Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 87 - My Hunger Games Review

So I watched Hunger Games today. I just finished reading the book yesterday and I couldn't wait to watch the movie. I have to say - as far as adaptations go, this one is one of the best I've ever seen. I felt like the book came to life. It already had in my head, but now there it was - on the screen, a feast for my eyes.

And I'm really glad I read the book first. They always say the book is better, and that's no different here. And by reading it first, I knew back stories about everything. The movie skipped over a bunch of stuff (usually little stuff) and it was nice to just know that. It skipped over a lot of interior monologue of Katniss (as I kind of expected) so it was also nice just sort of knowing what she was thinking - what her motives are. I was reading some complaints by people who have only seen the movie without reading the book - and I remember thinking "Well that happened because of this and that" -- but they wouldn't know that unless they read the book.

**Possible Spoilers Below**

If you haven't read the book yet or seen the movie, I would stop reading the rest of this post cuz I'm not censoring anything said beyond this point :)


So yeah - I remember reading one complaint about Katniss right after she blew up the food. They asked why she didn't just kill all the careers right then and there. I remember thinking - well duh, she couldn't barely stand, let alone see straight. The explosion blew out her left ear drum and made it impossible to stand. She only barely just made it to some foliage along the edge before the careers came to the clearing. BUT!! That isn't how the movie portrayed it. Kind of an oops on their part because the complaint was valid - she had thee perfect opportunity to take out all the competition in the confusion and chose to run instead. Didn't make sense. But the book has a very valid excuse.

So yes - please, please read the book! You'll thank me for it, lol :)

And just because I feel like it - here is a list of things that I thought would be different (not things that were missing in the movie, just things I imagined differently. Everyone is doing lists of stuff they left out, and I want to be different, lol).

First were some of the characters. It was impossible not to see the actress who portrayed Katniss while reading the book. So I didn't bother. But every other character was left free in my mind to form as it would. And when I watched the movie - I was surprised by some of the interpretations.

Peeta: I pictured him much cuter. Much more handsome. I suppose some people like Josh Hutchers (and I admit the main photo on IMBD isn't too bad) but, in the movie, I just think he looked ... honestly he looked like a simpleton sometimes. He had that dopey look about him that took away from the romance in the movie. Someone speculated it's because Josh isn't a natural blond (though I doubt it - hair color doesn't fix that dur look). I would have liked someone more handsome, but that was just me.

Gale: I thought HE would be more of the non-cute character. But the movie has him being quite handsome. Tall and handsome (he wasn't that tall in my mind). It's just weird - but I would have liked to see the actors switched for those roles.

Haymitch: I can't remember if his size was ever discussed, but I pictured a fat guy for some reason. A rolly-polly type of fat guy. Someone who is lazy, dirty, and always drunk. I never ever pictured a younger guy. And while I think Woody Harrelson did a great job as Haymitch, it's just not how I pictured the character. Every time Woody called Katniss "sweetheart" - it didn't sound right. Don't know why - it just didn't, lol.

Again, I can't remember if certain details were mentioned in the book, but I pictured her short, squat and much older. Kinda like this lady from Harry Potter, lol. The movie had her as a tall, slender, young woman. However - despite the difference, I think Elizabeth Banks did a wonderful job in the role!! She really brought Effie to life! The lines I read in the book never quite sounded right in my head, lol. But when Elizabeth spoke the hokey lines (like the first line she says: "Welcome, welcome, welcome" - all cheery and weird. It sounded forced in my head, but when I heard it in the movie - I just got it!) She really brought the character to life in a way I never was able to imagine.

Cinna: When I pictured him, I saw a tall, slender, blonde guy. I don't remember if his race was mentioned, but I know I didn't picture a black guy. Actually - I pictured what they did with Woody and the Haymitch character. Long hair and all. I remember, right before I saw the movie - I saw a random picture of Woody and I thought for sure he was playing Cinna. Boy was I wrong. BUT! Lenny Kravitz played Cinna perfectly! He was just like what I imagined Cinna to be like, so I don't mind that it wasn't Woody :)

The Back Story: When I pictured how the movie was going to go, how they would get everything in there, I pictured like a 10min (or so) opening with the story starting in the past. Like they would take all (or most) of Katniss's flashbacks and combine them into an opening sequence. AND! Most important - there would be a narrative explaining the basics. I thought I would hear her voice state something simple like "This is my home. My part of Panem. This is District 12. This is my hell" or something like that. I wanted to see her dad's death, and her mothers retreat into her mind. I pictured a much younger Katniss starving on the street (I thought it would be a different actress playing a younger/sicker Katniss). I wanted to see her and Gale meeting. I wanted her to narrate the way things were. The reasons why. All of it. I was really bummed that they didn't try to do that. And I was further bummed when a LOT of the information about it all was left out. I'm not sure how much people gather from the movie without the book, but hopefully it was enough (I can't know myself since I just read the book - the information is too fresh to remember what was in the movie and what wasn't).

The Outside World: My biggest pet peeve about reading novels in first person is the lack of outside info. We never get inside anyone else's head. We never leave the main persons side. It's always about them and what they're doing - and nothing else. I was hoping we would have a TON more from the outside. From the districts and stuff like that. I was excited to see what they did show (like the gamekeepers controlling the arena with the fire and sunlight and stuff) but I really wanted more.

The Hunger & Injuries: The movie drastically downplays a bunch of stuff. Hunger for one. These people are poor; starving. And yet in the movie, they don't show that. I don't think they show that at all. The book also gives me the feel of .... dirtiness. Both before they arrive at The Capitol, and then definitely when they were in the arena. And instead, we had the movie magic of cleanliness through out the whole thing. I would have liked some more dirt & grit. Injuries were also down played. There was a whole thing about Katniss nearly dying from dehydration. They kept that out entirely. And she gets burned - I pictured a huge burn, around the size of my hand - and the movie has it being about the size of a silver dollar. Peeta has a gash on his leg that goes down to his bone. The movie has it as little more than a deep cut. I just wish they would have tried to show how much harder it all was - the book really has some huge trials. And the movie makes it all seem very neat & clean.

ALRIGHT!! :) I'M DONE!! :D Those were just a few of my thoughts. I think, for the most part, they kept most stuff in. They definitely followed the book, so that was good. I just think it's neat how things are seen differently by different people :)

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