Friday, March 23, 2012

movie review: The Hunger Games

This is by far my favorite review that I have done. A few friends and I saw the midnight showing of The Hunger Games last night and enjoyed every minute of it. I'm gonna do my usual 'good' and 'bad.' Long story short, it lived up to my very high expectations.

The Good:
pretty much everything. Lets start with the way the movie was shot. I don't know the specific terminology for it, but the way the cameras moved with everything the characters did made you feel like you were right next to them the whole time. This was such a huge relief from other blockbusters where you're watching the movie from a steady camera. As opposed to this movie where it changes from what Katniss is seeing for a few seconds, and then you're running beside her. So kudos to Gary Ross for that cinematographic choice.

Secondly, what I pictured in my head when reading the books, I saw on the screen. It's amazing to see that, because lets be honest, a lot of the time you get seriously let down by book-to-movie translations because what you were picturing in your head was nothing like the movie. I credit this to the fact that the people who made and starred in this movie were all fans of the books. They wanted to see a faithful adaptation as much as we all did.

Thirdly, the acting was absolutely amazing. I've known that Jennifer Lawrence was a great actor from 'Winter's Bone,' but she really outdid herself in this movie. You could tell that she, and everybody else for that matter, really understood their character. Katniss is a character who is closed off to everybody other than her good friends/people she trusts. Jen did a good job of showing this by only doing a "true smile" (for lack of a better word) when Katniss really liked a person. But what blew me away was her emotional range from physical pain to the emotional pain of losing somebody that Katniss loved. I also loved how Woody Harrelson played Haymitch. I feel like there's a lot of ways somebody could just play Haymitch as an angry drunk, but you could tell that he knew Haymitch's back story. I wasn't sure how well he would do, but he played a great Haymitch.

Fourth, the sporadically dispersed one liners were hilarious. It was a lot of hilariously dry humor. Particularly on the part of Effie. Who knew Effie was going to be that funny. So I tip my hat to Elizabeth Banks for great comedic timing. But some of my favorites came from Katniss, I can't remember them all but a few reminded me of my own personality and personal experiences.

The things they chose to leave out/alter made the movie just as good as the book. Maybe that thought comes from that fact that I did a lot of research about the making of the movie (that's my nerdy stage crew/AV crew/backstage experience and always wanting to know about the production about everything). For whatever reason the changes didn't bother me one bit, which is weird since I was expecting the complete opposite reaction. Good job again Gary Ross

The Bad:
Absolutely nothing. Believe it or not, I can only think a few very minor critiques for the whole 2 hour 22 minute movie. Literally the only thing I can complain about is the fact that the fire costumes were extremely disappointing. You could easily tell that it was just the black costumes with some lackluster CG flames behind them. But that's the only thing I can think of that was "bad." My only other slight disappointment was that I do not believe they showed Katniss's attachment to Rue and Rue's alikeness with Prim enough. The Katniss and Rue alliance only took up about 5 minutes of the movie. Granted they're probably banking on the fact the people who are seeing the movie have read the books, and therefore know how much Katniss loved Rue. Also I give them the benefit of the doubt because there's so much action, and so many amazing scenes, and so many plot points that they don't have an unlimited time to delve into every single thing.


It was absolutely amazing. Go see it even if you haven't read the books if even just to see the way the movie was shot and appreciate the amazing acting. Oh, and the action was AMAZING. That also held up to my expectations. I can't emphasize enough how weird it is to see exactly what you pictured in your head, on a screen in front of you.

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