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Book to Movie Review: The Hunger Games

March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games as you may remember was one of the Movies I was Looking Forward to in 2012.  I read the book years ago when it first came out and it totally gripped me.  I subsequently forced all my sisters (and brother, and friends) to read it too and then named my cats after the characters Katniss and Rue.

So, the movie came out on Friday night and I went Friday night. I don’t normally go to movies on opening nights, but my sister Lydia had a Hunger Games movie birthday party on opening night.  So, that’s how I happened to be in the theater on the opening night.

First, I have to say that this was seriously one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen.  Purists rebelled over a couple of scenes, but I completely understand the necessity of streamlining the story to fit into a 2 1/2 hour movie.  Some things have to change, and the reality is it can take 30 seconds to show something that took 3 pages in the book and ends up with the same result.

The character development was spot-on.  My personal favorites were Peeta and Effie.  Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was just incredible.  I liked him more than I liked him in the book, which is really saying something. But, I think, in the book (which is entirely 1st person from Katniss) Katniss doesn’t understand him and doesn’t want to or know if she can trust him, so the reader doesn’t either.  We, along with Katniss, end up liking him almost in spite of ourselves out of necessity.  Obviously, on the screen we can’t experience everything as Katniss so we get to see some things from a broader perspective.  And Peeta is just plain likable. And, for those of us who read the book, his adaptability and charisma makes even more of a contrast between his character and Katniss’ and we end up understanding both of them in ways we hadn’t before. Elizabeth Banks as Effie is hilarious.  I don’t think i quite appreciated her comic relief in the novel.  She is excellent. I also enjoyed the character development of Seneca Crane. Seeing him as game maker gives us kind of a “man behind the curtain” perspective which I appreciated. Honorable mention: Haymitch and Cinna. Both were excellent.

Stylistically, this movie is raw and a little bit edge-y.  There are times when we experience things just as Katniss would.  Some of the sound effects, for example.  At one point there was an explosion and Katniss is temporarily deafened by it, a friend mine said that she felt the sound (subsequent lack of it) was so real she felt as if she had gone deaf from the concussion too. The camera work is sometimes crazy and out of focus, giving us the feeling that we are, in fact, watching a reality tv show. Some scenes seemed a little slow to me, but when I talked with friends that hadn’t read the book they described the movie as “intense.” Maybe some slow spots is exactly what the movie needed.

As an adaptation I give this movie 5 stars.  I went with a group of people, some of whom hadn’t read the book and when I asked them if they were able to follow the story, they said they were.  Everyone I went with enjoyed it, prior fans and future. 🙂  I’ll definitely see it again.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Danielle permalink
    March 26, 2012 7:28 am


    I’ll link to my own review when it’s up, too.

    • Rebecca permalink*
      March 26, 2012 8:23 am

      Oh good! I’d love to read it!

  2. March 30, 2012 6:03 pm

    I agree, absolutely. I think you’re ‘spot on’!
    Excellent review 🙂


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