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Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games

I know a movie is good when I leave it feeling this warmth in my heart, this longing - I know that may sound cheesy, but I'm serious. I feel this longing to be back in the world of the movie, to be a part of it. It's how I feel after a good book or song too - like I left part of me in the story.

That's how I felt after seeing The Hunger Games.

The more I think about that movie, the more I loved it. It was a wonderful adaptation of the book - in fact, I think it outdid the book in many instances. The cast was perfect, the cinematography was exquisite. I normally hate it when the camera moves so much (when there's so much handheld camera work) - I'm a fan of traditional, theatrical style filming where you sit back and watch a movie rather like a play. However, I think this was the first time I've actually enjoyed and felt the importance of the camera being handheld. I loved feeling so much in the world the director was creating. Every shift in focus, every element of the camera work felt needed and purposeful, shaping and crafting the experience of the characters and viewers simultaneously.

The actors all did a wonderful job, and I would like to state now that I have been a Josh Hutcherson fan since Little Manhattan way back in 2005. He was a perfect Peeta. And I love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I think she embodied all of Katniss' anger, compassion, and grit in a wonderful, very real way. Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, and Woody Harrelson were my favorite supporting characters - they performed wonderfully. The tender relationship between Katniss and Cinna was lovely.

That being said, it wasn't a perfect movie. I think because I read the book I filled in some of the missing bits. Lisa Schwarzbaum, one of EW's critics, said this about The Hunger Games: "The movie shows how, but the book shows why." I think that describes the movie perfectly. You miss much of the psychological elements of the book, the motivations of the characters. Katniss' inner dilemma about trusting/creating a romance with Peeta was almost entirely absent. I think the movie shows what happens perfectly, but misses some of these psychological elements. Also, the only other qualm I had with the movie was Peeta - in the book you're not totally sure what side he's on for a while. Does he want to beat Katniss in the Games? Or does he want to help her? Is he really in love with her, or is that just a line to get sponsors? In the movie you're pretty sure he's the nice guy all along. But these are small complaints, rather nit picky I think. The worst part of the movie was the stupid Breaking Dawn pt. 2 trailer before it started. Everything after that was bliss.

Like I said, I can't wait until I can get back into that world.

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