SPOILER ALERT – Don’t read on if you don’t want to know what happens.
I love love love LOVE this movie. Love the books even more, but the movie did not disappoint. I was one of the crazy ones who decided to purchase midnight showing tickets and, despite having to wake up for work at 6:30 AM, oversleeping, and getting to work late, I don’t regret that decision one bit.
Everyone knows the movie is never as good as the book. Everybody knows this. However, there is something about actually seeing a book come to life on a screen that I’ve always liked. Some people refuse to watch movies that are based off of books, but I’m not one of them. I enjoy watching someone else’s interpretation of what I’ve already read. Even if it’s bad, even if it’s not what I pictured at all in my head, I am always glad to have seen it.
But one of the worst thing you can do as a movie producer/director is change the storyline into something it’s not. ALWAYS stay true to the book. People that read the book don’t want to see their characters changed, major plots left out, or dramatically different endings. We want to see what we read. Now, it’s been a couple years since I last read the Hunger Games, but if my memory serves me right, the movie did an excellent job of staying true to the original storyline and the books that everyone fell in love with in the first place.
I must admit, when I first saw the picks for the cast, I was slightly disappointed. I always pictured Katniss as blonde, Peeta taller and more handsome and vice versa for Gale. I could totally see Donald Sutherland as President Snow, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch but I was having a hard time accepting who would play the 3 major roles. However, it’s a good thing I’m not a Casting Director, because whoever picked the cast was absolutely brilliant. After a few of the first scenes, as the movie commenced, I became a complete convert. I was in love with all of them, and I couldn’t picture anyone else playing these roles. Josh Hutcherson, playing Peeta, was probably the most persuasive of the three, especially because he was the one I was most skeptical about.
I can only think of three important (not really even important, more like semi-important) things they left out of the movie, which is pretty good considering how much actually happens in the first book.
1. They cut out the part about the Avox, the girl who is captured, loses her tongue, and then waits on them in the Capitol. I felt like this should have been included because it served to show how corrupt, controlling and powerful the government was. The Avox is symbolic of so much that happens in the book.
2. The mutant dogs. Not what I pictured at all, plus the dogs were supposed to be mixed with the DNA of the dead tributes, which was not mentioned in the movie.
3. The way Katniss gets the mockingjay pin. If I’m remembering correctly, Katniss doesn’t get the pin in the black market. She gets it from the Mayor’s daughter, who is never even mentioned in the movie. Later on in the book, the Mayor and his family are killed. Again, important because it shows the cruelty of the Capitol. However, it’s still not a major story line and if every detail of the book was included in the movie, the movie would be 6 hours long.
Aside from these two differences, the movie unfolded almost exactly like the book did. I was riveted to the screen from the opening until the final scene. The makeup, costumes, and set was exactly as I’d pictured it. The movie, like the book, was worth the wait. And I find myself in the same scenario as I was with the books – waiting for the next one to arrive. The acting, the cast picks, the set, the plot, pretty much perfect. I’m happy to say, it held up to the high expectation I had.