Sunday, March 25, 2012


It's the movie event of the year and, I think (because I came into the book series just a month ago), the book event of the year a couple of years back, too. At least, in the YA category. It's Suzanne Collins' award-winning The Hunger Games turned into film and, of course, I have to write about it. Strike that. I HAVE TO GUSH ABOUT IT.


Now, as I said, I read the books pretty late in the game. I only started reading the first in the trilogy in February. By then, I knew that there was going to be a movie and that the young revolutionary heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is going to be played by Jennifer Lawrence, whom I've only ever seen in X-Men: First Class where she didn't exactly stand out. That movie was all about Michael Fassbender for me. Anyhoo, after the first book, I couldn't wait to pick up the next two books and read both back-to-back in just two days. After that, it was only a matter of waiting a few weeks for the movie to come out, and when it did, I was so happy to hear that most critics deemed it a good adaptation -- perhaps even the best adaptation yet of a YA novel. I wouldn't know. The Hunger Games is the only YA novel series both movie and books of which I've watched and read, respectively.

I just saw the movie yesterday. And I have to say, despite my very high expectations, the movie did well for me. Here's a breakdown of my favorite, and least favorite, scenes from the movie:


  • The reaping scene. Especially that moment after Effie announces Prim's name and the awful quiet that falls on everyone and the camera pointing right at the back of Prim's head and then pans around to show us Prim's expression and those of the other kids around her. It gave me goosebumps. Looking back, that was the moment I knew the movie wasn't going to disappoint.
  • Haymitch's entrance at the train. I have to admit that I was a little pissed off when a very drunk, vomiting Haymitch was not at the reaping, like in the book. But his "grand" entrance at the train more than made up for it. Woody Harrelson is perfect as Haymitch, if just a bit too cleaned up.
  • "THAT IS MAHOGANY!" I loved Effie in both movie and books. My friend, who's never read the books but who watched the movie with me, thought she was crazy. She is but in a totally Effie way -- which is to say, well-mannered and fashionable. XD Every time Elizabeth Banks came on screen, I'd just go like, "ahahah, Effie ~~"
  • Jennifer Lawrence is the perfect Katniss Everdeen. I never really thought she could pull off the role until I saw Winter's Bone. When I saw that film, it's like everything clicked: I get why she got the Katniss role. Katniss is Ree Dolly.
  • Peeta's camouflage. Exactly how I imagined it in the book. And I loved that part where he grabs Katniss' leg. In the book, he snidely asks her if she's come to finish him off. In the movie, he just calls her name.
  • The love triangle is not the focus. Just as it isn't in the book. Except that most of the people in the movie theater with me were tweens and their mothers so there were a lot of screams whenever the romance bits come up.
  • District 11's mini revolt. The scene perfectly set up Catching Fire, which is certain to happen now.
  • Madge out of the picture. I didn't mind the character in the books but you have to admit that her role is really dispensable, and I'm glad they got rid of her and changed how the mockingjay pin came into Katniss' possession because the scene that replaces the Madge character is a crucial one for emotional impact.
  • Rue's death. Heartbreaking in the book. Equally heartbreaking in the movie. In fact, maybe even more so in the latter since now we can attach a face to the beloved character. 


  • The flashback scene with Peeta tossing Katniss a loaf of bread. If I hadn't read the book, I wouldn't understand what it was all about. Huh? What was Katniss doing there? Why did he throw the bread into the muddy ground? The hell? It didn't really show that Katniss was about to die of starvation.
  • Speaking of which, there isn't much hunger in The Hunger Games. The book was all about how people in District 12 were on the verge of collapse from starvation. How food, let alone an overabundance of it, is such a rarity that even Katniss (who hunts the occasional game) and Peeta (who, after all, is a baker's son) stuff themselves with Capitol food to the point where they literally got sick. But I don't think Katniss ate anything during the entire movie. Sure, there's lots of shots with food in them but Katniss didn't put any of these in her mouth. Weird.
  • Haymitch is too clean. Other than that, Woody Harrelson was spot-on.
  • Katniss seemed to have no trouble surviving in the arena. I get that they needed to whittle the movie down to its bare essentials, which means the surviving part in the game gets sacrificed for the killing and murdering part...but I missed that part where Katniss almost died from dehydration.
  • That said, I never once felt that Katniss was in any kind of danger, even in the arena. The movie lacked tension. That's the sad truth. Even showing that the rebellion is already brewing, still there was no sense of urgency, no sense of danger. It was, to state the obvious, like watching a movie, which I think may be the point that director Gary Ross is trying to get across: how people can emotionally remove themselves from the gruesome and disturbing things they're watching on screen. If that's true, this guy's brilliant. If not, oh well, let's consider this a lesson in action film-making.
  • Cato's death wasn't as brutal as in the book and the muttations are just CGI dogs. Apart from the whole concept of kids killing each other, these are the two most disturbing things about this particular book. The movie flossed it over and I kind of feel cheated.

Still, I loved the movie and would most certainly see it again to get a fresher perspective of the movie as a standalone.