Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games (2012)

 I realize, in posting this review, that two billion other reviews of this movie will probably be out here on the Interwebz this morning.  But I would be remiss if I didn't say something about our movie-going experience on Saturday night.  I can't remember the last time my entire family got THIS excited for a movie premier.  My daughter was actually trembling through the previews, waiting for it to start.  I found that to be so adorable, based on the fact that she almost never shows any emotion.  


Please be assured I shall not spoil a thing for you, whether you have yet to see the movie or have read the book.


Most people on this earth know the premise, but just for due diligence purposes, I will tell you a little about the plot.  (Feel free to skip this paragraph.)  It is in the future, and the government has total control over the little people.  As penance for a rebellion that occurred years ago, it forces each of the 12 districts to sacrifice one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the Hunger Games, where they fight, live on TV, to the death until only one survives.  Katniss Everdeen is our badass protagonist who will represent District 12.   

The movie stayed very true to the beloved novel (lest the screenwriters be skinned alive by the 3.2 billion fans).  There were small inconsistencies, but none that really mattered to me.  Because there are sequels to consider, care must be given to the plot threads to keep and the ones to leave, and I was OK with all of their decisions.


Although the movie was a PG-13 rating, the themes were mature and edgy, the perspective unflinching.  The conditions of the various districts were miserable, with near-starvation and filth the norm.  The battles for survival were bloody, intense and charged with adrenaline.  I admired this.  It would have been easy to soften a few edges, knowing there are third and fourth graders out there reading the books, but that did not happen.  Just keep this in mind for younger children or older children that are sensitive to these kinds of things.  Reading it and seeing it are two different experiences.
  
I originally had a few concerns about the casting.  Jennifer Lawrence was not my first pick for Katniss.  I didn't think she looked right.  But Lawrence has acting cred, with an Oscar nomination under her belt for "Winter's Bone".  Considering the fact that she was in almost every single scene, she needed to be someone other than just a pretty face.  Lawrence is beautiful without being too Hollywood, she has some meat on her bones, and is believable as a girl who can survive in the wild and at the same time inspire a love triangle.  


I also cringed when I saw Josh Hutcherson cast as Peeta.  He seemed too boyish and clean cut.  But again, he felt right in his part.  As well as most of the supporting crew.  Woody Harrelson, for the umpteenth time, did his THANG and owned it.  (If you haven't seen him in Zombieland, you must.)  Donald Sutherland was creepy and evil.  I wasn't crazy about Prim...she was shrieky and she got on my nerves.  But she doesn't have a big role so it was easy to forgive.   














By the way, I thought the casting of Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was...INSPIRED.  Who knew?  


The movie was right around 2 hours and 20 minutes...a little on the long side.  But I never even gave it a thought, or looked at my watch.  It flew by, which is a testament to the pacing.  


There were a few action scenes that were chaotic, frenzied.  You almost didn't know what you were seeing, except a blur of movement.  If you have heard about this and are worried about it, just sit towards the back of the theater so you have a better perspective.  I personally thought it was an excellent effect.


As far as book-to-movie translations, this would be at the top of my list.  If you are an avid fan of the books, you will not be disappointed.


Highly recommended (even if your kids want a repeat showing)!
    

22 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I didn't love the book, so I'm a little leery of the movie. I'm one of the older kids who may have trouble with some of the bloody scenes.

Jackie Bailey said...

I'm so pleased that it lived up to expectations. I look forward to watching this one soon. :-)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Can't wait to see it! Waiting for Jim to come back from his yet another ski trip!

Amy said...

I'm going today finally, but the fact that your daughter was trembling with excitement is like the CUTEST THING EVER

Meg said...

Awesome! I'm very excited to see it, though the weekend was too jam-packed for me to make it Saturday or Sunday. That's probably a good thing, though; I'll let the crowds die down a bit and then go with my dad sometime soon. He's actually very intrigued by the plot.

Anna said...

I was waiting for this post! My husband, The Girl, and I can't wait to find time to see it. It sounds great, and I love the idea of Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.

Zibilee said...

We are going to see it this weekend, after all the Book Festival events. Probably Sunday. It sounds like this is one I am going to love, and I am glad that the casting worked out. It seems like the directors did a great job with this adaptation, and I am glad you loved it! I will have to let you know what I think when I see it!

Carrie K. said...

Yay, yay, yay! So glad to hear it holds up - can't wait to see it on Thursday!

Anita said...

I haven't read the book, but my son is a big fan and has read one, and is well into two now. We'll be seeing later this week.

Marg said...

This is definitely a movie that I can see my son and me watching numerous times in the future! We both enjoyed the movie. Now I am just trying to get him to read the book!

Melody said...

I look forward to watching the movie later, if nothing crops up, that is. Glad you all enjoyed the movie!

caite said...

Glad you liked the casting...I had my doubts too. I am off Wednesday and I am going!
You think there will be a sequel? Really? I am amazed!

Julie P. said...

I almost went by myself on Friday since my daughter has no interest.

Alyce said...

I really think this is one I'll see on dvd, but then I don't go to the theater for many movies (especially since the end of the Harry Potter movies).

Jenners said...

Oh I'm so excited to see it. This is one that just screamed out to be a movie and it seems like they nailed it. When I heard Lenny Kravitz was Cinna, I thought "Perfection." It just seemed right. I think I'm going this week -- can't wait any longer!!!!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I loved it! I will say that even after seeing it, Peeta wasn't perfectly cast in my mind, but I got over it. I'm thinking about seeing it again too. There was just so much to take in.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I am so glad to hear you enjoyed the movie. I hope to take my daughter over her spring break in two weeks. We are both excited to see it!

Amy said...

I was hoping you reviewed Hunger Games. I have yet to read the book and want to before I see the movie. But I've heard some less than positive comments on the movie.

I'm excited that you enjoyed it so much and the casting is good, too!

Wonderful post, Sandy, as always!

Darlene said...

I so want to see this! I'm so glad you all enjoyed it so much,

Trisha said...

I just say this a few hours ago, and I agree with all you said. Harrelson, Sutherland, and Kravitz rocked.

The Bumbles said...

Thank you for a spoiler free review since I'm one of the minority yet to read this series.

Just saw Precious this weekend and Lenny did well in that film so it doesn't surprise me he handled himself well here. Saw him on Ellen and he was very excited about this opportunity and was a big fan of the books.

Love it when you can find a movie the whole family agrees on - that isn't from Pixar.

Melissa said...

I will watch this one at some point, even though I never watch movies. I've heard lots of people mention the jerky camera work. Some even said they got motion sick off of it!