Title: THE HUNGER GAMES
Director: Gary Ross
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson
Runtime: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Release Date: IN THEATERS NOW!
Synopsis: Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
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Hello, my lovely Muses! I was planning on posting a review for an entirely different movie today, but after viewing The Hunger Games late Thursday night, I just had to share my thoughts with everyone! Whether you already have your tickets or are waiting a bit, hesitant to invest your time and money in this new movie franchise, let me put your mind at ease and reassure you right now: The Hunger Games is worth every penny!
Clocking in at 2 hours and 20 minutes, the film version of this bestselling YA novel by Suzanne Collins is probably one of the better movie-to-book adaptions out there. For all you hardcore Hunger Game fans that are worried how it measures up, here are a few key points that will help ease your mind.
The Reaping is one of the first major things that happens in the novel, so its portrayal on screen would set the tone of the movie. They nailed it.
GIRL ON FIREOne of the most memorable parts of the book is actually when Cinna creates fire costumes for Katniss and Peeta. It left such a shocking impression in the Capitol that Katniss became known as "Girl on Fire." I have to admit, I was practically biting my nails in anxiety, wondering how they were going to pull this off in the movie. All I am going to say is, they got it right!
I know many fans are worried that the PG-13 rating might hinder the movie's controversial subject matter-- that of kids killing kids. But let me reassure everyone that there is blood and death, moments that felt raw and shocking, even going into it knowing what happens in the book.
ACTING & ACTOR CHOICESThe acting was top notch. I know that people complained that Jennifer Lawrence--even with the dyed hair and contacts-- did not look like the Katniss described in the novel. But NO one can deny that she is a strong actress. I was a Jennifer Lawrence fan back when she was nominated for an academy award for her outstanding performance in Winter's Bone. When I heard the news that she was cast as Katniss, I remember sighing in relief, even if she didn't quite look the part.
My two favorite characters are Cinna and Haymitch, so to have Lenny Kravitz and Woody Harrelson play those parts was like a dream. They were definitely put in capable hands.
One critic complained that Lenny Kravitz was " an absolute miscast as Cinna and....the movie fails to capture the very important relationship between he and Katniss." I couldn't disagree more. There is a stereotype that male stylists are gay, flamboyant, etc. The book does not portray Cinna in that way at all. I was worried that they would pick someone that either looked effeminate or play the character in that way. Thankfully, the part went to Lenny Kravitz who brings a perfect blend of masculinity and androgyny. His calm, quiet intensity brings the Cinna on pages to life and I must say, the scene where he helps Katniss into a jacket he has made for her right before she enters the arena, had me in tears.
They were very well done! Like I said above, I was probably more worried about how they were going to show the fire of Cinna's costume creations for Katniss & Peeta, (especially her dress of fire) then anything else as far as specials effects. The mutant dogs unleashed by Crane in the games looked realistic-- is it sad to say that they looked more real than the cgi wolves in the Twilight movies?
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MY ONLY COMPLAINTS
It would have been nice to see a few flashbacks of her father showing her how to hunt, track, use a bow, etc. It is never explained in the movie how she developed these skills, how she knows exactly what part of the high voltage fence to get past in order to enter the woods. But I can remember in the book how important Katniss' father was to her, especially what he teaches her in order to help support her sister and mother.
KATNISS & GALE
A couple more minutes developing Katniss & Gale's relationship would have been beneficial. It felt a bit rushed, but hey, I get the time constraints.
I absolutely loved Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, however, I think he "sobered up" a bit to quickly in the movie. Other then the drunken scene on the train ride to the Capitol, the alcoholic we come to know in the book does not translate the same in the movie. BUT, that is not Woody Harrelson's fault, as I read an article where he asked the director how far he wanted him to go with the drinking issue and I guess what we see in the movie is the result.
HAND HELD CAMERA
During the districts & arena scenes, a hand held camera was used which was very effective: it made me feel like I was actually there. However, I'm not sure if it was because I ate before going to the movie or what, the jerky movements of the camera made me a bit nauseous at times.
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THOSE WHO HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK
FOR THE GUYS
I know you guys out there have been patiently waiting for a movie franchise that you can go with your girlfriend and not feel like someone is torturing you. The Hunger Games is action packed, focusing more on survival then sappy romance. It is definitely more guy friendly then say the Twilight Saga, so give it a shot!
FOR THE GIRLS
Ladies, this is a great date movie that has a little something for you and him. If you like strong female characters that kick butt, romance, a story that pulls on the heartstrings, and action, then you are in for a treat!
FOR THE PARENTS
As a teacher, I have found that the biggest way to connect with my students and keep up with the current trends is by reading what they read or try to beat them to it so that I can make recommendations. Parents, this is a great way to bond with your kids. If you have a teenage son or daughter, go pick up a copy of The Hunger Games and read it together, then check out the movie. Or vice versa. Either way, it's a nice way to stay connected and spend time with your children.
May the odds be ever in your favor!