[review] The Hunger Games (2012)

It is currently 8:22 AM as I start writing this review. I went to bed at about 3:30 AM after seeing a midnight viewing of The Hunger Games, so I want to apologize in advance for what I’m certain will be frequent grammar errors and typos and incoherence. I’ll correct them later when I’m more awake, but I wanted to get this to you guys as soon as possible because I love you.

As I said, I went to a midnight viewing of The Hunger Games. I love midnight viewings. I love waiting in line with fans. I love getting dressed in costumes. I love seeing other people’s costumes. I love knowing I’m surrounded by people all with the same purpose. But I found my line kind of disappointing. There were A LOT of people who pulled the “Team Gale” or “Team Peeta” thing, and the movie workers were encouraging it. There was even a camera crew for a local television station going around asking people which they supported and why. In short, they were trying to turn The Hunger Games into Twilight, and THANK GOODNESS the people who made this movie did not try to do the same thing.

Spoilers to follow under the cut…as soon as I can get the cut to work…spoilers after Katniss.

This movie was an amazing adaptation of the book. I’ve seen some people say it is the best book to movie adaptation ever. I’m not so sure how true that is, but I do think that Suzanne Collins’s work with television/movies definitely helped. The Hunger Games was basically written to be a movie, so I think that made adapting it an easier task than some other book to movie adaptations out there. In any case, everyone that worked on this movie came together to give an amazing and accurate movie.

I really loved the costumes, especially in the Capitol. You really got the feeling that you were in this other time and place. There was a lot of additional Capitol scenes, largely commentary during the games or seeing how Seneca runs the games, which I found really interesting because you don’t get to see them in the book. It really shows the viewers that while the Games are the main aspect of the plot, the other Tributes aren’t the villains. Haymitch never tells Katniss not to forget who the real enemy is (something that I wish had been in there because I think it’s essential to Katniss’s later decision to eat the berries with Peeta), but the viewer is shown Haymitch’s warning through the action of the play. I think there was only one time people cheered for a Tributes death in my theater (Clove’s). Every other time they were silent because we knew, even those who hadn’t read the books, that they were not the real enemies. They were the victims too.

Speaking of the victimization of Tributes, I did not like what they did to Cato. They had him kind of in this unspoken imitation Katniss/Peeta relationship with Glimmer, he doesn’t even shout in reply to Clove’s shouts before she’s bashed to death by Thresh, and then he becomes crazy thinking that if he has to die at least he can kill one last person first, having this whole revelation moment and making it very obvious to the audience that even Cato is a victim. This would be fine except Cato literally went from (pretty calmly) snapping a kids neck to insane and we didn’t get to see why. You can make the assumption that the lack of food, the death of Clove who he didn’t even seem close to, and the fact that he was apparently dying from something (the hounds?) gave him this epiphany, but then why not make THAT part more obvious? And why even have the Glimmer/Cato thing if that’s not going to affect him at all?

Another Tribute that I think they short-changed was Thresh. Thresh’s death never sat well with me in the books. He freaking smashed a girls head in with a rock. He was said to have gotten BIGGER in the Games. People were afraid to go into his “territory.” So why wasn’t HE the Victor? In the books, it seemed as if Cato managed to kill him somehow. I don’t buy it. When I complained about this, a friend suggested something in the Arena killed him. I don’t buy it: I’m sure the game makers didn’t want Thresh to win either because he helped Katniss, but I think they would have preferred to have him possibly take out Katniss then just kill him themselves. In the movies, he’s killed by the hounds, which aren’t nearly as terrifying as they are in the books. This does not work for me. Thresh is not supposed to get killed by the hounds. He’s supposed to BE a hound. (Kind of.) No. I do not accept this. One of the only things I was hoping for in the movie was an explanation for Thresh’s death, and I got a weak off-camera shout. This was on one of the very few things that disappointed me.

I feel like I’m spending a lot of time complaining about changes, but I want to make it very clear that I loved this movie. The actors were amazing, and I felt as if I was really watching the characters, even Peeta who I know a lot of people were iffy about. I’m kind of in love with Josh Hutcherson now because he’s Peeta and I love Peeta. At least I’m in love with him as Peeta.

No for real. I’m in love with Peeta. He’s hilarious. His interview scene was amazing. (On a side note, I want to see all of the interview scenes in special features please and thank you.) And the cave scene…guys my heart actually like expanded and stuff. And then broke. Our theater went “awww” all happy like and then immediately went “awww” all sad like. It was awesome.

Speaking of awesome reactions. My entire theatre was in tears during the Rue death scene. I think everyone sobbed for a good ten minutes. I was silent crying up until the salute to district eleven and OH MY GOD YOU GUYS! Then they showed eleven doing an uprising, and it was PERFECT. Such a good choice! It leads so well into Catching Fire I can’t even.

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And during Katniss’s performance in front of the judges everyone cheered. Because it was awesome and I just loved this movie so much you guys. I can’t even think a little bit coherently anymore. I loved how they would have times where there was no music. I love how they did Katniss and Cinna’s relationship, though I did not like the lack of her make up team. I liked all the Capitol stuff. I wish the movie had been longer so that they could show more. I want all the special features. ALL THE SPECIAL FEATURES. And as much as there was death and gore and stuff I managed to get through it without flinching too many times or having to hide, though the hound part was totally unnecessary with the cheesy tension.

I really need more sleep right now. Whatever. So worth it.

Go see it right now.

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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10 Responses to [review] The Hunger Games (2012)

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Take away the hullabaloo surrounding the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling young adult book and what you have is an absorbing film with a dire premise that stands pretty much on its own. Lawrence is also the stand-out here as Katniss and makes her seem like a real person rather than just another book character brought to life on film. Good review. Check out my review when you can.

  2. So I totally read the whole thing even though I haven’t seen it yet. (LIKE A BOSS)

    I think I might actually enjoy the changes they did with Cato, and I know I’m looking forward to seeing what Jen Lawrence does with Katniss. Still not happy about Josh (and probably will never be tbh), but it’s okay because I can see that Gary Ross has a tight grip on what the movie needs to be.

    I NEED FINNICK AND CATCHING FIRE NOW IS IT MY BIRTHDAY YET

    • megtao says:

      I really hope you won’t let Josh being Peeta affect your thoughts on the movie because it really is a great movie and such a great experience. It would suck if you couldn’t enjoy it because the actor chosen wasn’t exactly what you pictured :(

      HURRY UP AND SEE IT SO I CAN KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS

  3. Briana says:

    I agree that Cato was a little odd. I was very surprised when he suddenly started screaming at the end, and I couldn’t even understand what he was saying.

    I thought the movie was very good, and they pulled off making it an emotional film rather well. I am a little disappointed they skimped on the violence, though (and I don’t even like violence!). But I think they went a little too far out of their way to make it palatable. Practically no one is shown actually being killed, and it was difficult to get a good grip on what the other tributes even looked liked, which I assume was to keep the audience distanced from them and not take their deaths too badly. I think it lost a little something from the books. But on the other end, I was a little relieved because there were a surprising amount of parents with very young children in the theater.

    • megtao says:

      I think it’s good they stayed away from the violence tbh. I think they got the point the violence made without it, and there were some pretty bloody moments that made me wince and feel sick.

      • Briana says:

        Normally I like to hide my face and gag and be horrified when extremely violent things happen, too. I think it just seemed to me that there are other PG-13 movies that are more violent. Maybe The Lord of the Rings? Basically they just seemed to be whipping the camera around so much that even if something violent was happening, it was difficult to see. But I do think they got the point across by focusing on relationships, like the one between Katniss and Prim or the one between Katniss and Rue, instead of on killings.

        The cornucopia scene was pretty brutal. And someone on another blog told me they had to cut 7 seconds of violence to keep the movie at PG-13 in the UK. So maybe I’m just crazy.

  4. I wouldn’t call it the “best movie adaptation ever”, but it WAS a good adaptation. And I totally agree – The Hunger Games was definitely written to be a film, and I’m glad the filmmakers realized this and didn’t change the entire atmosphere of the book. I think that’s how you know it’s a successful, fantastic film – when the atmosphere of it is so similar that you almost feel like you did when you read the books. It’s not a perfect adaptation by any means, but I definitely enjoyed it, and I walked out of that theater feeling like the film actually did the book justice.

    YES to the costumes. To nonreaders, I know it was a little confusing why it was so flashy and weird, but I’m pretty sure they caught on that it was the Capitol flaunting its wealth in ridiculously flamboyant ways, and it definitely had a futuristic, post-apocalyptic feel. I LOVED seeing how Seneca ran the games. That was one thing that I thought was amazingly done, and I’m glad we got to see the behind the scenes stuff to the hunger games, instead of just hearing Katniss’ thoughts about what must be going on. The perspective change is what I loved.

    Agree with everything you said about Cato/Glimmer/Clove. I was just mostly confused because things didn’t happen and yeah, it really changed his character.

    I hated how Thresh was just… random. We didn’t really see him with Rue, we didn’t understand the connection, and then he’s there to spare her for being good to Rue, and then he dies. I don’t buy the death either, and you’re right, it didn’t exactly make sense in the book either. But I don’t understand randomly introducing characters and then not doing much with them.

    I think that’s the issue though – they didn’t want to focus too much on the other tributes, but the book DID focus on them, and as a film, it was difficult to balance what would make sense and what wouldn’t. For the most part, they made good decisions with which scenes to keep, but sometimes they didn’t and lost some awesome characterization.

    And YES, the hounds weren’t terrifying. My cousin actually thought they got eaten by puppies, and she was so confused because that didn’t seem possible. XD

    Overall, the actors impressed me too. I still don’t buy that they’re teenagers (Josh Hutcherson looks his age, so he’s fine, even though Peeta’s supposed to be like a year or two younger, but Jennifer Lawrence didn’t look teenage, and Liam Hemsworth looked… kind of okay, kind of not, idk if it was the age or him kind of looking strange as a brunette. I mean, it’s just nitpciking now, but performance wise, they were fantastic. But I do feel like something was lost because they don’t look younger. It would have sent a slightly more powerful message. But they still did a phenomenal job, and I was impressed.

    I thought Josh Hutcherson acted well, but aghhh, still can’t fully think of him as Peeta because I LOVE Peeta and Hutcherson is always going to be that little adorable boy from Bridge to Terabithia. Whom I can’t sexualize because it feels wrong. XDDD

    But some of his scenes blew me away.

    And I will never forgive them for cutting out parts of that cave scene. I wanted to hear my favorite quote about how even the birds listen when she sings.

    I like the bread in the rain scene flashbacks, but I don’t think non-readers would get it at all. It’s briefly explained in the cave, but that’s like… after it’s been flashbacked ten times previously.

    Loved the uprising and OMG YES, RUEEEE. ;____;

    I flinched through ALL the death stuff. Anything that was too violent kind of made me sick. But I was fine with this because it meant that the filmmakers did their jobs and made a great film.

    But because of the gore… I don’t think I’ll be watching this film too many times again. Not Harry Potter levels anyway. I will definitely see it again though,

    I can’t believe Catching Fire is so long away!

    (But the one thing that really ruined the film for me was these sklgkdslhgdgskhgdk pre-teen girls who kept shouting GALE every time he WASN’T on the screen. Which was a lot because YAY to the filmmakers for not going the Twilight route and doing what they promised they’d do and amp up the nonexistent love triangle. Still don’t understand why they marketed the TEAM PEETA/TEAM GALE stuff because they kept the film true to the book and didn’t even make that an issue (yet). But yeah, stupid girls. I shouted TEAM KATNISS and they were confused. And then they started booing Josh Hutcherson because he wasn’t as cute as Liam Hemsworth, so my sister shouted TEAM PEETA and they looked like they wanted to fight. Gahhh. I cheered when they left the theater after Gale watches Peeta and Katniss kiss and nearly cries. Ugh.

    Also, were you not at least a little bit weirded out by how much chemistry/sexual tension there was between Cinna and Katniss?

    And OMG I LOVE HAYMITCH SO MUCH. HE IS LIKE A DRUNK SIRIUS BLACK, POST AZKABAN. I CRACKED UP EVERY TIME HE WAS ON SCREEN.

    President Snow was creepy. Which was great, but he looked too old to be alive.)

    • megtao says:

      That sucks you had the pre-teens shouting. I didn’t have any of those problems and I’d say that the average age in the theater was 19 or 20.

      I totally didn’t see the Cinna/Katniss chemistry, maybe because I always viewed Cinna as gay? It seemed very friend-like to me.

      I agree about Thresh and trying to balance other characters. I’m hoping that maybe we’ll get character profiles or something in special features.

  5. I also really enjoyed this movie but was still kind of nit picky with the things they changed. I think it just comes with the territory of loving the book first. I didn’t really like that they changed how she acquired the pin. I think her receiving it from the mayor’s daughter was symbolic of how the people were, in a way, throwing their weight behind her. Same with receiving the cookies from Peeta’s dad. But what can you do? They can’t include every little thing.

    I also really like that she should 11 revolting but I wish they had explained why more. Because it really did just look like they revolted because Rue died. And you didn’t get a sense of how bad things were there and that Rue dying was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back. But maybe they’ll elaborate on that more in Catching Fire.

    • megtao says:

      I’d never thought of the pin that way, so I can see why you’d be upset by that change. I liked that they turned it into a bit of resistance from the beginning by having Cinna give it to her in secret.

      Maybe because I had the books so much in my head, I understood it was more of the straw that broke the camels back (I mean, we saw how horrible 12 was, and the fact that they have to send their children to kill each other…that’s a lot of straws). It’s hard to explain things in movies, I guess. And yeah, I’m also hoping they’ll add some more of the political stuff in Catching Fire because that’s more when that all begins in the books anyway.

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