Friday, March 23, 2012

(Actual) Hunger Games Review!! (This Will Contain Spoilers)

Sorry for the little prank-y thing I pulled there. I'll review the movie now.

Well, the deed is done. The Hunger Games has been unleashed upon the world.
And I am so happy that the movie has come out the way it has.
As a  movie critic, and as a fan of the books, this movie truly satisfies both mindsets. I'm incredibly impressed.

Let's divide this  up into categories so I can get it all in my head.

-Jennifer Lawrence delivers a powerful performance as Katniss Everdeen, a role I was sure would take a miracle to pull off. She does it effortlessly and accurately, portraying Katniss exactly as she was in the books. I am so happy that we have her as our leading lady for the movies.

-WOODY HARRELSON IS THE BEST! Haymitch is my favorite character and I am so glad he has been done justice here, used for full comedy effect, but also serious when he needs to be. If you loved Haymitch in the books, you're gonna love him even more here. Oh my Gandalf, he was amazing. I'm really looking forward to his scenes in the coming movies.

-The leading men, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, do well also. I liked Hemsworth more than I thought I would. And Josh carries Peeta's sweetness and shy humor with ease and really embodies the character. I was initially really hesitant about these guys, but they passed my expectations.

-Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz as Effie Trinket and Cinna respectively also shine for the screen. Elizabeth plays Effie just so, striking the balance between crass and naive. Cinna is a hard character to mess up, but the calm assured aspects of Kravitz's take on him are perfect. Spot on.

-One of the aspects I loved most about the film as a whole was that not everything was handed to you on a plate. They never say that Haymitch is smarter than everyone; you already know from the way they portray him. Katniss never says anything about Rue reminding her of Prim; you just know it from the way she acts around her. It's really nice to be treated as an intelligent audience member.

-I liked how they expanded everything from Katniss' perspective. The movie almost makes Seneca Crane a main character, as well as President Snow. You see a lot of the Game Maker's quarters, The Everdeen's watching their Katniss, Gale watching Peeta and Katniss kiss for the cameras, Haymitch keeping a watchful eye on the T.V., ect. It was a book fan's dream.

-The score was really effective. It was futuristic, but at the same time very Appalachian.

-The violence is toned down, but not in   a way you expect. Gary Ross pulls an Alfred Hitchcock and lets a lot of the violence happen off screen. For example, Rue's death is shows, and Katniss ings to her and covers her in flowers, but the spear wound is small and doesn't bleed  much. And Cato's death is over in a matter of seconds (Thank God). It definitely stays within the confines of it's PG-13 rating.

-The Arcade Fire song at the end "Abraham's Daughter" is so great. I'm glad that the companion album wasn't used in the film, but this song fits the movie so well.

-The only thing that put me off a bit was all the shaky camera work. Most of the combat scenes are filmed with a handheld camera so it disorients you a bit, which I think is the point of the technique, but it still gets you a bit dizzy.

One more thing before I go.  A lot of people were complaining that the political stuff was cut, and I do agree, but here's how I see it:

1. Character relationships
2. Political Intrigue.
3. Good action sequences.
4. Slower bits.
5. Good acting.

Pick three. Gary Ross definitely went with what younger fans would want. I hope he gets to more of the political intrigue in Catching Fire though.

I'm so happy with The Hunger Games. Recommended for fans of the books and newcomers as well. Not to be missed.


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