the main characters. This opinion was not shared by daughter so maybe I’m alone on this, but it was my one real criticism of the film.

It’s probably a waste of time of even tell you the plot of this film. It’s been everywhere, right? For review sake I’ll mention that the film takes place in a futuristic time where American does not resemble anything we know today. Now called Panem, the country is broken into 13 districts. Each district is poorer than the next and people live with little freedoms. There is also talk of a war similar to the French Revolution. An uprising of the poor proved unsuccessful and now as punishment, and to dissuade anything like that being considered again, each district must offer up on boy and one girl each year in a televised death match called, The Hunger Games.

So going into this film, there’s a bit more on the line than the usual teenage fluff. This is what makes the books widely popular and why the casting of the lead character Katniss was crucial to get right. Although some complained that Jennifer Lawrence was too old for the role, she clearly has the acting chops and can pull off the toughness vital to the role.

It’s so refreshing to see a young female character that fights to survive, protect her family at all costs and to wonder how anyone could have time for googley-eyed love at a time like this.

I would encourage you to read the books and see the film. I agreed with most of the changes the film had to do to the book. Can I just ask though, am I too literal that I actually pictured a huge traditional Thanksgiving cornucopia?

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