So You’ve Seen the Hunger Games Film: What Do You Think?

I’m just back from the theater and I want to open the discussion of the movie with an open forum, meaning I won’t pre-set the conversation with my own thoughts, and two sets of questions you can answer or disregard:

  • First Set:

Best Moment? Worst Moment?

  • Second Set:

Biggest Departure from the Sense or Detail of the Book that Upset You?

Most Delightful Capture of the Sense or Detail of the Novel that Made Your Day?

Have at it! You’re welcome, of course, to share all your thoughts about the LionsGate film. If you haven’t seen the movie, read on at your own risk!

Comments

  1. The movie was SO DISAPPOINTING!!!! Granted, I was worried as soon as I heard about the casting nearly a year ago, but Cinna is one of my most favorite characters….and I hate Lenny Kravitz portrayal in the film. I think the most difficult part to swallow is that there are so many thematic elements on rebellion, subversion, human rights, etc that are completely glossed over in the film. The character development is so weak. Really one of the only attempts at character development was with the flash backs of Katniss being tossed bread by Peeta, but you don’t at all understand via the context of the film that, oh hey! she’s STARVING!… she just looks strangely tired or perhaps on some sort of hallucinogenic fungus. Stanley Tucci (Ceasar Flickerman) is the only actor who does a very good job on this film. Unfortunately, it appears the actor for Katniss is a terrible singer, making me upset for the sequels already. They attempted to get by with her being so emotionally torn over the songs she is meant to sing that she’s not even actually singing…oh and let’s make them as short as possible since it is quite unpleasant to listen to in the film. The use of sound in the film is probably the most disappointing aspect for me as I thought some of her songs in the book were the most emotional to the reader. That being said, the cinematography, and excessive emphasis of hand-held appearance in the first several scenes was downright annoying. I love these books. How could they do this? Several friends who attended that hadn’t read the books were mostly just confused by the film, not understanding the plot nor sympathizing with the characters.

  2. revgeorge says

    THANK YOU, Kat, for your thoughts!! I’ve been going back & forth all day whether I wanted to go tonight & see the movie. Now I know I don’t want to see it today or perhaps any day in the future. Maybe when it’s a cheap rental on Amazon.

  3. Spoilers follow! Saw the movie at a midnight show with my daughter and son, both in their 20’s. Almost a full house, 60-65% young female – many of whom had their long hair in a single braid. I was probably the oldest person there. We (kids and I) have read all three books, and we all thought the movie did a very good job, but that it fell a bit short of being top-rate cinema. It was very faithful to the book, perhaps too faithful. I expected to be bothered by the highly publicized shaky camera, but I wasn’t – it was a way of giving back to Katniss a bit of the first person narrative that she had in the books. The decision to step out of Katniss’ point of view worked to open up the story. Showing the Games controllers at work made the artificiality and inhuman disconnect between the spectacle of the Games and the suffering of its participants very striking, as did the brief scene in a Capitol plaza where families are playing at the Games, obviously eager for the show to begin. The two brief conversations between Snow and Seneca (not in the book) worked to define the evil of Snow and the Capitol ethos, such as it is. My son felt that the movie failed to deliver the huge promise of the book due to a weak script, much as the first Harry Potter movie didn’t quite live up to expectations.

    I expected to be overwhelmed by Jennifer Lawrence’s performance, and she did do an excellent job. However, the gritty, uncompromising, and sometimes unlikeable character of Katniss didn’t quite come through. Part of this is because the book is in the first person and the reader knows Katniss’ innermost thoughts, motivations, and feelings. Part of it may be that Lawrence looks just a little too sweet and soft to portray my idea of the grim and fierce Katniss. Think of Rooney Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for an actress who was able to embody the persona of an uncompromising literary heroine on the screen.

    Still, given the huge popularity of the books, the mandate of a PG-13 rating, and the presumed decision of the studio to not take any chances, the movie was probably about as good as it could be. Think of A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess’ dystopian novel which was made into a cinematic masterpiece by Stanley Kubrick. The book was popular enough, but maybe sold at most a hundred thousand copies versus the many millions of The Hunger Games. Kubrick kept the story, but was free to change the focus and intent of the book and make something unique as a movie. I don’t think that anyone involved in The Hunger Games movie had that kind of freedom.

    I can’t really think of any worst moments. I’ll see the movie again this weekend with my wife, and I’ll be on the lookout for one.

  4. Just to give a slightly different perspective, I thought the movie was decent. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the Harry Potter films (but that may be because I’m comparing it to HP 7 & 8, and I think by that point the film makers had really hit their groove.) I don’t have any one best/worst moment. I thought most of the cast did a good job. Haymitch had a little less bite than I would have liked as the movie went on, but I thought the other adults did their characters justice. I liked the scenes that were added, especially Seneca Crane’s last scene (once I figured out what was in the bowl).

    I had two main complaints: the first, that the handheld camera was overused. I’m especially sensitive to motion sickness and actually took a dramamine about 20 minutes into the film. I think they were going for a sense of chaos or something? But the near-constant camera shaking just made me nauseous.
    Second, I think they should have cut some things to spend more time developing others. I felt like the whole Katniss-Peeta dynamic was basically lost because they didn’t spend enough time together. I don’t know how they could have shown how conflicted Katniss felt in the books, but I don’t think it came across at all in the movie. I would have cut out Prim’s duck tail, or some fireballs, or the “instant replay” parts of the trackerjacker scene to devote more time to the cave. (Or after the Games.) Initially I was worried they would make the movie too lovey-dovey, but in the end I don’t think they put in enough.

  5. Hat tip, Rev George!

  6. I liked the movie. Really, I laughed, cried, and all in the right spots, I’m sure. I didn’t want to ask for my money back.

    I love the books, their artistry and meaning, however, and I know very little about film. I certainly understand that movies always tell a a different story than the books and always, because of sense-imagination differences, deliver a relatively superficial and transient experience than what we get from reading.

    I get that. And I understand, again, lest you feel obliged to tell me, that I do not know how to read a film, i.e., appreciate this medium’s very different but just as important beauty and methodology…

    Still, maybe it was the hype and the delight of many of the first reviews that left me shaking my head as I left the theater. I was laughably disappointed in what a gazillion dollars had done to re-shape and diminish a story.

    Best Moment?

    I’m torn between saying “the credits” and the young actress who played Rue, at least before the death scene. I cried then (I weep at Palmolive commercials, so don’t make much of that) but I might have been shedding tears because of all they left out of the scene. Or that the best player died and the rest lived on.

    I liked the training scenes and her shooting the apple out of the pig’s mouth. And Woody-Haymitch congratulating her afterwards, contra Effie, if he was a little too casual, not enough tormented in his relationship with Peeta/Katniss.

    Worst Moment?

    Forgive me, this is not a “moment,” but a casting decision divorced this film from the books. To cast a well-developed woman in her twenties to play an adolescent girl near starvation was just a bad mistake, as gifted an actress as Ms. Lawrence obviously is. This makes Judy Garland as Dorothy seem natural and credible.

    Not having the story told by Katniss, too, in something of a mental ‘voice over’ a la Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, too, was to turn the story on its head. Really, this tale is not about Seneca Crane’s decisions leading to his demise and an examination of President Snow’s realpolitik (!) but the girl’s coming of age. Maybe because the actress obviously has already come of age, they were happy to go elsewhere for meaning?

    JLawr did a great job of making Katniss a hard, almost sullen person (how Haymitch and others experience her) but she seems equally obscure, almost impenetrable, which is to say “nearly the opposite of the narrator we come to identify with” in these books.

    Did anyone get a sense at Rue’s death and Katniss’ bedecking her with flowers that she had understood at last what Peeta had said on the rooftop, the turning point and story pivot of the first book?

    Me, neither.

    Maybe the Cornucopia Confrontation was the worst moment, though. A grey to green horn of plenty instead of gold, for starters, that Peeta didn’t lose part of his leg to the Mutts (making his death imminent after Cato falls and his sacrifice of self at the rule change believable), that they didn’t put the Nightlock berries near their mouths, that Cato gave a little speech while trying to kill Peeta in which the Career seems to have realized he’s been a tool and it’s all been for nothing….

    Really? Suzanne Collins wrote this or approved the hard left turn from her story?

    Biggest Departure from the Sense or Detail of the Book that Upset You?

    I have heard complaints about the Mockingjay pin itself and Madge’s absence from the story. The director certainly made a mistake in terms of the coming films in not making this a symbol that made an impression on viewers. But that isn’t that big a deal, I think. At least compared to the flashbacks and conversation about the Boy With the Bread.

    The pivotal bread scene being something Peeta apologizes for in the cave and the critical meaning of which moment is thus turned on its head. Sense and detail failure of the first order. It looks like, he tells us, he failed in charity and love rather than saved her by a sacrificial act… Woot.

    The Cornucopia Finale was dead on compared to that. Who cares about the pin if the spiritual allegory has been traded in for Peeta being less the Christ figure of unconditional love than a young guy who wants to hug the girl from home in a cave?

    Most Delightful Capture of the Sense or Detail of the Novel that Made Your Day?

    Ummm, nothing to make me cheer, alas. I did like District 12 and the sense in the District 11 scenes, too, that Panem is not a well-populated world. The Capitol size and crowds diminished that effect but it held. This will be helpful in later books when Beetee and others suggest that war is a problem that could be the end of them all if not stopped.

    I missed the stylists, I thought Cinna’s costume work was not the ‘wow’ it could have, should have been…

    Oh, well. Enough.

    Please tell me why I should have been thrilled and why my disappointment is only because of my unrealistic, unrealizable expectations. Thanks in advance.

  7. Elizabeth says

    I saw the scene where Peeta lamented the bread situation differently. I viewed it as a way to, in the very condensed amount of time a film offers, show how pure of heart he is because he wanted to do more, and wants to do what’s right and kind. I do think the starvation Katniss was suffering wasn’t obvious, and that the scene could have been executed better, but I thought it said something significant about Peeta’s character.

    Body type aside, I think Jennifer Lawrence was fantastic as Katniss. She captured her vulnerability, her heart and her ferocity. And it IS possible to still have some meat up top even if you are not fantastically fed. So that wasn’t something that really took me out of her performance.

    I wholeheartedly think they did the best they could condensing such a long, complex, first-person book into a brief two hours and 22 minutes in third person, without a narrator telling us everything going on. I think the spirit of the book was intact. Nothing that was cut out was something I really missed.

  8. Thank you, Elizabeth, for this thoughtful, gentle rebuke to my excessive criticism, and, at least as important, for saving the thread and site in general from becoming (or being perceived as) a movie-bashing home for bibliophile cranks…

    Grateful John

  9. John, you seem to fall into the “good movie, but…” category. Just a couple of nits with your critique: Jennifer Lawrence is 21 – in her twenties to be sure, but just. She looks quite young, I think, although at my age anyone under 40 looks young. In the book Katniss is hungry, but not starving. I see her as lean and wiry, not emaciated. She has to stay strong to provide for her mother and sister. Saoirce Ronan (Hanna) would have been a perfect physical type for Katniss, but Jennifer Lawrence, on screen 95% of the movie, is at this stage in her career, a more accomplished actress. Casting anyone under 18 in a movie, especially in a starring role, becomes very expensive what with work hours restrictions, tutors, and more. I believe that the production cost of the movie was about $100 million. A lot of money of course but for an action and special effects heavy movie with a cast of hundreds (if not thousands) not extravagant. Keeping the cost down may account for the cheesiness of a few of the scenes, such as the tributes’ chariot entrance and Katniss and Peeta’s fire costumes. And I think that a literal golden cornucopia would have looked very chessy on screen – I thought that the stylized, Bauhaus version did the job and had the virtue of being in keeping with the architecture of the Capitol.

    High expectations are very tough to meet. I was a little disappointed as well, but I firmly believe that what we saw was, realistically, about as good as could be expected. Few movies, however good they may be, live up to the promise of a very good novel: The Golden Compass? Catch-22? Narnia?

  10. revgeorge says

    Bibliophile cranks? You say that like it’s a bad thing, John. 🙂

    I made peace with the Potter adaptations. I suppose I could be fine with The Hunger Games since I don’t have much invested in them anymore since Mockingjay. But I do remain an unreformed, unrepentant bibliophile crank in regards to the movies loosely based off of Tolkien & Lewis’ works.

  11. Elizabeth says

    You’re welcome! And I do have a more general response to the movie in addressing your questions.

    Best moment
    For me, that would have to be Katniss’s interaction with Rue, especially as she was dying and when she draped her in flowers after. I was disappointed by the omission of the District 11 bread gift — that moment touched me in the books. But, I think that the brief uprising shown as a response in District 11 was a brilliant bit of foreshadowing of the coming revolution.

    Worst moment
    A few things fell short of my expectations, but I was underwhelmed by the tracker jacker hallucinations. The trippy effects were cool, but there was a missed opportunity to show us really terrifying images that would have given us more insight into what really drives and scares Katniss.

    Biggest upsetting departure
    Katniss saving Peeta’s life. For several reasons. First off, Katniss didn’t use the sleep syrup on him. The sleep syrup gift shows us 1) Haymitch and Katniss’s unspoken bond, because he was willing to conspire in her favor despite Peeta’s wishes. 2) Katniss tricking Peeta and saying something like “Who can’t lie, Peeta?” was one of my favorite moments. It showed their dynamic, which early on was a lot of well-intentioned bickering and manipulation. Which was a fun relief from the direness of their situation. 3) Katniss, in the movie, calmly applies balm to Peeta’s leg that he then shares with her. That’s a disappointingly less dramatic scene than Katniss running to him and stabbing him quickly with a hypodermic needle.

    Also, the berries. An opportunity for great suspense was lost because they didn’t put them in their mouths.

    Most delightful capture of sense of the book
    Surprisingly, the stuff NOT in the book captured the sense of the books best for me. Losing Katniss’s internal dialogue from the books is a huge issue. So how do you compensate for it? SHOW us the gamemakers, whose strategies she speculates on in the book. SHOW us an explanation of the psychology of the Capitol’s tyranny through Snow and Seneca’s conversations. SHOW us Haymitch wheeling and dealing and reacting in revulsion to the delusions of Capitol citizens. We got a big sense of Panem through all this, which we would have otherwise missed because we can’t hear Katniss’s thoughts.

  12. revgeorge says

    One quibble with your comment, Peter, in the book Katniss is on the verge of giving up & realizing she & her family will die without any further food. It’s at that moment that Peeta gives her the bread. So, she isn’t just merely hungry but on the verge of death from starvation, both her & her family.

  13. Rev, correct me if I’m wrong (this would not be unprecedented), but I thought that Peeta’s gift of bread was a couple of years prior to the action of the movie (and book), and shortly after her father died. By the time the movie and main action of the book takes place Katniss is an accomplished huntress and has the food situation pretty much under control, at least enough so that she and her family won’t starve. Of course in the flashback scene of her outside the bakery in the rain she doesn’t look underfed. Not sure what they could have done about that beyond using a younger, skinnier actress who looks like Jennifer Lawrence and then blurring the focus.

  14. Louise M. Freeman says

    Best moment: Katniss shooting the apple and Haymitch and Effie’s reactions. Effie stole every scene she was in.
    Honorable mention to: Any scene with Rue, Peeta’s camouflage (that always struck me as one of the less believable parts of the book but they made it work), Glimmer’s death by tracker jacker (appropriately disturbing with being overly explicit) and Thresh saving Katniss from Clove.

    Worst moment: Katniss’s singing. Pretty lifeless and the tune itself wasn’t as memorable as it should be. I couldn’t help but picture Rue opening her eyes and whispering “Uh, thanks, but maybe you should just whistle and get the mockingjays to sing instead…. I think I’d rather spend my last moments listening to them.”
    Dishonorable mention: The tribute’s parade. The flaming costume worked but there were too many crowd shots. I kept wanting get a good look at the other tributes, but most of the glimpses we got were either very quick or too far away to see.
    I also didn’t like that it appeared that the Panem citizens actual *want* to watch the Games, rather than being forced to.

    Biggest omission: I missed the lamb stew and the bread gift in the areas. The flashback to the burned bread tossing should have been done with appropriately aged actors All we learned of Katnisses father was that he died in the mines; I would have liked a flashback of him teaching her to hunt and her using his plant book; “finding herself” by harvesting the katniss roots and an earlier mention of deathlock berries. That knowledge seemed to come out of nowhere.

    Best capture: the three-fingered salute in response to Effie’s “Let’s give her a hand” in District 12, and the later repeat of that by the District 11 people in response to Katniss’s farewell to Rue.
    Honoralble mention here to Caesar Flickerman… another scene-stealer.

    If I may add a category, it would be “best additions to the book.” I loved the scene with Rue stealing the knife during training and hiding in the ceiling webbing, setting the Careers against each other. A great insight into her character. I also like the Gamemaker’s table and their holographic control of the Arena: that was a visual I hadn’t imagined while reading but it was very effective. I liked the rioting of District 11 in response to Rue’s death: a nice set up for the next book (though the Peacekeepers subduing the only black people in the movie, Cinna excepted, with fire hoses was a but much.). Similarly, I liked the execution of Seneca Crane by deathlock. That leaves me hopeful they won’t leave out the hanging Seneca dummy and the Rue painting in the next movie.

  15. David DePerro says

    Best Moment?
    Rue is the scene-stealer in this movie. She needs her own movie now.
    The twirling red dress on fire is a great moment. Katniss looks at Cinna and starts to grow into what is expected of her to win. What girl doesn’t like to twirl in a dress? Yet it may be the first time she’s ever done so, and she’s on fire.
    But the best “moment” is the first 15 minutes as a unit. Tears were running down my face the entire time, until they got on the train, knowing what is coming not only for Katniss, but for Prim. The sisters are perfectly bonded, perfectly convincing. The cinematography and music are outstanding in this section. I love the entire look of the movie: the color of everything, all the camera work. District 12 is brilliant: the trees and hills, the clothes, the woman who gave her the Mockingjay pin, the deadened movements of all the “citizens” of 12. Later, I love the naturalistic sound of the movie. Birds and crickets and forest sounds. Just JL on camera being Katniss.

    Worst Moment?
    Worst moment is also one of the best: Rue’s death. It barely registered that Katniss’s song was so bland. Rather, I noticed just that the instrumental guitar after that, at this raw and disturbing moment, is too refined. The movie starts (during the Lionsgate logo) with hammered dulcimer–inspired, but not far enough. Rue’s death needs Katniss’s full-on mountain sensibility, something jarring even to us, to convey how different she is from “us,” the Capitol viewers seeing her rebel against this. If they had called me, I’d have given them Appalachian dulcimer in the most plaintive, sorrowful mode possible. Poignant, yet completely foreign. That is how the awakening of conscience is conveyed musically.

    Biggest Departure from the Sense or Detail of the Book that Upset You?
    There are no fan or viewer reactions to the Flowers and Song (no sense of the subversive quality of this) or the Kiss (we get Gale’s reaction emphasizing the love triangle instead of the Capitol’s or Panem’s). I was expecting more sentimental Truman Show moments to convict me as the viewer what an exploitative exercise the HG are.

    While I’m at it: characters.
    I was expecting Cinna to be completely over the top: in dress, hair, mannerisms–the best style the Capitol has to offer, his calling card, he is the best, which is how he gets away with what he does with Katniss. Not “coooool” Lenny in a black T-shirt like he just got offstage at the 9:30 club or something before coming over to the set. Cinna’s complete saturation with the Capitol’s identity makes his quiet coaching and even his style for Katniss into acts of subversion known only to her. Lost here. Now that I think of it, Prince would have been a better choice for Cinna than Kravitz.

    Gale is too high-school-quarterback. He should be wiry with harsh features, more District 12, a hunter whose hunger is not just physical but primal and deeply ingrained. And Peeta is too, well, Bridge-to-Terabithia, he doesn’t look like a baker. I was expecting tall, strong in a kind of roundish way, gentle, even if not handsome.

    Haymitch should be tougher, balder, shorter, scarier, drunker, and more earnest and serious once engaged. This is a tormented Victor. Woody performs well, just not the right type. I don’t think Haymitch ever smiles. If he does, it is scary, not cute.

    Most Delightful Capture of the Sense or Detail of the Novel that Made Your Day?
    Katniss. JL. Great. Prim. Unbelievably perfect. Rue, outstanding sympathetic actress, though I always envisioned a Saiorse-Ronan-as-Lina-Mayfleet type.

    Best Addition to Novel?
    Haymitch watching the little blond Capitol kids playing with a sword and chasing each other. Oh, swords isn’t this fun. This was a really really powerful, very convicting moment. Exposing the dominant metanarrative, at its best in this movie. It was just like American kids playing in the mall while children starve in Africa, or for that matter 60% of children are aborted in the black districts of NYC.

    After the movie, I saw in the parking garage what is clearly a pro-life bumper sticker, but set that aside and take it forward into the Panem future: “A nation that kills its children is a nation without hope.” Wow. Good movie.

  16. This is all great! I’m learning about the movie I could have enjoyed.

    I am confused, though, that no one else thought the axis of the book, the Peeta-Katniss relationship, was botched.

    Peeta in the bakery scene is unbruised (though mom clearly chastizes him) and, worse, looks disgusted with starving, close-up of full faced Katniss (starving? oi). He throws the first loaf to the pigs and only one loaf to her as an after thought. His apology in the cave, consequently, confirms the visual; he didn’t save her life by burning the bread intentionally and then giving it to her out of sacrificial love — he thought of her without sympathy as a seam rat, just another pig.

    Granted, Josh in height, disposition, and youthful appearance is well cast while JLawr seems at best a high school senior girl towering over his believable eighth grader or teen. The chemistry is almost exactly nil, which perhaps makes Katniss’ kisses in the cave and her desire to help him believable in terms of their being only her capitulation to the game being played. And he seems like the nobody bench warmer that has won his dream fantasy night with the High School cheerleader (“I’m so sorry that I wasn’t kinder to you with the bread…” C’mon).

    The too tall, too small thing is the beginning but Peeta’s smallness in the film goes well beyond height. He is almost a second Prim that Katniss is there to adopt, like Rue. Does she think Peeta’s sacrifice to save her from Cato at the foot of the tree, another botched moment, was a hallucination? No mention of that when she goes to find and help him… He saved her life, twice, and both saves, at great cost to Peeta, are misrepresented or diminished in the movie version.

    That’s a departure from the book that leaves me scratching my head. Is the film meant to be a Team Gale vehicle? Because the Katniss-Peeta relationship which is the heart of the trilogy is just about upside-down, with Katniss doing favors and kissing the Boy with the Bread for little to no reason other than calculation. Conscience or “rue” and profound gratitude are neglected if not forgotten. And that undermines the power of her feelings for him and her conflict on return to 12. He’s just Hunger Games baggage she’s looking to lose on the train platform.

    I’ve been saying for a couple weeks that the Ross-Sutherland scenes suggested that the political aspect of the movie was going to hijack the spiritual and alchemical aspects of the series. Forgive me for thinking the movie confirmed my premonition, which, frankly, was probably all for the good. [I don’t think film adaptations of stories with allegorical content of any heft translate into the film medium, while social commentary via story transparencies works in movies.]

    But why they chose to turn the Peeta-Katniss relationship into a one-dimensional exchange escapes me. Making the Boy With the Bread another person Katniss takes care of rather than her savior and protector with whom she gratefully loves and cares for naturally and only tainted by Games calculations was an unnecessary and diminishing departure from the books.

    Or so I think today. My boys want to see the movie so I will probably see it again next week. Thank you again for sharing your comments and corrections here. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Professor Elizabeth Baird-Hardy’s film review, whose conclusions about how a movie does its job best if it draws viewers into the written text I could not agree with more.

  17. revgeorge says

    Peter said, “Rev, correct me if I’m wrong…”

    Actually I think it may be my mistake. I thought the issue in question, i.e. Katniss’ less than underfed look, was speaking only to the scene at the bakery when she should’ve looked like she was starving & not to her appearance the entire film. I would agree that later on after Katniss becomes an expert at finding food, she wouldn’t necessarily look so lean & that Ms Lawrence would be an acceptable fit for her.

  18. Dr. Mellark says

    John-
    I agree that the “scene” (flag might be a better term) outside the bakery really was lacking, and not honest. I was describing the difference between the movie and the book to my mother, who has not read the book, and she had NO idea that Peeta had taken a beating, that he had PURPOSEFULLY burned the bread to give her, and that helped to give her the hope she needed to pull through. Then, the movie missed the whole part about how Peeta is going to reveal himself and sacrifice himself if Katniss leaves the cave to get him medicine, that he must be tranquilized for her to do this – I am sorry the movie audience did not get to share that force. I find these complaints to be overall small, though, as I did enjoy the movie … and it could have been worse – did anyone SEE Breaking Dawn Part 1?? Disaster.

  19. Dr. Mellark says

    I meant “flash” not flag in my first sentence.

  20. Dr. Mellark says

    What did you all make of Haymitch and Seneca Crane’s conversation and Haymitch suggesting to give the district people and the capitol something to root for? That the rule change was orchestrated by Haymitch?

  21. David DePerro says

    John, I can see by your additional comments that my own are a bit small ball for the kind of critique you were looking for. I guess at first I take the movie on its own terms and just state my first reactions before comparing it to the book.

    I definitely thought it was a mistake to end the movie on Snow instead of on Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and Prim. And that goes to your entire assessment of the emphasis on the political instead of the personal and spiritual. Snow is an equal-opportunity child-killer of course, but we do have a guy named Snow with white hair killing off a black girl (did I miss her race in the book?) and District 11 rioting, timed excruciatingly with the recent killing in Florida. So we have not just politics at the fore, but race politics.

    Also regarding politics, the neat little film moment of the Gamemaker ushered into the room with the death berries is an echo of Hitler’s handling of Rommel, who was implicated in the failed overthrow attempt. A car came to Rommel’s home, and he knew why it was there and he got in and rode off. He bit the offered pill about 20 minutes later, and his family at the house he had just left got a phone call notifying them of the death. Later Hitler called to console the widow and express his sincere gratitude for her husband’s service to the German people. Creepy.

    The casting decision of Peeta, as I see it, reflects all your criticisms of the handling of his character and relationship with Katniss. If you’ve seen Bridge to Terabithia, you know that this actor playing Peeta is likely to remind the audience of an awe-struck, rather timid, adoring, torn-up-inside adolescent boy. And his natural counterpart in that timidity would be an effervescent, indeed wondrous AnnaSophia Robb. That chemistry actually really worked in that movie. But his passive vibe doesn’t translate well to a surly wounded survivor and protector like Katniss. She needs to find someone who can protect HER, reassure her, and comfort her just by standing next to her. So I expected Peeta to look gentle, strong (not “cut”) and big enough not to mess with, and privileged in a pathetic sort of 12 way–until struck by the Reaping (he is the Wheat to be consumed as Bread in a twisted annual faux-Mass). I suppose they cast the character they wrote. But it does seem odd.

    Final comments (for now): Most filmmakers feel a complete sense of entitlement over the story they have bought and paid for. They consider their artistic license absolute. And yet pedantic directors who condescend to “follow the book” but don’t really love it or understand it often create a stilted shadow of the original tale. Few filmmakers can pull off an adaptation that captures the spirit of a great book while making a great movie that maximizes the strengths of the medium.

    I hope the thread will continue.

  22. David DePerro says

    One more thing, to John’s question about the death of Rue and the flower bedecking (“me neither”): Actually, when Rue told Katniss “you have to win” and Katniss looked up at the boy she had just shot, I was struck VERY strongly sitting in the movie at that moment, that she had made a decision, that she was now willing to kill “them all” (not thinking of Peeta individually here)–that she had decided to allow the Games to change her and really make her into a killer, that her course, like that she said on the rooftop, was separate from Peeta’s, that she would play their game and win, not for Prim and family survival, but for Rue, for all the Rues out there in Panem, for justice.

  23. @ David
    “I was expecting Cinna to be completely over the top: in dress, hair, mannerisms–the best style the Capitol has to offer, his calling card, he is the best, which is how he gets away with what he does with Katniss. Not “coooool” Lenny in a black T-shirt ”

    If you read the book, Cinna surprised Katniss with his simplicity: He had his natural brown hair color, plain black outfit, and only his golden eyeliner marked him as a Capitol denizen (Hunger Games, Chapter 5, p. 77). Though I agree that in my mind, Prince in the ’80s is my dream casting choice.

    “Gale is too high-school-quarterback. He should be wiry with harsh features, more District 12, a hunter whose hunger is not just physical but primal and deeply ingrained.”

    In Mockingjay, Katniss’ styling team marvelled that Gale has face made for the camera, or naturally camera-ready. He was THAT handsome. I agree that Hemworth was a good choice.

    “Haymitch should be tougher, balder, shorter, scarier, drunker, and more earnest and serious once engaged. This is a tormented Victor. Woody performs well, just not the right type. I don’t think Haymitch ever smiles. If he does, it is scary, not cute.”

    Agreed, though not balder! I recall that he had a good head of (dark, curly) hair in the books. I think with the current crop of popular actors out there today, Harrelson was a good choice. Kris Kristofferson is a tad too old.

  24. David DePerro says

    @Cathy! Thanks for responding. But Peeta–I’m curious now, what say?

    Awesome points, all truly well taken. I read the trilogy once, a year and a half ago, and it blew me away. I haven’t been able to descend into that emotional desolation for a week with Katniss again since then. As a reader, I often miss literal descriptive details or fill them in myself based on my sense of the character’s personality from actions and speech, rather than the author’s description.

    With Cinna you’re sound on the text, and my reading of him is idiosyncratic and not canonical. I just thought Lenny was too cool. Maybe he’ll grow on me next viewing, or would have done so with more screen time. (It is a strange place where six ear piercings is the mark of a simple man! 🙂 )

    Gale–I see him through Katniss’s feelings rather than her eyes or those of the cameras. Hence wiry, tough, survivor like her, pale skin, dark dark hair. Bit of a geek perhaps. Stuck in the “friend zone” but just starting to figure that out, as is she. Someone can be made for the camera without being THAT handsome, or (if handsomeness is indeed canonical) that, well, Friday Night Lights. Also, the camera is idiosyncratic and is kind or harsh to unlikely subjects.

    Haymitch–I don’t mind hair on Haymitch, as long as he is as tough on the outside as the gnarled bark on the oldest tree in Appalachia, and rotting on the inside, but not dead yet.

    As you can see, I am a bit attached to the imaginings I have of the characters–but also *very* interested in others’ images of them prior to the movie. I hope I will never forget them as I imagined them, canonical or not. Jackson’s LOTR steamrollered through my imagination of those characters, and I have had to fight to get them back. So I hope the movie has caused me to cherish the books more.

  25. David wrote:

    Actually, when Rue told Katniss “you have to win” and Katniss looked up at the boy she had just shot, I was struck VERY strongly sitting in the movie at that moment, that she had made a decision, that she was now willing to kill “them all” (not thinking of Peeta individually here)–that she had decided to allow the Games to change her and really make her into a killer, that her course, like that she said on the rooftop, was separate from Peeta’s, that she would play their game and win, not for Prim and family survival, but for Rue, for all the Rues out there in Panem, for justice.

    I agree — but here’s the point; this is not the sense of the book — if anything it’s opposite or at least contrary to the sense in the book. The first Panem novel’s Mid-Story Reversal, to use Suzanne Collins’ language about her story’s pivot point, is in chapter 14, in which Rue, her sponsors, and Peeta have combined to save Katniss’ life in a near hopeless situation. After the up and down from the tree and Peeta’s sacrificial save — that is when she adopts Rue (again, think of the meaning of the name: “remorse, conscience”) and begins — the art attack with flowers and song being the most obvious evidence — to toe Peeta’s line about resistance in love and creativity within the Games to tell a different story than the Gamesmakers, a line very different than the determination to win like a Career, with the self-serving violence and pursuit of individual advantage the Gamesmakers expect.

    The angry speech she gives, as you point out, is an affirmation of the position she departs from in the original story, which switch or reversal is an important marker in her transformation to be about ‘the Real,’ love for others (here her impending rescue of Peeta), rather than ‘the Not Real.’ She has become or started to become Peeta’s love and understanding and this is why she seeks him out at great risk to herself at the first Rule Change.

    My objection to this dramatic misunderstanding in the film is that it shows a relative indifference on the director’s part to the structure, nuance, and substance of the original work, something he neglects because he’s making a movie about his hero, himself, in the person of Seneca Crane.

    More on this story hijacking on Monday in a new post (in which I will try to answer Dr. Mellark’s important question above); I don’t want to hijack this conversational thread myself! Thank you, David and others for your thoughts on the new movie!

  26. I actually had to see the movie twice…and I hated it the first time. It was a poor experience, theatre used the wrong projection lens, stuck in the very front row with rowdy tweenagers behind me and a girlfriend who wasn’t familiar with the story–so was constantly asking questions.

    Tonight though, I saw it again in an IMAX theater, later at night. This eliminated the distractions. Great picture quality, excellent sound and a mature audience made it much more enjoyable–and having already had a chance to compare everything to the book and be disgusted–I had a chance to take in the film for what it was.

    The best moment: I have two. Can’t help it. The first is Katniss and Cinna just before getting in the tube to go to the arena. The room they are standing in looks like a prison shower. It evokes the kinds of fears that any of us might have when faced with accepting a horrifying reality and having no choice but to comply. Jennifer Lawrences performance was perfect here as well. There was no fake courage, no action movie cliche one-liners. Just a girl who was scared to death and a man who evoked a kind of quiet strength that was exactly what Cinna did in the books.

    The second. President Snow and Seneca Crane’s rose garden scenes. The psychology of tyranny was spelled out quite literally here, and Sutherland played it perfectly. These scenes acted as an almost narrative that we didn’t have much of in the film. It was important to convey to the audience exactly why the Hunger Games existed. The books did this in their own way, the movie needed something different and it got it with these scenes.

    Worst Moment:

    The first time we see Gale Hawthorned portrayed by this Liam Whatshisname. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work. I actually love the choice of Jennifer Lawrence (I’ll explain) but this guy looks like a linebacker who skipped the NFL draft to become an underwear model. It doesn’t work. He’s there to make teenage girls swoon and that’s it. Compared to the other males in the district, you could stuff four of them into him. I get that he’s strong. That’s great. I just hate this casting choice.

    Biggest/Most upsetting departure from the book: The elimination of Madge and the alteration of the Mockingjay pin story. It seems like a minor detail, and depending on how they play it out in the future films it could be just that, but it scares me. That pin was tied to so much history and changing the story changes a lot of things. We’ll see I suppose.

    Most Delightful Sense of Capturing the Novels: Jennifer Lawrence and Lenny Kravitz as Katniss and Cinna. I know, that’s probably not a popular opinion, but let me explain.

    First, I know that Lawrence isn’t what anyone pictured for Katniss. I doubt she’s even what Suzanne Collins pictured. But she exemplified the character (not the look of the character, but the actual character) better than anyone else could. Of this I have no doubt. Katniss was plain. She was not considered terribly desirable or attractive in the novels, though she apparently could clean up nicely. While many mature males may view Jennifer Lawrence as the epitome of female attractiveness, the average tween/teen viewer likely does not. What pop culture tells the world is attractive, is quite the opposite of Jennifer Lawrence, particularly in this role.

    She is not thin. Perhaps not befitting the near starving resident of the Seam, but conveying a message to the mainstream audience that says “Look at me, I’m kind of normal”. Despite Miss Lawrence being a very attractive woman, the filmmakers were careful not to sexualize her or her character. This neutralized that factor and allowed her to portray Katniss properly.

    Lawrence was out of place, she was awkward. She didn’t look like an action hero or the girl everyone would lust after. These are exactly the features of Katniss Everdeen. I am certain that this was done intentionally. There is no Hollywood actress who would have been a believable starving, plain waif from the Seam. At least not one who would be on the level required for a film of this magnitude. You could see Jennifer Lawrence grow more comfortable with the role she was playing as Katniss became more comfortable with the role she as a fictional character was playing. I simply couldn’t have been more pleased with this casting choice.

    On to Cinna. I know a lot of people for some reason think he should have been uber flamboyant like others in the Capitol, particularly the other stylists. I don’t understand why, as the books are quite clear about the fact that he was the polar opposite of them. This is why Katniss was comfortable with him in the first place. He exuded confidence and some flair, but wasn’t a freak show like the rest of them. All he had that made her know he was from the Capitol was the gold eyeliner–and Kravitz had that.

    It was also extremely important that he was polarized in this way. We have to remember that Cinna is one of the good guys. The filmmakers were careful not to glamorize the glamour of the Capitol. It was flamboyant, it was freakish and over the top and quite frankly most of the people looked demented–and they are. If Cinna had looked like them an unknowing viewer wouldn’t have been able to trust him any more than Effie Trinket.

    The other factor that Cinna needed, and Kravitz brought, was a sense of calm and confident strength. Cinna wasn’t Katniss’ stylist because he liked to make dresses. He was her stylist because he was a revolutionary and he saw her as a catalyst. His character is about much more than the literal character itself in the film. He is an abstract of the strength that the rebellion has, even in it’s undercover sleeper agents inside the Capitol itself.

    I believed Kravitz as Cinna. Haymitch was the mentor, but Katniss didn’t fully trust him. She trusted Cinna. Only Cinna. He needed to be portrayed by someone who evoked strength and a certain coolness. This portrayal was perfect. The two of them together were perfect. I believed that she took comfort in him, and I believed that he was trying his best to be strong for her.

    My only major gripes with the film were the fiasco with the pin and the overall lack of character development. I know there’s only so much time, but a lot of bonds weren’t made that should’ve been. Fortunately, a lot of that lack of development was made up for in the strength of the cast. Except for Liam Whosywhatsit. That was just a horrible casting move. Horrible. They should replace him now while he’s still forgettable.

  27. Mary Ellen says

    John

    Thanks for your comments and this great post. I really loved the movie in a very different way from the way I loved the books (see my comment under Elizabeth’s post). I think that the Ross and Lawrence version was so subtle that it needs and deserves more than one viewing to catch all the telling details. I hope you will give the movie a second chance.

    Check out this excellent post from Crystal at Mockingjay.net for some thoughtful comments on how a second viewing changed these Hunger Games book lovers’ experience of the film: http://mockingjay.net/2012/03/24/the-hunger-games-deserves-a-second-viewing/

    I never, ever expect maturity and sensitivity from Hollywood. It was a pleasure to find both in in Hunger Games. Mark Hughes, who blogs for Forbes, thinks Hunger Games (and its obvious commercial success) may spark a change for the better in the way the entertainment industry approaches movie making for young adults: “it’s as mature, deep, and “dark” as any film crafted for adult audiences while never remotely pandering in typical way toward the tween/teen sensibilities (or rather, what Hollywood tends to perceive as those sensibilities).”

    I’m with the Mockingjay if she can spark a revolution in Hollywood.

  28. Dr. Mellark says

    John- I look forward to your thoughts on Seneca/Haymitch. As I watched the scene, I couldn’t help think … Pearl Plot 2.0 – revised?

  29. Hope you all don’t mind me adding my two cents –
    John wrote:
    “Did anyone get a sense at Rue’s death and Katniss’ bedecking her with flowers that she had understood at last what Peeta had said on the rooftop, the turning point and story pivot of the first book?”

    My answer is no. It seems to me that the screen version has done a good job of essentially neutering Peeta. Both as a character and the literary representation that points Katniss in the direction that she needs to go. And, as has already been pointed out, the casting choices has not help the matter.

    It would be interesting to consider Collins et. al.’s choices in terms of gender. I mention this because in the books women seem to be given pride of place and considering Peeta’s downgraded position in the film we can certainly see Collin’s desire to flip gender roles.

  30. I was a little disappointed with the rooftop scene the night before the games began. In the book Peeta tells Katniss about showing the capital that they don’t “own him”. She says she understands, but “who cares?” In the trailer she says something like, “I can’t afford to think that way,” instead. I was hoping the line would be fixed in the context of whatever else was going on in the movie. I guess I understand why the writers changed the discussion, to show that she was thinking of Prim, but I missed the depth of the original conversation.

    I loved Portia (at least I think it was Portia) looking like a box of movie popcorn in a vertically striped outfit and puffy yellow hair! I’m a little obsessed with the meaning and morality of food in the series…so yes, yes. Popcorn Woman was my favorite! A little sad that the capital architecture was classic gray rather then candy colored as well. But the popcorn may have made up for it!

  31. I don’t listen to people who attempt to review the movie, give it a sour rating, and then go on to say that they never even picked up the books! Now’s the time to say, I guess, that the books and the movie will only ever go hand-in-hand; beautifully complementing each other. Yeah, that’s right. It just gets better.

    It is well worth your time to read them. I guarantee you will be tipping your hat to director Gary Ross in time. The movie gives the FIRST book a lovely justice. It will be interesting to see, with the huge success of this film, how the rest of the trilogy unfolds on-screen.

    Now, if I had to pick a “best” moment, it would be the reaping scene. Simply put, Jennifer Lawrence nailed it. For most of us who have ventured to read the books, it was the moment we were drawn in (with a force) to this intriguing story. Needless to say, the film adaption moved me to tears as well.

    Worst moment: Seeing Snow walk through the sliding doors of the Gamemaker’s room/lounge, as the screen faded to black, and knowing I would have to wait more than a year for it all to continue…sad, but true.

    As a huge fan of the books, and someone who has an understanding of how Hollywood movie-making works, I really found nothing wrong with it. (Neither did the world, apparently: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/25/the-hunger-games-weekend-box-office_n_1378173.html) There was really just everything RIGHT with it. Good acting, good effects, and the good plot we know of as The Hunger Games nicely integrated into 2.5 hours! Pretty darn fantastic!

  32. I’m letting it be known that I wasn’t addressing anyone in this thread with my little rant about reading the books! I was only voicing my annoyance with the mainstream reviews done of the movie. They make me angry. Done now. 🙂

  33. David DePerro says

    I’ve seen two movies since Hunger Games that really illuminated my opinions on it. These movies are not only interesting contrasts, but in many ways demonstrate how Hunger Games could have been much, much better.

    SPOILER ALERT (you’ve been warned).

    The day after I saw HG, I watched “Hanna” on cable, and it was really good, also about a high-powered teen forced to be an assassin. Director Joe Wright was a bit heavy-handed with the fairy tale parallels, but I really liked the idea of a blending of the eugenicist “brave new world” as a symbol of ongoing German guilt with the fairy tale of Snow White as a means of interpretation of that modern experience. The movie contained strong use of symbolism, social commentary, and character development. It had excellent performances, especially by that other teen wonder, Saiorse Ronan (“City of Ember”). Most pre-Disney fairy tales contain cruelty, even carried out by the child heroes. Hanna is a Snow White who has to face off with her Wicked Stepmother in the finest fairy tale style.

    And last night I saw “October Baby.” It is a beautiful and moving piece of storytelling art, very instructive as to what the Hunger Games film (released the same day) was missing: (1) the first person point of view done really convincingly in film; (2) a young woman’s subjective experience as she pieces together the mystery–and iniquity–of what has happened/is happening to her; and (3) a fight to survive in the face of the despair inside her, more so than the external circumstances. Rachel Hendrix’s Hannah (with an H) is a convincing portrayal. If the film has any political commentary at all, which is questionable, it is the lightest possible touch. Still in theaters.

    Enjoy, they are both great.

  34. Kathleen says

    I have only seen it once so far and to me it was totally a surface skimming attempt at the written story. The only thing the movie does, quite effectively, is highlight the capital’s insatiable appetite for entertainment and how this is all like Dancing with the Stars for them, while the districts look like concentration camps.

    best sad moment- the silent solidarity with the fingers. that moved me.
    best funny moment- Effie and her constant admonitions about manners

    worst moment- trying to convince myself that Gale was not one of the Jonas brothers(or trying to convince myself that Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t design the Cornucopia)
    biggest departure: no Avox. no bread from district 11 after she buried Rue in flowers, and the mayor’s daughter with the pin- major loss
    most delightful capture: Stanley Tucci- he made me believe in him!

    All this may change on a second viewing. It didn’t help that the movie theatre didn’t dim the lights at all so I had to run miles out to the popcorn stand and (politely ) ask them to turn the lights out- thus missing the first few minutes

  35. Kathleen says

    almost forgot- the shaky camera filming was awful.

  36. I was prepared from the beginning that the movie would not be able to reflect the book completely. But I think that all in all the movie was ok. I get why they left out Madge, she was not a vital character. I get why they left out alot of stuff about the hob. In that beings said I have seen the movie twice and the first line that Gale says “Damn Catnip” and someother stuff but to me that first line was just not natural. Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence just don’t have the connection they should. And both times he said the line it just rubbed me wrong. They know everything about each other and even though they don’t have a bf/gf realationship they have been friends for quite a while them being together should be easy. I also agree that he is just too well fed looking.. He should be leaner and more harsh in words and thought.. Liam was a good choice in my book as in looks but in everything else he just didn’t add up.

    One of the best scenes for me was when Katniss is interviewed by Ceasar Flickman. She really personafies what Katniss is going through. Sorta dazed, unsure how to act infront of all these people but answering from the heart like she would for Cinna. I don’t like her dress I think it is blah but I do like the fact that the dress lights on fire like her costume in the parade(which was really cool),

    A scene I hated was Peeta being found in the rocks. To me that isn’t natural. I could see how in the book he was totally blended into the mud and could actually hide in the mud without being spotted. Even in real life that is possible but in this movie how the heck did he get the makeup to do his face with(at least that’s what I’m assuming it is because it doesn’t look like he just piled rocks on his face). Also how would he cover his body with rocks so well if he is delisional and weak from losing blood. You can sink in a mud hole and can be well hidden day and night. Plus in the book this a bonding moment and it really gives you a better look at Katniss’s character. I feel like it’s so rushed you don’t get the intensity of the situation. Peeta has a high fever and he is pretty certain he is going to die. He’s badly injured and voila, the medicine makes it go away completely? And even with the Capitol’s concoctions in the book the injuries don’t just disappear. Peeta still walks with a limp and Katniss has to keep applying the various ointments to their burns and cuts. Plus they left out the whole thing where Peeta has to remind Katniss they are in love. I think that could have been left in there.

    So those things aside I liked how they showed Snow and Seneca chatting about the games. I had immagined someone smaller and more like Malcolm McDowell but I think that Donald Sutherland does an excellent job plus I love his acting!!!

    Also Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman was spot on!! He did great! Again I had pictured Caesar differently, someone a bit older trying to look younger, but I think that Stanley really brought out the character that SC gives us in the books.

    I really liked how they, Flickerman and his sidekick, gave great commentary through the games. It made it feel like a game as well as giving the audiency(movie and Capitol) important information.

    Something I didn’t spot till the second time arround was the little movements that Hutcherson did to make Peeta’s adoration of Katniss come through. The way he applies the ointment to her face when she comes back from the feast and at the end when they are getting ready to eat the berries he picks up her braid and admires it realizing that this maybe the last time they will ever be together again.

    Finally my husband and I saw the movie opening weekend for our anniversary. We got to sit three rows in because it was so packed. Being so close the shaking made me sick. Ugh! We were also surrounded by tons of teens and friends with maybe some of us older people spread throughout. It was fun to hear the responses especially when they would show Gale up on the screen watching Katniss in the arena. I couldn’t help but laughing at them. For my husband, he felt like there was too much predictability and that the bread scene wasn’t well explained. He even told me that Katniss was going to kill Snow. He has never read the books and until after the movie had no clue what it all was about. He’s told me he is not going to read the books which makes me sad because they are so good. Hopefully the movie won’t turn away other people..
    Thanks for letting me get that all out…

  37. I saw the Hunger Games twice. I have also read all the books. I thought the books were amazing and the movie was just as good. I cried during every book and cried both times I saw the movie when Rue died. I did not like how in the movie the mocking jay pin was not given by Madge. But I did like the added scences. One thing that i was most upset about strangeley is the fact that the two Taylor Swift songs were not in the real movie! Eyes Open was the second credit song, but i think those songs would have fit the movie perfectly. I loved the movie though! AMAZING. I would actually go see it again and again if it didnt cost money.Im going to buy it when it comes to DVD. The sad part is the second movie isn’t coming out untill fall 2013! That seems like a lifetime away! Cant wait!!!!

  38. I am way behind on this discussion, but oh well, better late than never, right? I am hoping the release of the dvd will spur new interest. I have enjoyed reading other “thinking people’s” ideas and feel the need to express my own.
    When I first saw the movie in the theater last spring, I had not read the book, and I was utterly confused. I have since read the book (multiple times) and watched the dvd (multiple times). I am thrilled to say that NOW I get it, but it almost seems that the movie makers assumed that EVERYONE seeing the movie had already read the book. (pretty much everybody probably already had).
    The absolute worst problem was that the bread scene lost so much of its significance. In the film, the impression is given that this first encounter between them occurred fairly recently, not 5 years ago (and that it is still so vivid in Katniss’ mind, that she has never been able to forget…). I wonder if they shouldn’t have replaced Jen and Josh with child actors, with 11 year olds?
    Then it is shown as if giving her the bread was an afterthought on Peeta’s part, not in any way that he PURPOSEFULLY burned it so that he could PURPOSEFULLY give it to her, that it was premeditated, not an impulse. Katniss’ desperation was also not apparent enough, they should have shown her digging in the trash with Peeta watching her, as in the novel. The viewer needs to be aware how desperate she is, and that he is aware of her desperation. And although the movie did show the witch giving him a whack, a teenager getting a whack with a hand is in no way the small boy’s beating of the book. This is THE key event of the entire trilogy.
    The same problem with the trackerjack scene. In the movie you understand that he helped her get away while she was drugged/hallucinating, but you do not understand that he took the wound that Cato intended for her. They do not show this, and when she finds him later, he only tells her it was “a sword.” The viewer does not know the who, why, how of the wound, that Cato gave it to him while he was defending Katniss, allowing her to escape. These scenes are lovely after you have read the book, but only because YOU now understand the background, the complete picture.
    I wonder if they will do the dandelion scene later? I am assuming (hopefully) that it will be part of one of the two Mockingjay movies (depending on where they choose to divide it) when Peeta remembers it after he is brainwashed. I hope they do a better job showing how significant it was to Katniss than they did with the bread. Peeta was Katniss’ emotional foundation, her rock of hope, even before they had ever exchanged a word.
    The one scene I really did love in the film was after the feast, when Katniss returns with the medicine, and Peeta rubs it on her forehead. No, this was not in the book at all, but it went a long way in showing the depth of their developing relationship, the inner bond they already share. The kiss can be questioned, but there is no doubt that the still, silent look of love, understanding and deep longing they give one another is, forgive me, Real.

  39. My main problem with the movie was with the positive portrayal of Seneca Crane. Seneca wasn’t even a full character in the book; he was a cardboard cutout used to satirize the mindless violence we find all to often in movies today.
    When The Hunger Games was made into a movie, the movie producers painted Seneca, and thus themselves, in a much more positive light. They implied that Snow was forcing him to do these terrible things. For crying out loud, the movie opened and closed with Seneca Crane scenes! He was nobody, and I repeat nobody, in The Hunger Games (and his death is only referenced in Catching Fire).
    One could argue that one of the major message of The Hunger Games (the book, not the series) is that our society is saturated with corrupt, twisted, death-glorifying media. The Hunger Games was meant as a wake up call. But by representing Seneca Crane as a likeable character, the film directors all but removed that message from the movie.

  40. Megan Joseph says

    It isn’t surprising that with the real Capitol and Game Makers editing The Hunger Games for our viewing we get the Peeta/”Boy with the Bread” character made weak and unmoving. Why would they want to portray that character as strong? The whole irony of the message from Hunger Games being presented by the capitol/game makers is actually hilarious and a bit scary. All the edits remind me of when Katniss describes how her covering Rue with flowers was edited…way too much of a statement for them to show to the viewers….wouldn’t want to move anyone’s heart or conscience, would we? It seems like everything that would move us, the Capitol viewers, in the same way as the capitol edited in the book, was also edited, or told in a different light, for the viewing of the real Capitol viewers. Quite a statement and defensive move on their part to tell a different story. Familiar. I agree, the gamemakers hijacked the story and the Capitol wins. But we hired them to tell the story 🙂 what can we expect?

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  43. I thought that it was a wonderful movie. But I didn’t like the fact that Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) is taller than Josh Hutcherson (Peeta.) I realize that this can’t be helped as you can’t fix your height. But, I wish that when they cast Peeta that they had of gotten a Peeta actually taller that Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. This is because in the books, Peeta carries Katniss. How on earth is Josh Hutcherson suppose to carry Jennifer Lawrence when he is like a foot taller that she is? That annoyed me the most out of The Hunger Games movie. Plus the fact that Josh Hutcherson does NOT look good with gelled up hair. Like in the reaping of first movie The Hunger Games. he looks WAY better with natural hair, or what looks natural. NOT with hair that looks like it has been gelled way too much. For example it looks like he is trying too hard. Which is probably the effect they want. As the poorest District, District 12 obviously can’t afford to buy expensive products that make you look good without looking like you’re trying. But still

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