The Hunger Games Trilogy (Book Spoilers!)

I've seen this twice now, and I found it to be absolutely stunning.

I went with a flatmate, who recently read the books too, and initially, he really didn't like it. But I convinced him otherwise - he'd never invested in a huge 'book-to-Hollywood' franchise before, and as such, expected that the translation from 400 word book to 2 hour film would be absolutely thorough. It could never be that way! They have to trim things out, because extreme detail in a book comes across as unnecessary distraction in a film, and generally, they made very good decisions, keeping the real essence of the book whilst keeping everything lean.

Up until the games, it was incredibly thorough! There were a couple of surprises for me - I did not expect District 12 to look like that at all - but almost a flawless opening hour. Flashbacks were brilliant, and quelled my concerns about how they were going to translate Katniss's memories across. The chariot scene went by far too quickly though - I was expecting each pair to go out basically alone, and to have a lot of behind-the-scenes shots of a nervous Katniss. Instead, they all flew out at once, and although the fire looked pretty good, I did want it to be a little more dramatic. Minor gripe.

CGI-wise, it was very good - much better than 'Twilight', and almost as good as 'Harry Potter'. The acting was absolutely superb. Jennifer Lawrence was absolutely phenomenal as Katniss, which I'd imagine to be a fairly difficult role to play. She played her perfectly. Lenny Kravitz was an extremely likeable Cinna, too. Although Haymitch wasn't exactly as the book described (the transformation could've been more pronounced), I felt like he was played pretty well too. Effie was great.

The games were pretty great overall. I wouldn't have minded watching for another hour, to be honest. I was just so engrossed. My first main gripe was that I would've liked an extra few minutes of on-screen bonding between Katniss and Rue - I wasn't emotionally invested in their friendship enough to really emote, although her death was extremely well done. I needed a little flashback to show what Katniss was feeling - it would've been great if, when she was cuddling Rue, we got an interspersed clip of her cuddling Prim. Just a short one, but the mothering instinct would've come across much stronger.

I loved some of the slight alterations that were made. They really kept the story moving forward by small things, such as Rue looking after Katniss when she was 'out' for three days. That was actually more realistic than the book, when Katniss sort of had to find her, and was then taken care of. Also, the inclusion of the memory of her Dad's death in the 'tracker jacker' scene was interesting, and a good time to put that in, I believe. Not heavy-handed in any way. And yes, the removal of the 'muttations being old contestants' was probably for the best - spending time focussing on the faces of the things you're meant to be terrified of would negate the ferocity of the scene, and I don't think anyone got enough time to have a look at the characters to know who would've been who. Plus, it probably would've looked a little dodgy, CGI-wise.

Visually, it was one of the best films I've ever seen. The filming techniques were just phenomenal. Edgy, and never static, but it didn't make you seasick either. The people of Capitol all looked phenomenal - real kudos to the art team. Also, things such as Katniss's temporary deafness were handled extremely well - instead of drudgingly showing Katniss whining about a bloodied ear, the ringing and smothered sounds worked exceptionally well, if only more to lessen the severity of the neck-breaking incident! The 'tracker jacker' venom part was fantastic to watch too.

From the 'berries moment' onwards, I felt things moved a little too quickly though. The ending was too brief, which was a shame. Even another five minutes would've been better - I just needed that conversation between Peeta and Katniss, which didn't happen. Perhaps more of a hospital scene, and more recognition of her winning? It just flew by. I did like the whole dynamic of the Gale/Katniss/Peeta final exchange (of looks). I felt that was handled pretty well. But just 5/10 minutes more in here would've been perfect - after such a thorough opening, the ending felt a little tacked-on, which shouldn't have been the case.

Gah! I wish I wasn't so tired, because I could literally write screeds here. My flatmate and I spent 5 HOURS dissecting it last night, I kid you not. My flatmate did make the point that a lot of the themes of poverty, oppression etc were neglected, which they were a little - but when you're making the opening blockbuster of a trilogy, action, threat and romance start things off more with a bang than subtler artistic themes. I think this will be remedied in the remaining two films - much more scope for building interesting themes.

To sum up, for such a huge undertaking, this was a book-to-film blockbuster of an exceptionally high quality, reminiscent in parts of the brilliant work done on the 'Potter' series. It was an extremely faithful adaptation, and 9 times out of 10, good decisions were made. Stunning to watch, and engrossing from start to finish (as long as you don't mind the usage of 'Century Gothic' font, and an ever-so-slightly weak ending shot), I'd recommend this film to everyone. Brilliant. Fantastic. Amazing. I can't wait to see it again.

I didn't even open my pack of 'Milky Stars', that's how engrossed I was.

(Also, I was seeing it in the busiest cinema in Britain, and the tallest cinema in the world - the screen was packed to the rafters, and nobody made a sound. I haven't had that since 'Deathly Hallows Part II' - everyone was so invested in the film.)

truman said:
As far book-to-movie conversions go it was among the very best. (SO MUCH better than all that other "teenage stuff" like Harry Potter or Twilight.)

Great review, truman, but just don't let me hear you lump 'Harry Potter' into that field again! 'Twilight', yes. 'Potter', no.

EDIT: Oh dear goodness. I did not know I'd written so much!
I'm sorry but the Harry Potter films are so lifeless.

They might be enjoyable when you've read the books, but stand-alone they're a bit boring, non-exciting and meh.

That's only my opinion ofcourse, but there was never any magic for me.
I LOVED it and thought it was much better than any of the Harry Potter films. (However I am completely obsessed with the Harry Potter books and thought the Hunger Games books were fairly shit so that probably had a bearing.)

It was seriously much better than the book, and at the same time managed to be exactly how I imagined it. I am glad I read the book first, but only for a couple of extremely small things, for example [MINOR SPOILER ABOUT ENDING]

when Cato was thrown to the dogs and Katniss shot him again, I don't know if it was entirely made clear that was to put him out of his misery

All the characters looked perfect, Jennifer Lawrence was perfect for Katniss even though before seeing the film I had my reservations about her being too attractive for the role, I realised that it ended up working quite well with the plot in the end. Her red dress for the interview was stunning and she looked AMAZING!

Haymitch came across better than I thought although the character wasn't exactly like I had already imagined.

The Rue death scene was done so well, I had tears streaming down my face. I thought it was more sad than the book, although they could have done with some extra scenes building up their friendship really.

All I want now, which I also wanted from the books, is more backstory! How did the world become like Panem, etc. I hope we get it from the author at the some point, but I'd secretly hoped it would be put in the beginning of the film.

I'm sure the second film will be quite good but I hated the third book so much and I can't imagine it making a good film. I hope I'm proved wrong!
I'm so excited to see this today! Gutted I couldn't go yesterday to be honest!

The amount of positive reviews this has garnered has shocked me though! I was expecting it to be panned regardless whether it was good or not just because it's a 'teen craze'.
I have a question. Knowing it's over two hours long ... do you notice that the movie is over two hours long or it goes very fast because the movie is fast paced ?
It's like it's 45 minutes.

When the movie was done my sister, who has great difficulties to sit down for a whole 90-minutes film affair, turned to me and said : "It went by so fast, it should have been two hours longer."
Oh thanks ... I'm the same type. I only go to movies when the movie is max 90 minutes long. But what you said sounds promising. I will definitely consider going now.


No, it's a really long film and you definitely notice that. It's like an entire movie before she even enters the arena. I wasn't feeling too well that day though, so that might have been it because I did think it was a good film.
Yeah, you weren't feeling well.

Me and my sister were so in the movie, because it's so engrossing and enticing and what not, that time just flew by.

And I loved the part before the arena sooooooo fucking much.

The whole realism in which they portray District 12 was really hypnotizing! (THAT REAPING SCENE!)

The shoulder cam is exactly how I like my movies.

It's also one of the main reasons I like the film. There are so many moments that could have been plucked straight out of a more indie movie. (For instance, right before she goes on to the talk show and they just keep a camera on her face for 10 seconds with the backdrop of lights while she's nervous. Shots like that are just MAGIC!)
I loved it!! Seriously really well done. Rue's death was so heartbreaking. How amazing was the actress who played Prim?!

My criticism would be that I'm extremely disappointed we didn't get the strip/naked Peeta scene though!
I went to see this tonight with 2 girls who have read the books, and 2 guys who haven't read the books. While watching the film I was worried that the two guys wouldn't really understand what was going on or if they would enjoy it, but regardless of who had read it or not, we all absolutely loved it! It was probably one of the best experiences I've had at the cinema...I just loved every minute of it all. The detail, the actors, the special effects, the sequencing was all just top notch.
My heart was beating so fast during the Reaping scene and Rue's death was stunning. When Katniss did that "hands up" sign to District 11, a couple of tears ran down my cheek, and I never cry, especially not in public! It was just so moving and so perfect.

I want to see it again! There's a lot to take in. It's a long movie, you can definitely feel the 2 hours 20 minutes, but not for a minute are you uninterested or wishing it would hurry up, don't let the film's duration put you off, poshlopez!

One thing about the film is that it really felt like an event while watching it...something I haven't felt about a film since the last Harry Potter. I'd call it a modern classic and it hasn't even been out a week!
I haven't read the second or third books yet but I think I will after seeing the movie. This saga is here to stay!
I really didn't like what they did to Haymitch. He's meant to be a grey-eyed "paunchy" alcoholic who had dark, curly hair as a younger man, so the long, blond style is completely wrong. He also looked far too neat and tidy, and his drink problem was glossed over. I wish they'd included the scene of him drunk on stage at the reaping, it's an integral part of the story. Considering how much effort was clearly spent on faithfully adapting the other characters, I can't help but feel disappointed that he was changed so much for the film.

I also wasn't expecting District 12 to look like that. I pictured it looking more like a village from the Ocarina Of Time video game, with stone houses and chickens running around the place.

I'm gonna go and see this again soon.
I'm so excited that the film is shattering records and is really well received by critics and 'the public' as well, but it's so weird that it happens to a book that really anyone here could have written. It's really right place right time (and perfect casting).
A wasted opportunity for both Lionsgate and Nicki Minaj.
I was awaiting a 'Beez In The Trap' instrumental playing over the 'tracker jacker' scene.

What can you do, eh?
I am about to watch this tomorrow and I'm very excited! It's been getting such good reviews even from fans. I honestly don't think I'll be disappointed.
EnsnareTheSenses said:
(Also, I was seeing it in the busiest cinema in Britain, and the tallest cinema in the world - the screen was packed to the rafters, and nobody made a sound. I haven't had that since 'Deathly Hallows Part II' - everyone was so invested in the film.)

Not to be a total creeper, but what cinema is that? I'm intrigued.

Loved the movie, by the way. Loved that it was 2.5 hours long, love that it was so much time to get invested with the characters and all that. It definitely felt long, but it didn't feel long, if that makes sense (like the other posters have commented already).
I didn't know much about this at all. Never read the books, hadn't even seen the trailer. All I knew was that it was hyped up so much, so as a last minute decision, we went to see it tonight. I had a dreading feeling I was going to absolute hate it like I did Twilight, but Jesus Christ!

It was just... absolutely phenomenal. Such a great story that never got boring at all. I didn't want it to end at all. I think this is going to be the first film in over a decade I see twice in the cinema. Going to get the books tomorrow as well!
I can't believe the books are still in the 2 for £3 offer in The Works. At least around here, anyway. The cheapest I've seen them elsewhere is £4 each in Asda.