I am really apprehensive about seeing movies that are based on books that I really enjoy. I have read Hunger Games, and I really enjoyed the book. I am really pleased that they did such a nice job with the movie. Fans of the book will not be disappointed. You can also see and understand the film without having read the book which is a plus because I have been to several movies where that was not the case. Overall, I enjoyed the film. They stayed true to the plotline, and most of the casting was well done.
Plot: Hunger Games in set in the world of Panem, which is a place where the United States used to be. It consists of the Capital where all the influential and rich people live, and 12 districts. Each district corresponds to some region of the United States and produces something that the capital needs. The states of the districts vary, some are wealthy, and some are poor. At one point in the history of Panem, the districts rebelled and the Capital won. So every year to commemorate the Capital squishing the rebellion, and to remind the districts that they lost the Hunger Games are celebrated. The Hunger Games are a gladiator type of event where a boy and a girl ages 12-18 are selected by lottery from every district. These 24 children are then sent to an arena to fight to the death. There is one victor who is then lavished with riches, and sent back to their district as a symbol of the generosity of the Capital. This event is televised in every district, and the populace is compelled to watch it.
The main character in the movie is a girl name Katniss. She has been supporting her mother and baby sister by illegally hunting since her father died. She is a survivor. Katniss loves her baby sister, Primrose, and would do anything to protect her sister, even voluntarily going to her death. This is what Katniss thinks she is doing when her sister’s name is drawn at the “reaping.” The reaping is what they call the lottery that selects the two tribute children to participate in the Hunger Games. When Primrose’s name is drawn, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Katniss is smart and she is pretty. She becomes a contender in the Hunger Games without really meaning to as she makes friends and allies. She could win the Hunger Games but only if she makes the right decisions. However, these decisions could cost her, her future, her heart, and her humanity. How much is survival worth, when your family’s survival depends on yours? Will Katniss make the right decisions? Can she win the Hunger Games or will someone else win? You will have to watch the movie to find out.
I thought the script was pretty close to the book. We lose some of the finer nuisances from the book in the film but that is to be expected. They also changes a couple of plot points in a way I didn’t care for, but that happens. It wasn’t anything major—so I won’t whine too much. We do get most of the major lines and quotes that I remember being big or memorable in the book. However, we don’t get the whole background story from the book in the movie but that was probably edited for time. The only problem with that is that without all the backstory, Katniss comes off as a harsher character in the movie than she is in the book. We also don’t get much of the character development that I think is key to the success of the book, but we get just enough to make the movie work
I was happy with the casting for the most part. Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as Katniss Everdeen. She is a wonderful, wonderful actress. I loved her in Winter’s Bone and many will recognize her from X-men First Class (she was Raven/Mystique). She really brought Katniss to life, and showed us many facets of the character that are evident in the book. She is a strong female character that is still vulnerable. Katniss is a girl that has had to grow up too fast, and is part of something she doesn’t understand. Another perfect cast was Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, the drunken mentor to the Katniss and Peeta (boy tribute from district 12). He is the only previous victor from district 12 in all 73 of the previous Hunger Games. I actually think that Harrelson made Haymitch a better character than he was in the book. It was a refreshing surprise. You also might recognize Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, who is the stylist and friend of Katniss. I thought he did a great job as well. He was the perfect touch of confidant, and friend to Katniss. Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, the show host of the games was exactly as I pictured him both visually and personality wise as was Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket. These are both very flamboyant characters, and were very fun to watch. Liam Hawthorne was cute and comforting as Gale, Katniss’s hunting partner and friend, who promises to take care of Katniss’s family if something should happen to her. He has a bigger role in the book than he does in the movie. Be Hawthorne does well with the role he has been given. Two roles that I was kind of disappointed in (mainly in look not acting) was Peeta Mellark who was played by Josh Hutcherson. I thought Hutcherson did a good job acting-wise, he gets to deliver some of the best lines in the film including “I just keep wishing I could think of a way to show them that they don’t own me. If I’m gonna die, I wanna still be me.” Hutcherson does a good job with the character. He is a boy in love with his fellow tribute. He knows only one of them can survive and he is willing to lay down his life for her, so that she can live. He is a very powerful character, and probably my favorite character. I just thought he would be more boyish looking and maybe cuter and blonder. I also thought Rue (Amandla Stenberg) was off. She should have been more delicate and fragile. She just didn’t appear as I imagined her—but I guess I can’t have everything.
Overall, I am pretty happy with the way Hunger Games turned out on the big screen. My friends and I enjoyed it. One of them had read the book and the other had not so you don’t necessarily have to read the book before seeing the movie. You can still enjoy the film without all of the background, and it will hopefully inspire you to read the book afterwards because the book is better than the movie. This is a good book and a good movie, and if you enjoyed the books then you won’t be disappointed in the movie.