Monday, April 9, 2012

The Hunger Games Review

Oh, I know, it's been a couple of weeks since the movie came out, but I've yet to really talk about the movie since I saw it at the midnight showing with some friends a little over two weeks ago. 

I am terribly surprised at the level of interest in the books and the movie.  I have to admit that I did not expect it since dystopic fiction, which I have always been a big fan of, really hasn't been the most popular of sub-genres since the first half of the 20th century when the fear of Communism was all the West could think about.  Those were the years of Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and Yevgeny Zamyatin.  However, dystopia is definitely on the upswing, especially among the Young Adult crowd.  Check out my TUMBLR blog, Library Oasis, to learn more about how dystopia may be geared towards the teens, but they are becoming extremely popular among adults as well.

The movie did the best job it could concerning its source material.  The books are narrated by the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, and everything that we learn in the book comes from what she knows and sees.  However, the games (and Panem) are so much bigger than that.  I was thankful for the scenes showing Seneca Crane (the developer of the 74th Annual Hunger Games), Haymitch (Katniss' trainer and sponsor) and President Snow.  However, all of these cut-away scenes from the action in the Games meant that certain things had to be sped up.  The search for water, which is so crucial in the first book, takes Katniss all of a minute or so.  The way that Katniss ends up possessing the mockingjay pin is completely changed so certain superfluous characters are cut out.

I wasn't sold on the casting for Peeta at first, but I came to like him more as the movie progressed.  Jennifer Lawrence did a superb job as Katniss.  Woody Harrelson's Haymitch was less drunk than I thought he ought to be, but I still liked him.  Elizabeth Banks was completely unrecognizable as Effie, and I loved finally getting to hear the Capitol accent for the first time.  All in all, despite the few changes here and there, I was very pleased with the film and thrilled that certain scenes that could have been horribly gory were toned down enough to rate a PG-13 rating.  I'm also happy to see the box office numbers.  I would love to see The Hunger Games take down a lot of movies that have had undeserved box office success the last few years.  I know it's too much to hope that it would do better than the #1 champ, Avatar, but I can sure hope, right?

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