The Hunger Games movie is splashing with a fervor. Depending upon how ticket sales are rated, it can be considered a record-setter. Of course, on an opening weekend, that could be a reflection of the books, more so than the movie itself. However, the movie deserves some credit for repeat viewers (and no doubt there have been quite a few).
It’s been two days since I posted my fatigue-ridden review. An actual rating is in order. The Hunger Games deserves a Very Good, which could be taken as four out of five stars. Giving it five stars would necessarily put it on the same plane as the book, and that simply should not be done. It is a little too rushed after the Games begin. In all it is a fantastic movie.
My Sunrise Review might come across as overly-negative, despite my recommendation that people see it. I focused on the problems that readers of the book could find with it. I was trying to provide a buffer for the changes that were made, and to give fair warning to the purists who would not tolerate any change or subtraction from the book as it is.
Therefore, a few more accolades are in order to encourage more people to enjoy the film. The costumes perfectly radiated in the Capitol, and conversely broadcast the servility and forced depression of the districts. Rue was too cute! She brought literal moans from the audience mimicking Katniss’ experience when around the girl. With a crowd of Hunger Games fans, mostly female teenagers, this isn’t surprising. It was fun.
Many people wondered how the PG-13 rating was going to be maintained while living up to the Collin’s stark depiction of misery and violence. What sense would it make to turn a young-adult bestseller into an adult’s-only movie? It’s possible the movie pushes the line a little with a feint. Some scenes, such as the bloodbath, could not just be ignored. The sound is entirely overdubbed with soundtrack to convey the emotions. It’s likely that even the edited and flashed imagery would have pushed the rating too high if the screams and slashes had been put in. Good choice there. The rest of the violence is toned down by rapid speed, careful reduction of the gore and blood, and hallucinations in the case of the tracker jackers. On all counts, the movie does an excellent job of showing without horrifying.
If anything makes the actual Games seem too short, it is the fact that so much of the script is dedicated to the first half of the book, and there are good reasons for this. The hunting, the selection, the travel, the training, the interviews; these scenes introduce the characters and the setting. For this portion of the story, Katniss interacts with many people and experiences things very dynamically. Once the Games begin, she either spends her time alone with her own thoughts, or interacting with only one person at a time. That makes it very hard to translate to the screen because few people want to watch a character walk around while her thoughts bellow from the surround sound.
Those are good reasons why the book would not translate directly to a movie. As a singular unit The Hunger Games would not make such a good film. It would feel off-balance. Other films are to follow, so this is no concern.
Why is the cave/recovery sequence rushed so much? With all the cuts made elsewhere, it’s a shame this segment is compressed so much. To ramp up the rough battle and flight, then jump into a slow, tedious, emotional development would not play well on screen. People have already been sitting for an hour and fifty minutes. They are waiting for the climax to arrive and resolve this anxiety. They know Peeta loves Katniss and they can see that she is confused in her own emotions about him. For the book, it worked well. For a movie? Not so much. As time goes by, I’m more indifferent to this particular edit. I like what I saw!
Anyway, those are a few more thoughts. Hope you see it and enjoy it!