Sunday, 25 March 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

I saw the Hunger Games movie yesterday night and I had to write a review and share my thoughts with you. Please bear in mind that I haven't read the books yet, so my opinion is only about the movie adaptation and my impressions of the characters, settings, etc. in it. So since I had no prior knowledge of the characters and just a basic one regarding the story (I read the Wikipedia pages of the 3 books so I knew what the story was about) I had no prior expectations based on Suzanne Collins' descriptions and could enjoy the film as a blank page. And I loved it! (I will not talk about the story as I don't think it differs much from the books, though once again, as I haven't read the books I cannot say how true the movie adaptation was to the novels.)

The imagery and settings of the movie were great: they were larger than life and realistic: the Capitol was huge, ultra modern bustling with futurism and colours (due to the strange fashion choice of its inhabitants), the forest was lush and jungle-like, and again the districts were grey and desolate. I think they did a wonderful job creating the visual framework for the story.

Then let's talk about the actors. Once again without having read the books I had no expectations as to what the characters should look like, so I was easier to please than die hard fans I guess. I was utterly satisfied with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, they couldn't have chosen anyone who could have done Katniss better. She was tough yet vulnerable, had integrity, backbone, courage, stubbornness and yet remained friendly, approachable and compassionate. Her portrayal of Katniss felt natural and real. 

During the years I've been blogging I kept seeing all the Team Peeta - Team Gale battles and though I knew it was about a love triangle I didn't know anything about the characters. So I was excited to finally be introduced to them thanks to the movie, and once again based only on the movie I am a definite Team Gale fan.

Liam Hemsworth looked the part of Gale for me (I love tall and dark best friend love interests), pity he only had a couple of scenes, but I can't wait to see him get more screen time in the 2nd movie.

And now we come to my one complaint about the movie: the casting of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. 

Once again I don't know what Peeta should have looked like, but despite finding Josh nice and intelligent in his interviews, he just wasn't it for me. Maybe it's the same in the books, but in the movie we have no idea if anything he does or says to Katniss is actually genuine and true or if he just says and does that to gain the sympathy and support of the public. I couldn't get to like his character because he seemed dishonest, manipulative and weak, he did nothing to protect himself or Katniss. He was said to be extremely strong but we haven't really seen any proof of that (only the ball tossing scene but nothing later to defend himself, he was always in need of Katniss' help). Though Josh's performance was credible for these, he looked smaller than Jennifer Lawrence and sounding shallow (but come on, with acthors looks are important), I didn't find him handsome or cute at all (though his Peeta-blond hair suits him better than his natural dark brown one).
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy was a riot! He was a great addition to the movie, always livening up the scenes he was in, I can't wait to see how his character is in the books!

Lenny Krevitz as Cinna was an unexpected surprise, he brought gentleness to the story and I didn't even know he acted, but he was great (loved his golden eyeliner lol)!

And I have to praise once more the visual imagery of the movie: the chariot scene when Katniss and Peeta arrive in flames, and Katniss flaming dress were done stunningly!!

(My other complaint is more about the story: I always like references to ancient cultures and mythologies, but Suzanne Collins naming her characters Seneca, Cato and the country Panem (Latin for bread) was a bit too repetitive for me, and would have expected more originality than naming everything after ancient Roman historical figures.)

The soundtrack of the movie was wonderful, it blended beautifully with the film and yet remained distinctive enough so that the viewer notices it.

I know it had its purpose, but at the beginning up until the Reaping the camera and shooting were very jerky and shaky, made me nauseous.

All in all a very entertaining and visually exceptional movie that I believe even if you haven't read the books you will enjoy, a near perfect adaptation!

Plot: 9/10
Cast: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Visual: 10/10
Soundtrack: 9/10

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