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The Hunger Games (2012)
The Sadden Misadventure of the movie known as The Hunger Games
Warning: This review contains spoilers!!!
I am a fan of The Hunger Games Books. I have just read the first book a week prior to viewing the movie. The book captivated me...it drawn me into its world of systematic oppression via the madness of a celebration called the Hunger Games. When It came to the movie itself I felt as though the directors completely miss the mark. The directors manage captured the essence of the nation of Panem but have succeeded in missing the emotional connections to all of the characters and arrange the story oddly. They have added details that I felt fill in some of the holes in the book, but left out so many details that would have been crucial for viewers. The rest will contain spoilers so if you want to stop reading here, I advise you to do so.
The first 20 minutes of this film was boring....it was quiet. It lacked dialogs there for it lacked interest. However the images of District 12 was dynamic. The pitiful looks of the people were believable. The bleak look of lost hope was beautifully portrayed. But the film itself was far too quiet. For a film that promotes a soundtrack, it surely lack musical expression. During the silent flashes of life in District 12 they could have strategically placed an musical mix to amplify the emotion of living in the District.
Next the way they could have improved was the characterization of the people. Effie and Katnis hit the nail on the head, I couldn't have asked for any better examples. Haymitch was not drunk enough. The book had a comedic quality to the way Haymitch was drunk as a skunk but still had the wits to mentor Katnis and Peeta. Peeta was an OK character although he look somewhat similar to Cato. It was hard to decipher the difference between the two in their fight towards the end. The portrayal of the Capital people was genius. Their interest in the superficial and entertainment in the Hunger games was both naive and annoying. The play fight between the capital kids was a nice touch. Cinna was cool, calm and collective which was great, however it seem to register to the audience as an unintended romance between him and Katnis.
Speaking of relationships, lets discuss the lack of one between Katnis and Peeta. It was incredibly cheesy the way they made their "love" scene. And the strange flashbacks to the rainy night by the bakery was horribly placed. People who never read the book did not understand its purpose even when Peeta later made reference to it. A friend of mine who never read the book said it look like that event took place like a week before the reaping. When in actuality the book placed that event 4 years ago when Katnis was 12. Also Katnis mourning of Rue was heart wrenching scene in the movie as well as the book. However the movie failed to show the build of the relationship between Katnis and Rue. All the audience saw, was two allies eating, sleeping and plotting together. No one saw the true connection of friendship between the two.
As far as other scenes go Katnis hallucinations, the elevator, left audience sitting with obvious question marks as they looked on. Other questions that arise was, why is President Snow always in a rose garden? Why didn't Cato see Katnis when she watched him killed that one kid? Why was Katnis' face so perfectly clean throughout the Hunger Games?
Lastly what they missed was the setup with the mocking-jay pin. The book had its source of the mocking-jay pin coming from a friend of Katnis rather than buying it from the Hob. This was a significant piece of information once you read the 2nd book. I wasn't upset nor really pleased with the end of the film but I did like how they left you at the end of film wondering if that really was the end. Mainly because it leaves the possibility of a second movie that may cover the 2nd book of the trilogy.
Overall the film missed so much but captured so little. I did wonder how people would react to the idea of watching children fight to the bloody death for a film. With all things considered I give this film a 5. It seemed rushed but if they do come out with the next installment of the Hunger Games Trilogy I will be there, yet again for opening weekend, with the hope that the second film will go beyond all expectations.