The Hunger Games (movie)

Jan 12, 2013 11:34

Finally got around to seeing this after having read the first two books over a year ago.

Naturally I kept a running tally of things they changed and/or I didn't remember:
* I don't recall these threatening conversations between Snow and gamesmaster Seneca Crane. Possibly I just forgot. Or perhaps they're events that we somehow catch wind of off-screen?
* I also don't remember Cato getting all emo just before he falls off the Cornucopia and gets shredded by dogs.
* The movie doesn't really illustrate that the dogs were supposed to be wearing the faces of the dead tributes.

I don't terribly mind any of these changes. The change I do mind quite a bit is how straight the Katniss/Peeta romance is played for most of the film. One of the most interesting parts of the book and one of its sharpest critiques, I think, is how explicitly their romance is artificial, a little play they're both intentionally acting out for the cameras. It's very difficult to catch this in the movie; I had to pause to explain to the roommate that no, all this sudden Katniss/Peeta angst was not just Hollywood shoving romance down our throats.

Partly this failure is a problem of medium - the book is written from Katniss's POV, but in the movie, essentially we are the television audience Katniss and Peeta playing to, so we don't have much more insight into Katniss's moment-by-moment thoughts than anyone else does. However, I'm convinced that more could have been done to make it clear during the games how conflicted Katniss's feelings are. As it was, it all ended up feeling less emotionally complicated than I would have liked.

Aside from all that, I thought it was all quite good. This wasn't a really straightforward story to tell, not with all the worldbuilding and bits and pieces, but they convey the essentials pretty well, I thought. They captured all the crucial bits of Katniss's characterization in the script, and Jennifer Lawrence did a fabulous job. Props to casting all around, actually - there wasn't anyone I didn't like, I don't think. I had my doubts about Woody Harrelson, but he came through just fine as Haymitch. And Liam Hemsworth as Gale gave me unexpected Katniss/Gale feelings. (I came out of the first two books pretty much ship-neutral.)

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