Thank you, Gary Ross

I have been meaning to post this for days…I just had to collect my thoughts after the movie. But I also realized I still can’t properly organize all my thoughts on the movie. So most of this will be in bullet form. But overall, I have to say I was really, really happy with the adaptation. I love that the movie was 2 and 1/2 hours and took its time following the book. It was also nice to just have a good adaptation, because lately, I feel like a lot of movies that try to capture books tend to lose something in translation. And the result is an okay movie that doesn’t quite evoke the same emotions as the book, despite the quality of actors. But thankfully, that was not a problem with The Hunger Games. *SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT* So here goes:
  • I LOVED that President Snow was in a rose garden. Fantastic. It’s one of the best foreshadowing details for people who’ve read the entire trilogy. The detail, from the second book, of his breath smelling of blood and roses is such a disgusting but terrific tag of his character. So I love that we saw him in the rose garden during the first movie.
  • The opening of the games themselves – from the countdown to the bloodbath that followed, was really well done. I liked how it was shot and that we saw a lot of blood and really messed up shit, like Cato taking out the little boy – because that’s how the Games are. It kept with the PG-13 rating but didn’t sugarcoat the brutality.
  • Katniss’ audition for the Gamemakers. That scene was one of my favorites in the book and it was perfect on-screen.
  • I was really happy with the casting. Gary Ross knew what he wanted and he got it. Good for him. According to my best friend, he already knows who he wants for Finnick, it’s just a matter of getting the actor on board. GO FOR IT. FREE REIN. The man is doing a great job. Finnick is one of my most beloved characters from the series, but I trust Gary Ross after seeing this movie. I’m also excited to see who gets cast as Johanna. So much anticipation. I love it.
  • The one thing I loved even more about the cast is that, as much as I liked them in this movie, I can’t wait to see them in the other two, which require so many different things. I really liked them here, but going back to the other two books after this movie, I’m even more excited to see them in what lies ahead. Donald Sutherland, for one, is just going to have a blast.
  • My best friend LOVES Cato. I mean she really loves him. And whenever she says that, people give her looks, like “really?” But I’m so happy with who they cast as Cato in this movie. Alexander Ludwig was perfect as the cocky, brash boy who appeared to have it all. And in his final moments, he broke my heart.
  • The relationship between Rue and Katniss was strong enough for me. My favorite part of the trailer was Katniss turning to the sky and holding up three fingers, with everyone in District 11 watching it on the large screens and doing the same. That moment was wonderful in the movie.
  • One of my other favorite things about this movie is the way the Peeta/Katniss bread flashback was shown. There were pieces of it throughout, during other moments between them, and then we finally got the whole thing. I really loved how that was done. I also liked Peeta a lot. I’m really excited to see how Josh Hutcherson does later, especially in Mockingjay. But I was surprised how much I liked him, given that in the books I wasn’t too crazy about Peeta for a while.
  • While we didn’t see much of Gale, I was pleased with what we did see. I’m glad they kept the “Catnip” nickname in there – come on, it’s freakin’ cute. I also loved the ending, when Katniss and Peeta returned to District 12 as victors, to see the crowd – and she sees Prim sitting atop Gale’s shoulders. It’s a great moment because, as he says in a later book, he’s always taking care of her family. And that’s a bond they share. So I liked that shot of him and Prim a lot.
  • I absolutely LOVE that the movie ends with Snow watching Katniss and Peeta and then walking away. Snow is such a good villain. It just worked really well, and was a really good lead-on to the rest of the books/movies to come.

The other great thing about this movie is that it made me want to go back to read the trilogy again. Whenever a movie makes me want to go back to the book again, I know it’s really good. And I did just that, this weekend. I went back and re-read Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I’m so so excited to see how these two play out on film. Catching Fire is my favorite, so I’m freakishly excited for that one. But first, I can’t wait to see Hunger Games again, either in theaters or an DVD asap. Also, as good as this movie was, I’m not worried that the sequels will have to work hard to keep up the quality. The actors are wonderful, and Ross is smart enough to bring in Suzanne Collins to help with the screenplay, so the writing’s great also. The plot of each book lends itself to an awesome story, so while the bar was set high with this movie, I don’t think they’ll have any problem reaching it again 🙂

Well hot damn

When I got a text from my best friend the other day saying “GO WATCH THE HUNGER GAMES TRAILER NOW”, I didn’t hesitate. I was conveniently at work, so I hopped on the computer and watched it. And then I watched it again. And again. And again. What followed was a text conversation in which we both “yelled” at each other in a flurry of texts of how we were totally now on the bandwagon for this movie. Rather, as my bff put it, “I’M DRIVING THE BANDWAGON NOW. I’M GIVING OUT TOURS. LET’S GO.”

Let’s go.

The first “teaser” was nothing to sniff at. It was mainly to quiet many screaming fans that something was being done. But now, having seen the full trailer, I am on the Hunger Games bandwagon. Happily. Hell I’m right behind my friend. The countdown in the last few seconds of the trailer had me wanting to book it to a nearby theater to wait for the movie. I don’t even remember when it comes out, but I want to be there. This might sound premature…but let me backtrack.

Back when they announced the casting, I was less than pleased. My best friend was torn. She was in an uproar over Jennifer Lawrence’s casting as Katniss, yet overjoyed that Josh Hutcherson, her dream choice for Peeta, was actually cast as Peeta. Her issue with Jen Lawrence was not the acting, by far. My best friend is an acting major, and she knows all there is to know about movies & actors. Her beef with Lawrence was that she physically didn’t fit the role, and she was worried Lawrence would try to play Katniss similarly to her character in Winter’s Bone (which was a great movie in its own right). She also considers Lawrence a “curvy” actress and was miffed she might have to lose all those curves to play the more gangly, athletic Katniss. But Peeta, she was over the moon about. Josh Hutcherson was her Peeta, and she freaked when he was actually cast. I mean come on, that really never happens.

I was a bit tepid about all the casting. Jennifer Lawrence to me was just eh, because she didn’t fit my Katniss, and kind of out of the blue. Peeta, I was happy about, simply because I like Josh Hutcherson and am glad he’s being noticed. And of course, ecstatic for my bff’s dream come true. Gale, my personal favorite character (damn the third book to hell), was to be played by Liam Hemsworth. I wasn’t sure then how I felt, and I’m not too sure now. I like him, I think he’s attractive. But my Gale was just so…MMMM. He was just wonderful (again, seriously F the third book). I think he should be able to pull it off, but we’ll see. All in all, the casting was certainly an interesting risk.

Other thoughts on the trailer:

  • Woody Harrelson as Haymitch – the man can do no wrong. He’ll be awesome.
  • I forgot Donald Sutherland was the president! This should be fun, seeing as I generally associate him as the doting Mr. Bennett from Pride & Prejudice.
  • Elizabeth Banks! What an awesome transformation! Get it girl. Well done. I was a bit disappointed and confused when she was cast as Effie, but hell, I’m a lot happier now.
  • Cinna still has to prove himself to me. That character has such high expectations for everyone, I think it’s inevitable some people will not like him. I don’t think I’ll be one of them, but I can’t be sure. I didn’t see enough of him, which I’m sure was on purpose.
  • My favorite shot from the trailer is Katniss on the big screen, making a symbol with her fingers, and the rest of the people in the district raising their hands to mirror hers. LOVE IT.

I’m not one for book-movie adaptations, after the Twilight debacle, but here’s hoping this one leans closer to the Harry Potter direction. I’m really happy with the trailer, and while I know those can be deceiving sometimes, I really hope in this case I’m right. I’m possessive and protective of my books, especially the good ones. I consider The Hunger Games among some of the better ones, and I’d really like to see it done justice. There are very few books that are outdone by the movies, but the movies that get close to making you experience the book over again, or change your next reading for the better, those are the real gems.

In case you want to see it yourself, here’s the link: The Hunger Games Trailer

Here’s hoping! 🙂