Last weekend I finally got my chance to see the new movie “The Hunger Games.” Having read all three books from The Hunger Games trilogy, I’ve been eagerly awaiting to see this movie.
Written by Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games” started off as the first of a three book series, including “Catching Fire” and “MockingJay”. I personally loved all three of these books and read them within a week. People are saying “The Hunger Games” is the new “Harry Potter.” I speak in terms of kick-ass suspenseful action, amazingly written plots and characters, and important underlying life-themes; not another story about wizards and witches fighting for the survival of the magical world. The Hunger Games movie has become a huge success, racking in approximately $155 million on it’s opening weekend. It has set multiple records, including the third strongest opening weekend behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2” and “The Dark Knight”, according to Hollywood.com
Being a huge fan of the books, I was very skeptic about the movie and if it’d actually follow the original story line. Often times when a book hits the big screen, critics scrutinize the movie about every detail the movie missed or did wrong. This is not the case for “The Hunger Games”. I personally felt the movie did the book justice. It followed the story line almost exactly, while cutting out unimportant information to keep the film watch-able. Director Gary Ross worked directly with writer Suzanne Collins to ensure the movie captured the essence that is The Hunger Games.
I can describe this movie as a combination of “The Truman Show” meets “Gladiator”. It is an action packed film with the perfect amount of drama and romance sprinkled in. Even having reading the book, the movie kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next. There was never a dull moment in the 2 and half hours the movie ran and it never seemed to be drag on.
Ross did a stupendous job of picking out each characters and how we all imagine them to be when reading the books. Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing job of portraying the rebellious, hardcore, sexy persona of the story’s hero, Katniss Everdeen. Even the settings were beautifully depicted from the poverty stricken scenery of district 12, to the fantasy world of the Capitol, and finally the elegantly balanced nature of the blood-ridden Cornucopia battlefield.
(Attention Spoiler Alerts)
My only complaints I have are the slight variations they made to shorten the length of the film. The movie changed how Katniss received her highly symbolic “mockingjay” pin that ultimately becomes the symbol of the inevitable rebellion. The movie also doesn’t fully develop the background relationships of Katniss with her mother, Gale, Peeta, Haymitch, Rue, Effie and the various other people of Panem Katniss encounters. It is not surprising they omit this out since the book spends numerous pages building these relationships. Another thing they cut short was the saucy romance scene of Katniss and Peeta in the cave. In the book Haymitch sends a silver parachute to Katniss containing sleeping syrup for Peeta, so Katniss can sneak away and grab the crucial backpack they need. In the book this scene really builds the relationship between Katniss and Peeta and shows the initial spark between them.
The movie also changed the final battle scene between the ‘mutation dogs’ and Katniss, Peeta and Cato. In the book the dogs are made from the bodies of the fallen tributes, which are reflected in their cold eyes. This creates even more hatred from our heroes towards the Capitol and the sinister brutality they are capable of. A final comment I have is the ending. Although it was a good Hollywood ending, they left out the part where Peeta proposes to Katniss, as they become the first power couple to win the Hunger Games. This sets the stage for the next book, as they must now indefinitely keep up the persona of the “star-crossed lovers”.
Even with these discrepancies, I feel the director included the biggest and necessary parts of the story. All in all this is an amazing movie that will keep readers of the book enticed and blow the minds of new watchers. I highly recommend watching the movie and reading all the books.