It's been a while since my last post, but I felt it was time to bring some life back to this site with more articles and relevant postings. What better way to start my first post then with an article about one of the hottest new movies in theatres right now? I read the book trilogy years before the movie was released so I've had time to let the details sink in. Translation: I was super excited on opening day! This review is going to be about the latest novel-to-film adaptation: The Hunger Games.
The Premise: In a post-apocalyptic future, the world (and its remaining citizens) has reformed into a new society where all of Panem is ruled by The Capitol, a dominating and eccentric city that oversees and controls the 13 Districts. After a failed rebellion against The Capitol and the destruction of District 13, The Capitol institutes an annual game where one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 to 18 are reaped from each of the 12 Districts into an unknown arena and must fight to the death - this event is called "The Hunger Games." As a result of competing and defeating the other 23 tributes, the winner (i.e. the Victor) will earn fame, fortune and power, along with food and treasures for their District while the remaining 11 Districts must live with less supplies and resources until the next year's Games.
|The 24 tributes for the 74th Hunger Games|
Another year has gone and it's moments away from the next reaping for the 74th annual Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is a 16 year old tomboy from District 12. She is skilled with a bow and continually looks after her mother and little sister Prim. After Prim is reaped into the Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place as District Twelve's Tribute Girl - thus preventing her little sister from imminent death. She is soon brought to The Capitol and is quickly thrust into training and her eventual debut to potential sponsors. Along with her is fellow District 12 Tribute Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson), former Hunger Games victor and current mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), and their eccentric Capitol escort Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks).
|Katniss volunteers to save her sister from competing in the Games|
With an arena full of deadly traps, unknown possibilities and 23 skilled teenagers ready to take her down permanently, Katniss must figure out a way to survive the Games and earn her way back home. Will she be the Victor or will the cannon fire with her untimely defeat?
The Good: The Hunger Games tried a few innovative things when it edited its final version. For one, I loved at points in the film where you heard absolutely no background music (i.e. the Reaping) or all you heard was intense background music (i.e. the bloodbath). The music, or lack thereof, provided the much-needed tension and emotion at its most pivotal scenes. The audience viewer felt the despair of being at the reaping and the anticipation of possibly hearing your name or the intensity of running to the Cornucopia when the Games finally begun.
Another plus about the film is that its characters (and by extension actors) were assets to the success of this film adaptation. Performances from the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson brought such life to their characters on the big screen. Effie and Haymitch were needed comic-reliefs and the emotion Katniss brought will truly develop throughout the remaining two films.
My final positive about this film is the overall interpretation. Based on what the reader has learned from the books, it was nice to see everything adapted to the big screen. The colours, the outfits, scenery and essentially the dynamics of the arena were interesting to see from the outside. In the movie, the audience members get to see extended and new scenes from what happens in The Capitol while the tributes were competing in the arena. These new scenes offered depth into the external characters controlling the Games and what was happening behind-the-scenes, essentially like the process of a television show.
The Bad: I only had a few negatives about the film. Since this is an adaptation from a book, the filmmakers couldn't include every single plot and character detail from the book. I only wish that in the scenes that they did include from the arena, training and media debuts, they would have gone into depth regarding the other tributes from the arena. In the book, Katniss barely knew anything about the tributes except for a few key details about (possibly) eight tributes. I would have liked to have learned more about the tributes - including some of their names. Also, further explanation about existing prominent characters would have helped as well. I'm not sure that Effie was properly introduced to the audience, you wouldn't have known her or her purpose in the movie unless you've read the novels.
The last negative are those small nit-picky details. For an extremely detailed book, there were some things missed during the editing process. Stuff like a missed cannon fire, not showing the entire "fallen list" in the sky, and little details like that. It didn't deter my feelings toward the movie but with my perfectionist attitude, it would have been nice if someone noticed the refined details. Also, I wish that there weren't too many movie camera angles. There was the Reaping scene and I felt a little dizzy at one point because the camera kept moving every 5 seconds. Luckily it didn't last the entire film but it did feel chaotic.
The Results: 4.5/5!
The Hunger Games was great - I absolutely loved every minute of it. To finally see the novel adapted to the big screen made things so incredible as a viewer. The acting and performances from certain actors provided life to their characters and helped to drive the movie further. Pivotal scenes like the Reaping and The Capitol were key landmarks to watch in the film. The smaller refined details didn't change my opinion for the final results, but it would have been a nice good-to-have in the final product. The only thing that would have possibly made the film perfect would have been adding more backstory to certain characters and details. It's a great movie to watch as a new person to the Hunger Games universe, but only previous readers easily understood elements of the film while new viewers would not have grasped plot/character elements unless an informed friend explained it to them later on.
Agree or Disagree with the review? Share your thoughts below and give your voice about what you about The Hunger Games.