Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Hunger Games: movie review

Since I am one a member of the CMWL (Clueless Moms Without Lives) club, I only just got to see this film. It was my favorite book of the series, so I was interested to see what the director, Gary Ross, did with it.

I liked the camera work - the screen panned in frenetic fashion, often showing several faces or reactions  at once - a device that fit in well with the dystopian story and the nerves that those Tributes had to feel when their names were called. The contrasting worlds of the Districts and the Capitol were nicely done, and many of the minor parts: Prim, Rue, Crane, Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks is wonderfully brittle in this role.)

They were eclipsed, however, by Woody Harrelson, who was in his element as Haymitch, the lazy, self-indulgent, drunk mentor to Katniss and Peeta, the Tributes from District 12.
Just didn't do it for me.

I loved the costumes - again, there was a great contrast between the District 12 clothes and the fire dress that Katniss wears. The story moves along well, and the hallucinatory Tracker Jacker section is great. 

However, I have to say that I thought the two main roles were severely miscast. Jennifer Lawrence has a lot of talent and is very pretty: her smile makes her stand out as an actress. However, she is playing a huntress who considers squirrel a luxurious meal and who undergoes starvation. I just have to say this: Lawrence simply doesn't look like a girl who is starving. 

Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta, is even worse! As I read the book, I pictured a big, strapping dude with blonde hair and a sense of inner calm and strength. Unfortunately, the actor looks like a middle school kid who is thinking about his Nintendo 3. 

However, I must add that both actors, Lawrence and Hutcherson, did make me believe in the characters they played during the film. Peeta, as he glances at Katniss in the tree while he walks past her with his new alliance, reveals a message of love and warning. Katniss herself is determined and brutally honest, and the scenes with Rue are touching - and as an aside, I love the way the Mockingjays sound.
Woody being Woody, but it's perfect for the part.

The chemistry between them was, in my opinion, completely absent. Say what you want about Twilight, but the main leads developed a fantastic romance on the screen. Poor Peeta, with his little squished-up face, just didn't do it for me.

I'm certain that there are plenty of people who will disagree, but as far as the romance went, the film was unsuccessful.

Will I watch the next movie in the series? Yes, indeed - I want to see more of Haymitch and of Gale, who gets shunted aside because of the plot (too bad, I thought he was perfect,) and I loved the way the Dome was manipulated during the games. Those special effects deserve a second look.


Rachel Tsoumbakos said...

I agree whole-heartedly with the (lack of) chemistry! Also, I felt, while this movie was visually spectacular, it seemed to be merely setting the scene for the next two movies. They crammed a LOT of stuff in! I think the next movie will be WAY better than the book thanks to the work done in this movie :-)

Krista McLaughlin said...

I completely agree on the lack of chemistry and Peeta did look very young! I really enjoyed the movie, but I wanted more heat between the two. The scenery is how I imagined and very fitting for the film. I'd love to see more Gale and Haymitch. :)

Unknown said...

Oh, I completely agree with you about Woody Harrelson! He was definitely my favorite part of the entire film.

Deana Zhollis said...

Agreed. No Chemistry, but I did love that fire! The scenes and the costumes were great. And there was definitely a connection between Rue and Katniss...so very sad.

I haven't read the book, which I'm glad I don't for some films because it just really spoils it for you, but this was done very well, I think.

Some people in forum online didn't like the movie nor the book because they felt it was a rip-off of the Asian movie and book Battle Royale. I did watch the 2000 film Battle Royale, and the entire idea was quite similar, but I enjoyed the American version better.