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Time to digest "Hunger Games" movie

March 26, 2012 - Jennifer Brookens
For those of you familiar with my Hunger Games fandom, you probably are correctly assuming that I went to the Hunger Games movie this weekend. For as many times as I've read and re-read the books, I had a feeling I'd get hooked on the movie just as easily.

Not so much.

Don't get me wrong, it IS a good movie; it stayed as true to the book as possible when you condense a month's worth of action into a two-hour movie. But much like a big meal, I think there were some things I need to digest before I go back for seconds.

1) With the filmmakers being able to knock the rating down to a PG-13, I thought the violence wouldn't be so bad for the Cornucopia scene (when the actual Hunger Games battle begins). WRONG! We don't see the horror-movie type gore, but they used lots of cutaways and blood splatters. What's concentrated on is showing the frightened faces of these children, which to me seemed even more gut-wrenching. It didn't help that in the Cornucopia scene, we see a little curly-haired boy hiding, too frightened to move, only to be found and killed by one of the Career tributes (Career tributes are older teens who are bigger and trained specifically for the Games). The curly-haired boy reminded me a little too much of my own little curly-haired son at home. Bad timing for me to draw those parallels.

2) As usual with books-to-film, some of the back stories were changed for convenience. A friend of Katniss - who had the symbolic Mockingjay pin you see on all the posters for the film - is cut from the film and instead Katniss buys it for her sister the day of the Reaping. The back story the book series had for the pin was it belonged to a relative of the friend who was a tribute in the Games 25 years earlier. We also don't see as much bonding and character development, but the film's already long enough without watching two people hunt for food and sit in a cave while it rains. Instead, we see more of President Snow and the Head Gamemaker, the "reality TV" aspect used for the Games, along with action in the districts during the games. While the book is all in Katniss's first person point of view, these scenes help explain more for those who have not read the books.

3) I liked the way Woody Harrelson cleaned up the Haymitch character. In the book, it's tough to see his redeeming qualities, but Harrelson brought out a little wink behind the gruff exterior, such as giving Katniss the thumbs up for shooting an arrow at the Gamemakers during her private session. Also loved Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Katniss's stylist. The book had Cinna as a younger stylist, but Kravitz's Cinna brought more of a fatherly comfort to Katniss in her preparation for the games.

Now I've seen the movie, and all of three of my Hunger Games trilogy books are loaned out, with several more friends who've asked to borrow them. Perhaps by next weekend, I'll be ready to take up an invite for another Hunger Games movie viewing. Some fan sites have people reporting they were able to enjoy it more the second time around. Maybe, maybe not... But I'm sure I'll get it on DVD, and will be waiting for the next movie release set for next year already...

 
 

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Lenny Kravitz as Cinna offers comfort to Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in "The Hunger Games."