March 30, 2012

Hunger Games

I finally saw the movie The Hunger Games a while ago. To be honest, I was preparing myself to be disappointed as I felt like there was too much hype and attention revolving around the movie. I was not familiar with the books, and the only things I knew about the plot were the ones I got from the trailer. A lot of people were praising the movie through their Facebook statuses, tweets, or simple conversations. Even critics praised the movie, which I don't usually consider in a film since critics can be way too critical sometimes. All these things got me curious and I finally got to see the amazing thing people have been talking about.

I liked the film much more than I thought I would. The concept itself (though similar to Battle Royale) is, I think, still new to some members of the audience. The premise of the story attracts certain movie-goers and instigates curiosity from the rest. Suzanne Collins provided a good story (from what I picked out from the trailer and movie, though I'm sure the book provides a more elaborate development of the story. It was left to Gary Ross to actualize the artistry of Collins and I'm pretty sure everyone would agree that he did it. Like I said, I did not expect to like the film. I was expecting an OK experience, but I got a whole lot more than OK.

The development of the story was a little rocky on some parts, but as a whole, it was well executed. The timing, the dialogue, the blocking of the actors; everything was in order. I also liked the visuals the film presented. The setting of the movie was not overdone, but still had an appeal. The whole cinematography worked for me. The visuals, the audio, and the atmosphere were all captivating, to say the least. The movie as a whole was impressive and I enjoyed sitting there and watching the movie. Having no idea what was gonna happen next added to my excitement to see how the story would unfold. The anticipation didn't hurt since the film delivered.

The cast was probably the best part of the movie in my opinion. I think this movie has one of the best ensemble created for a film. Everyone made each second count. The stars of the film were excellent, but credit must also be given to the other actors who played smaller roles. This film gathered the greatest young stars and molded, in my opinion, one of the best casts. I think that's saying a lot considering I've never seen any of them in any of their other works and movies, except for Amandla Stenberg who was part of Columbiana, a movie I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jennifer Lawrence gave justice to the character of Katniss. Again, I'm not familiar with the story and the book, but I think I got the essence of who Katniss should be and that's exactly what I got from Jennifer Lawrence. She portrayed fear, joy, strength, and all the other emotions that required the audience to empathize with her. Watching the trailer, she made me excited to watch the movie. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth also gave strong performances. Liam Hemsworth as Gale did not receive that much screen time, but I think he made his limited screen time have an impact. The only thing I noticed was how there was an awkwardness in his worried look. Josh Hutcherson's Peeta was definitely interesting. I keep going back to the scene in the cave where he was sick and how that scene triggered different emotions (of course, it must be mentioned how Lawrence's portrayal of Katniss made the scene that much genuine). THe interaction between Katniss and Peeta was very believable, mostly because the actors made it work. Their so-called chemistry was very apparent and very authentic.

Woody Harrelson's portrayal of Haymitch was definitely a highlight. The drunken mentor was someone I continuously anticipated, although the latter part of the film depicted him in a more sane way. He just made this character likeable. Aside from Harrelson, there are three more actors I enjoyed watching. First is Lenny Kravitz, Katniss' adviser (not only in a fashion sense). Kravitz was reliable. He managed to showcase a true supporter of Katniss. If I read the book, I probably would not care about the character Cinna, but his presence in the film was definitely note-worthy. Alexander Ludwig as Cato drew attention from some of the people in the theater; and it was definitely a positive one. From his deadly stare to his heartless killing, Cato just encapsulated a perfect villain for a strong heroine like Katniss. From the beginning, we all knew that Cato would be a heartless soul, but that perception changed towards the end of the movie when he presented his vulnerability. I think what's different is Cato somehow managed to make members of the audience root for him, especially in his last scene. Ludwig created the perfect balance of evilness and heart, a clear sign that he is an amazing actor. The character Rue played by Amandla Stenberg made me smile and caused a sense of depression as well. Her character was a refreshing site situated in the intensity of the game. Rue was a pleasure to watch and it was a sad moment when she died. In my eyes, Amandla Stenberg is always a pleasure to watch, and I've only seen two of her movies. I'm excited to what she will do next because the kid has what it takes to blow your mind. Great performance indeed.

I probably should mention Dayo Okeniyi's scene when he saved Katniss. That was badass! Too bad we didn't get to see much from his character. Also Jacqueline Emerson as Foxface. She looked really beautiful and I loved the cleverness of her character. Isabelle Fuhrman was amazing as clove. really feisty and a real badass. She has this glare that was perfect for Clove. I wish the film featured her more! My most memorable scene with Leven Rambin in it was the one with the bees.

I think one of the disappointments I had in the film was how little time the film spent on developing the interactions of Katniss and Peeta with the other tributes. Also, how the tributes trained in preparation for the hunger games. With that, people would have seen the dynamics of the tributes and provided a better build-up for the game, specifically Katniss vs Clove and Katniss and Peeta vs Cato. I wish they showed just a few more minutes of the training phase of the tributes. I honestly think it would have escalated the development of the film's story line. However, I think it's obvious that the story line worked out well. These are just personal preferences.

Another one was how little the film focused on the game. As I have mentioned, I felt the time spent on the training of the tributes was very little. I'm not sure how Collins developed the story in her works, but I would have liked to see a little more action in the actual game. I felt that the film provided a very interesting premise but it focused more on the romance aspect of it. Maybe just a few more minutes of action showcasing the strengths of the tributes would have been better. Again, this is only a matter of personal preferences.

Breaking box-office records, I'm sure a lot of you have seen it already. Maybe some of you haven't. If you belong to the latter group, I strongly recommend the movie. It's worth the time and money, that I can assure you.

I probably should read the book and compare it to the film in order to understand the story itself.


  1. Take away the hullabaloo surrounding the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling young adult book and what you have is an absorbing film with a dire premise that stands pretty much on its own. Lawrence is also the stand-out here as Katniss and makes her seem like a real person rather than just another book character brought to life on film. Good review.

    1. Wow! Thank you! Yes, Jennifer Lawrence was definitely amazing as Katniss. I am now a fan of her and am excited for her next projects.