"The Hunger Games"
Released March 2012
Directed by: Gary Ross
Alright, it's been months since I did a real review and I've been anticipating this movie for quite some time---so lets do this. I'm almost a little disappointed by all the hype it's gotten (3rd best opening weekend ever) because with that comes a lot of opinions and most people have a hard time being neutral. But lets get on with it...
First, the books. I read them months ago (actually before I knew they were making movies). I do not think that Suzanne Collins is the best writer ever, but I think the concept was good and I enjoyed reading them. They were definitely addicting. I am a really big fan of anything post apocalyptic or dystopian. That's not everyone's cup of tea, so I'm actually a little surprised at how popular the movie has been (and not surprised at the people appalled at the concept).
I like books and film equally and recognize that they are different art forms. A book cannot be translated to screen without losing some details. Otherwise it would be 6 hours long at least. A good movie will capture the spirit of the book, cut the things that can be cut and keep the things that are important all while keeping the integrity of the story intact. It's difficult, but it can be done. I've never been one to whine about the movie changing too much from the book if the movie is done well. Although there are still some who are upset about the cuts made for this film, I think they did an excellent job translating it to screen. And actually, the movie may be better than the book (gasp!) in a lot of ways. I say that because Suzanne Collins is straight out of Hollywood, not academia. This is her forte, and it shows. It's one of the best adaptions I've seen and I'm suspicious that she had a movie in mind the entire time she was penning the book.
The choices for the actors I think overall were good. The only one I was truly skeptical about going in was Cinna. I don't think they really developed his character enough for me to have strong feelings about the choice one way or another (which is too bad because he's one of my favorite characters in the book), but I didn't find the choice distracting. The only character I didn't like the choice of actor was Cato...and that's really only because he was a terrible actor. The rest of the acting was decent I thought.
I'm not really sure what I'd have thought about it had I not read the books. I've heard some people say that there wasn't enough character development or that it was predictable. I didn't feel that way, but then again I already knew what was going to happen and I knew what was going on in the heads of the characters.
The production of the film was so much better than expected. Really great camera angles and style choices. It didn't feel cheesy to me (and it was definitely at risk), I thought they did a great job keeping the violence from being too gorey while still having the impact needed to convey the emotion and disgust of it all.
Just like with anything popular, there are going to be people obsessed with this series, and people who hate it just because people are obsessed with it. There will also be the camps who feel the whole premise is degrading and violent...and people who feel it wasn't violent enough. I've seen mostly positive reviews, and of course some "what are you people thinking, it sucked!" but that's the nature of our culture and unsurprising.
For me, it was a success. I liked the movie. I thought they did a great job. I'm not sure the next two will be as good since I think the books/stories get weaker as they go, but for this film alone---well done. Here's hoping the hype doesn't keep people from enjoying it or draw the wrong people in to see it.