As I'm sure I don't need to tell you, The Hunger Games has been one of the year's most eagerly-anticipated films, and is surely the biggest book-to-film adaptation since the final installment of the Harry Potter series. (Breaking Dawn, part 1, by contrast barely registered on my radar.) I'm probably the last blogger to write about the film. The blogosphere has been buzzing since the first casting, with countdowns galore and every bit of news examined under microscopes. We've all been holding our breath for this film - but with such hype, could it possibly live up to expectations?
I'm going to come out and possibly make myself very unpopular, but for me, no it didn't. It was a good film. Some parts were very good indeed. But the book had taken such a hold of my imagination that the film just could not match up.
|I loved Cinna: the sole calm, sane, genuine person to see
through the hysteria of the Hunger Games.
|I won't spoil the effect for you.
My favourite scenes were the assessment, in which Katniss, disgusted that the gamemakers weren't even watching her, fires an arrow straight at their table. I loved Effie Trinket's horrified reaction afterwards, and worry about her "bad manners."
I had been sure, reading the book, that I would lose interest during the games themselves. Great, long scenes of Katniss, alone, with little interaction with any others, surviving in the woods, shouldn't interest me, but I kept my attention. During the film, on the other hand, I did find my mind wandering. Maybe it was because I knew exactly what was going to happen, or perhaps action scenes just don't interest me much. Without Katniss' narration, I felt disconnected from what was going on. We were watching as spectators, rather than as tributes. One way we did benefit from the lack of first-person-narration was that we were shown behind the scenes of the Hunger Games, watching the Gamemakers at work, the President discussing with Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane the politics of the Games, and the commentary by TV host Caesar Flickerman - useful for exposition.
|Rue. Sweet, wonderful little Rue.
|Seneca Crane's beard. Come on!
Overall, The Hunger Games was a very faithful adaptation of the novels, but perhaps it was too faithful. I think that a film needs to complement its original material rather than copying it, in order to give it more depth and dimensions. Still, it was a well-made and thought-provoking movie. To actually see the youth of the tributes and hear the jubilant cheers of the Capitol citizens helped to bring the story to life. It was a dark, rather sombre film, even more so than I had expected from reading the books, but I think it had to be. This is not a story to be treated lightly, and the Hunger Games movie was intelligent and respectful of its source material, as well as a decent film in its own right.
*Apparently 7 seconds were cut from the UK edition. Those 7 seconds were apparently suitable for a 13-year-old to watch unaccompanied, but not a 12-year-old.