Review: The Hunger Games (movie)

The Hunger Games is a great book that begins The Hunger Games trilogy, a well-written and entertaining series that I previously reviewed here:

The movie was given a PG-13 rating due to its violent content.  There were a few scenes with a little blood spatter and a number of scenes in which people die, but I’m not sure it really warrants a more restricted rating than PG.  I know there’s a lot of gnashing of teeth and parents trying to decide if their kids should be able to see this movie.  My recommendation is this:  If your son/daughter has read the book or series, they are probably fine for watching the movie.  If you’ve allowed them to watch the Harry Potter series, they’re fine.  If they’ve seen The Lord of the Rings…again, they’ll be fine.  The killing and dying as big a deal as the explanation of how a government could force their people to send their children to such a barbaric “game.”

If you’ve read the book(s) or my review (or another review), you know what the premise of the story.  The movie did a good job of following the story.  As with most adaptations, there are parts that are changed:  the mockingjay pin is not given to Katniss by by the mayor’s daughter and the mutts don’t have the eyes of the fallen tributes.  The former doesn’t affect the story at all.  The latter is debatable, but, ultimately, it’s probably not such a big omission.  What is missing from this movie that was provided in the book is the inter-character relationships.  The depth of the relationship between Katniss and Gale was hinted at, but never given enough time to really explain the mopey looks; the friendship of Katniss and Cinna wasn’t adequately developed in the movie; and the brief interaction on screen between Katniss and Rue doesn’t really provide enough explanation as to why she’s so torn up when Rue dies*.

I thought most of the choices for actors and actresses were fine.  Peeta wasn’t quite what I imagined, but close enough.  I really imagined Cinna as more like Dennis Rodman than Lenny Kravitz, but their choice was probably more accurate.  Donald Sutherland plays a good President Snow although he doesn’t really look “snaky.”  Woody Harrelson does a good job playing Haymitch, but he isn’t what I thought of when reading the character.

Overall, much like the book, the movie was well-done and entertaining, but there are really only a handful of scenes that are big screen worthy and paying to see it in IMAX was a waste of the extra few dollars.  If you catch it at matinee price, you won’t likely feel like you wasted your money…you might not feel that at full price either.

[*I debated about not mentioning Rue’s death as it could be a spoiler, but anyone who understands what this story is about should easily get that only one tribute is supposed to make it out of the arena alive.] 

2 Responses

  1. I have to agree, the movie was so well adapted from the book! Compared to some HP films..

  2. Fabulous review. I totally agree with you. And I’ll confess that my VERY first reaction when the movie finished was something akin to “Yay, they didn’t ruin it!!!” Ah, the world of the book nerds… :0)

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