The Hunger Games (Film)

Picture Courtesy of Lionsgate Films

The moment we have all been waiting for! Or wait…sorry. The moment some of us have been waiting for, but it seems that there are many of us who have no idea why we were waiting for it. There was a really hard push with the marketing for this film, that even I cannot explain. I have a few theories, but if anyone has the correct answer I wouldn’t mind knowing. One of my theories is that they are interested in doing the next two films based on the books. In order to do this, you need a lot of push for the film, and a lost of $$$$$ raked in from the film. I have read all three books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I could see them being able to do the second film, and the more I think about it perhaps even the third. The third book is the most difficult for me to see being a film. It can be done, but could be a big hit or miss. There are a lot of things being thrown around about filling voids. Strong film series based on books that are completed leaving the film world with an empty feeling?

Having read the books, I know what the story is about. The beginning of the film takes time to introduce viewers who have not read the books into the premise. Unfortunately, it is very short and disappears rather quickly. This left many viewers with questions. I love film adaptations of books, and at the same time I hate them. There is a great thrill to hear that a book that you liked will become a film. You get to see the story come to life on the big screen. This involves many other peoples interpretations of things, which takes away from the journey of reading and creates some ill will towards the films. This cannot be changed, and will forever be the relationship between book to film.

To best explain what the film is about, I will be going to an old friend of mine, Wikipedia, and seeking its help. Take it away Wiki.

” In The Hunger Games universe, the nation of Panem has risen out of the ruins of what was once known as North America after an unsuccessful uprising by the thirteen districts of Panem. A raffle (known as the “reaping”) is held to choose one boy and one girl (ranging from ages 12–18) from each of the twelve remaining districts to participate in the Hunger Games, a competition in which each contestant (known as the “tributes”) battles to the death until only one is left. The victor receives fame and fortune. The Hunger Games are a yearly reminder to the 12 districts of the Capitol’s authority and punishment for their rebellion over 70 years ago.

In the poverty-stricken District 12, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) cares for her mother (Paula Malcomson) and her sister Primrose “Prim” (Willow Shields), since her father died in a mine accident when she was 11. Each year, since the age of 12, Katniss’ name has been placed in the reaping more than once. In return for taking this extra annual risk, she receives extra grain and oil for her family. In addition, Katniss has been illegally hunting for food outside the boundary fences of District 12 with her friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth), whose father also died in the same mining accident.

Prim, now age 12, has her name placed in the reaping for the first time—only once—and it is unexpectedly drawn. Katniss volunteers as tribute to replace her sister in the Hunger Games. She competes against other tributes, including a baker’s son named Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the male tribute from District 12, who has secretly loved Katniss since childhood and who once showed her a kindness she could never forget.

Before the Hunger Games begin, she is given a stylist named Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and a Capitol escort named Effie (Elizabeth Banks) to help her make a good impression with potential sponsors. Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), a drunk and the only living victor from District 12, mentors both Katniss and Peeta before and during the Hunger Games. Once in the arena, Katniss must rely on her hunting skills, stealth, speed, and wits to survive. She also has to fight her anger for the Capitol, choose her alliances wisely, and ‘put on a good show’ in order to receive food and aid from sponsors.”

Quotation courtesy of Wikipedia. via link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunger_Games_(film)

I was completely looking forward to seeing this film, and theres so many things I wanted to see how they would do them. I completely fell in love with the capital. I love the people and how they were portrayed, especially Effie Trinket. Perhaps the worst thing is that everyone seeing it was thinking how crazy and weird these people looked. That was the expected effect, however I think they looked awesome. And I loved many of the things they were wearing and had done to their appearances. Of course they are things you could never get away with doing. The stares and murmurs that would happen if Effie Trinket was walking down the street would be incalculable.

New comer Jennifer Lawrence is the lucky girl to be chosen to play Katniss Everdeen. She has been in a film called Winter’s Bone, as well as X-Men: First Class. I had never heard of her before this, but it was funny because earlier today I had actually watched X-Men: First Class for the first time. Naturally a review will be available for this film as well. After reading the books, I instantly jumped online to watch the previews again. I could pick out the characters now and understood the whole story behind them all. This is a blessing and a curse. I had no issues with Lawrence playing Katniss, as I had not experience her before so I had nothing to judge her acting skills on. Unfortunately, there are many actors chosen for roles that I was not expecting. This comes from the vision of characters in my mind while reading the books, and naturally for us all, we think our own versions are superior to that which are chosen for the film. I completely understand the difficulties that lay with making a film with a fan base behind books, and I am coming to terms with the fact of its inevitability of never being the same. For that reason I will not judge the film too harshly. I did not like the Josh Hutcherson chosen to play Peeta. I know Peeta’s character isn’t suppose to be a heart throb or anything, but someone a touch nicer to look at wouldn’t have hurt. Liam Hemsworth who plays Gale wasn’t what I was expecting either, but he is handsome enough not to complain about. I was shocked to find out that Cinna would be played by Lenny Kravitz. I guess it goes along with the whole vision in my head not matching the film. He was tolerable enough though. I absolutely loved Effie Trinket played by Elizabeth Banks, and if there is another film, I look forward to see more crazy outfits! Woody Harrelson played Haymitch, the District 12 mentor and previous Hunger Games victor for the district. I pictured someone a bit more gruff. Harrelson looked more like a Homeless bum than a drunk trying to drink his past away. Donald Sutherland plays the Capitols president, President Snow. I pictured someone a bit more menacing though. Sutherland just seems more like a cranky old man who is trying to keep the children out of his rose garden. an unexpected but pleasing addition to the cast was Stanley Tucci who played Caesar Flickerman. Now I know I shouldn’t be too picky, but during the interview with Katniss in her red fire dress, am I the only one who was staring at the white trim around his visible wig? I also enjoyed Claudius Templesmith played by Toby Jones. These two actors were our comic relief in the film. I also noticed that they made the character of Cato more in the forefront than any of the other Tributes. I think this helped the film and to help give an extra sort of “villain” within the arena. Cato was played by Alexander Ludwig, who is my mind is the kind of visually appealing that Peeta should have been. I can say that right? He is over 18? okay good. Peeta is the spotlight, we should at least have something to look at, and not someone who looks more like a hobbit.

I found the books to be very gripping and fast paced. With the book being over 2 hours long, and only being based off the one book, had positives and negatives. It gave them time to capture almost all the events of the book. This excluding all the events that they normally cut out of books in order from having to introduce too many characters and back stories. This makes the films shorter and smoother. Unfortunately, this also results in many things that we enjoy from the book being taken out, and the film adapting them to fit in. If one character is taken out and they have a reason to be there, someone must replace them. For example, the mayors daughter gives Katniss the mockingjay pin, but in the film, Katniss finds it well selling game, and gives it to her sister Prim. Prim in turn gives it to Katniss. A switch done smoothly and effortlessly and those who have not read the book are none the wiser.

I do recommend that you see the film, but I truly implore you to read the books. The film is a nice touch on top, but they are no comparison to this book series.

UPDATE: (first update via phone. Forgive any errors)
To all my Hunger Games fans I admit I am sorry in my doubts of further films. With that being said, I am please to announce that Catching Fire is already slated for Oct/Nov-ish of 2013. My only fear is that they will want to split this film or the next for “cinematic” reasons. Although its a good reason, i’m sure the idea of prolonging the end of the series and pumping up the cash cow doesn’t hurt. I will keep you updated the more I know!

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