Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Hunger Games

Happy Hunger Games.

(I'm going to keep this post more or less spoiler-free. Promise. It's gonna be hard, but I will. However, if you're not okay with knowing about little bits and pieces of the movie, I suggest not reading this post till you've watched it.)

I gotta say, I think they did a great job with the movie. Except for one glaring, horrible, 'HEY, THAT'S COMPLETELY WRONG' bit at the starting, the movie stayed true to the book (a commendable feat, since it's really a novel). When I was rereading the books, there were some parts that made me think 'How the crap are they going to wrangle this?', but they wrangle it they did, and very well, too.

Oh, in case you're worried or anything, I don't think you don't have to have read the books to be able to enjoy the movie. They did a pretty good job of explaining everything via the occasional commentary by Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith, a very nice touch indeed.

Speaking of Caesar Flickman, every time I saw him, I racked my brains trying to figure out where I'd seen him before. According to Wikipedia, a lot of places. Among other movie roles, he was the dad in Easy A and the creepy-ass killer in The Lovely Bones. What a chameleon!

Check it, they even dyed his eyebrows.
(From xinmsn)

Anyway, I'm just going to sum things up really quick before I break and post every single spoiler there is:

Things I liked about the movie:

The informative commentary

Very helpful for people who didn't read the book(s)! It also helped speed up parts of the book that would've taken far too long to show, like figuring out the booby trap. Whoever came up with the idea definitely deserves a pat on the back.

The behind-the-scenes gamemaker room scenes

So cool! This creative liberty (it wasn't in the book, since the story was told from Katniss' point of view) was a good call -- an insight into how the Games were run and the detached mentality of the Capitol. Also, it made me think about the number of people involved behind the scenes in the making of the movie.

The cast and acting

I thought the casting was superb (except for two characters, but I'll talk about that later). Jennifer Lawrence was perfect, just like the Katniss in my head, and the same goes for Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, and Alexander Ludwig as Cato (though I didn't think Cato would be so good-looking). Lenny Kravitz was good as Cinna as well, but more on that later too.

Josh Hutcherson's face

Before the movie, when the promo posters came out, I did not/would not let myself like Josh Hutcherson, simply because he was going to be Peeta. I don't like book Peeta; I never have. But then I watched the movie, and am now all for Mr. Hutcherson. Look at that face!


The soundtrack

I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but I remember loving the epic track during the girl-on-fire parade thing with the chariots (look at me being so eloquent). I'm not a fan of Taylor Swift, though, but people have said the soundtrack's good, so it's worth a listen!

The Capitol

The Capitol and its people were almost exactly like how I imagined them to be, and that almost never happens! The painted faces, like they were in a circus; the sheer number of people cheering and screaming and placing bets; their excitement, the atmosphere, their superficiality... Also, the night before the Games, when Katniss and Peeta on the rooftop, that was absolutely perfect.

Things I didn't like about the movie:


What the crap. What did they do to Gale?! First off, he didn't even look like the Gale in my head -- way too big and buff and healthy. And, just... Isn't Gale supposed to be good-looking? Aren't he and Katniss supposed to look alike? Also, you can just detect the Australian accent in his speech! Couldn't they have cast someone better?! And he was so...relaxed and playful in the meadow! Yeah, he's more relaxed in the meadow, maybe, but not to that extent! Never to that extent! Can you tell how indignant I am?!

No offense, Mr. Hemsworth, but boooo.


In the book, Haymitch is not a character you like right off the bat; you might sympathise with him, at the very most. Suzanne Collins made that pretty clear. In the movie, what you get is a very watered-down, soft, empathetic version of Haymitch, which I did not like. Also, he does not look like a Haymitch at all.

He could be like Peeta's dad or something. Jeez.
(From BAM's Blog)

The camerawork

I think the term might be 'cinematography', but I'm not sure. Anyway. Yeah, they're supposed to be action scenes. Yeah, things get jerky and confusing sometimes. But hot damn, some parts felt like I was having a seizure! It was terrible!

Every single vaguely romantic scene

They were bad. So bad. Really. I watched it with Sara, Sandra, and Poh Lian, and the four of us couldn't keep from laughing. I don't know, maybe it was just us. But those scenes were so corny, they could've powered a hundred ethanol cars. For ten years.

The Cinna/Katniss and Haymitch/Katniss dynamics

Minor gripe. Neither of them were ever quite so tender to her in the book, Haymitch especially. Actually, the Cinna/Katniss relationship wasn't too bad, except Cinna wasn't so free with his affections in the book. Movie Cinna was a lot less closed and secretive, which might cause trouble in the third movie...

On the whole, I think it was good, a movie worthy of the book it was based on. They did the best they could with what they had to deal with, and they did a great job. Cinemagoers should be happy, and fans of the books should be pleased enough. I know I am!

If you haven't already, go see it! You know how things look more epic on a cinema screen. Hopefully you're in a theatre full of relatively sedate people, though -- I've heard stories of overly-vocal, die-hard Hunger Games fans ruining the cinema experience for others. Then again, there's nothing you can do about that when you're getting tickets, so...

The girl-- I mean, mockingjay on fire.

May the odds be ever in your favour!

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