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A Reader of Fictions: Books Made into Movie: The Hunger Games

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Books Made into Movie: The Hunger Games

Okay, I do know what you're thinking. Yes, I just saw The Hunger Games at 1:30 today, or, 2, since there's a freaking half hour of previews. Speaking of the previews, I have two things I cannot resist mentioning. Thing the first: why are Edward and Bella all disgusting in the sun together and not sparkly? Thing the second: in what topsy-turvy universe is Kristen Stewart more attractive than Charlize Theron? Summation of my thoughts of the previews: Kristen Stewart = THE WORST. She ruins everything.

 Charlize looks so shocked, because the mirror has clearly just told her an April Fools' joke.

 Which would you choose?

So back to The Hunger Games. Anyway, I had my reasons for waiting to see it, which I won't bore you with now. Having waited so long, I did have a slight idea what to expect, despite having tried to avoid reviews like the bubonic plague. Basically, I heard it was pretty faithful to the book, and that the worst part was all of the shaky camera-work.

To a large degree, I agree with what has already been said, but I do still feel the need to put my own analysis out into the blogosphere. I guess a good place to start is with the biggest complaint, the shaky camera technique which big use is made of. While I do not like shaky camera, I do think they did a good job with it. What was cool about it was that the camera was only shaky in District 12 and in the arena. In the Capitol it was nice and smooth, which really makes a nice commentary on how different the Capitol is from the other locations. If it had been shaky throughout, I would not have been so happy.

As to changes, I only noticed two major ones, both of which I think are at least decent changes to make. Likely, I missed some, as I read the book three years ago and my memory is awful. The first change was that Katniss 'purchased' the mockingjay pin in the movie, whereas, in the book, she was gifted the pin by a girl in her class, the mayor's daughter. I don't remember the girl's name even, and do not feel moved to look it up. This was a good change. There's no reason to introduce this girl's character for the film, since she wouldn't serve any other purpose.

The second scene, which I am both glad and a bit disappointed that they changed, was at the very end. In the book, the dogs that are released when there are just a couple of tributes left are clearly the already deceased tributes. This was so effing creepy. Creepy like whoa. In the movie, they're just scary dog monsters, which greatly resemble the Wolves of Isengard sans fur. I'm glad I didn't have to see the weird people dogs, and I can see why that might be tricky to get across to the part of the audience which had not read the book, but was also a bit saddened to see such a large deviation, especially since it will matter later...again.

This...only less furry. Maybe a less bat-like nose.

Now, the actors. Basically, I thought they all did a pretty fantastic job. There certainly wasn't anyone that ruined it for me. The worst choice, in my opinion, would be Gale, since he was not as attractive as he was in my head, but he was alright. Peeta actually really worked for me, but may have been a disappointment to some of the Team Peeta folks, since he was both quite short and not especially attractive. He did, however, look fairly like how I imagined Peeta, although I think my Peeta had curly hair, although that may have been of my own devising. Really, I haven't heard too much about the casting, except about Katniss and Rue.

Speaking of Katniss and Rue, WTF were people smoking when they complained? Many folks have mentioned that Jennifer Lawrence was too skinny to play Katniss. I think that's BS. Lawrence did a really good job, both with being cold and being emotional. She certainly isn't fat, but she's not a stick either. What meat she does have on her bones is clearly muscle. Honestly, the Katniss in my head was muscular and skinny, so she did a pretty great job. People who thought she would be fatter, think about how little the folks in District 12 had to eat, even those families lucky enough to have a hunter like Katniss or Gale. Note: even Katniss was starving at some points, like when Peeta gave her pig bread.

Tell her to her face she was too skinny. I dare you.

Amandla Stenberg has received some hate...for being black. I don't want to belabor this point, which has been already made many times over, likely more succinctly and completely than I could hope to do, but I have to say something anyway. Rue is black in the book, so she should be in the movie. Not only that, but Stenberg was perfect. I hate children, and even I thought she was completely effing adorable. Also, Stenberg managed to pull off looking like a twelve-year-old that might stand a really slight chance of surviving. She was awesome, and that's all I needed to say.

That is one precious moppet.

I would also like to take a moment to applaud the fact that they didn't over-romanticize Peeta and Katniss. The cave scenes in the book were not especially romantic. And, thankfully, the full awkwardness of their predicament is captured in the movie. That really could have been a dealbreaker for me, if they had gotten that wrong.

The movie may have been a two and a half hours long, a full hour longer than the average film these days, but I was never bored and it did not feel that long. They definitely captured the most important aspects of the book and I do not feel at all betrayed (as I did by the Harry Potter movies, the last two of which I have not even watched). I'm not sure if this film would make sense to someone who did not already know the story from having read the book. If you have read the book, it's definitely worth a watch.



Blogger Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) said...

I agree with you on Stewart. I just don't see the appeal in her acting.

I noticed the dog change in the movie but then again I'm sure it would be rather difficult and unrealistic looking to do what was in the book. I'm sure they will address that the dogs are the tributes later but how they will come to that conclusion is beyond me. I thought they did a marvelous job portraying the book and didn't take out important part to add their own bs (ahem, Twilight). I will say that I was nervous about Katniss since they had to transform the actress' looks to portray the character and was worried it would look fake... again.. (ahem, Twilight). My one and only complaint was Peeta and Gale. I envisioned Gale the slender scrawny type and Peeta the broader muscular type. But acting wise I thought they all did a phenomenal job... Rue included ;o)
- Whew that was a long comment, sorry about that

April 15, 2012 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

No apologies necessary for long comments here! I am quite verbose myself!

How can someone be considered a good actress when she has but one facial expression and speaks in a monotone? I fail to understand this.

I do agree that it would have been difficult to do the dogs right, which is why I wasn't mad about it.

Peeta could have been a bit broader, but he wasn't too off. Gale had a bit of, as my friends who accompanied me said, a derp face. Which was unfortunate. They also shortened his scene with Katniss at the beginning. I definitely didn't have as much of a sense of how close they were from the film.

April 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger JoJotheLibrarian said...

Poor derpy Gale. Despite my initial criticism, I know that I shouldn't completely write off the actor, since pretty much all Gale gets to do in book/movie one is sit back at home and wait for Katniss. We don't get to see him be an active character until later.

Side-note on Jennifer Lawrence (who I agree did an amazing job). I was fine with her being cast, until I learned that the casting call *only* called for white actresses. That's some bullshit. It wasn't like they had a pool of actresses with a variety of skin tones - some white like Lawrence, some olive skinned like Katniss is described in the books - and Lawrence was the best out of that pool. No, a white girl got the role because they only looked at white girls. If they had auditioned a more diverse group of actresses, Lawrence may have still gotten the role (because, like I said, amazing), or it may have gone to a non-white actress who could have acted the part, as well as look more like the original character. But we'll never know, because Hollywood believes, and some of those disgusting comments about Rue prove, audiences will only accept and care about a character if they are white.

April 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Owl In A Cloak said...

About the Kristin Stewart thing. She's not very convincing as an actor. When I was watching Twilight, the only question which came to my mind was, "Okay...so is she happy or sad about that?" 'That' being any situation in the movie.

Bubonic plague! I know right! It was as if the whole world of Internet went Psycho.

I liked the shaky camera too. It kind of added to the...feel(?) of the setting. I'm not sure if feel is the right word though.

Also, if you compare this book-to-movie (I think we should start calling them Bo-To-Mo) to any other Bo-To-Mo (I feel funny even when I type it!), there are way less changes. That fact, for me, was very amazing. Every time something in the movie is changed, the smile level on my face while watching the movie decreases.

I liked all the actors. Aside from the ones you mentioned (JL, JH, LH and AS), I really liked Alexander Ludwig's acting as Cato. At the ending, where only three are left, the look he put on his face matched so much to the dialogue. It was awesome! Also, Haymitch (I always forget the name of the actor) did a good job. What I liked was that Haymitch didn't appear as much of an ass as he did in the books.

Somehow, it seemed as if this movie meant more to people who have read the books than people who haven't.

April 17, 2012 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger Owl In A Cloak said...

Oh. Of course. It always means more to people who have read the books. Silly of me! :L

April 17, 2012 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bo-To-Mo...kind of sounds like a lobotomy. I mean, haha! Ouch.

Yeah, all of the actors definitely did a great job. There was no one that I was like wtf was that performance, dude. And Cato definitely did a great job of being fracking insane! Haymitch's actor (Woody Harrelson) graduated from my college, so I guess I should have mentioned him. Oops. He's our most famous graduate! Oh, the pride I feel!

LOL. Yes. Although, having read the book sometimes means the movie's going to suck. Like with Harry Potter. I probably would have loved them if I didn't know just how bad and wrong they were.

April 17, 2012 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Who...what....who compared Kristen Stewart to Charlize Theron? I must have missed it. Blasphemy! Lol.

I'm not a fan of The Hunger Games but I do kind of want to see the movie, because it actually looks decent and I'm a fan of Jennifer Lawrence. Glad to see she did a good job with it!!

April 18, 2012 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, not sure who did that. My friend and I were watching the trailers and both thinking we wanted to see Snow White and the Huntsman. And then they showed who was playing Snow White: Kristen Stewart. Yeah, no. I do not for one second believe that evil queen Charlize is any danger of Kristen begin the most beautiful girl in the kingdom. Just sayin'.

If you don't like the book, I'm not sure how you'll like the movie...maybe just rent it eventually and save the money?

April 19, 2012 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

It bothers me that Kristen Stewart place Snow White.. I really looked forward to the movie, because it sounds great and then she popped up. If I were the queen, every mirror in the country could tell me Snow White was prettier, because I'd laugh at them :p

I thought the movie was great. They did a terrific job. I especially liked the fact that you could look behind the screen; seeing how the manipulated the country and made the dogs. Very nice extra touch :)

April 19, 2012 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Agreed! My friend and I started laughing, and she said 'Are you kidding me?' when Kristen showed her expressionless face. Why does she ruin things?

That was cool! I didn't mention that, but I definitely concur!

April 19, 2012 at 1:14 PM  

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