***** SPOILER ALERT ******
This review does contain spoilers, please do not read any further if you do not want to know what happens in the books or movie.
If you have not seen the movie, but plan to (and are still reading this for some crazy reason) you can check out Cinema times for The Hunger Games, and browse New movies as well.
I was introduced to The Hunger Games by one of my favorite mom bloggers. She actually let me borrow the books last year, and told me that I had to read them. Well, I took them home that night and started the first book, and could not put it down. This book had me memorized and was on my mind all the time. The author does a great job of capturing your attention, with elaborate setting descriptions and thrilling plot points. The characters are very well developed, and it doesn't get old like some teen books tend to do.
So after reading the AMAZING books, I found out they were making a movie (in my home state no less) and knew that I would be there on opening day. While I was waiting for the movie to be released I had my mom (who is usually my favorite movie date) read the books as well. I really don't think you can enjoy this movie for all it's worth without first reading the books. Alas, the highly anticipated wait was finally over, and the movie was released last week.
I had already been preparing myself for the let downs. I was reading anything I could get my hands on, so I would know what to expect when I saw it for the first time on the big screen, and I have to say I really underestimated the power of film!
From the very first scene, I knew that had the perfect cast. There was really only one scene in the movie (it was with Peeta) where I thought it fell short of the character from the book, but I can't even remember what it was so obviously this wasn't a big deal. Jennifer Lawrence embodied everything I believed to be true about Katniss, and I loved watching her on screen. She was especially touching in the scenes where she volunteered to be the tribute in place of her sister Primrose, and in the scene where she was about to enter the arena. Her body was shaking the way you would expect, but even the book wasn't able to convey the fear as she did on screen. She had me in tears a few times.
The settings were also amazing, they looked exactly like what I had pictured in my head. The districts looked like poor and dreary places to live, full of pain and sadness. The capital and its people, on the other hand, were so extravagant and over the top, and every image in the film was what I pictured in my mind, even the food was impressive. The movie brought certain things to life that I hadn't even considered. Like the clothes they were given to wear, they were gorgeousness, and while reading I really didn't give much thought to what it would have been like to go from the two extremes.
Well, not only did I find the characters and settings amazing, but I was also stunned by the sheer volume of emotion that was coming through each scene. Here are a few scenes that blew me away:
- The reaping scene. I knew from the previews that this was a powerful and emotional scene, but seeing it on the big screen was so crazy good! You could hear so many emotions escape the throat of Katniss as she volunteered in the place of her sister, and yet it was like even she wondering what in the heck she was doing. Like something inside if she took over, and she just couldn't stop herself. I love this scene because it is such a powerful display of self-sacrifice and love. Which is the exact opposite theme of the movie in general (more on this to come)?
- The arena scene. When they entered the arena I was already emotional because of how deeply frightened Katniss appeared to be. Which, hello she knew she was about to enter into a game that would quite possibly take her life... I would have been a mess! Anyway, when the killing begins I was a little shocked. Yes, I read the books, but I think in my mind because I knew they were young I minimized the brutality of the killings. When I saw Cato kill the youngest boy from District 3 without I started to bawling. I personally did not see this kid as 12. He looked to be about 9 and had super curly hair, so of course, I thought of my son. My first reaction was anger. I didn't understand why they couldn't have minimized the scene, and cut away before Cato struck him down, but then I thought about what this game symbolized and realized that it was probably one of the best scenes in the movie because at that point you realize that these children are truly fighting for their lives, and have been offered up to fight by the adults (at the Capitol) that should have been protecting them.
- The scene where Rue dies. Even though we don't get to experience a lot of the relationship between Rue and Katniss, we see enough to love them as an alliance and understand the fondness Katniss feels for this girl that could have easily been her sister. When Rue dies it is in a much less dramatic way than the boy from District 3, but it is full of painful emotion, at the loss of a close friend. The best part of this scene 9in my opinion) is when Katniss gave the kiss, and you see the District lose it. They had hope even if only briefly and in the midst of tragedy that they could stand against the Capitol. That was powerful!
I hate to end again, but I've used over 500 words, so I will give pause to my racing mind, and start working on another post.