Movie Review: The Hunger Games
I watched the Hunger Games this weekend. This movie has met with much acclaim and greeted by excited fans everywhere. People have been so excited to see this book get made into a movie. I’m glad they were excited. It’s usually a good thing when fans get excited about a book being made into a movie. Even if I did have a couple of issues with the book, I wanted to see the movie as well.
As a Viewer: I had recently read this book so I was excited to see how it translated to the big screen. There were several scenes in the book that I particularly though would look great on the big screen. They could do so many things. Sadly, my imagination is beyond what the filmmakers decided to run with. Some of the characters were far more over the top than they needed to be and others just didn’t live up to expectation. This isn’t a terrible thing, but for me it got the movie off to a bad start.
A lot of the beginning of the book was chopped up into bites that didn’t fit well together. I didn’t have a good feeling about any of the characters. I think this is because in the book a lot of what Katniss feels is all internalized and not vocalized. So it didn’t surprise me much, just made the start of the movie choppy at best. Now that I think about it, the whole film was choppy and not fully explained well during the telling of the story. I can see where they’re setting up for a sequel with some added scenes that were not in the book (those with the president and behind the scenes with the filming of the Hunger Games show). Those to me were jarring as I know they weren’t in the book.
But this is a movie. I enjoyed it for what it was: a poor translation of the book.
As a Writer: This movie stunk on ice. Maybe my expectations are too high these days, but the Hunger Games was a short enough book they could have told a more cohesive story. They eliminated a large number of things that made Katniss tick as a character. From her sister’s cat to Peter proclaiming his love for her and her astonishment that it wasn’t just an act for him as well. There was a lot left out from the book that made this movie clunky. If you hadn’t read the book I could see several spots (key spots) where you’d not fully understand the story. So much of the back story of the characters was glossed over that their motivations were only vaguely understood.
I also didn’t think it was as visually appealing as we could do in this day and age. From the effects to the costumes to the characters they missed the mark on several spots with this movie.
Yes, I’m getting cynical in my old age, but with the special effects we have available to us they could have done better with this one. For me, this movie was a swing and a miss.
Recommendation: Either don’t read the book and watch the movie or watch the movie and don’t read the book. This movie is a classic case of getting close, but missing both the mark and the point of the book. If you only watch the movie you’ll be confused about several key points .Perhaps if you watch the movie first then read the book you’ll like both. I’ve often found that when I read a book first the movie doesn’t live up to expectations. Overall I found the movie disappointing.