Friday, March 23, 2012

First Impression of The Hunger Games Movie

Okay, as this is a book blog, and The Hunger Games movie is based on the book, I feel I can go ahead and give my opinion on the movie.  I'm not going to make a big deal about how the book is always better than the movie, because that just goes without saying.  First, let me say the movie was a really good movie, I'm not saying that it wasn't.  This post is just to discuss my experience and feelings about how it was done.  So I want to start with the good things.  The fact that all the actors cast really fit the characters in the books is a huge accomplishment to me.  So often the person just isn't who I imagined when I read, or doesn't quite conform to that when I see the movie.  Not so in this case.  They stuck right to the story, anything added did not ruin the story, in fact a lot of the stuff added really enhanced the movie experience.  For instance, the book is told from Katniss's point of view, so there is so much we don't get to see because of that.  I liked how the movie showed us the Gamemakers' working on the arena, setting up President Snow's role for later as well.  I like that they kept in things that you might have thought would be too hard to do, like the Tracker Jackers, and the muttations.  Even though neither were quite as horrible as in the book.  I loved the interview with Cesar Flickerman and Peeta.  I think someone who has not read the books will totally enjoy the action and imagery.  Now I was really tired, I'd worked all day, and then only took about a half hour nap before the movie.  Plus, I went and saw another movie about 3 hours before it started.  And, they kept the theater so dark when we were sitting in there, I was having some trouble staying awake.  So I'm guessing there are some details I need to watch the movie when I'm more alert to catch.
Okay, the bad things.  I want to preface this with this statement.  I am going to compare this to some other movies from books, but I'm not comparing the actual movie content or quality, just my experience with them in comparison to the books and being familiar with the books.  Okay, I feel that they did a Twilight movie mistake in not really putting any of the relationship building between Peeta and Katniss in the movie.  If you haven't read the book, you don't really understand the whole "boy with the bread" thing because you don't know how bad off Katniss was, you don't really see what happened to Peeta because of that.  Time with Peeta and Katniss in the cave was left out, so we don't get to see how Katniss must play this relationship, or how much she is playing.  I still HATE that they left out Madge, the mayor's daughter, the REAL way Katniss gets the Mockingjay pin.  We don't know the whole story of what happened to make Katniss even go out and start hunting.  And wow, Rue, we don't get all the time she and Katniss spent together and so when she died, I didn't even tear up in the movie, and I was soooo sure I would! I think this experience also compares for me to when I went to see The Lightning Thief movie.  Let me assure you that this movie, The Hunger Games, was a really good movie, while The Lightning Thief was horrible.  But my comparison here is that I have taught both of these books in my class, and so I have dissected so much about the stories, the symbols, the characters, and I know them in so much detail.  So that makes going to see the movie and having so many things left out hard to take.  Talking about symbolism, the lessons I got to use with The Hunger Games has a huge activity about all the food in the book, and what it could symbolize and how it fits in with the story.  And yet in the movie, none of that.  We don't get to hear about what Katniss says she likes most in the Capital, the lamb stew, that gets sent to her and Peeta for a feast in the arena.  We don't get to hear Peeta describe all the different breads from the districts, tying in so well to his boy with the bread image.  Haymitch doesn't do his dive off the stage at the beginning, such a big part of the book.  And Haymitch is just not the drunk he is supposed to be.  One last complaint, I'm glad the muttations were there, but I tried looking so close to see that they had the characteristics they were supposed to, and they didn't.  Oh yeah, and I think they were trying to keep it to a PG-13 rating, and so the violence was almost completely skipped over, barely in the background. 
In conclusion, I will go see it again.  I do think they did a good job with the movie for what they did, and I would definitely show it when it is on video for my students to compare a book to a movie and see what they think.  I do recommend it, go see it, I did like it!