Only serious flaw is that without Katniss’ internal monologue, the moments where Katniss is acting badly will come across as Jennifer Lawrence acting badly to those unfamiliar to the source material.
I thought it was pretty clear that she was uncomfortable on stage, and that her sappy teen-romance lines were just another tool to survive. Wasn’t each bad-acting moment accompanied by a “viewers at home” shot? I thought the change in POV made those parts distinctive.
Someone start a site for “Is most of ___ in italics, or is it just me?” ie, I’m curious if everyone else sees everything on mightygodking.com in italics after the title.
I thought that it was conveyed pretty well, and I picked up on it without having read the book at all…but ideally they would have spent a little time in the middle where we see her really learning how to play that game and making a commitment to it as a winning strategy. Probably would at least clear it up some for people who don’t pick it up.
Then again, most of the audience for this movie seems to be teenage girls and as a group they have never really shown themselves too capable of distinguishing between good and bad acting. So, whatever? I guess?
And yes, Kyle W. Everything but the post title is in italics.
Why can’t I hold all these italics.
Are the books any good? I’ve only heard of them. Haven’t seen the movie either, so comparing the two won’t do any good.
And the only words I see in italics are ‘Katniss’ and ‘Jennifer Lawrence’. Maybe it’s been changed or something.
Mitchell Hundred: The first book can be accurately and completely summarised as “The Running Man, for tweens”. Which is not a bad thing, but it really does feel like a YA novel. In fact, the closest comparison I can come up with is Harry Potter, except without all the crazy-annoying Meaningful Names.
I liked the books a lot.
The movie was pretty good too, dancing on the edge of being great.
It reads a bit like one of the better Heinlein juveniles to me. And I consider that high praise.
Pretty good satire in it for a YA novel, too.
Bookwise, the trilogy was a series of diminishing returns, for me. The first one was very good–it was a better written Battle Royale (albeit from a 1st person perspective) and provided some neat ideas about the society it came from. The second felt like a repeat, which isn`t surprising, given the premise, but some of the new characters were interesting enough to hold my interest. By the third book, though, the melodrama reaches a rather fevered pitch and Katniss seems to slide between naive and indecisive. I actually went away from it thinking that it`s a shame that teenage girls were left with such a wishy-washy sci-fi model.
Less Running Man and more Spartacus, with explicit and implicit references to the Arena, retiarii, wild beast shows, “we who are about to die salute you,” gladiators as both slaves and rock stars, divide and conquer, the provinces supposedly being protected by the City that drains them of grain, fuel and labour, salting the earth, District 13 delenda est, and we are all Mockingjay, to pick a few.
The problem I’m having, after seeing the movie and then talking to people who have read the books, is that the “divisive” aspect of the Games is not made at ALL clear. In the movie it just seems like a bread-and-circuses spectacle, and it’s never clear why it would be enough to help keep the Districts in line, or why Katniss being kind to Rue would be so bizarre or remarkable. The fact that the winning District gets more food and wealth (hence the title of the freaking movie) goes unmentioned. The eventual riot seems like something that should have happened long, long before. It’s enough to seriously hobble the film.
The big criticism I’ve heard of the film is that it was guilty of moral cowardice, side-stepping or downplaying the violence and the horror of the story to make it more marketable. Perhaps understandable, given they weren’t really setting out to make anything revolutionary, but it suggests the people making the film had no real faith or investment in their story.
As a fan of the trilogy, I thought the movie was extremely well-done, but with a 2 hr 20 min run time, it would’ve been near impossible to examine the political/social climate of the country without pushing it past 3 hours, which is really the strong point of the books.
Prankster, I think you are absolutely right, that the one thing missing is exactly how the Games serve to not only help The Capitol keep the districts in line, but pit the districts against each other for the right to survive, the tributes a microcosm of a larger battle for food/shelter/water amongst entire populations. For example, in the book it’s considered extremely touching when District 11 sends Katniss/Peeta food (or is it medicine) because the thought of a district supporting another district’s kids is unheard of.
Other than that, entertaining film that hits most of the points it needed to while appealing to 20-somethings (like me) and tweens alike.
Brendan, I dont think that was all the result of the PG13 as the director has talked about deliberately trying not to glorify the violence, to make the killing seem “cool” (that’s why none of them will be in 3D) Which is the same problem that comes up in critical discussions of war movies or in fact was raised back when Ridley Scott’s Gladiator came out. And which I felt was a problem even as a kid with the Indiana Jones movies which had some hella gory bits in them.
(I also forgot the vomitoria cocktails in book 2.)
It wouldn’t make sense to make the film R-rated, anyway. It’s an adaptation of a YA book (ages 12-18; though of course it has an older fanbase as well). It’s true that a literal adaptation would undoubtedly be R-rated, but that’s a consequence of the difference between what you can write on the page and what you can put on screen.
I don’t think it would make any sense to adapt it into a film that most of the book’s target audience couldn’t see without adult accompanyment.
I saw it yesterday. I have not read the books and I tried to watch it with an open mind.
I did not like it. There was a pretty good story hidden in there, that much I could get but the actual games, were very badly handled. All in all it came off as a soap opera with plot holes and sanitised violence. Judging by the love the books have out there, I am guessing that the film only skimmed the deep parts.
Why was it called the Hunger Games? Reading some of the replies above, this is explained but it did not seem to be touched on in the movie.
Overall I could tell that the audience that were in the cinema with me (the vast majority of which were teenage girls) were happy with the film but it just lacked something for me.
Over on Twitter @arric summed it up for me
“What is the Hunger Games called in France? Battle Royale with cheese”
The books gloss over the violence somewhat. I don’t mean that they shy away from it, but they certainly don’t linger on descriptions of gore, so keeping it somewhat sanitized in the movie makes perfect sense to me. Personally, I think they should have played up, a little, the Peeta romance is an act angle, and used that to better illustrate the way that the games are really one of the many tools that the Capitol uses to control every aspect of the lives of those in the districts, but overall, I thought that it was as good as a movie version of a book can be.
Crap. One other thing. Lenny Kravitz and Woody Harrelson are both excellent in their roles as understated but vital characters.
The books gloss over the violence somewhat. I don’t mean that they shy away from it, but they certainly don’t linger on descriptions of gore,
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I want to make a point about this. I thought that the first book especially was amazingly disturbing BECAUSE Collins chose to make the descriptions so matter-of-fact rather than dwelling on which bits of gore splattered where. It made the whole enterprise all the more chilling to me at least because my imagination filled in the gaps.
And I agree with the diminishing returns – the first book is nightmare fuel for me (possibly because I’m the parent of a small child), the second book is decent 1970s era sci-fi material (I say that as a fan of the novel Logan’s Run, so it isn’t a knock – it just doesn’t compare to the first book as far as visceral reactions go), and by the third book I can almost read Collins screaming “Goddamn it isn’t this book finished yet?” as I make my way through the text. It’s a light read (it’s never difficult to keep reading), but it seems like she set too big of a “plot goal” for the series to wrap up in three books but the character arcs aren’t strong enough to last for three books. So the plot feels rushed while at the same time my interest in the character arcs sputters out at the beginning of the third book. To me anyway – if I were 13 years old and reading this for the first time it might feel just right.
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