Friday, March 23, 2012

Movie Review: Hungry for More of The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Updated: Check out the latest movie news on Catching Fire, The Hunger Games sequel.

And may the odds be ever in your favor! We have seen a lot of books that were turned to movies. John, being an avid reader and book collector, knows most of them and he can surely say that there are misses and hits. Lucky for this year we had a full serving of The Hunger Games and it's surely a certified hit.

Let's digest what made this movie a great one and worthy of our attention:

The Adaptation From Book

It is always hard to adapt a book into a movie, most especially if it has a legion of die hard followers who wanted to hear every line of dialogue incorporated into the movie. This is not possible, of course. But with The Hunger Games it has made ways to be faithful to the book despite a few alteration. It would have been very dragging should Katniss's monologue on the book were translated as is in the movie, but by doing how it was done exactly in the movie: it was amazing artistically and very effective at that.

A viewer would certainly be bored, even if he is an avid fan if each and every thought that the main character had will be blurted out in the screen. Instead it was done in a sport commentary kind of way that Stanley Tucci, playing the your-friend-your-enemy host Caesar, effectively conveyed. All in all, even the most avid fan would agree that the book was best adapted as we see it in the movie. I dare say there could be no better way to do it.

The Cast of Actors and Their Acting

The cast of actors, having been involved in some adaptations before, are familiar and more likely relatable. After seeing how sincere Jennifer Lawrence's acting was I can't imagine should the role have landed to other actors that were considered for the role. Josh Hutcherson's Peeta Mellark is as supposed as he should be, portraying a very strong guy that still emanates a complexity of vulnerability and weakness. Elizabeth Banks's Effie Trinket was also a bonus.

We don't get the usual cheesy combination of actors who can't barely act the way I wanted them to, but these actor being fans of the book themselves surely put there passion on every acting they did in order to give as a unique and very convincing portrayal of each characters. Except one, Woody Harrelson's Haymitch could have been better, I believe.

The Special and Physical Effects, and Production

Who would have not felt the dread of seeing District 12's dilapidated condition as opposed to the majestic living of the Capitol? There, we can already see the contrast of living between two opposing locations. One would surely sympathize on the conditions of the district people: how they suffer, how they have barely something to eat and how those devil may care Capitol people seem not to notice all these.

We see the big difference even in the color palette. The Capitol enjoys the colorful and extravagant collection of fizz and dills on their garments and make up showing how they can spend dearly on ornaments that they could live without, while the extreme districts, slurp the crumbs on the mud and have barely nothing to protect them from the harsh weather. It's as if I could almost say that this is not a movie, but a "documentary on poverty."

The movie has an effective way of rendering physical effects, but I can say that they could still improve on the special one. I mean I was expecting the girl on fire to be truly on fire. And after seeing the fiery attire the District 12 champions wore during the parade I was like, "Is that it?" On the other hand, the futuristic architecture was certainly CGI and I commend the movie for that convincing and creative feel on it,.

The Creatures and the Mythology

In the book, we see creatures and other beings that only reside on this story. They are unique and have the right of their own to express their existence. But in the movie we barely even know of their backgrounds and the mythology behind their existence. We have a very fast glimpses of mockingjays and tracker jackers and they were not really given a hundred percent justice.

And the genetically modified wolves? What happened to them? In the book they were even given the spirit and characters of the victims that died during the game. Why did they have to be showcased like some automaton and brutish creatures without showing the hatred and the feeling of revenge of the victims that should have been there.

Only a few areas of the book has not been given much emphasis and this is one of them.

The Relationship and The Love Affairs

Everyone in the cinema was crying over the fate that Rue has to go through. One annoying viewer even has the guts to wail and let the whole viewers know she is really affected. This is a manifest that the relationship between Katniss and Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg, was really at its best portrayal. And this goes back to the cast's good acting. I can clearly state that there is a chemistry between the two characters: one remembering her younger sister with the other and another needing a mature guidance showing how vulnerable she is during the entire competition.

But who would forget Katniss's and Peeta's love affair? We may have not heard Katniss say each and every thought to feel that she really is confused about the matter, but we still have the feel of it by how the two star crossed lover interacted all the time. It was awkward at the moment since Katniss is undecided by then, but when the time they have to show they are intimate they did there best, and how lovely and convincing it was on screen. And the best part of all this is the remorse that Gale Hawthorne (played by Liam Hemsworth) has to feel seeing his most loved girl being caressed by another man.

The Overall Impact of the Movie

I say, after having lost fate on books turned to movies, I have disappointed my self again on this negative expectation, because simply this one is very good. From the technicalities of movie making up to the visual area of it I can say the the movie has made a very good job. It may not have been very perfect, but who cares there is no perfect movie out there (and if there is it's not many, I guess). What matters most is for the two hours and 20 minutes that I spent watching the movie is a an equivalent amount of time that I feel I have been transported to a world which is very different from what we have now. It was a convincing movie that I  felt I was almost trapped into that distant dystopia.

I praise the director and the cast and all the people behind this movie, because they have given us something good, something worthwhile. All these were achieved, because of their passion and dedication in satisfying this not-so-die-hard fan among many others.

Rating: 4.5 / 5, Still have more room for improvement.