BOOK HUNGRY: hunger games, the movie

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email and the phone. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius.

click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is: 

THE HUNGER GAMES, the movie

i know what you’re thinking. a movie? but you’re a BOOK club. you’re right, but this is the book that started us off and with a busy month had by all members, we decided to cut ourselves some slack go back to our roots. with the movie coming out on march 23, it was the perfect solution to an otherwise lackluster book hungry month, so onto the movie review!

what it’s about from IMDB: “Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.” But really, if you didn’t already know this, stop reading this post and go pick up the book. trust me, it’s worth it.

my opinion, the bad: i liked the gale/katniss chemistry better than the peeta/katniss chemistry (and i LOVED peeta in the books, so this caught me completely off guard.) there was too much behind the scenes of the games and not enough behind the scenes in the districts.

okay, i confess, when the movie started filming and actually before that when they were casting the movie, i read every freaking thing i could get my hands on because i was so excited and so worried. the book is so important to me, the movie had to be good.

one thing i read that pacified me was that since collins was writing (at least the first draft of) the screenplay, it would be faithfully rendered, but because it’s shifting from first person in the book to third person in the movie, new angles could be pursued. i was expecting families and friends and “cousins” to be interviewed as they used that as a means to introduce us to the characters in the arena and in the districts. i already know the capitol is evil and devious and moves the players throughout the arena like pawns. give me some more depth here! give me more of district 12. it’s so rich in detail in the books and not so in the movie. the only thing we get of district 12 is a lot of shaky cam shots.

i also felt the games focused too much on katniss vs. cato and not enough of katniss’s alliances (with rue and with peeta.) yes, i said it. both rue and peeta are amazing, well-drawn out characters in the book, but in the movie they fell flat. that’s through no fault of the actors, but because of the writing and the decision to devote more time to the violence of the games and less to the quiet, good moments the games can and does bring out.

as a side note, what’s really bad is what the reviews/people are focusing on. like this article for instance. (the article is good, but the fact it had to be written is unforgivable.) people are saying jennifer lawrence is fat and/or not skinny enough to play a “hungry” character. that’s just ridiculous. liam hemsworth looked pretty darn muscular to me and his character is living under the same exact conditions as jennifer’s. this one sided judgment drives me up a wall. i realize it’s the society we live in, but honestly, it needs to stop. and i’m not even touching what some uneducated fans are saying about the castings of rue and thresh. collins was very clear in her descriptions of them and they were perfectly portrayed in the movie. moving on.

the good: jennifer lawrence as katniss. woody harrelson as haymitch. elizabeth banks as effie. lenny kravitz as cinna. stanley tucci as caesar flickerman. they brought these characters to life beautifully, realistically, charmingly. the capitol was as garish and overdone (perfectly so). the costumes throughout the whole movie. peeta’s interview with caesar.

but my most favorite part? the reaping scene. the colors: district 12’s gray vs. effie’s bright pink. the pacing/timing. the emotions! jennifer lawrence was spot on. liam hemsworth was great. josh hutchinson was perfect. the girl who played prim was fabulous. and really, all of district 12 was wonderful. it was more than i ever could have imagined. it was the most brilliant example of collins’ writing brought to life.

the grade: B, B+. the world building, especially the capitol, was so wild to see brought to life. the “side” characters of haymitch, effie, and cinna were wonderful. jennifer lawrence was stunning, but for me, the movie lacked a certain sizzle that the book just oozes.

(all of these should be read with the caveat that i know this book alarmingly well, so my first viewing was bound to be nothing but me comparing the book to the movie. i think i need to see the movie again to appreciate it as a different medium and to appreciate it for what it is, not what it isn’t, because this is really one of the far better movie adaptations i’ve seen.)

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9 Responses to “BOOK HUNGRY: hunger games, the movie”

  1. Patty Says:

    OK, now I’m sad. We all bonded over this book and then, its movie. I feel sad that it’s done. *wipes tear* Well, there’s always Catching Fire to look forward to.

    Great review, Abby!

    • abby mumford Says:

      this sort of feels like we’re graduating from high school or something. we started freshman year with HG, the book and now we’re graduating with HG, the movie. you guys have been awesome classmates. let’s KIT. :)

  2. Karla Nellenbach Says:

    great review abby! I can definitely see why you might be disappointed by the movie. books are always always better, the question here is really the degree of betterness. in my opinion, this was a great, true to form representation of the book. but as i said in our discussion, i never have high expectations for movies…and still for most (Twilight, anyone?) i am still overwhelmingly disappointed with the end product.

    i think you should make the effort to see it again. suspend your expectations from the book and see how you feel after that.

    • abby mumford Says:

      i am definitely planning on seeing this again. i mean, if we go by how many times i’ve read the book (*cough* seven *cough*), i’ve got many more movie viewings ahead of me.

      bring it on!

  3. birdmaddgirl Says:

    I thought that overall the movie did a good job of capturing the spirit and the message of the book – no way to get all the same details in & I’m pretty willing to suspend my booklove as long as the movie holds up its end of the bargain.

    I felt like Haymitch & Peeta were big disappointments – not the actors, but from a script perspective. I *wanted* that abrasiveness from Haymitch (and I think Harrelson would have done a phenom job at it); I wanted that ambiguity and depth of Peeta’s character. It felt to me like the film took this hardline we-must-all-heart-Katniss-all-the-time stance that weakened otherwise strong characters and altered plot points in ways that I’m skeptical about for “Catching Fire.” One of my favorite things about the books is how Katniss is a strong young woman who you root for with equivocation. She’s far from perfect, and the way that Collins pulls her readers into loving Katniss despite the difficult parts of her is really compelling. Removing that ambiguity leaves a big unsatisfied hole for me.

    I mostly loved the film, though. It was exciting and thoughtful – I felt like the behind-the-scenes at the Capitol stuff worked well in the movie. It felt perhaps a tad heavy-handed but not overdone. Tucci was such a joy to watch. Above all, I’m thrilled to see a film for young adults driven by a young woman who is grappling with really major issues that is handled in a mature and serious fashion. It’s past and again time for girls and women to have heroines on our own terms, who can be women while they’re being awesome.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post! :)
    heather

    • abby mumford Says:

      thanks for the thoughtful (and complete!) comment!!!! also, welcome to my corner of the blogisphere. :)

      you make a ton of valid points, but none more so than the point that since the movie captured the same spirit and message as the book, we should suspend our book love. the movie did do that, i just never thought about it like that, so now that i have, i’m on board with it. thank you for bringing me some clarity!

  4. Kelly Breakey (@kellybreakey) Says:

    Let me know what you think after you’ve gone to see it a second time.

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