Monday, April 2, 2012

Movie Monday: The Hunger Games

I can't believe that I didn't write about this movie sooner. I saw it the day after it came out with my sister, our cousin, and a couple of friends. 3 of us were fans of the books, and the other 2 were totally new to the story. It was interesting to have both perspectives of the movie. I was so excited for this movie, it was all Chris heard about for weeks! Of course, he is going to be dragged to it next time I want to watch it :) And I'll likely see it a third time with another couple of friends. How horrible ;)


I find it so hard to explain the story without giving too much away. The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian future nation called Panem that rose up from what remained when North America as we know it collapsed. This country is made up of 12 Districts, all with their own specialty (4 is fishing, 11 is agriculture, 12 is coal mining, etc). These Districts are under the control of the Capitol, which keep the districts under strict control after a rebellion happened over 70 years ago.

What Panem would probably look like if it was real.
 As a way of reminding the Districts of their reliance and subservience to the Capitol, the Capitol created the Hunger Games: an annual event where 1 boy and 1 girl from each District is chosen through a lottery to participate in an arena death match. The last person standing is literally the last person alive. These participants are between the ages of 12 and 18, and the lottery entries are cumulative. The Capitol sees the Hunger Games the way we see the Olympics, a fun time of festivities and cheering for the favorites. The Districts watch the games in horror, knowing that their children are not safe, and next year it might be one of their family members forced to participate.

24 go in, only one comes out.

We join this ongoing trial in the 74th year of the Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen, aged 16, is a hunter who lives in District 12. Her 12 year-old sister Prim will be attending her first Reaping (aka the lottery draw). Everyone in the District gathers where the drawing of the names takes place. Broadcasted on the screens is Effie Trinket, the announcer and guide for the District 12 tributes. Effie reaches her hand into the bowl of names, and draws out the name of the female tribute...

Primrose Everdeen.

Katniss goes into panic mode, and yells out "I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!" This outburst changes her life forever.

Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta Mellark go to the Capitol, where they undergo beauty treatments, interviews, and training for the arena. They are guided by Effie; the mentor of District 12, Haymitch Abernathy, a previous victor; and Katniss' stylist Cinna. Then the day comes where they enter the arena, and they must literally fight for their lives. Only one can live...

Katniss with Effie and Haymitch
I thought this movie was really well done. The first few minutes, until Katniss and Peeta leave for the Capitol is extreme closeups and shaky shots, which make for a very panicky feeling opening scene - exactly how those in the District feel. That being said, I was kind of annoyed at that, because I wanted to get a good look at the Seam, the Hob, the places in this world where Katniss lives, but the camera angle was changing every few seconds - not long enough to really focus on anything.

Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss. She is so perfect for this role it is a bit ridiculous. She portrays the emotions so well, you feel like you are going through everything Katniss goes through. She makes you feel the horror that Katniss does as she goes in the arena and watches people die.

I seriously teared up during this scene!
There were a couple places where they took creative license from the books, and it worked very well. For example, they show you the tension in the Districts after one of the tributes dies (which was one of my favorite scenes for the fact that they did it so well). It wasn't described in the book, but it is a preview of what is to come in the next couple of movies.

Some of the characters were downplayed in the movie, which disappointed me a bit. You don't really get a sense of how close Katniss is to her hunting partner, Gale. And their relationship is not romantic at all, but because they don't go into depth with it in the movie, you assume that they have a bit of a thing going on when they don't. And I felt like Effie played a bigger role in the books as well. (I realized after the movie that she didn't say her famous line: "If you put enough pressure on a piece of coal you get a pearl!")

Of course, this movie is of a violent nature, and there is some blood. However, the thing that is disturbing is the way some of the tributes really get into killing the others. As well, the Capitol just thinks it's good fun, but in reality they are taking humanity away from these kids. And that is the part that is supposed to disturb you. The scene I found the most disturbing was a playback of a previous year of the Hunger Games. That being said, if you watch forensic shows or action shows on tv, the blood won't disturb you too much.

This girl will kick your butt!
I love Peeta. I thought Josh Hutcherson played him brilliantly as well. He just captures Peeta's character, his strength and his patience.
The boy with the bread.

Another highlight of this movie for me was Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, the interviewer and announcer of the broadcasts. I've come to realize that I just think he's brilliant in everything. Is it weird that I have a bit of a crush on him?

I loved this movie. You can tell because I'm just going on and on about it :P I seriously was playing this movie over and over in my head for days after I saw it. It just stuck with me. I can't wait to see it again.


  1. i loved the movie! i thought they did it so well, and loved Jennifer. I have heard a few people are disturbed with it only being a 12A certificate over here which means a child under 12 can see it if they are accompanied by an adult, some people actually walking out of the cinama! but i dont really see what the fuss is about, i thought it was a lot tamer than i was expecting. Probably because my imagination was ran away with me while reading the books....!

  2. It was a fantastic movie and as you know I just love it! I've seen it three times now and I look forward to seeing it again. I adored Stanley Tucci. And of course I'm a huge fan of Josh and Jen. They are wonderful!

  3. Love, love, loved it! I have nothing more to say!

    x Jasmine