If you tuned into my Hunger Games Hype post or my Team Peeta post or any other number of posts through which I gushed about my anticipation of The Hunger Games movie, you know I’m not a typical fan of book-to-movie (BTM) adaptations. They’ve always ranged from disappointing (any Nicholas Sparks BTM) to what were you thinking ? (Twilight) The book is always WAY better (Percy Jackson) because well, they just can’t squeeze
Cue Hunger Games BTM, one I was weirdly NEVER skeptical about. My excitement started last summer when I talked about production with friends. In October I told my kids I was going to the midnight premiere and was going to get a hat or cape or SOMETHING that would make me look like I was on fire.
Then came the trailers—trailers I watched more times than can possibly be acceptable—every time tearing up, my heart stopping, sometimes full-blown out shakes and sobs.
Then the heightened blogosphere buzz, the red carpet premiere. Twitter talk and Facebook shares.
Most people who know me would think I was setting myself for a big disappointment. But I never even thought that. I just knew this movie would be so amazingly awesome and true to the story.
And it was.
Are there things I was disappointed in? Yeah. But overall, this movie did what most BTMs fail to do—capture the essence of the story and portray it in a way that tugs at my heart and brings all emotions to the surface—just like the book. Most major plot points were there, and if they weren’t, I understood why not. So, I’m not going to tell you what I didn’t like.
I’m going to gush about those things I LOVED.
1) Casting—you can’t…CAN’T expect a BTM to succeed without casting a strong actor for the leading role. It’s why I like the Harry Potter movies and why Twilight failed. I know what you’re thinking—an epic movie does not one person make, but a leading lady can KILL it. JLaw was BOMB. She nailed Katniss—has from the moment I saw her in released trailer #1. And I CAN’T WAIT to see her in Catching Fire.
And the rest of the casting choices—BRILLIANT. No, really. Every single one of them—Josh Hutcherson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci…EVERYONE. They brought the characters to life on the screen like Suzanne Collins did on the page. If there was anyone I was disappointed in, it was Liam Hemsworth, and only…ONLY because he made me feel bad for Gale (he made me actually like Gale, but only a little). Something I didn’t ever feel in the books.
2) Contrasts—the poverty of District 12—the Seam, the Hob. Everything looking so pre-colonial. Everything rustic and earthy and bland. Everything quiet. And then as soon as you hit the Capitol—hoo boy. Pump up the volume and cue the eccentric. PERFECT.
3) Seneca Crane’s last scene—won’t say any more than that
4) If you’ve read The Hunger Games, you know that we only see things from Katniss’ point of view. I enjoyed the behind the scenes Capitol action—seeing conversations between President Snow and Seneca Crane, Haymitch’s pleas to the sponsors, the Star Wars like “game room” where key moves were made for what happened in the arena.
5) The emotional intensity—Teaser trailers are often just that—teasers. They get me pumped for the big screen, and a lot of times those intense, emotional moments that get me hyped fall short in the actual movie. Not so much with Hunger Games. I joked about needing twenty boxes of tissues—no joke. The Reaping, the interview, Rue’s death—they all got me *fists chest* right here.
6) The tracker jackers—they weren’t as big as expected—but the scene was pretty epic.
7) Haymitch—yes, I would’ve loved to see more of his drunk side, but he was so good, SO GOOD.
8) The lead up to the Games - the parade, the interview. Caesar - the PERFECT Hunger Games host
9) Cato, Clove—casting I was worried about because I just pictured them bigger, butchier. More lethal looking. Uh-uh. They were BRILLIANT. Have I mentioned how GENIUS the casting was?
10) Peeta/Katniss - yes, the cave scene needed to last longer. Yes, I would have loved to see more of the Katniss/Peeta relationship developed. Yes, I pictured a much thicker, stockier Peeta, BUT those things are SO minor in comparison to why I could really GUSH about them all week long: Peeta won my heart from the moment the camera shot to him in the Reaping. My heart still skittered in my chest when he revealed his crush . And Katniss—when she went to bat for him at the dinner table and in training. In that moment we knew she was FINALLY falling for him. When she thought she lost him. When he touched her braid. I could prattle on. Love him. Love them. The boy with the bread definitely deserves the girl on fire.
So. There’s my Hunger Games gush. Have YOU seen The Hunger Games? Are you still on a Hunger Games high? What was your favorite part?