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I Watched The Hunger Games

February 26, 2014

First, I want to thank everyone who is following me.  I just hit 100 followers, so that’s awesome.  (If any of you are spambots, please don’t tell me!)
Second, I’m sorry this is late.  I took a really long, unexpected nap yesterday, so I managed to achieve very little.  So, apologies having been extended, here are my thoughts:
As before SO MANY SPOILERS!!!!
train-I actually liked Katniss when I couldn’t hear her internal monologue, when I could see the emotions rather than just being told that she had them.  There were plenty of times where I said, “Oh, I know what she’s thinking there!” because I read the book.  What was interesting is that when I compared my thoughts with those of my boy-nugget (who has seen the movie, but not read the book) we often disagreed about what she was thinking.  The best example of this is the moment on the train on the way to the Capitol when Katniss sees Peeta and Haymitch talking in the dining car.  My reading of that moment was something along the lines of, “Peeta is getting advice and will have the advantage, I need to get in there.”  His read was more, “Ok, this is real and I need to follow Peeta’s example and start taking things seriously.”  His Katniss comes across as more naive and gentler than my Katniss, who is working the angles and looking for an advantage.
gale-Gale is way more likable in the movie.  Part of this is because they’ve cut Madge out of the movie, so we don’t see Gale get angry and bitter at a girl who has nothing to do with the system he’s raging against.  We also get shots of Gale reacting to the games, rather than just seeing what Katniss thinks he’s feeling.  So, he becomes a more sympathetic character.   It also helps that the scene of the Reaping with Prim is so much more powerful and you’ve got Gale stepping in to protect this little girl that you’re heart is breaking for.
I still don’t much care about the romantic subplot, but I get why Katniss cares about him more now.
-Peeta is ok, but I’m not strongly attached to him in the film any more than I was in the book.  He seems sweet?  That’s about all I’ve got.
grooming-The fashion was a disappointment.  I still like Effie’s costumes, but everything else was… eh.  The 1930’s-1940’s feel of District 12 was nice.  I thought that was well done, and the Reaping gave me a very WWII vibe, which I’m assuming was intentional.
The Capitol costumes were much of a muchness.  There was lots of orange, pink, and turquioise, but that’s about all I got.  The pink dogs were an ok touch, but not as outre as I think they were supposed to be.  We’ve already got extreme pet grooming here, so dying a dog pink to match an outfit wasn’t that big of a deal.
Seneca and President Snow were somewhat distinct since they were wearing reds and purples.  They were also never framed next to a large group.  The facial hair helped make him specific.  I’m not sure how I feel about him actually being visible, since he never appears in the book.  He almost comes across as sympathetic, when compared to President Snow at least.  He thinks he’s putting on a show, he doesn’t really understand the rest of the political situation.
district 11-Moving the riot in District 11 up to this film was an interesting choice.  I don’t like it that much because I love the bond that forms between Katniss and the District when they send her the bread.  It makes me sad that we lose that.  I also think the wedding in Catching Fire doesn’t work as well when we already know that Katniss can’t do anything to make President Snow happy.  The rebellion is too big before the first games are even over.  (Again, this is stuff that didn’t bother the boy-nugget because he doesn’t know anything about what happens in the books.)  I also don’t see why they would send them to District 11 on the victory tour (which I know they do because I’ve seen some of that scene in the trailer) if the District has already started rebelling.
-Making the pin a secret between Katniss and Cinna is interesting, I guess.  I still like the connection between Madge, her mother, Katniss’s mother, and Haymitch that we’ve lost now.
rue-The time in the arena is compressed, which is fine.  Rue’s death is so much worse since Katniss gets to think she’s made it in time.  It’s kinder in the book that she got there just too late.  That scene was, unsurprisingly, touching.   I actually started crying in the very beginning of the movie when Katniss sings the song to Prim because I knew what was coming.  Amanda Stenberg was fantastic.   I just want to hug her.
– The rock camoflauge is pretty terrible.  It’s impossible to take seriously, but I was braced for it, so I didn’t laugh.
– Peeta doesn’t lose his leg?  What?  Because… that’s a pretty big difference.  Then again, his artificial leg never really comes up in Catching Fire, so, ok I guess.
after-BUT!  Peeta being basically healed when the games are over take some of the intensity out of that last confrontation between them.  He doesn’t have his failing health to hold over Katniss to try to get her to kill him.  He’s fine, so we don’t have Katniss’s breakdown in the hovercraft afterward, so that A) puts their romance on shakier ground for me (again, the boy-nugget didn’t feel that way.  He thought it was totally fair that everyone bought the love story as presented.)  B) I legitimately don’t know how Katniss feels about Peeta at the end of the movie.  I’m pretty sure she thinks he’s a perfectly acceptable person.  I’m sure she would now be sad if he died, but I don’t know that he matters to her.  I don’t see her automatically including him in any escape plans as things stand now.  I know, at the end of the book, that she cares.  She may not be in love with him, but she cares about him.  Even the blocking is more ambiguous.  The interview picture I have up here – they’re sitting in separate chairs, which are specifically designed so that they can’t get any closer to each other.  In the book they’re on a loveseat and Katniss curls up with her head on Peeta’s shoulder.  There is emotional and physical distance between them.
Even the moment on the train is diffused in the movie.  In the book Peeta actually realizes that Katniss isn’t in love with him and he’s torn apart, but he’s still willing to fake it in front of the cameras.  In the movie, you get Katniss saying she wants to forget and Peeta saying that he doesn’t.  That’s it.
Yes, my boy-nugget is probably right, I’m seeing a lack there because I know how it was written, but I think that I would still find it subdued.
-That being said, the emotion as a whole works so much better in the movie.  Suzanne Collins never really convinces me about any of the emotions outside of Rue’s death and the freakout in the hovercraft at the end.  Everything else feels dry and removed.  The movie makes me feel so much more.
Ultimately, I think I have to give the edge to the movie.  It’s actually better than the book.  (The only other movie I have said this about was Sense and Sensibility.)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2014 10:29 pm

    I was happy when they cast Jennifer Lawrence. When everyone was freaking out because she was blonde, I was happy because, like your boy-nugget, I had caught her in Winter’s Bone and knew she would bring more to the role than I found in the book. She can’t help herself. I will say that I enjoyed the Hunger Games movie, but I LOVED Catching Fire. It felt like the actors had settled into their characters better and that the movie people really got some aspects of the books correct that I found lacking in the first movie. I wish Mockingjay weren’t split into two parts as it is arguably the weakest of the three books (it felt like Ms. Collins was in a time crunch to finish it) and I just don’t know how they’re going to fill all that time. (P.S. Prepare yourself for Mockingjay. I know you’re a bit spoiled already, but that Epilogue is egregious. I actually threw the book down in disgust I was so aggravated. Least satisfying end to a series ever. I’m pulling for the movie to fix it. Lol.)

    • February 26, 2014 10:36 pm

      I have to wait for Catching Fire to make it onto DVD, but I think that’s supposed to be pretty soon. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve started Mockingjay, but I’m only 4 chapters in so far. I have… issues already. I was reading it tonight around the boy-nugget and I kept wanting to complain, but I can’t because of spoilers. It was so frustrating!

  2. February 27, 2014 10:09 am

    Yes, I get what you mean about liking the movie more than the book. For me, that was largely due to Jennifer Lawrence. Catching Fire definitely worked better for me in movie form than book form, partly because I couldn’t believe how dense Katniss was in the book while in the movie, which only takes a couple of hours, her obtuseness doesn’t seem as obvious. Sigh. I will miss Philip Seymour Hoffman in the next movie.
    I need to read Mockingjay quickly, now, so I can read your post on that when it comes up.
    Oh, congratulations on your 100 followers!

  3. February 27, 2014 5:21 pm

    Great review! I actually liked the book slightly better than the movie, but the movie is really, really good. I never liked Gale in either the books or the films. But the film does make him more sympathetic. Catching Fire is, IMO, flat out GREAT! I was so impressed with the second film that it had me on the edge of my seat, even though I knew exactly what happens. There is one important thing they leave out of the second film that I was disappointed to not see. But all in all Catching Fire is one of the most emotional wrenching films I’ve seen in a long time.

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