The Hunger Games – From Book to Movie

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Alright so last night I went to the movies to FINALLY see The Hunger Games. I finished all the books last week so I was freakishly excited to see how the movie would turn out. I’m going to break this down into two parts: Acting and Plot (specifically the parts missing).

First the acting. Jennifer Lawrence is someone we should all be watching because this woman is going to soar in Hollywood. She was already the second youngest nominated for an Oscar for the movie Winters Bone (which is next on my To Watch
list). I also love her personality in interviews because she’s just a normal young woman (if you want to know what I mean by that watch her interview with David Letterman, it’s GREAT). Anyway, as Katniss Everdeen, Lawrence is fantastic. The emotions on her face convey so much. The pure fear and terror we see in her eyes makes the audience feel it just as much. I was so happy with her performance and enjoyed every second of her time on screen.

Josh Hutcherson was also phenomenal in the film. As the quiet Baker boy, Peeta Mellark, with unfortunate luck in life and in love, Hutcherson makes everyone fall in love with him. Hutcherson is not new to the movie scene but this is, in my opinion,
his best work yet. The chemistry between Hutcherson and Lawrence is palpable whether they’re happy together or ready to fight one another, they are perfect when they share the screen.

Liam Hemsworth as Katniss’ best friend Gale, does not have much of a role in this first movie but he still conveys what Gale does in the book. The fear for his best friend going into the games, the hatred for the way they live in Panem, and the jealousy he feels when he sees Katniss and Peeta together. I’m interested to see how Liam does when his role becomes bigger in the next two movies.

Next up are the team of mentors and stylists, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was very surprising. I love the relationship between Katniss and Cinna in the books and I was glad to see how well it was portrayed on screen with Lawrence and Kravitz. Haymitch, played by one of my favorites, Woody Harrelson, was terrific. Harrelson pops up in the most random places and manages to blow me away every time, I’m very excited to see him in the next two movies as well. Elizabeth Banks plays Effie. Which reminds me, I want to give a BIG shout out to the make-up and costume artists on this movie; together, you made the Capitol people look so wild and it goes perfectly with how they are in the book. Back to Banks, her lines in the movie are the audience’s small comic relief and with a movie with such a heavy storyline, the relief is needed and welcomed.

Stanely Tucci, I swear this man can do no wrong. Talk about comedic relief. As interviewer and commentator, Caesar, he made me laugh almost every time he was on the screen because he reminds me of reality TV hosts. Donald Sutherland as President Snow…what can I say about this? I think it was a perfect choice because while he looks like the sweet old man President, I know he is going to become the terrifying figure he needs to be later on and we see a hint of that in this movie. I very much enjoyed, Willow Shields as little sister, Prim. She portrayed a twelve year old desperately relying on her sister for everything and now she has to watch Katniss kill or be killed because of Prim. Shields did this well in the few short scenes she was in. Wes Bentley plays Seneca Crane, the game maker with…somewhat of a heart. Aside from his beautifully sculpted beard, Bentley seems callous and unfeeling as the game maker but when he fights for Katniss and Peeta, we see him as someone who maybe doesn’t love his job as much as it would seem. And he pays for his few acts of kindness.

As a whole, the acting in this movie is smooth and the actors all work very well with one another. Now onto the plot…

Panem is a very difficult place to move from the written word to screen but I think Gary Ross and his team did an amazing job of creating it for all of us to finally see. There were only a few things I had problems with and I understand most of them were cut because of time. I’m just pointing out some of the things I missed. First, I miss Madge, she was a key in the whole “Mockingjay” pin aspect and to have her gone was a little upsetting to me, but for those who have never read the books, it’s not a real loss. I also liked reading how all the Tributes were on the same stage during the interviews because Katniss’ reaction to Peeta’s statements was important, but again, if you never read the book, you wouldn’t think you were missing anything.

Now for the part that REALLY angered me. (DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE OR READ THE BOOK) On the train ride back to District 12, Peeta figures out Katniss was playing the audience in the arena, he realizes that she doesn’t really love him and it breaks his heart. It also builds up to the first few chapters of the next book, Catching Fire, because they aren’t speaking to one another in it. This, to me, was a crucial aspect of the books and I was not happy to see it overlooked in the movie. Now, I have to ask someone who didn’t read the books if they believed Katniss was really in love with him or if they knew she was just acting like she did to get his medicine and sponsors. I would love to hear someone who didn’t read the books opinion on that part. (I’m trying to get my Mom to see it so I can ask her). All in all, the movie, as a separate entity from the book, was great and I enjoyed it. The movie, as a portrayal of a book, was lacking in some factors but we have to expect and accept this because of time constraints and other obstacles in making a film.

I believe people who read the book and people who didn’t will enjoy this movie no matter what because it was thoroughly entertaining. So those are my thoughts, agree or disagree, feel free.

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