I have read The Hunger Games a few times now (4 times before seeing the movie and then once so far since I saw it on Saturday). That’s just how I do it when I enjoy a story. And this is one story that I truly enjoy for a lot of reasons. The main one being that we could easily end up in the world depicted. We really aren’t that far from it.

I am also a person who doesn’t get all freaked out when a book I love is adapted into a movie. Not since Interview with a Vampire when I was in middle school. So I am completely capable of going into a movie adaptation and accepting it for the separate, but related medium that it is. This doesn’t change the fact that I will compare it to the source material.

Thar be Spoilers Ahead

With that said here are my thoughts on what they did right and what I would like to have seen done differently.

Jennifer Lawrence was perfection as Katniss Everdeen.  The interactions with her mother were so well done you could feel the tension in the theater. The shots of the coal miners were beautiful, but I wish they would have done more to really show how desperate life in District 12 is.  I would have liked to have the division between classes within the district shown better. We don’t know from the movie that Peeta is “Merchant Class” while Katniss is from the Seam, and that there is a difference.

While I truly did enjoy the Gamemaker shots and Seneca Crane, I would have liked maybe one or two less of those shots in favor of the bread from District 11 and the conversation between Rue and Katniss showing the difference between the districts and highlighting the fact that they are so cut off from one another. I love love loved the scene with Seneca and the bowl of Nightlock!  One thing I did like quite a lot was the addition of the President Snow scenes.  I always tend to see Donald Southerland as a kindly, jolly figure in films and was worried that he would not be able to bring across the terrifyingly menacing quality inherent in President Snow.   He does it so well and I cannot wait for a few scenes in Catching Fire between him and Katniss.

President Snow "congratulates" Katniss on Her Win

 

 

 

 

 

I have to say my absolute favorite addition to the movie was utilizing Caesar Flickerman in the place of Katniss’ internal dialog in some places, like the description of the Tracker Jackers. It was perfect and meant more Stanley Tucci on the screen! He was exactly as I pictured Caesar while reading the books and I could not be happier. At first I was a little iffy when I heard that Woody Harrelson was playing Haymitch, but I was WRONG WRONG WRONG.  He was so stinking good! I didn’t even care that he wasn’t as fat as I had pictured. And Elizabeth Banks was per-fec-tion as Effie. I loved her nails, her wig, her SHOES, all of it. Her comment about “That is MAHOGANY” had me rolling in the aisles.

Effie and Katniss on Reaping Day

One thing that I couldn’t stomach and I have heard a lot of people complain about it is the shaky cameras and the super-fast blurry panning in some scenes. I have a hard time seeing movies in the theaters because of my vision. I have to take my glasses off to be able to clearly see the screen because of its size and distance – yes, I am VERY much a Sheldon in a movie theater I have MY spot – so it takes my eyes a few minutes to adjust and the shaking cameras made that so much more difficult.

All-in-all I am very happy with the movie, will buy it on BluRay and will be in line on opening day for the other 2 movies. They stayed true to the story, made some excellent changes and kept in (for the most part) the bits I felt were the most important. I cried when Katniss volunteered, was a blubbering mess when Rue died. I was able to hold it in until Katniss put the flowers in her hand but then I lost it. Just like when I read the book.  No amount of knowing what is coming changes that. You care about these characters and the actors they have playing them made it even more so.