I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see The Hunger Games at a pre-press screening yesterday and I can finally break my silence!
First off, you have to know I have read all three books and LOVE them to death…so going into the movie, I was a tough customer. The movie is good and they did a great job painting a visual picture of Panem, The Capital, and the districts. I just don’t think the emotional picture was as strong. It’s hard to pack all the “baggage” of the characters from the book into a 142 minute movie…and that is where the movie fell short for me.
Jennifer Lawrence does a great job portraying Katniss. She is hard and cold on the outside, but is tender and loving on the inside – and even vulnerable at times. She is absolutely gorgeous to look at on the big screen without a spec of makeup. AND she totally rocked her outfits! From her “girl on fire” jump suit to her blue “reaping day” dress – it was spot on!
Josh Hutcherson is a great Peeta – considering the parameters he was given. You don’t get to know depths of Peeta’s love for Katniss in the movie- due to the writing/directing. BUT Josh is able to be charming and vulnerable – the two redeeming qualities of his character in the book.
The character of Haymitch Abernathy was dramatically altered in the movie version…he wasn’t drunk enough and he was way too focused! When we first meet Haymitch, played by Woody Harrelson, he’s drunk in true Haymitch style – but that’s the only point in the movie he is very true to character. I guess there wasn’t enough time to show the relationship between Haymitch and the tributes (Katniss and Peeta).
Elizabeth Banks certainly looked the part of Effie Trinket, but her character was changed for the movie as well. They made her cold and snobby instead of naive and lovable as she is in the book. That was disappointing but her makeup and costumes were fantastic! From her false pink eyelashes to her huge puffy sleeves- the costume design was great!
Stanley Tucci as Ceasar Flickerman was perfect casting and so was Donald Sutherland as President Snow. The character of Gale Hawthorne played by Liam Hemsworth was downplayed a lot – although he was very handsome just like in the book! And Rue is just adorable and lovable – even cuter than I pictured in the book.
One change from book-to-movie I was a big fan of was the “game makers” hub. It was a nice addition to see the action behind the scenes and all the high-tech gadgets and computers they use to create the “death arena” for the tributes.
I think you can call the movie “Hunger Games Light” – and it’s a good shortened version of the book BUT you do get short-changed.