The Hunger Games: battle of the book v. the movie

Here is the cheesecake on fire I made for a pre-Hunger Games potluck, dubbed the Hungry Games. The odds were not in its favor; it did not survive.

It takes a special type of person to attend a midnight premiere of anything. Being on the same sleep schedule as my fifteen-year-old cat (and possessing the same general level of excitement about life) I am not typically this type of person. However, when it comes to The Hunger Games, I present the following pieces of information about myself:

1. Currently on my phone, I have both Hunger Games soundtracks (Songs from District 12 and the original film score), the app game (surprisingly fun) and the Mockingjay ringtone (it sings when someone tweets at me!)
2. I have debated in public among friends which non-Katniss tribute would have the highest probability of winning the 74th Hunger Games (it’s clearly Foxface.)
3. The space on my bookshelf where The Hunger Games trilogy would be housed has been vacant for about a year, as I have forced it upon approximately eight thousand of my friends.

Needless to say, at 10:45pm on March 22nd I was sitting in an uncomfortable movie theatre seat, wearing my overpriced Mockingjay pendant and desperately trying to keep my shoes from sticking to God-knows-what on the floor, awaiting the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games.

I was worried that the movie might get too caught up in the details of the book and lose the tightly constructed narrative (or, worse, inadvertently glamorize the killing and miss the whole anti-war theme of the book.)

There was nothing to be worried about. The movie is a brilliant retelling of the source material that hits all the right points.

Original story aside, The Hunger Games is an incredibly good movie. It’s beautiful to look at and listen to and it held my attention through to the end. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Elizabeth Banks as Effie were standout performances, though there weren’t any real weak links in the cast (though I will say that J Law pretty much steals every scene, but that speaks more to her own talent.)

Some details did get changed or lost in translation (or entire characters got eliminated – let’s pour one for Madge) but it never felt like it wasn’t for the good of the movie. In exchange for these losses, we get to see what’s going on outside of the arena, which does a nice job of setting up the sequels and providing a little something extra for die-hard fans.

I have heard some complaints about a lack of violence in the movie, and it’s true, there’s not a whole lot of gore to be found. But the first book is really not overly violent. Even in the book, much of the killing happens “off screen.” Certain deaths are absolutely gut-wrenching (yes, that death – spoiler alert, in the film adaptation of a book about kids killing kids, kids die) without much blood at all.

I really couldn’t find anything majorly wrong with the movie, though the source material is good enough that it would have been hard to go too wrong. It was worth staying up late to see (though at work the next day I definitely wanted to embody the spirit of book three and take a power nap in a supply closet). If you’re still on the fence, you should see it. You don’t even have to stay up late.

–Stephen Ashley, Publishing Coordinator


3 Comments On This Post:

April 4, 2012
9:55 am
Elaine says...

My reaction almost exactly though I did forego the midnight showing. Made it to the first post-midnight showing. My only quibble is a wish that there was some way to give more time to the situation of those in the district to underscore the motivation/circumstances of the (nonCareer) tributes. Many of the movie-only people I have argued with feel the movie glorifies/justifies kid on kid violence because they do not get a deep enough understanding of how and why these kids are in this situation.

April 6, 2012
11:12 am
Shannon Ravenel says...

I have not a clue what The Hunger Games are all about, but this brilliant review has me on my way to our local mall movie complex (The Golden Village) to buy a S$30 ticket in the special theatre (they serve wine and niblets and the seats are Business Class) where THG is playing. I’m looking forward to being further indoctrinated.

April 11, 2012
10:11 am
Ivona Poyntz says...

Its not often that both film and book are equally good, but here we have a winner.

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