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Movie Review: The Hunger Games

March 29, 2012

Warning: There are some spoilers for The Hunger Games in this post.

Wednesday, instead of writing a blog post, I finished off Hunger Games. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while, but last weekend my friend Mira loaned me her copy. And since Moose wanted to go see the movie, I thought that it would be good to finish the book before we went.

I thought that the book started off a little choppy, but was quick to hit its stride. I’m not sure that there is much that I can’t say that hasn’t already been said by people who read the book long before me. I have some issues with the construction of the world in which the book is set, especially the socio-political system that allows the Hunger Games to exist. That sort of analysis requires more time and research then I have for a morning blog post.

I did want to say that I appreciate the character of Katniss Everdeen. While there is a bit of the Mother Protector trope in her relationship with her little sister, it is well balanced with her role as the provider of the family. I have read reviews which complain about how shallow Katniss is. I have the feeling that the people who write these sorts of complaints has never really known what it is like to have to be strong. Not just physically strong. Not just emotionally strong for a little while. Not just strong for yourself. Strong for your family, for yourself, and for your life.

This weekend, Moose and I went to go see the Hunger Games movie. I thought that the book was surprisingly well adapted. It did highlight somewhat the long build up to the game itself. I felt like the book used this time to let the reader get to know the characters a little better, whereas the movie used this time to let the watcher get to know the world better. I wish it had spent a little more time on the inner workings of the characters. I know that it can be hard to translate a first person point of view to a movie, but there were quite a few of the motivations that were lacking.  I liked the addition of Haymitch’s behind the scenes deals, the conversations between President Snow and Seneca, and the riots in District 11 (which I assume are discussed more in the second book).

I did find myself a little surprised by my reaction to Rue’s death. In the book, I didn’t get very attached to the character because clearly she was going to die at some point. It was only logical to not get attached to that character. In the movie, I felt a better connection to the character because Amandla Stenberg did such a good job of bringing her part to life. I was not the only one in the theater with the sniffles after that scene.

After the movie, I quizzed Moose on what he thought of certain aspects of the story, since he had never read the book. He said that he felt like something was missing from the story, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was. We both agreed that if you went into the Hunger Games expecting something action packed, you were probably going to be disappointed. He did reassure me that he could tell that Katniss was just playing along with the love story. While watching the movie, I was concerned that it was not quite clear.

Over all, I think that I am a new fan of the Hunger Games. It is refreshing to see a strong female character that is not motivated simply by love for a man, or a baby. While there can be some argument to be made that Primrose holds a surrogate child role in this setting, it is quite clear that she is viewed as the little sister and not the child.

As a final note, I had read several reviews that complained about the lack of diversity in the Hunger Games. Specifically the statement I read was that black people only came from District 11. So I was on the lookout for racial makeup of each of the districts as they were shown. And while District 12 was primarily white, and District 11 was primarily black, neither were completely one or the other. The capital of itself was also quite diverse, though it was hard to tell in the crowd shots due to all of the brightly colored hair and makeup. I think it would be interesting to see a breakdown of the extras used in these three areas, but I’m probably weird that way.

Some unimportant notes: The first half of this post was written on Thursday off last week and edited this morning to reflect the delay. Moose and I are still trying to get our workouts synced together so that we both get the amount of time we need. It is interesting to discover that I get quite a lot of writing done in the last 15 minutes of my 45 minute workout.

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