The Hunger Games Movie Experience

29 March, 2012 Reviews 11 comments

The Hunger Games was one of the most anticipated movies of 2012 and lemme tell ya. It did not disappoint. In fact, I might go as far to say it was one of the best movie adaptations I’ve seen in a long time. I really hope that by the end of this little movie review I convince you to go check it out for yourself, if you haven’t already done so. It was fan-freakin’-tastic.

Unlike the last book-to-film movie I saw, Breaking Dawn Part 1, where I snuck away from the kids with my husband, this time I managed to venture off to the midnight showing with my best friend and her boyfriend. My best friend, let’s call her Jane, had read and fangirled over the books as much as I did and required no further harassment from me other than, “We are GOING to see this movie at midnight! Ya hear?!” To which she replied, “Sure!” Now while I may not consider myself a a die-hard fan like I was with my beloved Harry Potter, I was pretty darn excited. And sometimes when you are already a fan of a series, it can be difficult for you to look at the film without comparing it directly to the book. This is the reason why I love seeing adaptations with a “series virgin.” They have no idea what they are in for besides what the promos have shown them, so they aren’t bringing in all these expectations like the fans are. It’s even better when you attend the showing during midnight where you are guaranteed to be swamped by all the die-hards. It really makes for an interesting experience because sometimes you can tell when a film is made for everyone or if it was made for the *fans*. Jane’s boyfriend, who we will refer to as Tarzan strictly for my lulz, was my “series virgin.”

When we first arrived at the movies around 10:15pm, I had no idea how big this movie would be. I mean, I knew THG had a lot of support fan-wise. After all, THG is pretty much the Twilight of the dystopian genre. But I had no idea people would have made T-shirts and signs for the movie. My first thought was Geez, is it that serious? And that, my friends, is what you call a dumb question because it was that serious. There were people decked out in full Huger Games glory camping out in front of the movie theatre. Some were dressed as citizens of Panem and others as tributes. And between you and me, I really want one of those nifty gray tribute shirts. Now, of course, this level of fan dedication from the book world was new to Tarzan, so he was pretty surprised. I’m sure “What the hell are they wearing?” ran through his mind several times as we waited for the movie to begin.

When the previews finally started, three guesses for which movie trailer/teaser we saw! Breaking Dawn Part 2. Le sigh. Interestingly, that was the same response from almost everyone in the theatre. Is the world finally getting sick of Twilight? I can only hope. Anyway, by the time the movie actually started I was already in the middle of a serious headache indicating that I’m getting way too old to be staying out past midnight. But I enjoyed every minute of it.

The movie opens with Katniss and Gale hunting in the woods. Honestly, when I first heard the casting for Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) I was a little skeptical. But those concerns quickly left me in the first five minutes of the movie. One thing I wasn’t sure I’d be fond of was the change with the mockingjay pin. In the movie, Katniss acquires it from someone in her districts “black market” and gives it to her sister, Prim, for good luck during the reaping. But in the book, she receives it from the Mayor’s daughter. I ended up liking the movie’s version better because Prim is the one who give the pin to Katniss before she’s taken away to the Capital. It felt more emotional that way to me because her sister was giving it to her versus a random classmate.

The scenes from the training, interviews with Ceaser and the people at the Capital were just how I envisioned them! When we first see Katniss emerge as “The Girl on Fire,” I was really impressed with the special effects. She was literally on fire, just as she was in the books. The minor characters really stood out for me in the movie. Tarzan especially loved Caeser played by Stanley Tucci. Omg! Hilarious! I really think all the actors did a fantastic job even Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was done very well. He actually didn’t have many lines, but I think he definitely did Cinna justice. Oh, and I cannot forget about the wonderful job Elizabeth Banks did with the role of Effie Trinket! When she chose the tributes from district 12 and uttered the unforgettable phrase, “And may the odds to ever in your favor!” I knew they had made an awesome choice for her role.

The most emotional scene in the movie has to be Rue’s death (played by Amandla Stenberg). When Katniss was holding Rue right before she died, Tarzan nudged me, chuckling and said, “Check your girl out.” I looked over at Jane, who was sitting on the other side of him, and noticed she was in the midst of an “ugly cry.” When she caught me staring wide-eyed at her she said, “It’s just so sad. I cried when she died in the book.” Tarzan shed no emotional tears. Neither than I for that matter, but I’m pretty sure that was expected given the black state of my soul. Lol. But, I will say I thought the moment in the movie wasn’t as sad as the book’s scene because Rue and Katniss didn’t have much screen time together. That’s not exactly the movie’s fault, though. I mean, they did have to squeeze an entire book into a few hours.

Okay, *snicker* so the funniest part of the movie was in the cave scene where Katmiss has just returned from getting the medicine Peeta needed for his leg. She also came back with a cut on her forehead and Peeta takes the opportunity to rub the medicine on her cut as well. I’m not sure why the scene was funny, but Peeta spent so long rubbing the medicine in, it became comical.

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Once Tarzan said, “Dude, she’s good!” I think I about died with laughter. See, this is why I love series virgins. 😉

The one negative I can think of was that most of the movie takes place right before Katniss goes into the arena and when she does go, the events felt a little rushed. It wasn’t really a big deal because I know that certain things had to be explained, but it would have been nice to have seen more action in the arena. One thing that I thought was strange was Peeta and his ability to camouflage himself by painting himself with mud. There is one part where Katniss is looking for Peeta in the arena and finds him completely blended in with a rock. I mean, it was really detailed. That was a bit unrealistic, but it garnered chuckles from the audience. Speaking of the audience, when Thresh killed Clove, the audience exploded in a round of applause, accompanied with a few shouts of, “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!” At this point Tarzan turned to me and whispered, “Uhhh, they do know that he can’t hear them, right?” Lol.

By the end of the film, during the scene with the mutts and Cato, I was expecting to explain the relationship between the deceased tributes and the mutts, but it didn’t happen. Cato’s death was also pretty quick and it became evident that they were just trying to end the movie. It was also less bloodier than I imagined it. But despite all of that, I still really liked the movie. If I were to give it a star rating, I’d give it a 4.2 out of 5. It wasn’t completely a perfect movie because I think if you haven’t read the book, some aspects might not make much sense to you, like the bread scene or why Gale’s name was entered in so many times.

After we departed from the theatre, seeing everyone in their Huger Games swag once again, Tarzan informed Jane and I that we must not be “real” fans since we didn’t own a T-shirt. Jane was not amused and told him, “Umm, we read it before it was hot.” She was right, of course. For whatever reason, going to the midnight showing felt different than a Harry Potter premiere. It mostly felt like people were just riding the wave, trying to be a part of the next “big thing.” Regardless, it seems like the success of The Hunger Games will get a lot of folks reading and that’s a beautiful thing.

Anyway, even though I wanted more blood, the movie exceeded my expectations. And Considering Catching Fire primarily takes place in the arena, I’m really looking forward to the next movie, which is said to be release Thanksgiving of 2013.

If I’ve learned one thing from this entire experience it’s that it seems like I’m not cut out for hanging out at the movies that late at night. This is probably an indication that I need to train harder. :3

Did you see the movie? How did you enjoy it?

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker, fangirl and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.

11 Responses to “The Hunger Games Movie Experience”

  1. Ikhlas Hussain

    Really great review, Stephanie!
    I agree, most of the movie did take place in the arena, and because of that, I felt like I’d already seen a lot of it from the previews. I would have liked more time in the arena, but alas, that’s how things are.

    The ending wasn’t my favourite, but I think I might be the only one. I didn’t feel the tension or sense of urgency that you get when reading how Katniss realising HOLY COW I’m not out of the Games yet and BOOM! it ends. It kinda seemed wishy-washy to me, and I didn’t feel scared for her.

    But I agree, Jennifer Lawrence did a superb job.
    And hahaha, yes, I also read it before it became so huge, and I felt the same way. I kept comparing it to Harry Potter, and it was definitely different.
    Can’t wait for Catching Fire anyways!
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    • Stephanie Sinclair

      That you! I wasn’t that thrilled with the ending either. Like I said, after Cato’s death you could definitely tell the ending was rushed. I think the media really helped with the hype for this movie. I don’t remember the first Harry Potter having so much hype until after it had a few movies under its belt. For HP the hype grew over the course of the series. But I agree, can’t wait for Catching Fire! 🙂

      • Ikhlas Hussain

        Oh yes, this media received SO MUCH media buzz. It was great to see.
        You’re definitely right about HP; the media buzz grew as the books got more and more popular, and as they gained a lot of media attention.
        Its easy to forget that HP pretty much pioneered the way for such crazy fandoms and media buzz. No other book received such attention before it.
        Ikhlas Hussain recently posted…Some books I CAN’T wait to read!My Profile

        • Stephanie Sinclair

          I agree. I think they’ve noticed how big of a franchise a book to film movie can be and have put all their resources behind it. The first Twilight movie was extremely low budget, but they didn’t make that mistake with New Moon.

  2. Kate C.

    Finally saw it today and HOLY CRAP! I was blown away by how good it was and by the emotional response I had watching it. I’m so happy and amazed by how well they did with it. Maybe because Collins was originally a screenplay writer? Or maybe it was the director. No clue, but soooo FANTASTIC!
    My ONLY gripe: Haymitch was too nice. I would have loved a little more snark from him. He’s one of my favorite characters.
    Otherwise, and I can’t believe I’m saying this… it’s a MUST BUY for me. 🙂
    Question: Did it seem to you almost a “first person perspective” put in film? Because I was pretty impressed by how much of it seemed to be told BY Katniss, her feelings, her reactions, her choices.
    Kate C. recently posted…Feel like Dancing!My Profile

    • Stephanie Sinclair

      I was expecting more from Haymitch too! I think a lot of his snark was cut to speed up the movie. But, yes, a definite buy for me as well!

      It did seem like a first person perspective. I think that had a lot to do with the way they handled the camera too. How it shook as if it were Katniss running in the woods. There was also a lot of silent parts of the film where Katniss was telling the story and sharing her emotions through her facial expressions too. That reminds me, did you notice that there was no modern day music, only instrumental? That made me very happy!

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