Other: Based off The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
Review: Going into the movie theater I wasn’t particularly excited. I was (am actually) sick, my neck hurt, and we were sitting almost in the front row. Despite hearing all the people saying how amazing the movie was, I couldn’t bring myself to really get my hopes up. I figured it would just be another awkward adaption from book to screen. Probably mediocre acting. It might make me laugh at places it wasn’t supposed to (which would be horrible for this sort of story).
My mind was quickly changed just five minutes in. I was already floored. The setting ripped me from my incorrigible imagining of District 12 and Katniss’ clothes as fantasy-esque. Instead, the setting screamed a run-down, oppressed North America (as it’s supposed to be from the book). The Peacekeepers, the Capital, the Gamekeeper Room, the train…it all reminded me that this story took place far in the future, but all the details felt distinctly American. It was as if the world advanced around the impoverished and left them in the gutter.
With the eerie familiarity of the world set, the emotions weighed all the heavier. When I read book one of The Hunger Games I found it difficult to get into. I didn’t really like Katniss and, fine, I’ll say it–I didn’t care. (However, after 50-100 pages I was hooked.) The movie managed to fix that almost instantly. Instead of trying to force emotion with overwhelming film scores telling you how to feel, the soundtrack was dead quiet in some of the areas most heavy with dread. Which just made it all the more awful. I felt sick to my stomach and realized I would probably spend 3/4 of the movie crying. Which I did. (note: this is a good thing)
Adaption-wise, they did a fantastic job. Some book bits needed to be cut, but the story in movie-form was all the stronger for it. The Hunger Games was direct with its story and never shied away from the evil of the Games. The point was solidified and strong instead of wishy-washy, tacked on or ignored.
My only complaint was the incessant shaky-cam. Although I understand its usage for the later half of the movie, for the earlier half it felt a bit overkill. But given The Hunger Games‘ downright frightening setting, good character portrayal and just overall strength (not just good for an adaption, but a good movie period), I’m willing to forgive the shaking camera.
Content Awareness: The Hunger Games are a fight to the death. With kids. Also, guns aren’t used. Characters are stabbed, cut, burned, speared and stung to death by the tracker jackers. Almost all of the violence is blurred out or at least obscured. The shaky camera kept any actual graphic murders out of focus. Dead bodies and wounds of the aftermath are, however, seen. Language is limited to a “damn” and a “hell.” There is no sexual content.