A Book Lover’s Review on The Hunger Games Movie

May 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, I recently read the three The Hunger Games books due to all the hype surrounding the novels and recently released movie. I adore the books so I was keen to find out whether the movie release could live up to the first novel.

Please be aware that there are spoilers in this blog, so if you want to save the details for the book or film then maybe this isn’t the blog for you. If not, read away.

First of all, let me tell you that I haven’t been so excited for a movie since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. However, I knew before stepping in the cinema theatre that it wouldn’t be as good as the book – these things never are.

One thing that really stood out once the movie started was the world Gary Ross created. The Capitol is truly more fantastical than I ever imagined, and the costume designs are out of this world. Effie Trinket and Caesar Flickerman are more animated than I could have imagined.

One of the biggest tasks of translating a book to the screen is ensuring you choose the right actors for the characters. In my opinion, Jennifer Lawrence had the harsh maturity, confidence and invulnerability that make Katniss Everdeen such an interesting protagonist. Peeta looked every inch the nice, naïve guy and Gale had the handsome, muscular good looks and the masculine confidence described in the book.

However, to me, there was one standalone character in the movie and that was Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch. Without a doubt they chose the perfect actor for the movie. His comic timing was brilliant and he really made the character his own. Lenny Kravitz was both a surprise and a treat as Cinna; however, he seemed to be more of a love interest to Katniss than a normal, supportive friend in the crazy world of the Capitol.

Now down to the nitty gritty: the story. So, was the film complement the book or was it one big waste of time? Well, it’s anything but a waste of time. If you haven’t read the book then you’re in for a treat that’s full of unexpected turns and exciting characters. If you have read the book then you’ll know what’s coming but that won’t make the journey any less enjoyable. While there are some significant changes in the movies – such as who gave Katniss the mockingjay pin and the fact that Peeta gets to keep his leg – it still ties in well with the story. I can see why Prim gave Katniss the pin in the film and not Katniss’s school friend Madge, as it cements their relationship. The fact that Peeta keeps his leg will also make him appear stronger in the two upcoming films, so the audience won’t doubt that he isn’t up to the job to protect the love of his life.

How do the romances play out? I’d say they’re quite identical to the book. You know from the moment you read about Peeta that he loves Katniss, and this is really demonstrated in the film, too. Gale and Katniss’s bond is just as strong in the movie and, in my opinion, came across a little sweeter on screen.

The saddest part of the film has to be when Rue is killed by Marvel, which is undoubtedly the most emotional part of the novel. It’s also the time when we see Katniss at her most vulnerable, and it definitely makes you root for her even more. Her relationship with Rue undoubtedly reflects her relationship with her sister and this interesting device makes you feel as if Prim is always in the arena with her.

The action sequences are brilliant, if not a little fast, but maybe that’s because they were so spread out in the book – and I suppose it’s to be expected in a two and a half hour film. Maybe I just wanted it to never end.

So, if you’ve read the book and worried that the movie might ruin it for you, don’t be. This film really is a must-see and it pays to go in not expecting it better as you’ll come out satisfied. Just like Harry Potter, it takes a fantastic script, magnificent director and a talented cast to compete with such a wonderful work of literature. Unlike the Twilight movies, it won’t completely murder the story with bad acting.

If you haven’t read the books and are considering seeing the film, then I urge you to do so. It’s undoubtedly one of my top films of the year, so why not go and see The Hunger Games until all the hype of The Avengers and American Pie Reunion has died down.

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