Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth
as Katniss Everdeen and Gale Hawthorne
I just watched The Hunger Games movie with some friends. I enjoyed the movie very much and think it was an excellent adaptation from the novel.
The only negatives for me were because of the director, Gary Ross. I assume that it was his idea to have the "shaky cam" for no good reason at random times, and do all the jump cuts every three mili seconds in some scenes.
Some of the cutting was to keep the movie tame so it would have a PG-13 rating. I'm okay with soft-pedaling the violence, which is a business decision, and kids are going to watch this even if it is PG-13. But it was not good filmmaking to do shaky cam shots and confuse and annoy the audience who could not see what the heck was going on at times. Why do shaky cam when she's getting on the train, or moving through the woods? Some of those shots were ruined for no good reason.
Did this issue "ruin" the movie for me? No, but if not for the shaky cam and ridiculous editing in some key scenes, (the finale and Rue's final scene were cut badly) it would have made a good movie, great.
Now on to the positives. The movie was tense, fascinating and extremely well acted. Stanley Tucci practically stole the show as Caesar Flickerman. Woody Harrelson was great as Hamitch, though I would have liked to see more of him. That'll have to wait for the director's cut, when they can really show how drunk and screwed up he was in the book. Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinkett was perfect. She's a very talented actress.
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark was great. He sold me, and only faltered during one scene as an actor. The scene with Katniss in their room when he was saying he didn't want the games to change who he was, which is right out of the book. He couldn't quite handle the lines. Still, he's a good actor and was great for the rest of the movie.
Liam Hemsworth as Gale, wow, that guy has charisma. I loved him. Perfect casting. From now on, Liam Hemsworth is the actor I picture as Drake in my Iron Dragon Series. He's handsome, strong, has the dark features and the demeanor of Drake, a guardian and hunter with a big heart.
The other actors were fabulous, but shining above them all, as she should, was Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. She is a true star deserving all the fame and fortune this role will bring. She was nominated for an an Oscar and several other awards for her role in the film, Winter's Bone (2011), and that picture got her this job--in my opinion. She was spectacular in that movie, and triumphant in The Hunger Games. The strength and emotion she brought to this movie was palpable. Watching her take care of her sister and mother in the beginning, spend time with Gale, or cry for the loss of Rue was exceptional. I predict that she will get several Oscar nominations in her career and will win other major awards.
The Katniss on the screen was so strong, much stronger than in the book, because in the book we heard her doubts and fears more, as she thought to herself privately. Jennifer Lawrence portrayed some of that really well, but I found myself liking Katniss a lot more in the movie than I did in the book.
The movie delivered in the end because of what Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson brought to the table, which was magic. If you haven't read the books, and loved the movie, you should read the books, as you'll get a lot more out of it, and some of the blanks will be filled in for you.
Overall, four out of five stars, and I look forward to the next two films, as I thoroughly enjoyed and believed this world, and these characters. I bet Suzzanne Collins, the author of this series, is ecstatic with how this movie turned out.
Here's a link to my review of the novel, The Hunger Games by Suzzanne Collins.
Author of the Iron Dragon Series