I'm not trying to sway anyone's opinion of this movie so if you haven't seen it yet, feel free to skip this post.
After reading and enjoying The Hunger Games I was excited to see the movie. I went over the weekend to a theater packed with teenage girls in anticipation of watching Katniss and Peeta triumph over the other tributes. I went in knowing that movies are rarely as good as the their novel counterparts, but I was still hoping it would be just as fun. In the end I did like the movie very much, but the whole thing felt a little too cheery for the dark subject matter. It reminded me of how Chris Colmbus' directed the first two Harry Potter movies. They were so upbeat and jaunty even though you knew they should be overcast with darkness. Then when I saw David Yates' direction of the last four movies I knew that's where it was supposed to be; somber and overcome with dark forces. (I know the novels got progressively darker as the series went on, but the first two movies still felt too upbeat.) Just like the early Harry Potter movies, The Hunger Games movie felt too fun when I think it should have been laced with anxiety and gloom.
Let me be clear, I didn't want more violence. Well, actually I did, but I realize they made it on the clean side to keep a PG-13 rating so the main audience of readers, namely young adults, could actually go see the movie, which I fully support. What I wanted was a greater feeling of hopelessness permeating throughout the film. I wanted to see the gauntness of the tributes, but instead they maintained their healthy weight and color throughout. I wanted to see more of the inner struggle Katniss experienced as she "preformed" for the audience, the confusion she dealt with concerning her feelings for Peeta, but instead it felt like she simply wanted to be with him. I also felt like Katniss' alliance with Rue was dealt with too quickly, so the impact of her death wasn't fully realized.
With all that said, I do want to stress that overall I did enjoy the movie. The opening scenes perfectly captured the bleak poverty of District 12. I liked how sickly twisted The Capitol and its inhabitants were portrayed. I liked that Jennifer Lawrence seemed like the perfect actress to play Katniss. (Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, not so much.) Even though some scenes were quickened, I also didn't feel like anything was really left out in terms of plot. So, while I did enjoy the movie a lot, I didn't feel like the overall tone was accurate to the novel itself.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think?
photo via IMDB