The Hunger Games (2012) Review

I meant to write an entry about The Hunger Games after watching it with a group of friends on Friday, but I became incredibly (and somewhat unexpectedly) busy.  Better late than never though, right?  Haha.

I really enjoyed this movie.  Although oddly enough, while I think I could totally watch this movie a few more times in theaters or by renting it later, I’m still kind of debating whether or not I’d buy it.  While I did enjoy it, there were some aspects of the movie that make me kind of hesitate getting it for my shelf.  I’m thinking I’ll have a better idea after seeing the other two movies (if they come out).  In my opinion, they did do a fair job in bringing the book to life on screen, which I think is always a plus.  Especially because now I’m considering watching the other two because of it.  For anyone who’s read my review of The Hunger Games trilogy, I wasn’t as big a fan of the latter two books as I was of the first, and I think I had written that my desire to watch the movies based on Catching Fire and Mockingjay would more than likely be determined by their respective trailers.  After watching this first movie though, I think that alone was enough to whet my appetite for any future movies based on this series, which I think is saying something.

How would I describe the movie version?  I think that if you didn’t read the books, you might miss a few things.  There was a lot of inner thought dialogue from characters in the book, something that I actually didn’t fully realize until I watched the movie.  While watching it though, it kind of hit me that if a person didn’t read a book, there’s actually a lot of back story you kind of miss.

I think the best way to put it is to say in a way, the way the movie was made, it was like an inside joke between those that read and the people who made the movie.  Like if you read it, you were kind of “rewarded” for doing so.  However, I think it’s safe to say that the movie was generally enjoyable for people who didn’t read and maybe even had really low expectations for the movie.  One of the friends in my group was someone who had zero desire to see the movie and really wasn’t expecting much.  Afterward, he admitted to enjoying the movie more than he thought he would.

Before I say anything else, I do want to say that I was incredibly relieved the movie wasn’t as gory as the book.  Hahaha.  Some of you know I’m not a huge fan of anything too graphic, but that I will grit my teeth and watch it if I think the story is going to be worth it—even though sometimes my eyes scold me afterwards and make me regret that decision, hahahaha.  I was a little unsure how it would be since a lot of PG-13 these days seem to meander into ‘R’-ville, if you know what I mean, haha.  Thankfully though, the “violence” was as tame (if not tamer) than what Steven Spielberg did with War Horse (2011).  I realize that might disappoint some people, but I don’t think that alone should deter someone from watching the movie.

While I’m talking about it though, the movie Prometheus looks like it’s going to be amazing, but I’m going to wait until one of my favorite movie bloggers says something about it.  Like the guys who run 3 Guys 1 Movie.  I believe they’ve expressed interest in seeing it several times, so they’re the first that comes to mind when I think about who I’m going to hit up to find out more about it.

By the way, I didn’t know this until recently, but these guys also sell merchandise based on their blog.  It’s so cute!  They’ve got like mugs, bags, shirts, and a bunch of other stuff.  I really like their logo too, and they’ve got a ton of stuff they’re selling in their store.  I’m a total blog nerd/lamelet, so I’m totally planning on buying some stuff from them, hahaha.  I just need to figure out which stuff I want to get first.  Oddly though, I don’t think they linked their store to their blog.  If you’re interested though, here’s a link to that online store: LINK.  Seriously, there’s some neat stuff in there.  Check it out.  Tap your inner shopping bug, you know you have one!!

Anyway, sorry for getting side-tracked!!  Back to my thoughts about this movie.

I think the cast was pretty great in this movie.  Jennifer Lawrence was wonderful as Katniss Everdeen, and though he didn’t have many lines, I found Liam Hemsworth’s facial expressions—shown in brief shots of him scattered throughout the movie—were absolutely hilarious.  I also will say that while I was not too impressed with Josh Hutcherson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012), I was pleasantly surprised by him here.  I think he did a fine job as Peeta Mellark.  I look forward to seeing him continue to improve as an actor.  Oh, and Woody Harrelson was perfect as Haymitch Abernathy.  In fact, I feel like the part was written for him, haha.  I actually wasn’t that big of a fan of any of Harrelson’s other roles before this movie, but after seeing him in The Hunger Games, I think I became a little bit of a fan.

The movie was very visually appealing; I wish they allowed the audience a little more time to absorb things.  The book leans very heavy on descriptions and as a result I think that a majority of the story was mostly vivid visuals.  Unfortunately, that tends to be a weakness for any movie that’s working off a book—it’s almost always impossible to really do a book 100% justice since you’re trying to cram so many pages in a certain span of time.

The flow of the story also seemed a bit uneven at times too.  I didn’t totally agree with some of the editing—I think certain parts of the movie could have been cut to make the more significant (or at least what I thought was more significant anyway) parts of the story longer.  Again, that’s a challenge that I think filmmakers always have to tackle when they’re doing book-turned-movie deals.

What I really liked though, is that they managed to stay mostly true to the book.  The changes they made were very subtle.  Some didn’t seem necessary, and some I was confused as to why they decided to deviate from how the book had the scenes pan out, but none of the changes were so drastic that I felt it ruined the movie experience for me, which I also thought was good.

Originality: **
Picture: ****
Sound: ****
Story: ****
Casting: *****
Re-watch Factor: ****
Overall: ****


Again, my only real complaints were that sometimes the story seemed a little rushed, and they seemed to have trouble translating the parts of the book that were heavy in character’s inner-dialogue, but both weren’t entirely the fault of the movie-makers.  It’s a challenge to translate thoughts without doing something cheesy like inserting “inner thought” voice-overs, and there’s only so much story you can tell sometimes in a 2 1/2 hour block.

Overall, I think this was a solid movie.  Did it live up to all the hype?  I think it did sort of, but not completely, if I’m going to be really honest with you.  However, it definitely wasn’t awful by any means.  One thing that really stuck out to me though that I think they did really well was that even though the cast wasn’t really made of super prominent names—I think a lot of the cast was made up of either people “new” to the Hollywood scene or actors that aren’t as well known/underrated—the actors all seemed to compliment each other really well.  I could be wrong of course, but from what I could feel, it seemed like all the actors had this homelike/family chemistry with each other.

Anyway, for those who are skeptical, I would recommend giving this movie a try.  I think it’s worth a shot.  🙂

I’m not sure how soon I’ll be able to get around to it, but I did another interview recently with a music artist that I met through Twitter.  He found me, actually, haha.  I think he’s made some good stuff and he’s only just getting started with his career, but I feel a real good vibe from him.  Stay tuned!  I’ll be putting that up as soon as I can.

15 responses to “The Hunger Games (2012) Review

  1. I saw the movie without having read the book. And yes, I do feel I did miss a few things as far as backstories went. However, despite not having read the book, I did all a few things out before they happened (most notably, when President Snow was explaining his rationale for holding the Hunger Games to begin with). Other than that, I thought the movie was well-shot and well-acted with a terrific musical score to boot.

    • Haha yeah, my one friend (who didn’t read) said the same thing. It was only the subtle things he missed anyway really, like the fact that the super cheesy parts (the Katniss-Peeta on screen “relationship,” as an example) were supposed to be cheesy. Since he didn’t know that, he thought those scenes were too over the top corny. Haha. 🙂 Glad you liked it though and thanks for stopping by, as always!

  2. Great review! I totally agree about the whole “inside joke” thing… I saw the movie with my Mom who didn’t read the books, and she totally missed that Peeta actually loved Katniss. She thought he, like her, was faking affection for the sponsors and didn’t realize he had feelings for her until the very end. Which just is unfortunate because I feel like she didn’t have as much of an appreciation for Peeta as I did.

    On the other hand, I think Gary Ross did a great job of putting some things into the movie that weren’t in the book, without taking too much creative license. Seneca Crane’s death was epic, and I loved seeing the Gamemakers in action, and the reaction of Gale back home.

    I’m interested to see if they spice up the Peeta/Katniss romance more in Catching Fire. I’m hoping since it’s a shorter book, they’ll have more time to explore that.

    • Yeah, I thought the inclusion of Gale’s reaction back at District 12 was hilarious too, especially since they only imply Gale saw everything and was miffed about it in the book.

      I agree too, I like how they killed Seneca in the movie. Very poetic. :p

      I’d imagine a little more creative liberties will be taken next movie too, since as you said, the book is much shorter.

  3. I agree. Jennifer Lawrence was incredible. A good story needs characters that you really care about and she made me care. I felt for her. I appreciated Katniss’ personality better in the movie than in the book actually. She was more likable. Nice review!

    • Yes! I saw potential in Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men, even though she didn’t really play a huge role. I think I read somewhere that her cold-reading skills are really impressive.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. I was resisting reading this, cuz I didn’t want to “spoil” the movie when I saw it…Ha! Stupid since I read all the books I guess. All they can really do is screw up the book, right? So you’re not a Woody Harrelson fan? I think he’s been great, and he’s had some really iconic roles (Mickey in Natural Born Killers.) Of course it was him I pictured as I read the books, at least ever since I found out he was cast the part. Can’t wait to see this movie.

    • Hahaha, I’m so bad at the whole spoiler thing too!! XDD Sometimes I just want to go in a movie knowing the ending, LOL. I don’t necessarily enjoy it any less if I do know, but I definitely enjoy it differently. I suppose that’s a quirk about me. Hahaha.

      I’m glad you stopped by though!! Actually, it might be because I don’t really like the genre or wasn’t interested in the movies that Harrelson was in. The only role that really sticks out that I remember was he was this gay guy, I think in Lincoln Lawyer or something? And I just thought his character was so incredibly strange…and he kind of gave off a creeper vibe, but I think that was the point of the role he was assigned, lolol. In that case, then yes, he did a great job, but I still wasn’t a huge fan prior to this movie, haha.

  5. Thanks so much for the props Rae, your making me blush.

    I like how you enjoyed it for its PG-13 and that is what I disliked about it :-). Did you see Lawrence in Winters Bone? She was good in the Hunger Games but I think I was expecting just a little more wow factor from her in this based on that performance.

    enjoyed reading your excellent review.

    • Of course! I love the posts on the 3 Guys blog, so I felt like I had to give you guys a shout. Hmm Winter’s Bone…I’ve heard of it but I never really looked into it. Sounds like there’s a lot of hacking, lol. Is there? If there is, I’m probably going to have to skip it. Either way, I’ll take your word for it.

      (And yes, I think the makers of the movie had some kind of psychic communication with me when making the movie. They knew if they went too heavy on the violence, I would not have enjoyed it as much. :p Hahaha.)

      Always happy to see you stop by!

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