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Krista’s Hunger Games Review!

I couldn’t do it.  The plan was that on Friday evening, my husband and I would go to my friend Arielle’s Hunger Games party and then see the movie on Friday night.  But that would mean waiting 22 hours after the opening to see the movie I’ve been so excited about seeing for months!  So Thursday afternoon, we decided to buy tickets to a midnight showing in Bristol, VA.

We purchased our tickets online and arrived at the theater about 1.5 hours before the start time of 12:01am.  There were a lot of people there but we didn’t have to wait in line, this theater was letting us get our seats.  The theater was pretty crowded with older teenagers and a few adults and even a few people dressed up as characters.

Before I go any further, in case you aren’t familiar with The Hunger Games, the movie is based on the first of a trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins.  Set in a future, post-America society called Panem, the Capitol forces the 12 districts of Panem to select a boy and girl Tribute (ages 12-18) to fight to the death in a televised event called The Hunger Games.  The books are told from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12.

I highly recommend reading the books (yes, all of them!) before you see the movie, because there is so much more to the story than what a short synopsis can tell you.  The stories are about oppression, brutality, war, liberation, justice, loyalty, hatred, fear, hope, and yes — even love.  There is a lot of talk about the violence in the books and the film.  I won’t sugarcoat it — yes, the movie is violent, quite violent, especially when you add the fact that the violence is teenagers against teenager.  It’s horrifying, but it’s supposed to be.  In no way is the killing glorified and you see the trauma and anguish from Katniss’s perspective.  There is a beautiful scene with Katniss and a fallen Tribute that really shows the pain she is going through.

But even with the violence, I will say that it isn’t gruesome, gory violence.  The filmmakers did a great job (in my opinion) of showing it without belaboring the point.  You see that it happens but it isn’t played out in a disgusting way, if that makes sense.  I get pretty squeamish in movies with a lot of blood and while I was emotionally disturbed by the violence, I wasn’t grossed out.  I hope that helps anyone who is worried about that aspect.  I had particular concerns about seeing a certain part at the end, but it wasn’t what I feared.

** If you don’t want anything spoilerish, you might want to avoid this section…Although if you’ve read the books, there’s not much to spoil. **

Movie adaptations are always going to leave things out from the book, that’s a given, but it felt like the movie moved so fast.  I first thought “Wow, we’re getting to the Capitol really fast!” and then “Wow, the Hunger Games are going to start soon, this went really fast!” and THEN I even thought the Games went by quickly.  There are a lot of small things left out, but nothing major and nothing I would consider a “dealbreaker.”  In particular, the cave scenes with Katniss and Peeta do NOT play out very long like they do in the book, and I think you lose a bit of the change in their relationship because of it.

It was interesting how they handled explaining things like the Trackerjackers, they jump to scenes from the Capitol where Caesar Flickerman describes what they are.  It’s nice for people who haven’t read the books, but for those who already know what they are, it feels a little dumbed-down.  It was pretty neat to see the inside of the Gamemaker’s room, I did wonder how that would look while I was reading.  My husband (who read only 5 chapters of the book) said he couldn’t really tell it was a created arena that the Gamemakers could control at first.

There are also a few small changes, such as the origin of the Mockingjay pin, but it makes sense, for simplicity’s sake, the way they wrote it in.  And there are scenes between Seneca Crane (the head Gamemaker) and President Snow that obviously are not in the book but they do add to the story and helps build the anticipation for the next movie.  I wish we could have seen what happened immediately after the Games conclude, it very quickly goes to the final interview prep.

** End of spoilery stuff **

Finally, I will say that Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are INCREDIBLE in the movie.  I know very little of either of them outside of the movie, and in the previews, I thought Jennifer looked a little stiff but WOW she is amazing in the movie.  Her eyes say so much, whether it’s utter confusion, terror, pain, or hatred.  And how can you not love Josh’s portrayal of Peeta?  This girl is Team Peeta all the way 🙂

I might have more to say after seeing it again tonight, so come back for updates!

Have you seen The Hunger Games yet??  What did you think?

Updates:

A few notes after my 2nd viewing…

  • I absolutely love the way they did the transition onto the Capitol Train for Katniss and Peeta, the stark difference between District 12 and the train.  The music is perfect and I love how they focus on the extravagant food and plush interior of the train.  It’s beautiful but completely grotesque.
  • I still wish the cave scenes were longer.  I really wanted more of that.
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About Krista

Krista is a full-time working mom of two boys, currently aged 6 and 7. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, Brandon.

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