For someone who never read the Hunger Games books, I was somewhat surprised with the movie in both good and bad ways. Luckily I had read a synopsis online of what the movie was supposed to be about, so I was slightly prepared for what to expect: Every year a “Reaping” takes place. People who have committed some type of “crime” against (what they call) the Capitol, gets their names put into a drawing for possible candidacy for the Hunger Games.
When the Reaping happens, two names are drawn from each of the 12 districts, a man/boy and a woman/girl. The two people, whose names are drawn, called Tributes, are then taken away and are trained and prepared to participate in the Games. Granted I missed the first 5 minutes or so of the movie because I had to run two-blocks from where I was parked to make it into the theater as fast as I could, the beginning hadn’t seemed to really explain much of anything about why these “Hunger Games” were beginning to take place.
What I caught was the Reaping was starting to take place. A girl named Primrose had been called to the female Tribute. Primrose’s older sister Katniss then protests against her sister participating in the Games and immediately volunteers herself, in which she immediately becomes District 12’s female Tribute. Katniss’ friend Peeta becomes District 12’s male Tribute.
The people who reside in the Capitol wear some of the most ridiculous clothing; most of which looked like it came out of Lady Gaga’s personal wardrobe, while the rest of it looked like something you’d see from a Tim Burton movie. On the way to the Capitol, Katniss and Peeta are told that they need to become “likeable” so they can earn themselves sponsors which could help keep them alive during the Games depending on what each Tribute needed. The first thing that happens to result in them becoming likeable, is their dressed in some black outfit and set on fire while riding in a gladiator-like carriage.
Secondly, they’re “interviewed” by Caeser Flickerman (played by Stanley Tucci from Devil Wears Prada), and finally have to showcase their skills by choosing a weapon of their choice and demonstrating their skills. While you don’t get to see much of Katniss’ skills of archery with her bow-and-arrow during their training, you do get to see some pretty awesome skills that Peeta possess: he can “paint” himself to look like his surroundings, which came in handy later in the movie. Peeta, during his interview, also confesses that he has feelings for Katniss (but which is pointless since they’re supposed to kill each other anyways). Because of this image that was created, they earned their nickname: the Star-Crossed Lovers.
Katniss’ moment to shine comes when it’s her turn to demonstrate her archery skills in front of a group of sponsors. Despite her being shaky, and missing her target (which causes the sponsors to ultimately ignore her), she finds another way to gain their attention: shooting the apple out of a pig’s mouth in which the sponsors were eating.
When the Games finally begin, this movie pushes its PG-13-rating limit with its gruesomeness and child brutality and murder. While you can’t actually see any “gory” killing taking place, seeing a group of teenagers dominate the rest of the Tributes with their weapons and victim’s blood flying around you’d think this movie’s rating was a mistake; surely it should’ve been rated R, but because of the age of the fan base, they were able to keep it PG-13 (somehow).
What had disappointed me about this movie was its lack of action. Although you do see Katniss’ tree-climbing abilities and tracking skills, there is little REAL action that actually takes place in this movie. I’m sure there’s probably TONS more described in the book, but since I didn’t read it I’m stuck with the amount of action presented to me in this movie, which is few-and-far in between.
The one thing I could’ve absolutely lived without in this movie is the camera’s love of jerkiness and intense motion. In a scene where Katniss is beginning to hallucinate from the amount of stings she received from these wasp-like bugs called Tracker-Jackers, the camera decides to give you the feelings that Katniss is feeling by continuously moving around. I, myself, grabbed my phone to “check the time” and “check my messages” just so I had something STABLE to look at and wouldn’t have to leave the theater in case I started feeling nauseated.
There’s also another scene that takes place in which one of the Tribute’s (named Rue) was killed, and Katniss is placing flowers around and on her body in a sign of respect for the young girl (and apparently in “disgust” of the Capitol). In this scene the camera stands above Katniss and Rue and walks around them in a circle, repeatedly (just like in the scene of New Moon where Bella is laying on the forest floor after Edward leaves her). Really, camera man? We could’ve lived without those nauseating camera-movements!
The movie also has a few of those “What?! That’s not fair!” kind-of moments. The big pile of “good stuff” seen in the very beginning of the Games becomes hoarded by a group of teenagers who teamed up and strategically planted mines around it, to protect it from the other Tributes. To even the odds, Katniss destroys this pile of stuff so this team has to survive the same way everyone else does: scavenging for food.
Although Peeta is originally recruited into this team, he is later found completely painted and blended into a group of rocks by a lake to camouflage himself from his ex-teammates who are now trying to kill him too. Katniss finds Peeta, sees how injured he is, and risks her life to get him medicine to heal his wounds.
Another, “What?! That’s not fair!” moment that occurs, is when this dog/wolf/bear-looking thing is created and unleashed into the dome to kill as many Tributes as possible to hurry and end the Games; which ultimately did, leaving three Tributes alive, because they got to high enough ground. One of them was the leader of the “team” of teenagers that was formed.
Over-all I thought the movie was “Okay”. I felt they probably could’ve done a better job with the movie and added more action to it but, again, I haven’t read the books to know how much action really takes place to begin with. There were some good parts to the movie, and some parts that I was unsatisfied with. I think because of these “unsatisfactory” things I found in the movie, I’ll probably go and pick up the Hunger Games series and read them to clarify these things. Mostly, I REALLY want to know is the significance of that hummingbird symbol that is not only the book cover itself, but appears within the movie too. Alas… It all comes back to me reading those books…. Well, I guess, here I come.