I promised a review of the Hunger Games movie in comparison to the book. Two weekends should be enough time to allow diehard fans a chance to see it first so here goes:
I was a little worried at the opening. Not that the first scene didn’t start off according to the book, but that Buttercup wasn’t yellow. How hard can it be to find an orange cat? My grandparent’s farm was full of them, which has naturally given me a thing for that particular color cat, and it was rather a jolt. Then there were a few other changes right at the getgo that didn’t make me feel any better. Changes which I won’t mention to avoid spoiling, but which really wouldn’t have been a big deal to do right. Little things, really, but annoying.
Then the movie got rolling and those small nitpicks no longer mattered. The heart and soul of the movie kept to the book. There were even a few spots where the straying proved useful to enhance the scenes. During the games themselves, such as in the trackerjack scene, they cut away to announcers which enabled the necessary tell about these vicious bugs without the characters from the games having to say ‘look out, killer bees’. It was a smart way to make the scene understandable for people who haven’t read the book.
I thought the actors all did a first rate job. In particular, the guy who played Cinna and his relationship with Katniss was spot on. And would you believe Lenny Kravitz’s, a musician, played that part. The character of Peeta was genuinely likeable, while Katniss was great as the girl who’d do what it took to stay alive. I can only picture Haymitch as a hairy Woody Harrelson now. Rue was plain adorable.
Another bigger change involved added a flesh and blood antagonist to the mix. If you read my first post on the Hunger Games, you’ll remember I praised that Suzanne Collins made the games the antagonist in her first book of the series. Well, that wasn’t good enough for movie magic. They created a bigger role for President Snow and made a martyr/villain of the Gamemaker man behind the games. (Though who couldn’t love that really cool beard.) It was neat seeing what went on behind the games; and the arrow scene with the pig—amazing. I’ll let others judge for themselves whether this further focusing on good guy/bad guy was an improve or not. In my opinion, it added rather than detracted from the book.
Necessarily because of time, some things in the movie didn’t seem to have enough time allowed to them. For instance, the scenes Katniss spent with Rue seemed short to me. The time allowed to Haymitch also felt cut short. I was miffed they chose not to show his falling off the stage. I had the same reaction with the Harry Potter films though. You just wanted more. And they did leave in the part about Prim’s shirt being untucked at the reaping.
Overall, two thumbs up. I’d see it again, and I’d buy the DVD. It made me cry—twice. I’ll get the popcorn if anybody needs a friend to go with them.