3.30.2012

My Thoughts on the Hunger Games Movie


I’m warning you now that this post CONTAINS SPOILERS so don’t let me rain on your parade if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

I’ve seen the movie three times now, and a week after the release date, I feel like it’s time I better share the ever-present emotions I have concerning this movie. (Kidding. Kind of.)
My movie stub and Mockingjay pin (Hot Topic)

First off, I’d just like to say that I loved the movie. Like really adored it. I mean, I’ve seen it three times, right? It is one of the best (if not the best) depictions of a book to the big screen I’ve ever seen. Every time I watched the movie I didn’t find myself saying, “Oh that was dumb,” “They should have done this better,” or “They completely left out that one part!” I was ready to be saying all of these things to myself in the movie, because I’ve done this in almost all the Harry Potter movies. As a true fan of the Harry Potter books, having read them eleven times, I’d have to say that the movies are not even close to depicting how wonderful the books are. And as a true fan of the Hunger Games books as well, having read them 3 times each (not as much but they are newer), I find myself saying that the movie was an exceptionally accurate portrayal of the book. Watching the movie, I felt like I was in the book, because it followed it so well and portrayed everything with an almost perfect accuracy. I’d have to say that the movie was just as good as, if not better than the Hunger Games book in some ways, which is definitely saying something.

One of the best parts of the movie was how they portrayed everything pretty much better than I could have imagined it. The beginning of the movie with the Seam felt so real; all of the dirty little children and the obvious look that everyone was starving and barely surviving. The capitol was amazing, and I loved seeing all the images I had in my head made even better on the screen. The citizens’ crazy costumes, all of the shiny-ness, the beauty of the rooms they stayed in, and everything made with a sort of rich-ness. It’s amazing going from showing the meager people in District 12 to the privileged people of the Capitol. And by amazing, I also mean sickening. The Capitol people have more than enough to spare and the people in the districts are living on nothing.
There were other little things I loved about the setting as well—the parachutes that came with their little sound letting the tributes know they were there, the orange backpack Katniss gets at the beginning of the Games, and the large, looming cornucopia filled with supplies. I also loved how they incorporated showing Seneca Crane and the Gamemakers put things in the game as they went. It was fun to see what went on behind the games, something we don’t get the opportunity of envisioning in the books.

The characterization and casting were incredible. I don’t think they could have had a better cast for this movie. Of course Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were amazing as Katniss and Peeta, but the other people that were cast made all the difference. My personal favorites were Effie Trinket and Caesar Flickerman. Effie had the best costumes and the funniest lines, like “That is mahogany!” and “Manners!” that had the whole audience laughing because she was so ridiculous yet so serious about the rules, just how she should be. Caesar Flickerman had awesome blue hair and he was the best show host I’ve ever seen (regardless of the fact that it was in a movie). I loved all the faces of his that they showed on the screen when he was being introduced because it just made him that much greater.
The careers were also well chosen…the girl who played Glimmer was such a Barbie yet incredibly freaky at the same time. The girl who played Clove actually played Esther in that movie Orphan and if you watch the trailer, she looks so scary! She was such a creep and the perfect Clove in the movie. Cato was attractive and evil and Marvel was full of himself and had a really dorky smile (still good though). And of course there were the other main tributes that were equally talented…Rue, Thresh, and Foxface. Everyone was their character. It’s like they were pre-destined to be in this movie. ;)
Careers

But there was one aspect of the movie that really sold me and made it more than just a "movie." The Hunger Games is a Dystopian novel, meaning it talks about a controlled society, usually in the future (wiki it). And I feel like that is what the movie protrays better than the book ever could. I know that the book is something Suzanne Collins wrote as a statement for our society, to show us what we really are like. I got that from the book, but only kind of. I really got that from the movie though. Walking out of that theater after seeing it for the first time, I felt like it really spoke to me in that sense. Let me paint a picture for you:

In Panem, they have the Capitol citizens, dressed in their absolutely crazy and ridiculous outfits that would make Lady Gaga jealous. Every year they watch 24 kids kill each other for their entertainment. How sick is that? Then you have the people in the districts. They're as poor as can be, scrounging for whatever meal they can get, where many people just die from starvation. The Capitol citizens know this is going on, and yet, even though they have all the resources and money to help out the people in the districts, they do nothing. Sure, they sponsor tributes during the Games and give a small portion of their money to help out, but it means nothing to them. They walk around in their gaudy dresses and eat until they have to force themselves to throw up so they can eat some more (that happens in Catching Fire). And then there's also District 13. They are hidden from view, maybe struggling a little but they are getting by just fine. The Capitol ignores them and they ignore the districts. For the time being, they are just trying to help themselves out, and when they finally have to rescue citizens from the destroyed District 12, they do it only because they need to strengthen their population. In Mockingjay, Katniss has the ever-present question in her head, and she even asks them once, "You knew that we were starving, but you didn't come help us....why?" District 13 gives excuses but ever since I read Katniss's question, I can't shake it out of my head....Why didn't you help us?

Suzanne Collins' novel is talking about our society, people! Celebrities that dress in outrageously priced clothes and others who dress up like clowns on steroids. They run reality shows for their own entertainment (which we also watch) and they have so much money. They know about all the third world countries and the starving children in Africa. And sure, they donate some money to causes, but it barely makes a dent into their wallet. And it's not enough to help those people out. So where do we, the middle class people, fit? We're not as gaudy as the Capitol but we're not as poor as a third-world country. We're doing okay, but let's go back to Katniss's question..."You knew we were starving, so why didn't you come help us?" No we're not amazingly off, but we are doing okay. Katniss is right, why aren't we helping?

And that is why I loved the movie so much. Why I feel sick to my stomach during the reaping, seeing all those sad faces of children who might get their name drawn to go fight to the death. Why I had tears streaming down my face when Rue dies, because I felt something. I felt so mad at the Capitol during the part of Rue's death, and I realized that Suzanne Collins and the filmmakers succeeded in getting me to feel what they wanted me to feel. Anger. A feeling of duty. And a want to change how things are.

The Hunger Games movie is incredible. If you haven't seen it yet, go. It's worth the $8 ticket to see it in the movie theater, you won't be disappointed.

Fire is catching, people, and it's time we light our flame. :)

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