The Hunger Games: Movie Review

It finally happened.  I finished a book before it was released as, dare I say it, a blockbuster movie.  Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep this spoiler-free!

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If you’ve read the book, you shouldn’t be disappointed in any of the movie’s omissions or any of the additions. Obviously, not all of the details in the book could make it past the cutting room floor.  You go through the book from Katniss’ viewpoint and you get to listen to her thoughts along the way.  The movie doesn’t give you all the inner monologue, but it gives you a different point of view.  It’s as if you were sitting in your District, watching the Reaping, and the Hunger Games are being transmitted live to your crumby little screen.  Ok, that last sentence will make more sense after seeing the movie.  The character of Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker of the Hunger Games, did not have much presence in the book.  But in the movie, Seneca’s additional viewpoint should give readers of the book a fresh insight into the inner conflict between the Districts and the Capitol as well as cool scenes from the Gamemaker’s control room.

I watched the movie with a group who hadn’t read the book.  We talked about how controversial the concept of Hunger Games was. It’s important it is to know that this movie is for mature audiences since the central idea is that kids are killing kids.  I doubt Hasbro will be making Hunger Games toys with realistic blood action or impaling abilities.  Yet, the gore is not excessive and that movie maintains a PG-13 rating.

I think it hits the palette of a certain demographic, in tune with reality shows, socio-economic struggle, and the reality of war and death.  Author Suzanne Collins reportedly penned the story after flipping through different channels, alternating between reality tv shows and footage of the war in Iraq. It’s an intelligent book with a satirical view on how society can see death as entertainment, and now it’s a brilliant movie to boot.

The film does not fail to live up to the mental imagery of the book.  You really get a sense of the futility of life in the Districts. The Capitol has this future old-world Washington DC look to it. The costumes of the people in the Districts have this old 70’s retro look which immediately clashes with the comical neon colors and chiffon emblazoned wardrobe of the most of the Capitol populace.  This wardrobe clash lived up to my expectations and exemplifies the wide class disparity between the Districts and the Capitol.

The film’s imagery is vivid and isn’t clogged up with useless CG. I wouldn’t say the movie is visually stunning, but it surely doesn’t disappoint. The words “The girl on fire” only mean so much until you actually see the CG flames on the big screen.  The film remains faithful to the book.  The scenes in which I couldn’t put the book down had my eyes riveted to the screen in the movie.  Be prepared for some emotional investment in some characters!

Most people will say that in book-to-movie translations, the book normally comes out on top. In the case of The Hunger Games, I’m not so sure.  Whether or not you’ve read the book, I believe you’ll find the movie intriguing, controversial, and memorable. The odds will ever be in your favor that you will enjoy this movie.

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