Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games | Directed by Gary Ross | Screenplay by Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray

Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games is one of my favorite books, and I dreaded this film adaptation. I feared it would be nothing like I imagined it. I feared the possibilities of the fanbase. I didn't even want to see it. But, I was wrong to fear such things.

In case you haven't read this phenomenal book yet, The Hunger Games is the first dystopian novel of its trilogy. Each year, the annual Hunger Games take place as ordered by the dictating government. In the Hunger Games, two people from each of the country's districts (ranging from ages twelve to eighteen) must fight to the death on live television. Katniss Everdeen isn't chosen, but she volunteers to save her sister from imminent death. In the midst of the chaos and death controlled by a most unfavorable government, Katniss uses her skill to try to win the Games as her life begins to intwine with that of Peeta Mallark, the male tribute from her district. Together, they will make a statement in these Games, sparking the beginning of what will be an action-packed and powerful trilogy.

First of all, fans of the book will not be disappointed in this adaptation. Most of this movie is exactly the way I imagined it in the book, and I had a huge fear that it wasn't going to be. Only a couple of minor things from the novel were left out. However, most of the book revolved around what Katniss was thinking and that obviously cannot be adapted. I don't think this will bother readers though it might not go as far into Katniss' character, but I do think this affects those who didn't read the book first. I think those who didn't read the book first will understand everything fairly well - just don't go to a movie theatre with a less superior sound system or noisy people because this film requires attention as it is set up in a very different type of world.

James Newton Howard wrote an effective film score for this movie, and I don't think I heard any modern music during the story (thank goodness). Even so, one thing I noticed was the lack of any music. There was so much silence. Normally, I'd denounce this idea, but it worked so well for this film. It allowed for the audience's own raw emotions to be uninfluenced by anything except the sitauations at hand as well as Jennifer Lawrence's memorable performance.

I'll be honest... I cry at just about every movie. I don't know why, it just happens. When I'm seeing a movie in the cinema I try to hold back, but there was no need to during The Hunger Games because I heard plenty of sniffles. However, it probably didn't matter; I would have cried anyway. The prime reason for my emotion was Jennifer Lawrence. Her acting was extremely impressive; she was a great Katniss. But, Josh Hutcherson surprised me more than anybody! I don't think anyone could have been a more perfect Peeta! Plus, I really enjoyed seeing Lenny Kravitz (I can't believe I doubted him) as Cinna and Wes Bentley as Seneca.

Throughout the film, the balance of action and emotion is amazing, as it was in the book. This is perhaps one of the most gripping elements in the trilogy, and seeing it played out on screen was so enjoyable. Since I knew the story well, anticipating particular moments of action was like waiting for a Pop-Tart to pop out of my toaster - I knew it was coming, but I flinched anyway.

As I gather my thoughts of this adaptation, I'm trying to find anything negative. I can't find much of anything. The fanbase doesn't even irk me. And that's saying a lot, because I can't even begin to say how much I love this series, how powerful these books are to me. That's why I was so afraid of this adaptation. The book is always better, no matter what. This seems to be a motto of mine, and I have taught myself to look at a book and its adaptation as two seperate entities to avoid disappointment. I'm proud to say that even if this wasn't my motto, I still would have enjoyed this movie.

After all, some things are so good, they're undeniable.

5/5 Stars

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