Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games - 2012

I first heard of the book about a year and a half ago.  I had my Entertainment Weekly while on vacation, I love to save it for the plane.  I was heading to Vegas with my husband, son and father-in-law.  While waiting to board the plane, I read that the last book in the series was coming out.  The premise sounded interesting.  Thank goodness for my Nook, because a couple of clicks later I had it downloaded and was already three chapters in when they called out rows to board. 

The book is absorbing and a quick read.  I finished it my first night in Vegas and ended up downloading the other two books in the series right away.   I finished the last book on the flight home.  Since then I have reread the books a couple of times.  The main character, Katniss is a strong character and the story is told from her point of view.  When I heard the movie was coming out, March 2012 seemed very far away.

I like to have some distance between reading the book and seeing a movie.  Usually about six months.  If it's a good book the main things will stick with me and I won't get caught up in the details that the filmmakers will inevitably dump.  I try to imagine who would be good for the roles.   This is a movie that needs unknowns.  You can't put Zac Efron or Kristen Stewart in the lead roles and expect it to fly. 

Jennifer Lawrence was pretty much unknown to me.  She'd been nominated for an Oscar, but I didn't see it, so no preconceived notions.  She was blond, and Katniss is described with dark hair, but that didn't worry me.  I wanted to know if she'd portray Katniss' survival instinct and her vulnerability. 

When they released a photo of her in character, I thought "Yeah, that is Katniss."

So, enough background.  How was the movie?

It was a good adaptation, holding true to most of the main parts of the story.   Going from a first person narrative to a movie is difficult.    I missed the bits of history that showed us what made Katniss tick. 

There are two young men in Katniss' life.  There is her hunting partner, Gale and her fellow tribute, Peeta.  Both look pretty good for living in such a poor district. 

Elizabeth Banks is unrecognizable as Effie Trinket, the chaperone from the evil Capitol. 

Woody Harrelson was very good as Haymitch.  I wish there had been more of the book dialogue, but we got to see a little of the behind the scenes action of him working for sponsors.  I also missed the drunken fall off the stage, but I have to say it would have added levity to a powerful scene.  It worked without it.

They did a good job with the other tributes.  Very few had to be established as they aren't going to be in any future movies.  But one of them is the son of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid.

The theater was packed for a morning show, with people lined up waiting almost an hour ahead of time.  It is the most packed I've seen a theater in ages.  I hope it does well and they make the sequels.  It was very good.

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