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The Hunger Games

Hungry for more.

I know a lot of people who liked/loved the movie, but to be honest, it left me disappointed. I know very well that book-to-film adaptations are tricky, so I had low expectations on the film, except maybe for its story. Yet, I still foot-stomped my way out of the theater. Just consider this a book fan's self-righteous rant on how things should have turned out on the big screen.
To start off, the book is littered with fear, misery, destruction, and death, which I think was played down in the film for it to carry a PG 13 rating. Back stories of the avoxes (tongue-less Capitol servants in red), the scarcity of food (Katniss looks more toned than deprived), muttations (fallen tributes mutated into big dogs in the latter part of the game), and the terror caused by the uncertain and abrupt separation when the two were declared winners (well, we didn’t see this scene on film at all), just to name a few—all of which illustrate the great lengths the Capitol has taken to silence those who oppose it—were minimized, just like the fighting (with its dizzying shots) and the lack of pools of blood. I imagined a darker, more corrupt, and more dysfunctional world.

More like a bright and shiny picnic here.  

Second, the young love struggle was crappy. See, in the book, readers are privy to Katniss’ thoughts, her uncertainty with her feelings for both Peeta and Gale, and her hesitation to play the game and do what it takes to win. In the end, she's still very unsure of what she really feels for both guys—she already has a strong bond with Gale, hunting and surviving the desolate life they had in District 12, but she also developed a unique bond with Peeta, going through the game and surviving it together. I didn't get a feel of her difficult choices in the movie as it barely established and progressed both of her relationships properly.

Pffft as in "The Girl of Pffft-ire"

Third, the film had a huge budget but it looked like they skimped on special effects that should matter. Forget about the "Girl on Fire" scene, it isn't at all majestic like in the book. The "twirling dress on fire" scene was better executed, though. I didn't have an overpowering sense of how huge The Capitol was, and the train ride was indeed futuristic but minimally so. The Capitol's makeup and dress code was perfect, and the game room was nice and sleek.

An 11 for all in the film; a perfect 12 in the books.

All that said, I think Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss very well (I didn’t approve of her at first), although I'd say if only the script gave her more to work with, she could have given more depth to the role. Gale is basically just an add-on here but it's nice to see Liam Hemsworth and Lawrence have more chemistry than the other guy (Go, Team Gale!). He also deserves a thumbs-up for ditching his thick Aussie accent. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was okay (sorry, not really a fan of the actor or the character). The lack of chemistry between him and Lawrence was probably the writing's fault, too. Elizabeth Banks nailed Effie, Woody Harrelson worked well as Haymitch, and Lenny Kravitz rocked the gold eyeliner. But the always incredible Stanley Tucci as Ceasar Flickerman outshined them all.

See it and believe it!

The Hunger Games gets a six out of ten, for successfully translating the overall feel of the book—some points less accurate than others—in a less sick and less distorted movie version of Panem, giving the franchise a big room for improvement.

*photos from fanpop.com

You might also want to check out Sting Lacson's review of The Hunger Games.


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