Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Hunger Games Film - A review

I have just returned from seeing The Hunger Games at the cinema (I would have gone at the weekend but I was rather busy!) and want to write about it while it's still fresh in my mind (plus Nik's already fed up of me asking what he thought of every little thing)!

So, as you will know if you read my blog regularly, I had a bit of a reading frenzy at the start of the year and read 8 books in 2 months!  Three of those books were The Hunger Games trilogy, as recommended by a barrage of like-minded women and bloggers via twitter.  I absolutely devoured them in about a week and as a result was rather disappointed when they were finished.  I've also still not quite come to terms with the ending but you'll find no spoilers here, suffice it to say I felt bereft after such a frantic story came to an end and I did find it rather too abrupt.

So, the film...  I was super excited about the first film coming out as I would get to see how others imagined the characters (although I don't always agree with them) and would get to re-live the story again.  I have to say I wasn't disappointed as I usually am with books being turned into films and utterly "Hollywoodified".  Especially books I have particularly enjoyed reading.  (By far and away the most disappointing - I was actually ANGRY - was My Sister's Keeper.  Be warned!)  In fact, I would even say that I really, really liked it!  It stayed true to the book pretty much through-out and I found myself drawn in to the story all over again, crying at certain points (those of you who know it will know when!) and jumping at others.  This is how I like my films and I often think this is why when I've read the books I never enjoy the films as much since I know what's going to happen.  With this one, that didn't seem to matter and I still thoroughly enjoyed it.  If I get drawn right in, which happens when I read, then I am happy.

The casting helped as I was particularly pleased with certain choices.  Jennifer Lawrence was an excellent Katniss and I'm glad she was a relative unknown (despite just winning an oscar!) and also love the fact she's got a great shape and is actually curvy rather than super skinny.  I found her believable and realistic, even after the make-over.  I was slightly disappointed with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) to start with, but mostly because of the awful hair-do at the reaping (I guess he's just not what I imagined) but when he was ruffled up a bit I much preferred him and although superficially he's not my type, he'll always be my favourite out of the two love interests (although the very cute Gale (Liam Hemsworth) in the film did make that slightly more difficult to decide!)

I loved Woody Harrelson as Haymitch as he was exactly what I imagined!  Along with Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman with his big toothy grin.  I was only really disappointed with the casting of Kato (who I thought should be much bigger and beefier) and before seeing it was unsure about the casting of Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket as I had imagined someone more like Imelda Staunton.

Image Source - Also makes for very sad & sickening reading!

My favourite though has to be Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, perfect and SO sexy!!  Love the gold eye-liner and his whole persona on screen.  I was also loving Seneca Crane's beard!  I went searching for a picture of it and discovered that I'm not the only one - it actually has it's own facebook page!

Image Source

Obviously the film is never going to be as detailed as the book or it would last for hours but they kept in all the important bits while making everything else obvious, like the amazing food and decadence of the Capitol which is described in great detail in the books at many points and only briefly mentioned in the film although you can obviously see the elaborate train and buildings.  I would have liked them to have kept in the part about the Avox girl and Madge Undersee but again, the film would have to be longer and it's already more complicated as we don't get to hear Katniss' thoughts like in the book where the story is form her point of view.

I think the another way the film suffers slightly is by being classed 12A as this makes some scenes more difficult to understand due to the way they are edited.  Obviously some gruesome things go on in a fight to the death in an arena and I think this could have been filmed better without being gory.

I think it's clear that the film was made by fans of the book, as was mentioned in an interview I read with Jennifer Lawrence, and this is why I think it works so well and doesn't disappoint those of us who have read it (or me anyway, maybe it did others??) and overall I left he cinema having enjoyed the film and not spent any of that time aware of the book, I just enjoyed it for what it was - an exciting film with a good story and some great acting.  Oh and Nik liked it too, he hasn't read the books.

Edit: I forgot to mention the costumes!  When I was reading the first book I remember thinking, that is a film I would love to work in the costume & make-up department on (something I dabbled in in final year at school taking my drama and fabric modules)!  I had so many ideas of what it could look like and I have to say, they did an excellent job with this as well.  I was impressed with the fire and the fancy outfits of the Capitol, as well as the more simple district clothing - again making it all realistic.  The way they showed the crazy Capitol fashions even made them seem believable and were amazing to look at.  I bet they were fun to come up with!


Dan O. said...

Take away the hullabaloo surrounding the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling young adult book and what you have is an absorbing film with a dire premise that stands pretty much on its own. Lawrence is also the stand-out here as Katniss and makes her seem like a real person rather than just another book character brought to life on film. Good review Bex.

Katielase said...

Great review, makes me even more excited to go and see it!

K x

Bex said...

Thanks peeps! It really is a good film and can't wait to hear your thoughts on it Katie! Just realised I forgot to even mention the costumes which I also loved (edited above) ;) x

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