I believe I’m one of the very few who didn’t read the book. And one of the extremely few who hasn’t heard about the book when the adaptation was announced. I admit it; I didn’t know what The Hunger Game was until I heard about the adaptation and did some research.
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem, which consists of a wealthy city, called the Capitol, surrounded by 12 less affluent districts. As punishment for a past rebellion against the government, which as I understood, saw the destruction of district 13, the Capitol initiated the Hunger Games–a televised reality show in which one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts are selected in a lottery as “tributes” and are required to fight to the death in an arena until there is one remaining victor.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) decides to volunteers tin order to save her sister from having to participate. Joined by her district’s male tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). And together they are escorted to the Capitol, to train and prepare for the game.
Now, I promise I will read the book, as there are some, maybe not important, parts that I missed. Let’s start by saying that it took me a while to fully understand the system of the game. At first by “arena” I thought they would just drop them somewhere and wait until one comes back, declaring him the winner. But the movie did pretty much well explain the system of the game, and as soon as the were in the arena, I knew what to expect.
What probably was much more mention in the book was Katniss and Peeta “love story.” In the movie she seemed not barely remember his existence. And after he declared to her, in front of the whole Capitol, she didn’t seem interest, rather annoyed.
Then time passes in the arena and after a series of events they reunite and apparenly fall in love. Which I totally understand, considering the experience they are going through and the chance given that both could win. But then there are shots of Gale (Liam Hemsworth) who looks at them on the screen rather annoyed, and I think “did I miss something between the two?” Liam is barely seen in the second part of the movie, there seems to be a good friendship between the two but it might turn to be something much more.
Lawrence was a real surprise. When she was announced I was skeptical; Katniss is 16 and Lawrence 21. By the time the finish the trilogy she would be too old to play Katniss. I read she underwent extensive training to get in shape for the role, including stunt training, archery, rock and tree climbing, combat, running, parkour, pilates, and yoga. And it shows. I’ve read a character bio of Katniss from the book and I think Lawrence was the best choice. Which is rare when adapting books into movies (think of Bella Swan and Kristen Stewart).
I felt Peeta character was put aside in the beginning focusing only on Katniss. And I felt sorry for him for not getting enough attention as she did. I wish there was more space for Gale. I’m not sure what part he plays in the movie but I feel he will have much more space in the sequel now that Katniss is back holding hands with Peeta.
Stanley Tucci was wonderful playing Caesar Flickerman. He is the only character of the Capitol (not counting the ones on Katniss team) was I didn’t despise. He was funny and brillant. Elizabeth Banks was unrecognizable as Effie Trinket. Her clothes and make up were glamorous with bright colors, but looked very far from the Banks we are used to.
There was a love and hate with Woody Harrelson character Haymitch Abernathy. He wasn’t interested in Katniss and Peeta until Katniss showed what she is capable of. Then all of a sudden he almost became sober and more willing to help, Katniss at least. But when they enter the arena he helps from outside. Which made me reconsider his character.
I pretty much liked everything of the movie. Even the scenes shot with a hazy camera as if you are there fighting with them. It makes you feel in the movie. I would have loved to know more of the other participants and the districts. Just to have an idea of how the world is portrayed. It would have also helped me realize who died; when the are in the arena and run for the food bags and weapons, there is a true massacre. And when they showed the pictures of who died, I had no idea who they were or from what district they came from.
Overall great movie, and I believe the sequels will be just as good.