Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games-A review in 2 parts

I’m not just using a cliché when I say “It feels like it was just yesterday when I first learned about The Hunger Games and the Twilight/Harry Potter phenomenon that it has become.” It does feel like yesterday when in fact it was actually almost a year ago. That was when Entertainment Weekly had their first cover for the film then about two months after that right before my birthday the magazine had their second sneak peak of the film cover (I still have it Aug 5th 2011 issue) and that was when I became intrigued. I got the 1st book on my birthday and once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down (except when I had to “put it in the freezer”at a sad moment-Joey, Friends). Then quickly like I’m sure most fans I got involved with these characters and began looking forward to the movie.
When watching a film based on a book the question is always- How well does the filmmakers in this case Director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville), follow the story? The Answer this time-They did well. Every detail of a 400 page book can’t be in the 2 hour long movie but what did make it into the film stilled allowed them to keep the original story in tacked. Another problem that can come up while transferring page to screen is keeping the FANS who love the book and characters happy, here is where I admit I only read the 1st Harry Potter book but have seen ALL the movies and now I know how all those fans felt. I have learned that when you watch a movie taken from another source you like it can still surprise you and leaves you wondering “what is going to happen next?” I still felt scared when the characters find themselves in danger and sad when one I like gets hurt or dies. It is fun to see everything that you had to imagine come to life. This time around everything that I thought up ended up looking like I imagined. From the look of Distract 12, to The Capital and the games arena and the characters themselves. There were even “sets” I didn’t imagine that were just as perfect.

The best way to describe a movie which already has a fan following isn’t the plot, they already know that but the characters.
SPOILER ALERT-do not read if you don’t know the story…
To do this I have to start with my favorite character Haymitch played by chameleon Woody Harrelson. To me the elder, drunk mentor HAD to be played by an actor who can get lost and be almost unrecognizable in the role and Harrelson does this flawlessly. Haymitch the lone past winner from distract 12 isn’t much of a people person but becomes the helpful voice in Katniss’s head and a real ally for her and Peeta. He also provides some comic relief in a mostly dark story. Then there is Gale (Liam Hemsworth), he is a loyal friend to Katniss and will unlawfully hunt with her outside the distract and hates the capital. I have yet to read the 2ed book but I am sure there will be more to come from him. Next we have Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son, Distracts 12 male tribute for the games, Katniss’s hope within the games and has been secretly in love with her for years. Finally there is Katniss played by newcomer but already an Academy Award nominee and deservingly so Jennifer Lawrence. Katniss is the lead in the story and in my opinion the most kick-ass female character in recent years. She is the first tribute from 12 to volunteer and she does this when her sister is chosen. The story then follows her throughout The Games. From the opening ceremony and individual interviews to the action during The Games, the obectsicles she has to endure along the way and her interaction with the other characters. From the beginning to end we see it all and Katniss takes it on with bravely and hopefulness.

These 4 along with Rue (Amandla Stenberg), Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), Effie (Elizabeth Banks), Seneca (Wes Bentley), Caesar (Stanley Tucci), The President (Donald Sutherland)
and all the rest make the film worth checking out even if you haven’t read the book. Every one of the actors take on their role as I knew they could and they become their characters. If you want to see a thrilling ride with a scary but good story go see The Hunger Games.  

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