Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Yes, I’m a bit shocked myself to be writing that high of a rating, but I was pleasantly surprised with this adaptation. After waiting in a relatively long line for a 10:30 a.m. showing, my dad and I watched the much-anticipated “The Hunger Games.” Clocking in at almost 2.5 hours, it certainly didn’t feel that long, since I was enthralled every second.
The cast did brilliantly, not overdoing their acting, but not behaving like robots either. Sure, Jennifer Lawrence has been criticized for her feminine curves, and while I was concerned when learning of the cast that their looks wouldn’t be realistic, I understand that it’s unethical to actually starve actors for their roles. Plus, don’t people realize she’s been nominated for an Oscar for “Winter’s Bone?” She does a great job as Katniss, and just because she’s got boobs and a butt doesn’t mean she’s too sexy for the role. So, I’d like to tell The New York Times to politely shut their face.
As for the setting, Panem looked fantastic. I loved the contrast between the ultra-modern Capitol and the rural districts. Those who haven’t read the books might find the flamboyant Capitol citizens a bit cheesy in their crazy outfits and makeup, but I’d also like to tell them to politely shut their faces. The movie was not made for you.
While the first scenes were great, from the heartbreaking Reaping to the tributes’ training, we all waited in suspense for the Games to begin. I found it very meta that we were just as excited as the Capitol to watch these kids kill each other. We are part of the problem, and Suzanne Collins is making an excellent point that our society is disturbingly obsessed with violence. Our reality TV culture has made us the least common denominator, and that need for voyeurism made me uncomfortable.
That being said, I still feel that the actual gore was diluted down too much, especially with Cato’s death. I kept thinking to myself as I read the scene, How are they going to show a boy get reduced to a skinless, meaty pulp? Well, they didn’t, of course. Should they have? I can understand that the producers did not want to lose most of their demographic with an “R” rating, but I feel pretty jipped as an adult. If I made the decisions, there would be two DVD versions–the theatrical version and an adult-only one that maintains the book’s level of brutality.
Overall, I was very pleased with the film, and I recommend it to any fan of the series. Perhaps if the filmmakers keep this up, I won’t be as upset watching “Mockingjay” as I was reading it. Well, one can hope, right? And as President Snow said, “Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear.”