Watching the Hunger Games

I’m probably the last person i know to have watched The Hunger Games. For months prior to the opening, i’ve heard so many things about it, from the novel to behind-the-set movie information. So finally, after some much needed scheduling, the luvey and i watched it on the big screen.

Based on Suzanne Collin’s novel, The Hunger Games is basically about a girl living in a somewhat desolate future, in which teens are picked each year to fight to the death on TV.

I call it The Running Man meets Battle Royale.

I don’t want to go into technical details or such with this movie. Having not read the original novel it’s based on, i went into watching this with more of a moviegoer’s perspective. Having said that, this movie entertained me.

I enjoyed Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss Everdeen and she truly made me root for the character. Her performance in Sundance’s Winter’s Bone was truly thrilling to watch, which made me excited to see her in this role. Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta, Katniss’ partner/star-crossed lover, performed with focused attention that it made me sympathetic to him and his fate. I first noticed him in Bridge to Terabithia, which endeared me to his wide range of emotion.

The support cast also lent some interesting dynamic to the main characters, notably Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch (their “mentor”) Stanley Tucci’s Caesar (the game show host)and Lenny Kravitz’ Cinna (their “stylist”). I was honestly surprised that it was Elizabeth Banks playing Effie (the arranger of the Games) — she certainly had an interesting costume for this movie that i didn’t even recognize her!

The movie shows such stylized and sanitized visual language that you don’t really get to experience the blood and gore— take for example, the initial killings (in day 1), wherein the rations and weapons are fought over. The killing scenes are muted over with music, and the shaky visuals are cut and spliced to present a more “vague” idea of the killing spree.  Also, i’ve had it up to a certain point with all the shaky camera work. Honestly, one thing that completely destroyed Cloverfield and Blair Witch for me was exactly that — while i understand that it was to make the audience feel as if they were part of the scene, i believe that one should not feel like throwing up while being “in the moment” (totally ruins it, doncha think?)  I did, however, enjoy the sweet “kilig” moments the main characters presented — after all, it’s part of the strategy and they work it out so well.

With great aplomb, Katniss and Peeta manuever their way through the great game, besting out the rest with skill and strategy. From what i’ve read in other reviews, the action scenes’ bloodiness have been greatly reduced to achieve a rating good enough for kids to watch this movie, so i guess i’ll be reading the gore and details in the book. Still, it’s a good enough movie for me to consider reading the novel, so kudos! Since this is a trilogy novel, i’m guessing there’s still more to come.

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