Friday, March 23, 2012

"Games" ON!

The midnight showing of the film I have been waiting for since the last Harry Potter just ended and I can say that it did not disappoint. The Hunger Games was everything I wanted it to be; sure they left some stuff out and on further viewing I may have some problems, but initial feeling is satisfaction.
"I do not want to lose the boy with the bread."
Even though I knew what was going to happen, my heart was in my stomach the entire film. I love the suspense that was created and I think Gary Ross did an incredible job. Thinking back on the film, I can honestly say the thing that I enjoyed the most was the camera work. I thought it worked amazingly well with the style of the movie and put the viewer right into the action. It also provided just the right amount of cover for the death scenes, which I would have liked to see a bit more clearly. But other than that I thought making the camera show Katniss' point of view was very unique and gave the film the edge it needed. 
Jennifer Lawrence has once again proved her acting abilities. Whether she was speaking or silently starring off into the woods, I thought she completely embodied Katniss. She is a heroine for females anyone to look up to because of her courage, intelligence, and willingness to do what is necessary to protect the ones she loves. I also thought Josh Hucherson was perfectly cast as Peeta. He comes across slightly dopey, but also this darker side that is slowly revealed. The only one of the "trio" I did not like was Gale. To me he was too pretty, I could not look past the fact that he was Thor's brother. Plus, he and Jen did not get much screen time together so it was hard to think about how I felt about their relationship. The rest of the cast was terrific and I especially enjoyed Stanley Tucci and Wes Bently as Caesar Flickerman and Seneca Crane respectively. Woody Harrelson also got in some good scenes as Haymitch despite the fact that the film toned down his relationship with Katniss. 
District 12 looked like it came straight from a Dorothea Lange photo. I loved the costumes and cast, even just of extras because they all looked like the belonged to a community. The same can be said for all the districts which we actually got a chance to see. The Capital was also crazy without being too over the top and I really liked the juxtaposition of the excess and frivolity of the Capital and the way they treat the games compared to the other districts.
Ross made some good decisions in choosing what to leave out. I thought that everything in the film was necessary and he worked well with the amount of time and numerous characters he was given. I loved the flashbacks to the all important bread scene which showed its significance without hitting you over the head with it. And my all time favorite line (as I like to call it, the "always" of The Hunger Games), "she came here with me," was delivered with such earnestness by Hutcherson that it made my toes curl with happiness. 
One of my few complaints with the film is that I wished they developed Peeta and Katniss' relationship more; I felt like something was missing though I cannot think of what it is. I also could have used a little more actual gore. I loved Ross' filming, but at times I feel like he used it as a curtain to cover up the action and appease the "young-adult" audience. 
What I think I liked so much about The Hunger Games was the fact that it functioned as a film. I believe that it can stand alone from the book and that even people who have never read it will enjoy it (like my dad). Ross made the movie exactly the way an adaptation should be: good for the fans and the causal movie go-er. The Hunger Games manages to have romance, murder, suspense, and political undertones. all at once. Also, the ending sets the viewer up nicely for the sequel, Catching Fire. 
Review: No milk needed 

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