Some Thoughts on the Hunger Games Movie

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.

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15 comments

  1. Spot on! I agree with nrealy every point except for the fact that I actually preferred Haymitch in the movie. I found him a much more believable character. In the book he felt way too over-the-top and unrealistic. Plus, I love Woody Harrelson, and would be happy to watch him twiddle his thumbs, so I guess you can’t take me that seriously.

    1. I just wished that he’d have played it up a tiny bit in the scenes where we were first introduced to him. I think that after he became more responsible he did a fantastic job; I really liked being able to see him interact with the sponsors and the way that his character left Katniss notes.

  2. I’m not a fan of hand-held cameras. Not even when it’s well done or only for the briefest of moments to allow you to feel like you are part of what is happening (like the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan). In any case, this sounds like a bad example and I’m surprised nobody mentioned it so far.

    1. Yeah. The worst part is that in theory it could have been used properly here; it just didn’t work out in practice and ended up being very annoying. The movie itself was fantastic, but the cinematography was terrible.

  3. Still haven’t managed to get out and see this, and next week promises to be too busy as well. Surprised my wife isn’t going crazy as she is a big fan of the books.

    1. I thought it was an interesting series. I’d have liked it better if they’d have cut out the love story, but I liked the way that it drew attention to many of the problems in our own society while still telling an entertaining story.