I understand that the The Hunger Games series of novels, by Suzanne Collins, has a huge following. I decided to rebel against society and see the movie without reading the books first. It was rather nice, actually, not having to worry about the movie being different from the books, seeing as I hadn't read them. Granted, I allowed the book to be spoiled for me before going out to the theater.
The premise, as most of you already know, is that there are 12 districts that each have to send a male and female tribute to participate in the Hunger Games. This is an event that happens once a year, and is the result of an agreement between the districts and the Capitol after the districts rebelled years before. The tributes are supposed to kill each other, and only one will be victorious. The games are broadcast on TV for the districts to watch. Katniss Everdeen is the main character, and she volunteers as tribute instead of her little sister, who is initially picked. I hope I'm getting this right; please correct me if I'm muddling the details. I just don't have the desire to look up more information, and this is what I understood from the film. I'm sure everyone else probably knows better than I do about what happens in the books.
I have to say, the acting was impressive; it goes without saying that Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen) is a very talented actress. I love Stanley Tucci (the Hunger Games show's host), and the rest of the cast was great as well. I think everyone involved in the movie did a great job of capturing all the emotions coursing through the characters as they waited to see who would be called as tribute, and then as the tributes had to hide in the woods and search for the others. There was a fair amount of humor in the beginning, and then it all got sucked away by the games.
There was a very clear sense that this was a horribly sadistic game of survival, and the amount of violence disgusted me, so it definitely did a wonderful job of evoking the right emotions. The only thing I couldn't take seriously was the romance, mostly because there wasn't much development of it. As I understand it, in the novel Katniss treats the romance with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) as just a ploy to get sponsors, whereas in the movie it's actually a mutual affection. Also, who would be thinking about relationships when she was fighting to the death and praying she wouldn't be murdered in her sleep?
The film editing and camera angles were brilliant as well, adding even more depth to the sense of urgency and terror in the game. There were a lot of extreme close-ups of the characters and parallel editing in order to allow the audience to feel what the characters were feeling.
Overall, this was a very good film. The cinematography and acting were fantastic, and the violence, though utterly repulsive and upsetting, gave a very clear idea of the horror of these games. The costumes and set design were very visually appealing as well, especially the fire dress and the wacky outfits from the Capitol. The weakness in the movie was the forced romance of Katniss and Peeta, which caused one of my friends and I to erupt into (silent) fits of laughter. [Side note: I got really sick of hearing, "May the odds be ever in your favor." I get that it's an ironic line; stop repeating it!]
According to the other friend with whom I saw The Hunger Games, this film stayed extremely loyal to the plot of the book. If you loved the books, I'm guessing you'll like this movie. If you can't stand violence, don't watch this. I don't plan to read the books because I don't want to have to conjure up my own images of children murdering each other, not to mention I can't understand why Collins would write a book like this. However, I did enjoy the film, and I will see the rest of the series in theaters if they're being made into movies. I think they are.
I have to say, though, I will never love a young adult series as much as Harry Potter. Just had to put that out there.
Apologies for excess rambling and lack of expertise on the series.
Have you read the books and/or seen this movie? I'd love to know your thoughts!
Happy Hunger Games.