The Hunger Games (2012)
Directed by: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Date I watched: 22 March 2012
The story unfolds in Panem, a nation divided into twelve districts with a luxurious Capitol and a presiding government. Every year, the Capitol requires the twelve districts to send one young man and woman between the ages of 12 to 18 as Tributes in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death where there is only one victor. The event is nationally-televised, presented as a venue of courage, sacrifice and honor, but to the districts it is a brutal reminder of the Capitol’s complete control over them.
The film is adapted from the first of the series by Suzanne Collins, and yes, that is why this whole idea is important to me. I read the books last summer, and shortly after I fell in love with them, the plans for the movie were announced. I had followed its unfolding ever since, with standards high and excitement rolling.
(Much of this post will be based on the fact that I have read the books, and much of my opinions and comments on it have to do with the fact that I watched the film with bookworm friends who have also read the books. Expect spoilers in passing.)
Madge Undersee and the Mockingjay pin
In the books, Madge gives Katniss the infamous Mockingjay pin. She does not appear in the movie, but the Mockingjay pin is a gift from Katniss to Prim and back. I had a theory to explain this, that Prim’s importance needs to be established in the movies because we won’t see much of her, whereas in the book, she is always in Katniss’ thoughts and words. The Mockingjay pin becomes the symbol of the two sisters’ relationship, a reminder that everything began (and ended) with Prim, and the idea that Katniss carries Prim with her wherever she goes.
Peeta and Katniss
Like a hopeless romantic, I rooted for Peeta and Katniss in the books. On screen, however, they didn’t generate quite enough chemistry for me. One of the flaws I found in the story was that Peeta never explained why he joined the Careers. Yes, implications were made that he was just trying to save Katniss, but only to the audience. When she found him, she embraced him, and forgave and forgot everything. That is very uncharacteristic of Katniss, a damaged soul that holds grudges.
I give a loud applause to the production. A lot of my friends complained about the cinematography, but I will defend its symbolism to the very end. It was all about chaos, instability, disorder. I love the dark feel of the screen, the dry colors of the district and the offensively colorful outfits of the Capitol. All of it was so perfectly translated from the book.
The rest of my complaints about the movie concern petty things, such as how I wished President Snow was more clean-shaven and groomed, how Rue wasn’t given so much depth, how they didn’t give enough emphasis on why the Hunger Games are important and evil, et cetera.
All in all, I found the movie incredible and thrilling. It may not have met my expectations, but it did well on its own right. There is still plenty of space to grow for the coming movies, and I. Cannot. Wait.