Hunger Games Review
Gale is smoldering. Says so right on page 14.
The love triangle is fairly standard teen-read stuff; what 16-year-old girl wouldn’t like to have two interesting guys to choose from? The rest of The Hunger Games, however, is a violent, jarring speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense and may also generate a fair amount of controversy. I couldn’t stop reading, and once I got over the main character’s name (Gale calls her Catnip — ugh), I got to like her a lot. And although ”young adult novel” is a dumbbell term I put right up there with ”jumbo shrimp” and ”airline food” in the oxymoron sweepstakes, how many novels so categorized feature one character stung to death by monster wasps and another more or less eaten alive by mutant werewolves? I say more or less because Katniss, a bow-and-arrow Annie Oakley, puts the poor kid out of his misery before the werewolves can get to the prime cuts.
Movies.com‘s Perri Nemiroff is continuing the Hunger Games Countdown this week with the fandoms reactions to seeing this highly anticipated film. The article includes the reaction I had upon seeing The Hunger Games:
Melanie of HungerGamesMovie.org
My first reaction was pure joy in seeing how closely the movie represented the book with spectacular acting and writing. However, the quick, jumpy movements of the camera throughout was hard to handle at times. For the most part, I didn’t notice the jerky camera shooting, except during the action scenes. Thus, I found it difficult to figure out who was who during the Cato/Katniss/Peeta hand-to-hand combat on the Cornucopia. I feel this was done so we wouldn’t see the preferred weapon so clearly enter a child tribute. Perhaps this was a way to keep the movie PG-13, but halfway through the film, I found myself scouring my purse for my headache medication. That being said, I am still extremely happy with the film overall. The script, the acting, and the effects accomplished the task in bringing my favourite book to life.
Savanna of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat
When it comes to book-to-movie adaptations, I have to admit that I’m usually one of those obnoxious “checklist fans.” I watch the movie and get distracted by everything that was left out or changed or added during the transition from page to screen. Because 9 times out of 10, the film suffers as a result. The fact that the scenes in the Hunger Games movie that don’t exist in the book are some of my absolute favorites is, I think, a testament to just how fantastic an adaptation this is. All the new material is, in my opinion, just brilliant: the Gamemaker control room, Haymitch schmoozing to gain sponsors, the conversations in Snow’s rose garden, Cato’s final “speech,” Seneca and the berries at the end, etc. Rather than chip away at the integrity of the book, these moments only enrich this series that we all already love so much.
We want your reviews! Would you rate The Hunger Games 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars or 5 stars?
Our staff members LMCullen and JayPat were lucky enough to see the world premiere of The Hunger Games on March 12, 2012.
We’ve already posted some pictures, and now you can read about what happened and their thoughts on the movie!
JayPat says: More…
Director Gary Ross (who co-wrote the screenplay alongside Collins herself and Billy Ray of Shattered Glass and Breach) makes a series of excellent choices here, some small and some large. While the film seems awfully aware it’s the first in a trilogy and uses that as an excuse to skim over much of the book, the screenplay also improves on the structure and voice of the novel. Sure, the speechless servants of the Capitol are under-explained, but the film also abandons some of Collins’ more insane inventions and spares us the drone of Katniss’ interior monologue. The cast are good-to-excellent—Stanley Tucci’s grinning and grim emcee is a standout—while Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth spin their stock love interest parts into nicely-tuned turns.
Drew McWeeny at Hitfix notes the movie expertly sets up the rest of the trilogy:
I look forward to the rest of this series on film because this movie so effectively baits the hook, telling one complete story while also expertly laying the groundwork for everything that is still to come. “The Hunger Games” is a triumph for all involved, proof that Lionsgate can play the blockbuster game, proof that Gary Ross can find the human heart of even the biggest film, and proof that Jennifer Lawrence is more than just Sundance hype. When it opens next week, “The Hunger Games” is likely to be a major hit, and in this case, it deserves to be.
Olly Richards at Empire Magazine says it’s the best big-name literary adaptation in the last 10 years:
When a series has sold millions of copies, as Suzanne Collins’ trilogy has, the default position is to produce something that will look just as readers imagined, to show what we were all thinking, rather than offer something nobody had considered. The Hunger Games as a novel has been dissected, expanded and retooled into something intelligent, immersive and powerfully current
[...]As thrilling and smart as it is terrifying. There have been a number of big-gun literary series brought to screen over the past decade. This slays them all.
As promised, here are some extracts from early reviews of The Hunger Games!
The Hollywood Reporter (no star rating given):
Positives in the review: faithful to the book, Jennifer Lawrence “anchors” the film “with impressive gravity and presence” and is the perfect Katniss, great visuals, costumes and make-up “a riot of imagination”, strong narrative structure, Caesar Flickerman: Stanley Tucci “has a ball with this fun character”, ”ingenious climax, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.
Negatives: Important visual moments like the fire outfits left the reviewer feeling “slightly shortchanged” as he felt they were cut short, “the film’s lack of hunting instinct” made the reviewer wonder whether a higher cinema rating would have suited the film better, the deeper workings of the central romance are “smoothed over to the point of blandness” and you don’t get enough of Katniss’s views on it, male leads not up to Lawrence’s standards, Harrelson “has his moments” but the “cleaned up”Haymitch is not as compelling as the Haymitch in the book.
Jennifer Lawrence is stellar in this faithful, good-enough film version of the massive best-seller.
The Mail Online (no star rating given):
Positives: “Talented” Lawrence, make-up, costumes, the Capitol, Gary Ross’s directing.
Negatives: Ideas “scarcely developed” on the point of it all, asks “is it to satirise the sadism of some reality game shows? To dramatise the uncaring way teenagers are treated by their elders?”
Perhaps they will [those ideas] be in future films. But I have no doubt this is the first blockbuster hit of the year.
The Telegraph 4/5 stars:
Positives: Katniss a great action character “Katniss [is] on one side and the rest of the world [is] on the other, although you wouldn’t fancy the rest of the world’s chances”, influenced by other works and ideas but ”Gary Ross’s provocative, pulse-surgingly tense adaptation couldn’t feel fresher, or timelier”, Lawrence “even more compelling” than in Winter’s Bone, the production design, supporting cast “uniformly terrific” with Stanley Tucci ”hypnotically good”, the camerawork, the screenplay.
The Hunger Games is an essential science fiction film for our times; perhaps the essential science fiction film of our times. Whatever your age, it demands to be devoured.
(If you haven’t read the book and don’t want any surprises to be ruined, don’t read the review from the Hollywood Reporter as there are a few spoilers).
Now, we’ve already seen tweets from critics who attended the premiere in Los Angeles, but what we’ve really been waiting for are the full-length reviews which, we hope, will confirm the high quality of the film. I’m excited to say that all will be revealed tomorrow!
Until then, we do have the aforementioned tweets and the fantastic 98% score for The Hunger Games on Rotten Tomatoes. The signs are all there that British newspaper the Telegraph’s review will be great too, here are two tweets that its reviewer Robbie Collin posted after seeing the film at the London premiere:
Big fat wows on a stick. THE HUNGER GAMES is utterly brilliant.
Still can’t get over how ridiculously good THE HUNGER GAMES was. May be my film of 2012 so far. Full review coming tomorrow.
The Hunger Games blew away fans last night at the world premiere in Los Angeles. Check out these Tweets last night shortly after the movie let out.
We’ll have more detailed info from LMCullen and JayPat soon, they’re currently on planes home after a long night at the after party!
Full reviews are still embargoed, but critics that have already seen The Hunger Games are giving a thumbs up now that they can reveal some details. Read these tweets from today!