The Hunger Games Movie – A Review with Spoilers

Last night, I went to the movie premiere for The Hunger Games. I went in with a lot of anticipation, as I often worry about whether film adaptations will be good or bad. In this case? Wonderful.

If you haven’t read the books, the premise is of a young woman, Katniss Everdeen, who lives in District 12. There are separate districts, all which produce certain goods for the Capitol. Originally, there had been an uprising against the Capitol, and now to pay the price, each district has to sacrifice a boy and child to participate in The Hunger Games. These Games are where all the children are pitted against each other, where only one comes out alive.

One of the things I did not expect was how raw the film was. The use of silence versus a musical score were always appropriate, and it often jarred the viewer. Even better? The use of the camera. Instead of focusing from an audience standpoint and showing the gore and fighting in a clean and clear manner, the director, Gary Ross, showed it from the perspective of the Tributes (those who are sacrificed for the Games). Often it was impossible to understand who was fighting who, or who had the upper hand. This not only effectively made the movie safer for the younger kids who were watching, but also made Katniss’ point of view as a Tribute even stronger. Finally, the costumes were perfectly believable, but altogether unexpected. All costumes replicated styles of the past, but were created with textures, colors, and patterns that were modern or bold. I found this to be utter genius.

To get past the technical aspect of the movie, I should also write on the adaptation itself. And, note, from this point on there will be major spoilers.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was how accurate and true every aspect of the movie seemed to be to the books. There were discrepancies, but I can understand why they were made and I do not hold it against Gary Ross. In fact, I enjoyed his work wholeheartedly, and feel that he truly understood the point of the books, especially because he had Suzanne Collins co-write the screenplay. The first noticeable discrepancy was how Katniss received her Mockingjay pin, which was through the black market of District 12. The way she receives it in the books is more symbolic and powerful, but was also too hard to fit into the film. There would have been no easy way of fluidly introducing the Mayor’s daughter of District 12, and what it meant for Katniss to receive the pin from her, since the Mayor’s daughter is such a minor character.

However, one thing that I wished was in the movie was how the Mutts, which were genetically engineered dogs used near the end of the Games, had the eyes of the dead Tributes. I believe that this was an important aspect of the books because it showed how sick, twisted, and cruel the members of the Capitol were, and the lack of this in the movie lessened that. Although, I was thoroughly overjoyed at Gary Ross’ ability to make the Capitol members in the chariot-scene – where all the Tributes are dressed up and shown off for the citizen of the Capitol – look twisted and sick as they enjoyed the Games.

While I had wished that certain aspects of the books were included in the movie, I also enjoyed how they were aspects of the movie that I wished were in the books – for example, how the original Gamemaker, Seneca Crane, was expected to kill himself by Nightlock, which was how both Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark got out of the Games. This was just a great way of showing how cruel and calculating the villain, President Snow, is.

I cried from beginning to end with this movie. I did not laugh, clap, or cheer, even though there were opportunities for those emotions and reactions. In the end, the movie completely portrayed the messages of the books, and I knew that laughing over Peeta vs. Gale was silly and rude considering the grave situation that Katniss was in. I knew that to clap when Thresh killed Clove would be to fall into the same ranks as the Capitol members who were making a sport out of death, and I knew that cheering when Katniss and Peeta beat the system of the Hunger Games would be futile and naive. Just because they won the Games does not mean there was cause for celebration, as so many lives were lost throughout the book and movie, and there is definitely more to come.

What did you think of the movie? Did you read the books? Let me know in the comments below!


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