Yesterday, to celebrate Mother's Day, I took myself on a date to see The Hunger Games. Because there was no better way to congratulate myself on keeping my kids alive for 5 and 2 1/2 years respectively, than to watch some marginally attractive teens slaughter each other.
I feel like it is important to note that I just finished reading The Hunger Games a couple of weeks ago, so the book was pretty fresh in my mind. I haven't started Catching Fire yet, so I'm not sure if some of the things that I'm going to talk about are actually inferred from the other two books or if they were writing choices, JUST FYI.
In general, I enjoyed the movie, but the first 25 minutes or so kind of put me off. For one, there is the matter of Gale. Bless you, child, but no. The acting. Was. So. Bad. He looks like the love child of Channing Tatum and John Krasinski.
WAIT WHAT HE IS ACTUALLY THE YOUNGER BROTHER OF CHRIS HEMSWORTH?!?!?!?!?
I shall grant you a pass.
Also, I will add here that I don't understand why Katniss and Gale have PERFECT WHITE TEETH, when everyone else in District 12 looks like they belong in an old-timey photo from the Dust Bowl.
Maybe I've moved ahead of myself a bit. Surely, you are familiar with the plot of this movie, yes? Let me do a quick recap: We're living in a future America known as Panem, which is split into 12 districts. There used to be 13, but nearly 75 years ago, the 13th District rebelled against The Capitol, and in retaliation The Capitol destroyed the whole place. Now, every year, one girl and one boy from each District are chosen to battle to the death in what is called The Hunger Games, an annual reminder to never try to rise up against The Capitol again. Your name goes into the drawing once you turn 12. You can get extra rations of grain and food if you put your name in more than once (Gale's name is in there, like 48 times every year, yet he is inexplicably never chosen. It must be his perfect teeth and his ice-cold robotic acting that keeps him safe.). Katniss has a younger sister named Prim, and this is her first year in the drawing, so her name is only in once, and WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT SHE GETS CHOSEN. So what is Katniss to do but volunteer?
The boy from District 12 who gets chosen is named Peeta. He's the son of the baker, and one time he threw Katniss a loaf of bread when she was passing out under a tree in the rain. This is important or something.
We didn't start the fire.
I kind of felt like the whole story was rushed. Again, I understand that there are a lot of things that happen, but it seems to me that if you have never read the book, there is no way that you would be able to follow what in the hell was happening. Dear Lenny Kravitz: YOU WERE PERFECTION AS CINNA. You should always wear gold eyeliner. ALWAYS.
The art of the artful beard.
The Hunger Games is written in the first person, and is told by Katniss, so I greatly enjoyed the bits of the movie that showed things that were happening outside of the game itself. In particular, I loved Seneca, who was the Game Maker. He is basically the epitome of douchebag reality television producer, and he has the greatest beard I have ever seen. It was very interesting to me to see him making decisions about how to change the game as it was happening, to make things more entertaining. Or, you know, BLOODY.
Wig, courtesy of Randy Quaid in Kingpin.
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. ALL OF THE AWARDS TO YOU GOOD SIR. I love him in everything, obvs, but he was so great as the cantankerous mentor who eventually softens to the point where he is, you know, helpful. I was glad that they decided not to include the part of the story where he trips in his own vomit, because ew.
Let's get to the games, shall we? I felt like the pace was good, although they were actually in the game for about 12 days and it felt more like 5. They didn't do a very good job making anyone seem like they were, how shall I put this, hungry or dehydrated or freezing or anything even remotely uncomfortable. It was kind of like an awkward camping trip. With lots of bloodshed.
EVERYBODY WHO CRIED WHEN RUE DIED SAY YEAH!
Quite possibly my biggest beef of the whole movie adaptation was when Rue died. To me, one of the most poignant things that happens during the game is that Katniss receives the parachute from District 11, containing the croissant, which she knew the entire District must have chipped in for as an acknowledgement that they knew that she cared for Rue and was pissed off that she died. INEXPLICABLY LEFT OUT OF THE MOVIE. WHYYYYY. Instead, we see a semi-uprising happening in District 11. Was this a real thing that was revealed to have happened in one of the other books, or was this how they chose to show that District 11 was mad in the movie? Because I don't know about you, but the croissant would have been a much better way to go as KATNISS WAS PRETTY MUCH STARVING AT THIS POINT IN THE BOOK. #TheSatiatedGames
Shortly after this point, Katniss finds Peeta (after about three minutes, following the stream which magically appeared to her even though she had to search for over a day in the book MOVIE MAGIC WHATEVER), and he is all jacked up, and even though she thought he was working against her, they are suddenly chummy.
The Hutch: 85% More Attractive When Dirty
The whole, "Katniss, I have been in love with you since age 6" thing didn't really play out for me. I don't know. Maybe it was because I imagined Katniss to be stone-cold and slower on the uptake, and she was kind of sweet during the team-event portion of the game. Maybe it's because we couldn't hear what she was thinking like we could in the book, and Jennifer Lawrence was okay, but not great at conveying emotion. Maybe it's because by this point, I really had to pee.
Katniss wasn't with Peeta for long before it seemed like the whole thing was coming to a close. I always wondered how Peeta knew not to eat the poison berries, because in the book I thought that they were back-to-back in the end, but here they were facing each other and barely raised their hands up before the whole thing was over and they were declared joint-winners. They didn't touch at all on Katniss' sort of collapse of emotions once everything was over. It was just a quick montage of her doing the interview and then the party where she was crowned, and then the train ride back to District 12. I don't even know, man. I think I liked this movie?
PEETA DOESN'T NEED YOUR CROWN OKAY.
The end was a hot mess of emotion for me. Yay for defying The Capitol, and OH SNAP for President Snow's controlled rage, which will no doubt become less controlled at some point, and OKAY to no reaction from Katniss when Peeta tells her that he doesn't want their farcical romance to end even though the games are over, and ALL OF THE CREYS FOR GALE WHO OBVIOUSLY HAS FEELS FOR KATNISS. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.
Number of other people in the theater with me: 8 (including 2 drugged teens that left about an hour and a half in, and two women in their 50s who were there with their elderly mothers (WHY))
Percentage of popcorn consumed before the feature started: 75%
Number of times I considered how impossible this movie would be to follow for someone who had not read the book: 7
Most obvious of these times: When I realized that they barely mentioned who Haymitch was, and for that matter, why he was at all relevant
Most distracting plot omission: The struggle to stay hydrated/fed
Best wig: Stanley Tucci
Second best wig: Elizabeth Banks
Number of times I screwed up my face at the omission/change of plot: 9
Number of creys: 1 (RUUUUUUUUUUUE)
Final Assessment: I love the boy with the bread.
THE HUNGERRRRRRRR GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMES!!!