sure most viewers did), it’ll be difficult at times. This is actually a good thing, because the movies and the books are very intertwined –there are actually not many changes throughout, and some of the changes make things better than the source (not many literary adaptations can brag this).
The Hunger Games adapts the story of Katniss Everdeen wonderfully. There is an energy brought to the screen that is electrifying at times, and that is brought by the way things are filmed. Director Gary Ross is not afraid of shaking the camera, blurring the focus, or zooming in close to objects. There are some beautiful shots of scenery and some scenes that bring you right into the action. However, most of the best scenes in this movie (film-wise, not necessarily plot or entertainment wise) take place in the beginning.
It’s the drop off between the beginning (where Katniss volunteers for Prim) to the middle (Katniss and Rue’s interactions) that is the most disappointing. The film has so much emotion that is lost after the point that the tributes are chosen. For instance, the scene of the Reaping has so many things going for it. It’s slow, haunting, and shows the world around it. It makes you understand that these people are no longer people, but sheep that are being herded by the Capitol. It makes Katniss stand out that much more to be the person to volunteer and accept the responsibility. Between this scene and the scene that the movie begins with, where Katniss is singing to Prim, (complete side note, I actually enjoy Lawrence's voice quite a bit. I googled it, and apparently there were some songs in this series that got onto charts, despite Lawrence reportedly not wanting to sing for this series) you understand her motherly responsibility.
Later in the movie, amongst the arrows, the blood, and the budding romance, this emotion is lost. The responsibility is lost. You don’t really understand why Rue sticks with Katniss, besides she’s hungry.
Is it sad that Rue dies? Yes. But you can’t feel the depth of Katniss’s feelings about this. Instead, it passes too quickly for anything to emotionally resonate.
The cast in this movie is fantastic. I think that Donald Sutherland is one of the best actors out there, and he proves his versatility again here as President Snow. He portrays an intelligence and a guile that is tangible on the screen. The delivery of his lines, as well as his facial expressions get his point across more than the language he is actually using. Jennifer Lawrence also stars here, and shows why she was chosen to lead not one but two franchises coming off her first Oscar Nomination (Other franchise being the X-men series, the Oscar Nom for Winter’s Bone). Woody Harrelson is a perfect Haymitch, bringing the roughness and the drunkedness onto the screen like few could. I also really enjoyed Elizabeth Banks as Effie – it made me hate her less than I did in the books and helped me better understand her mentality. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth were not what I pictured in my heads, but they did an admirable job in a film that didn’t give them much to do.
And oh my oh my. I almost forgot, because I was geeking out about Sutherland, but Stanley Tucci delivers what is probably the standout performance of this film. Again, being in everything apparently isn't a struggle for him, and he portrays Caesar Flickerman as exactly what you picture in your head. His big, wide smile and laugh brings so much talk-show believability that it made me forget it was a movie for a few minutes. Touche' sir.
One of the hardest things when beginning a film franchise is throwing all the characters at a screen. You can only show people for so long before you have to move on to introduce someone else. The film is at its best when it lingers, but it does far too little of that to enjoy some of the other characters.
Overall, The Hunger Games was a very entertaining start to a franchise, but was also a movie that could have been so much better. I give it a “B”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"