By this point in time, pretty much everyone and their mother is talking about the Hunger Games. I went to see the movie last weekend before I got sick and allergic to life, and I had meant to make a post about it in a more timely manner, but yeah. About that…
I was very impressed by the casting in the movie. Katniss managed to pull of being both likable and abrasive, which I felt was very true to the book. Cinna was exactly as I had imagined him. Effie was positively horrid and obnoxious, as she should be. Rue’s death had me sobbing in the theater. The only character that I was on the fence about was Haymitch, because I pictured him as a bit more bumbling (and drunk) before he became semi-responsible.
I was pleased that the movie was able to follow the book so closely. There were some things left out, but they were the type of things that could be cut without changing the meaning of the story. We all remember when one of the Harry Potter movies tried to leave out crucial plot points and then had to squeeze them into the next film. The Hunger Games completely avoided this trap. Yeah, they cut the Avoxes, and we didn’t see much of Portia. I’m okay with that. One thing that I thought was exceptionally well done was the addition of a riot scene after Rue’s death; it highlights the fact that what is happening in the games is having major socio-political ramifications outside of the arena.
One down side is that it might be difficult to understand some parts of the movie for people who haven’t read the book. I thought that using the game room to allow for some narration and explanation was a clever idea, but I still think that some parts could have used a bit more clarification for people who don’t know already know what was going to happen.
Ultimately, I could have loved this movie if not for one major flaw–the cinematography. Basically, in order to hide the gore they used a shakey camera effect. The problem is that it was overdone to the point of inducing headache and/or motion sickness. The shakey camera can work if you can still kind of see what’s going on, but in this movie it is used too much and too often. We were sitting toward the front of the theater, which amplified the problem. My friends and I all had rather nasty headaches by the time the movie was over. I wouldn’t have cared so much if I were watching it at home, but I go to see movies in theaters maybe two or three times a year (if I’m lucky). I want to enjoy my movie-going experiences when I have them.