HUNGER HUNGER HUNGER GAMES, YA’LL!!!!!!!
Yes, I finally saw The Hunger Games. I know it hasn’t been out that long, so saying I “finally” saw it is a bit much, but I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I “finally” read the books a year ago. I was so excited to see this movie that I convinced a bunch of my Milwaukee peeps to read the books as well so I’d have people to go to the movie with me. I surmised that it would be the kind of movie where you want to decompress & discuss afterward, and I didn’t want to take my chances with trying to approach random fellow theater-goers in the lobby after the show. I can’t go to prison again.
Unfortunately, as fate would have it, most of those so-called friends made plans to see the movie without me opening weekend. So my nefarious plan to expose a very select portion of the Milwaukee citizenry to an engaging book series so that I would have someone to accompany me to see one of the most anticipated movies of the decade was an epic failure. Almost. There was still Laurie & James. Wonderful, young, and in love Laurie & James. The three of us had already signed up to run a 5K Saturday morning, so after the race we enjoyed a delicious brunch and then went to the theater. It was absolutely delightful. Laurie & James are the best.
Know what else was the best? This movie!! Okay, not THE BEST, per se, but overall I have to say I was pretty pleased with the way the movie turned out. I’m not a complete lunatic, so I’m not going to go on any rants about the casting. I actually pictured Rue & Thresh as African-American when I was reading the books, so the fact that African-American actors were cast for those parts didn’t bother me (also, I’m not a racist piece of shit). I’m also okay with super fatty Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss (hint: that was sarcasm; she’s super skinny). Yes, it’s called the hunger games, and yes there did not appear to be a McDonald’s in District 12, but I don’t think Katniss was emaciated. She was a hunter. She ran around in the woods, building muscle. They had a goat for cheese. Jennifer Lawrence is thin enough. If you have a problem with it, get over yourself.
If I were forced to complain about any of the casting choices, it would be that Josh Hutcherson is so short. I know that’s not his fault, but I cringed every time it was obvious that Movie Peeta is shorter than Movie Katniss. I’m not too troubled by it because Josh Hutcherson’s face looks almost exactly how I pictured Peeta, but I just wish he were a few inches taller. I mean, why couldn’t they use a little movie magic in this regard? Whatever happened to standing on apple crates? Tom Cruise is practically a little person and he manages to be taller than people on screen all the time! COME ON! (This probably wouldn’t bother me so much if I were Team Gale. To clarify, I didn’t necessarily care whether Katniss ended up with anyone in particular (and I won’t spoil it here), and I think deep down I wanted her to either end up with Gale or choose no one, but I was Team Peeta for the sole fact that I really liked Peeta. I wanted him to be happy, and if being with Katniss was what would make him happy, that is what I wanted.)
Other than Josh Hutcherson’s shortcomings (I’m so sorry), I only have two small complaints. First, I found some of the cinematography choices disorienting at times. I could’ve lived without some of the blurry closeups of leaves and walls and stuff. Maybe the point was to make it slightly jarring because the experience of living in Panem and being a tribute is jarring, but I think they could’ve captured that feeling without making me feel like I need to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Second, I didn’t like that District 11 immediately started rebelling the moment Rue died. Really?? I mean, they sent her to the games knowing full well that it was almost a certainty that either she or Thresh would die. Sure, it wasn’t their choice to send any tributes, I guess, but they’ve been sending tributes into the Games for years without incident. And yes, Rue was pretty cute and nice and everything, but I don’t think her death in a contest that has been going on for generations where children are forced to fight TO THE DEATH should all of a sudden cause a rebellion. Could it make them all unhappy to the point that Katniss standing up to the games makers could push them over the edge? Yeah, I bought that when that was the way it happened in the books. But the IMMEDIATE nature of their rebellion just didn’t sit right with me. Save it for Catching Fire, you guys.
But those are just minor complaints that did nothing to tarnish my overall enjoyment of the movie. I was very pleased with the costumes and make-up and the way the districts (that we saw) looked. Some things (e.g. the cornucopia) looked different in my mind, but I’m just one person. There’s a good chance that those things looked exactly like someone else who read the book imagined them, so it’s cool. My main concern was that the parade scene would be well-executed, and it totally was. They were ON FIIIIYAHHHH!!! Practically gave me chills. Loved it.
Despite how pleased I was with the movie, I am curious what people who haven’t read the books thought. I feel like a non-reader could easily understand the plot and enjoy the ride, but I don’t think they would totally get everything (although they would probably have no idea what was missing). I accept that a lot has to be left out for timing reasons, and I’m glad they didn’t use a Katniss voiceover. That would have been dumb. But by omitting some elements, and without the benefit of Katniss’s inner dialogue, the movie lacked a lot of the emotional depth of the books. Did non-readers truly understand what the District 12 citizens have to deal with? Did they pick up on why Katniss & Gale hunt in the woods, how dangerous it is for them to do so, the important role they play in keeping their families alive, and the strength of their bond? Also, I would’ve appreciated more Haymitch. I liked knowing that he drinks so much because he can no longer tolerate mentoring two kids from his district only to watch them die every year. Nevertheless, I think the movie can still be enjoyed by non-readers, but I think you have to read the book to fully appreciate all the details.
In closing, I can’t wait for Catching Fire!!
The Hunger Games: READ THE BOOKS and then See It In the Theater