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23 March 2012 @ 05:52 pm
I haz seen 'The Hunger Games' YAY!  
Watched The Hunger Games. Yay. Unfortunately, stupid-ass teenagers did cast a slight pall. Grrr. Spoilers about movie, with references to the book behind the cut.

Basically, even though we were there well in advance, a bunch of teenagers snagged rows of seats and kept others from sitting there, so we had to sit in the third row from the screen -- which was awful! It took more than half the movie before I was used to being that close. In addition, the idiots kept laughing EVERY SINGLE TIME there was anything hinting at romance. Katniss kissing Peeta on the cheek? Laughter. Gale reacting to Katniss kissing Peeta on the cheek? Laughter. The full-on Katniss/Peeta kiss? Laughter. Peeta lightly brushing the end of Katniss' braid (my single favorite Katniss/Peeta moment)? Laughter. (My single favorite Katniss/Peeta moment almost ruined. Grrr.)

The movie itself was really well-done. They captured the spirit of the books beautifully, and all of the changes from the book, all cut from the book (but one thing) worked perfectly. Bullet points --

- The one thing cut I missed was District 11 giving Katniss the bread.

- The scenes with Seneca and Snow were pure gold. Especially the first in the garden where Snow talks about Seneca needing to contain Katniss' spark, and the last where Seneca came upon a bowl of nightlock berries. That last touch there was just sheer perfection.

- I really liked how they got around the memories in Katniss' head about her father, and Peeta giving her bread by using flashbacks, woven in the story, and Cesar as host to explain aspects (like the tracker-jackers).

- The very brief interaction between Katniss and Buttercup (Prim's cat) perfectly detailed their relationship, although Buttercup was not even remotely hideous. They also nailed the history of Katniss and her mother in the goodbye scene with just a few lines and excellent acting from Jennifer Lawrence and Paula Malcolmson.

- When I knew this was going to be right was after Peeta talked to Katniss on the train about Haymitch being their mentor and they needed to learn from him, then Haymitch comes in and is a drunken ass. When he turned and walked out, Peeta looked at Katniss, and a lesser movie that did not get the book, would have had her respond sarcastically about him mentoring them. I actually braced myself for it. Nope, didn't happen. Her response was quiet and perfectly in character.

- Rue and Prim were both beautifully cast. Stanley Tucci as Cesar was stupendous. All of the casting was very well done. Although, yes, I will say it, as good as Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss was, I didn't buy her as a 16-year old for a second. Oh well. Of the three "leads," despite being the one I worried the most about, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was my favorite. He nailed Peeta. NAILED HIM! Everything about him, his sweetness, his optimism paired with realism, his charm, his charisma, his determination, his love for Katniss ... he was perfection. And the blond hair looked natural.

I put "leads" in quotes because despite reports that they were pumping up the triangle to appeal to the Twilight crowd, such was not the case. Other than a few reaction shots, we got no more of Gale in the movie than we did in the book. And Liam Hemsworth was good with what we had.

- Heh, Elizabeth Banks was fabulous as Effie (her "manners!" cracked me up), as was Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, and if they weren't even kinda shipped after the books, I'm sure that their interaction in the film will lead more down that road, LOL!

- The Capitol was bright and flamboyant, but it did look a bit cheap to me. The costumes were good, and while neither of Katniss's on-fire stuff played out like I imagined when I read the books, they worked.

- I did think that Lawrence and Hutcherson had chemistry, but honestly, it was dampened by the oh-so-irritating crowd. You just couldn't get into the moments because of their tittering and giggling. I expect to much more enjoy their scenes when I see the film again without the teen-age crowd of annoyance.

- Gary Ross did an EXCELLENT job at showing us without showing us the violence of the games. Any of the violent interaction was done in fast close-ups, or blurs, or cross-cuts in a way that made you feel the horror, but not witness it enough to get an R-rating.

Overall, it felt like the book, the acting, the writing, the direction was fantastic. I was quite, quite happy with it. :)
Alisha: Merlin/Gwenkalishaka on March 25th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
Peeta touching her braid...was hands down the most perfect thing in all their interactions. I completely buy Peeta's love for her. I completely buy that she doesn't know what is happening, just knowing she needs to do something.

Liam's performance as Gale was perfect. And I liked the subtlety of it, keeping him present in your mind by showing him, much like Katniss would briefly mention him. Making you know he will play a bigger role later.

Seneca and Snow....amazing. So glad they added it in. The layers building in this movie, even with nothing else to follow it, letting you know all of Katniss's actions are leading up to something unstoppable. The Nightlock scene, perfect. And the ending, with Snow's expression. Again..perfect.

The best part of this movie...it was acted. It was all about the acting. The small changes in facial expression, the subtle glances. This movie showed, it didn't tell...and it has been so long since any movie did that, let alone one with such hype going in.

While I don't buy Jennifer Lawrence as 16, I do buy her at 18...it was enough that I could argue it away. It helped that Glimmer also looked a bit beyond the 16 mark as well. It doesn't detract from the flow. And in all honesty, Jennifer embodied Katniss in every way. Her annoyed looks at the camera after every note from Haymitch were just PERFECT!

Have I mentioned the word perfect about this movie yet?

Haymitch running to sponsors after she got hurt. Haymitch's interactions with them. The move from his indifference to caring. Flawless.

Effie was AMAZING! Oh Elizabeth Banks...so good. Also...I totally shipped Haymitch/Effie in the books with the nothing I had. THE MOVIES GAVE ME SO MUCH MORE!

I too am saddened by not getting the bread from district 11, but cutting to the scene of their rebellion, was so much better. I wouldn't trade it. Gary Ross made this movie to be the first of the set. Every theme is just planted, waiting to be taken further. And yet, it is done in such a way that it doesn't detract from the story being told.

Speaking of Gary's genius...you are right, the way he handled the violence of the games was truly excellent. It lost none of its brutality but it had none of the gore. The quietness of it, the scores, the cutting and blurs... it seems wrong to say breathtaking, but somehow he managed to make my heart stop and put me in awe all while horrifying me.

Cato's speech prior to his death, the way Alex played it was perfect. His voice almost cracking over the lines you were forced to remember...these are kids.

Honestly, I have never felt a movie so closely matched a book since the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And more than that....Gary Ross managed to make me feel like I was reading the book while I was watching. I have never before had that experience. It was amazing. It was honestly like experiencing the entire film from Katniss's view. The few times taken out of that were perfectly played and done, mostly showing affects she had, or people working for/against her.

Also, I just want to note...one of the more unnerving things for me was actually cutting to the control room as they prepped, planned, and tortured the kids. It was so cold and sterile, cutting to the wild untamed forests. I cannot love this movie enough. I cannot.