March 28, 2012

Ten Thoughts on the Hunger Games!







Okay, so deep breath.

I finally watched The Hunger Games movie on Saturday night! Yay! I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this movie to come out, and so I walked into the theater like a nerdy schoolgirl who's meeting Luke Skywalker for the first time.

Does that simile even make sense?

Hmm, moving on.

So here are my thoughts! In numbered form!

1. I cried twice. 

The first time? I teared up when Katniss volunteered to take Prim's place during the Reaping. Gale scoops up Prim to take her to her mother but she screams out, "Nooooo!" Oh, the tears. The second time? After Rue died. Of course. How can you not cry when Rue died?!

2. Stanley Tucci = Amazing. Let's worship him. 

The expansion of Caesar Flickerman's character from book to movie was 100% brilliant. Caesar's dialogue was such a wonderful way to explain to the audience what was going on in the Games and---let's face it---Stanley Tucci was awesome in the role. That smile. That charm. That smarminess. It was such a smart casting decision.

3. Another actor to worship = Jennifer Lawrence. 

Three cheers for Jen Lawrence, eh? She totally brought her A-game to the role of Katniss Everdeen, fully embodying Katniss' resiliency, her strength, and her soft heart. One of my favorite scenes was during the lead-up to the Games when Katniss waits with Cinna before her entrance to the arena. You can just see the fear in Katniss' eyes and in the tremble of her hands. She doesn't have to say a word.

Is it okay for me to call her Jen? I hope so. :)

4. Team Gale.

I know, I know! I love Peeta too but I've always been a Team Gale girl at heart. It certainly helps that Liam Hemsworth is so darn attractive!

(How can the Hemsworth family produce such good-looking sons?! Are they descendants of Zoolander?!)

5. The Roman Empire Redux! 

In the book, the Capitol is painted as garish and almost carnival-like but the movie opted for a darker tone. I especially liked how the director wove in a few nods to the Roman Empire: the chariots, some of the Tributes' costumes, and the modernizing of the Coliseum for the stadium scene. (At least, I thought the stadium looked like a modernized version of the Coliseum....)

6. Nepotism helps.

Every time I saw Jack Quaid (AKA Marvel) appear on the screen, I only had one thought running in my mind: "Your mom is Meg Ryan! Your dad is Dennis Quaid! This is why you're in this movie!" Good ol' nepotism. 

7. Rue is black. Get over it. 

Arghhhhh, racist people! *Eye twitch*

8. I missed a few scenes from the book....

Like when District 11 sends Katniss the bread intended for Rue. *Cries*
And Madge. I like Madge. 
Or when Peeta's dad visits Katniss after the Reaping and gives her a bag of cookies.

9. But I loved the additions to the movie!

Like when District 11 rebels after Rue dies. Awesomeness! 
And all of the scenes with President Snow. *Shivers* 
Also, the behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Gamemakers at work. It gave the movie an uber creepy slickness that reminded me of reality shows that we watch everyday on our television sets. 

10. The movie gets better the second time around. 

I re-watched the film with my dad today and I enjoyed it even more. The first time around, I think my brain was far too analytical. Buttercup should be orange! I thought the tracker jackers would be bigger! Can I hire Stanley Tucci to be my best friend? But upon my second viewing, I could sit back and relax more, enjoying the movie as a movie instead of nitpicking all of the details.

And it was a great movie.
A really great movie.

It isn't fair that I have to wait a whole year for the next one!


*Sobs into Finnick's shoulder*


So what did y'all think of the movie? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? And no, you can't have Finnick. He is MINE!


  1. I did miss the Madge part for the Mockingjay, but it makes sense in the limited time that they nixed it. I don't think they explained the sponsorship stuff in the movie very well, and how expensive it was for people to buy them things, like the present for Rue. I cried twice too, even though I knew what was going to happen - a sign of Jennifer Lawrence's excellent acting! I have always been Team Peeta, but I did find both Peeta and Gale a little shallow in the movie. Would have liked guys to step up to JL's acting game! But I still liked Peeta.

    1. Ah, I didn't even think about the sponsorship stuff! But I agree--it's much better defined in the book.

      And it's interesting that you found Peeta and Gale a little shallow! I really admired Josh Hutcherson's performance but I did feel that some of Peeta's nuance and shrewdness was lacking in the film. I felt the same way about Cinna; I thought he was much better drawn out in the book.

  2. PS - who do you think should play Finnick? Can we please obsess over guys who would make great Finnicks over the next year until the movie comes out?

    1. Ohhh, Finnick! I'm not quite sure who should play him, mostly because he has to be SO handsome yet SUCH a great actor to capture Finnick's vulnerability. In my head, I kind of pictured an older Alex Pettyfer but I don't know if he has the acting chops.

      A few people have bounced around the idea of Ryan Gosling, which would be so swoonworthy, but I doubt he'd ever sign up for this role! Alas.

  3. PPS - there was an image of the reflecting pool of the Capitol and I thought it looked like the Washington Monument reflecting pool! Did you see that?

    1. I didn't catch that! Must watch this movie again... haha.

  4. Team Finnick AND Gale?! THIS IS WHY WE ARE FRIENDS. :D <333 those guys. That said, I had intense reservations of Josh Hutcherson playing Peeta (because I do love Peeta), but he really won me over in the film. Like he played Peeta wonderfully.

    I also loved the Reaping and District 11 and Rue. Those scenes were so well done, and I'm so glad you mentioned Katniss entering the Arena. Jennifer Lawrence was SO GOOD there. It gave me goosebumps watching her try to steel herself despite her shaking. And the 3rd person perspective / behind-the-scenes of the games was a great addition. Oh and wasn't Effie just PERFECT?!

    But I agree with Allison that I think the sponsor stuff wasn't that well explained, and neither was the complicated nature that is the Peeta/Katniss relationship (what's real and what's played for the camera). Like some of their cave romancing left me feeling a little like unimpressed!Gale back home in District 12. Haha. I also thought some of the character development suffered: Haymitch goes from being a surly, unhelpful drunk to grumpily dishing advice the next day at breakfast; Cinna is instantly trusted (which is more or less like the book) but its never really expanded upon or I never got that sense of why Katniss liked him so much. Also, I was underwhelmed by the girl-on-fire outfits.

    I think the biggest thing I was missing though was the sense of peril. Granted when I was reading the book, I didn't know what was going to happen next, but the movie was never THRILLING for me. I never felt as afraid as I should have for the characters, and I hate to sound like one of those people, but it just wasn't violent enough. Or maybe visceral is a better word. The opening fight at the Cornucopia was close to what I wanted and expected from a story that is about the horror and wrongness of sending kids to kill each other for entertainment, but other moments of action that should have felt like that fell short.

    I sound like I'm raining on this parade, but I did like the movie and I thought they did a good job overall. I just thought maybe Gary Ross' directing style didn't fit so well with such an actiony flick (because I loved his previous Seabiscuit and Pleasantville and thought most of the quiet/character scenes in HG were well-done), and I thought from an outsider's perspective - without all the character insight and world-understanding readers bring to the viewing - the movie might not translate so favorably.

    But the more I talk about it, the more I want to see it again to get a better feel for the entire thing without having the whole 1st time viewing excitement and jitters.

    1. Yes, I totally adored Josh Hutcherson as Peeta! Especially at the Reaping. He did such a spot-on job of capturing Peeta's fear and shock. Great casting call, in my opinion!

      Agreed on the cave romancing! While I liked the scenes, I thought the book was stronger because we could read how Katniss had to navigate the whole "two starcrossed lovers" angle for the TV cameras.

      Concerning the violence, hmm. I feel kind of torn. For me, I could have taken more violence since I remember the book being so visceral but I wonder if that would be too scary for the younger members of the audience? (Although I imagine kids these days have seen much worse in video games!)

      And definitely some interesting thoughts on Gary Ross' directing! Like you, I absolutely loved Seabiscuit and Pleasantville, and I generally admired his take on the HG. But now you have me thinking about what the movie would have looked like in a different director's hands, perhaps one with more action-oriented experience. Like, what if Christopher Nolan directed the movie?! Oh, the possibilities! And I'd be curious what Kathryn Bigelow would have done since she directed the war movie, The Hurt Locker.

      Thanks for the food for thought!

  5. I too missed the the scene where District 11 sends Katniss the bread...but I also loved the addition of them rioting instead. So chilling.

    And let's talk about Josh's acting performance for a minute. The acting in this movie was phenomenal all around, but I was in awe of this boy. Because he made me fall in love with Peeta in a way the books never did. I never disliked Peeta while reading, but I was always more of Gale and Finnick fan in the novels. But holy crap. PEETA! Josh WAS Peeta. He nailed it. SO. GOOD.

    I was also really impressed with how they handled all of Katniss' internal monolgues while in the arena. Any time she thought something in the book that was important to the plot of the story, the "host commentary" filled us in (what tracker jackers are, the fact that the career's supplies were rigged with mines, etc). Really brilliant move in my opinion.

    I still love the book more, but it was a really fantastic movie. One of the better book to film adaptations that I've ever seen. Can't wait to go watch for a second time. I have a feeling I'll pick up on even more stuff. (Oh, and I cried at the exact places you did. Holy moly. The movie was beautiful but sad and terrifying. Incredible stuff.)

    1. Yes, I seriously loved the scene of District 11 rebelling! It was such a great addition to the movie, and a smart precursor for what's to come in the next film.

      And, yes, Josh Hutcherson was absolutely BRILLIANT. I can now understand why Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins were blown away by his audition. He really captured Peeta's kindness and I loved all of his subtle facial expressions.

      Ditto too on the "host commentary." My dad has never read the books but he really enjoyed the movie--I think in large part because this commentary kept him in the loop as to what was going on. That was one complaint he had about the Harry Potter movies; he was confused a lot of the time because he hadn't read the novels.

      I only wish we could watch the movie together and gush and nitpick and cry! :)

  6. AHAHAHA look at this video:

    Peeniss or Katpee?

  7. Did everyone talking about how great this book is get me to read it.. Nope.
    Did the moving coming out get me to start reading... Nope.
    Did my husbands pleading... Nope.

    It wasn't until I couldn't read your blog post did I pick up the Kindle and start! You know I'm slow and have 0 time but I did get to where they get on the train. Can't wait till the kiddies are in bed and I can read more!