Spoilers ahead, for anyone who hasn’t read the book or seen the movie! If you, like KT, prefer to go in with NO preconceptions, this is not the blog post for you. You have been warned!
Still here? Good. OMG it’s been so hard to be quiet about this! I rarely get excited about movies. As in, I can count on one hand the number of movies I’ve seen in theaters over the past 5 years. It’s expensive, not that comfortable, and i’d just as soon buy the DVD or blu-ray of a movie I think I’m going to like. It’s cheaper. Besides, I dislike crowds, as a general rule. So something has to be REALLY good to convince me to go.
I was lucky enough to grab tickets for a screening of Hunger Games over at one of the malls about an hour away for this past Wednesday. No big deal, by my standards, that’s like popping up to Austin. Easier, since there’s actually stuff on the sides of the roads here, so I don’t get as bored with the drive. So we pop over, a few hours earlier, thinking we’ll do some shopping, and then pop in the theatre. Turns out, the theatre is about 3 blocks from the actual mall itself, so I didn’t really feel like driving back and forth, and then trying to find parking later. So we join the couple other people in line, and I make myself comfortable and start reading on my kindle. Ended up, eventually, making a new friend, and many hours later, getting into the movie.
As a whole, I liked it. I snagged a poster from the radio station people who were hosting it. That was rather neat, though I did make a mental note NOT to listen to their station when we get into Philly proper. Ugh, hiphop is so not my thing.
The story itself felt rushed. I realize, it’s incredibly difficult to fit a 384 page (according to the paperback movie tie in version of the book) novel into a 142 minute movie. There were bits that I felt, having read the books, should have had just a bit more allocated to them. I felt like the movie really skims the surface. You don’t get what’s driving them, like you do in the books. You don’t get a sense of how AFRAID these kids are before going into the arena. I did like how they had Katniss tremble before going in the tube, that worked really well. But the training they had before, and the time spent on the train, seemed like they were just brushed past, on the way to Oooh Yay, the Capitol. Everything, even the arena and the Game itself felt like it was barely getting into the story.
Don’t get me started on the fighting. I understand not wanting to make it too bloody, so that you can keep it PG-13 so your intended audience can see it. But SHAKEY CAM DRIVES ME NUTS! I didn’t like it in Blair Witch on my small TV, I sure as hell don’t like it in the theatre. It makes me feel sick. I’d prefer slow motion quick cuts between things, over the camera that looks like Michael J Fox was filming it by hand. As it was, the fights were blink and they’re over, with little emotional impact. The fight between Katniss and foxface?? I think it was, when Thresh saves her for Rue (Speaking of, how did he know about that??) was about 2 minutes too short.
Speaking of emotional impact: Rue.
In the books, there’s a lot more time Katniss spends with her. Their relationship feels more realistic than it does in the movie. And her heartbreak at Rue’s death, and her actions from that, are heartwrenching, in the books. In the movie? Everyone beforehand was worried they’d cry during that scene. I almost managed to get teary. Almost. And only, I think, because of the book’s version.
I liked it, even with the flaws. The visuals were beautiful, and the acting was pretty damned good. What was there was done well. There was just so much missing. It felt like I was going for a steak, and got a very small appetizer instead. Sure, it was good, but it was just too little, and left me hungry (pun intended) for more.
I’ll get it on blu-ray/dvd when it comes out. I’ll get the sequels too. But I wasn’t as thrilled with it as I’d hoped I was going to be. If nothing else, it made me want to read the books again, which is rare. I almost never reread. So there’s that, at least.
Have you seen it? What did you think? Debate away!