Saturday, March 24, 2012

"The Hunger Games" movie analysis (warning: contains SPOILERS)

In class right now, my students are working on "comparing and contrasting" as a way to deepen their thinking. In the spirit of this learning, I would like to do the same with "The Hunger Games" - movie vs. book.

We all know most novels are superior to their movie companions and "The Hunger Games" did not waiver in this regard. It was excellent, and certain scenes displayed flashes of brilliance, but it could not hold a torch to the original.

Here are the things I wish would have been included in the movie (warning- spoilers):

- The hob should have been featured for longer than one minute. The set designers did an incredible job depicting it and I felt it warranted more air time.

- The MOCKINGJAY pin! AHHH... so annoyed with how this correspondence took place. I get they had to show the love Katniss had for her sister but I feel this may cause issues with later movie adaptations (where Madge plays a more significant role). Also, the significance of the MockingJay was NEVER explained in the movie. So, while readers of the book would know, other viewers would not. But, I guess this is their problem as they should have probably read the book first.

- The cornucopia is looked way too "star wars-y" and silver. Also the whole cornucopia scene with Cato and the mutts at the climax??! I know they needed to speed things up... but they left out some important details (like the mutts having the eyes of the dead tributes- a passage in the book that left me with goosebumps).

- No bread from District 11. Instead they show a riot/rebellion. While this does aid in the picture the trilogy makes later on, I think it would have been fairly easy to add the bread in.

- Peeta was TOO nice and caring in the movie. In the book, Katniss does not trust him for quite some time and he is a bit more "sneaky and mysterious." Also, when he joins the careers, there are only those kids from districts 1 and 2, when district FOUR is also supposed to be a career district.

- Lastly, while I get the shaky camera was to make us feel we were moving with Katniss, I think it might make some people feel nauseous and dizzy. Very "Blair Witchish"

What was OUTSTANDING in the movie and did justice to the novel:

- All of the clothing worn by the Capital citizens... I am already getting some Halloween costume ideas!

- Jennifer Lawerence did an amazing job playing the protagonist (Katniss). She seemed bad-ass, yet also like able and modest at the same time.

- Woody Harrelson's "Haymitch" was spot on! Exactly how I pictured the mentor of District 12. Although, I would have made him add a few dozen lbs or wear padding.

- District 12 was also just has I envisioned it to look. Very much like the current state of the Appalachian Mountain towns are today.

- The use of the game makers and Caesar Flickerman to explain things going on in the games. In the book, this all is done through Katniss' monologue and I was wondering how they would convey these ideas in the movie.

All in all, this movie earns 4 out of 5 stars from this viewer for its stellar acting, costume/set design and likeness to the novel. However, I strongly recommend reading the book (all three) before watching the movie. Whenever I attempt the reverse (move, then book) I am not able to create the images of what I see in writing in my own mind. Instead, I allow the movie version to take over during the reading- making it a less enjoyable experience.

Also... I already have my "Effie Trinket" costume planned out for Halloween this year!
Happy Hunger Games... and may the odds be ever in your favor.

1 comment:

  1. I had to wait to read this post because I just saw the movie last night. I could have written this exact post above, right down to the Halloween costume part! Seriously, I thought Wiody should have been larger, that they represented district 12 perfectly, and the pin thing made me so mad!!!