Well, this has been fast!! Only a week ago, I hadn’t either read The Hunger Games nor seen the movie. Here I am, one week later, having read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay (read them in four days) and having already watched the movie. I’m totally in love with this story. I’ll go on and say what I think about it, and give a review of the movie. I’ll let you know when the spoilers begin.
Ok, The Hunger Games is a story about a future North America, which has become Panem. Panem is divided into a Capitol and 12 Districts. And the one tradition that is observed annually is, precisely, The Hunger Games. These games were created long ago, after a rebellion where the 13th District was erased from the face of Panem, to remind the districts that they must never, ever, rebel again.
For the annual games, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen from each district to participate in the Games. That is, to fight to the death with everyone else, until only one prevails.
The main character is Katniss Everdeen, 16. She has a sister, Primrose, who is 12. During the Reaping, Prim is chosen and Katniss volunteers to go in her place. And that’s where the story begins.
The book has very well built characters, and it drives you to care for them… Katniss, Prim, their mom, Gale (Katniss’s best friend), Peeta Mellark, Haymitch, Cinna, etc. It especially points out the love Katniss feels for Prim, how everything she does is for her… how she would do anything for those she wants to protect.
The next books, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, take us through life after The 74thHunger Games… but that is another story, right?
Now, for the movie!! I’m afraid I’ll give away some SPOILERS, so if you haven’t seen the movie, watch it and come back!!
I’m not afraid to say that it’s one of the best adaptations I’ve seen. The screenplay was developed by Suzanne Collins along with Gary Ross and Billy Ray. So, if the novel writer is involved in the screenplay, you can imagine it will be well adapted. Of course it has a few things here and there that are not the same, but this is completely normal. One of the things that I didn’t love was the origin of the pin. In the book, Madge gives the pin to Katniss, whereas in the movie it’s given to her by an old lady at the Hob. I think this was not really good, since the origin of the pin becomes important later on, or at the very least, symbolic. Madge and the Mayor are not even in the movie… Another three characters that are overlooked are Flavius, Octavia and Venia, Katniss’s prep team. Sure, they’re not that important, but at least I hope they show them more in the next movies.
A huge difference is that in the movie you can see the work behind the Hunger Games, the technology involved. You can see Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith many more times than expected too, and this is really useful: since the story is told from Katniss’s point of view, you need someone to explain a few things you wouldn’t be able to learn otherwise. Caesar and Claudius explain things such as what tracker jackers are. These are very clever additions, and they help a lot. You see the head Gamemaker (Seneca Crane) a lot more than expected as well. They also show you some interactions between Crane and president Snow which help develop the latter’s character. You can see he is not good right from the start. One scene I loved, and where they show more things than in the book, is the one where Katniss arranges Rue’s “grave”… it actually made me cry. They show you a little of District 11, and it’s very enlightening. Now, one thing they never explain is Avox people. You can see them here and there, but they aren’t explained. At one point at the beginning, Katniss mentions that if they were to run away and were caught, they would cut their tongues, but that’s pretty much it. I really hope they go a little deeper into the Avox explanation in the next movie.
The casting was VERY good. I honestly can’t imagine anyone else as Katniss, Pita and Gale. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth are excellent. Woody Harrelson is perfect asn Haymitch, and I’m happy to report taht Lenny Kravitz does a WONDERFUL Cinna. And that’s very important. Elizabeth Banks is great as Effie; just as nice and also as annoying. Stanley Tucci nails Caesar Flickerman too. And Donald Sutherland as Snow… well, you know exactly how horrible he is going to be later. Rue is exactly as I pictured her to be as well.
The action scenes… those were brilliant. For example, the first scene where they run towards the Cornucopia was almost like reading the book, but fast, very fast. Katniss going for the backpack, being attacked, the ribute dying, Clove throwing her the knife, Katniss using the backpack to protect herself… it’s all there. And that’s just one example. Great, and I mean great adaptation!!!
The ending of the movie… well, it’s not as painful or as chilling as the end in the book, but it’s a good ending. There’s no Peeta losing his leg, no Katniss having lost and recovered her hearing. It did feel a bit rushed, in fact… but the movie is already long; maybe that’s why they didn’t go into many details.
I highly recommend this movie, but I can’t recommend enough that you read the book. Really. Do you like this trilogy? What do you think? Let me know!!
See you soon!