Did I love it? Yes.
Was it perfect? No.
Did I go see it more than once this weekend? Yes.
Am I eager for the second film? Yes.
I was an early fan of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, inhaling each of the books and then dying to read the next, only to have to wait and wait. So it stands to reason that I had a lot of expectations and trepidation when I went to see the film adaptation.
This post will include spoilers, so stop reading if that's an issue. I'm going to keep this simple and just list my impressions, positive and negative, however they emerge.
Jennifer Lawrence nailed Katniss Everdeen. She was tough and courageous, yet vulnerable and scared. She was confused but still opinionated and outspoken. Even though she could appear hard, deep down she fiercely loved the people she cared about. All of these emotions flowed naturally from Jennifer, making her mesmerizing on screen.
Stanley Tucci was delightfully disturbing as Caesar Flickerman, the reality show host of the televised Hunger Games. He could plaster on a toothy smile of dazzling dimension while talking up the kids being sent to fight to the death in the games.
The scenes of the Reaping and of Rue's death carried considerable emotion and were not melodramatic in any way. Again, Jennifer did a smashing job.
Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson brought wonderful layers to the eccentric characters of Effie and Haymitch. Amandla Stenberg was a charmer as Rue, while Lenny Kravitz fit Cinna as if made for the part. In fact, the casting was good all around.
However, that said, I think the story line would have been enhanced by more character development between Katniss and Rue, Katniss and Cinna and in what Katniss really thought/felt about Peeta. Some of this felt rushed, and I realize that a film has a finite number of minutes it can run, but, perhaps something like the flashback of the mine disaster could've been cut to allow a few lines more to develop these relationships. In particular, the cave scene came across as shallow, not at all what was happening inside Katniss in the book, so that it seemed we lost the manipulative aspect of the games.
And that brings me to my major concern. The book is about tyranny used to control people through starvation and fear. Somehow, the film lost sight of that during the games, never really showing how hard it was for Katniss to find water and food. Here is one place I think the medium of film could be used to advantage by having a short cut to Caesar on television commenting with his false sincerity that Katniss has been without water for two days, will she find it or is this the end of the Girl on Fire? Or something like that, which wouldn't take much film time at all.
Anyway, it's easy to sit in the audience and crit something that took such enormous skill, energy and planning. Despite my complaints, the movie meets most of my expectations and is wonderful, gorgeous, breath-taking and quite satisfying. Hence, the going to see it more than once and still wanting to see it again.
Have you seen it? Agree or disagree?