I finally got to see The Hunger Games, and I have to say…it’s worthy of the hype. And I have not read the book – yet. I will be, but I prefer in these cases to see the movie first, so as to not be disappointed at what was left out, or the imagery being “wrong”.
From the start of the movie, although it can be considered a slow start, there is an intensity that builds without requiring the combat which comes later. The setting of they story is told sufficiently, if not completely – some things do get kind of glossed over. At one point, I thought the “country” was called “Pan-Am”, but it is really “Panem”, from the Latin panem et circenses, or “Bread and Circuses” – a fitting name.
The visuals were excellent, if somewhat obviously greenscreen CGI at times. I do think the handheld “shake” shots were a bit overdone, early on, along with some just plain strange shots – like when Katniss was entering the transport in District 12, there were several seconds of looking at the steel entrance – which was totally unremarkable, and if they were trying to establish feeling or something, it failed on me.
The acting was varied, but it was great where it needed to be. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss did a wonderful job, as did Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. And I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Stanley Tucci smile so much or so big as the TV host Caesar. And Donald Sutherland’s understated performance just makes it that much more evil…
Performances from the other tributes were mixed, but part of that could have been confusion as to who some of them were at times. Most don’t have a lot of screen time anyways in which to provide much of a performance anyways. And to that…at times I was wishing they at least gave some sort of running count of how many and/or who was left. Even if you tried to keep count of the cannon blasts, you didn’t hear all of them. It would have been good to at least know a bit about each, but it was already a long movie.
I originally felt that Woody Harrelson’s turn as Haymitch was unconvincing…but I think he grew on me.
Another minor issue I had was that Katniss never seemed to run low on arrows – although she is never seen the reclaim any, and certainly abandoned several. And the big explosion seemed a little too big…
But anyways, it was a great movie…and although there was not an explicit setup for the next movie, there will be one – and it will be eagerly anticipated.