I saw The Hunger Games for the second time yesterday and I finally feel like I can write a review about it. Why did I need to see it twice before I could write a review? Because it was so much better the second time. Don't get me wrong, it was good the first time. It just blew me away the second time.
I've been trying to figure out why this movie was so much better the second time and I think it boils down to trust. These books, these characters, these stories hold a very special place in my head and heart. Up until the moment the movie starts they were mine even though millions of people have read them, they still belong to me because of my vision and interpretation of them. When the movie begins I'm handing them over to the world. In truth I handed them over to the movie company months ago but this is the moment of truth. I think that even though I may not have realized it I sat through the first viewing on the edge of my seat, holding my breath to make sure that my beloved books and characters were given the love and respect they deserve. When the ending credits begin to roll there was sigh of relief. And then on the second viewing I was able to relax and just get lost in the story I love.
There is so much I could say about this movie but I'm going to try and limit it to the real stand out moments/cast because no one wants to read the novel I could write about it. Overall, I loved this movie!! I think this is one of the most faithful book to movie adaptions I've ever seen. The loyalty to the source material made me very happy. Yes, there were deviations and additions but in the end, the spirit of the book was there. I thought that the cast was fabulous- every single one of them. (Seriously, the casting gods were smiling down upon this project.)
A few things that I absolutely loved:
- Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Wow! She truly became the girl on fire. I wasn't really worried going into the movie but it was still a relief to see her shine in the role.
- Josh Hutcherson- he is the boy with the bread. That is all that needs to be said.
- Lenny Kravitz portrayal of Cinna. I've been worrying about this particular role for months. I even posted about my worries in a letter I wrote when Lenny was cast. My worries were in vain. Lenny was perfection as Cinna down to every last detail. He became Cinna. He was exactly what I needed him to be. He brought me to tears during his few short scenes- when he helped Katniss focus during the interview, when he told her he would bet on her and when he gave her the nod of confidence she needed when she was freaking out in the tube. I couldn't have asked for more!
- Stanley Tucci- oh my goodness!!! He was BRILLIANT!!! I knew when he was cast that he would be good but he blew me away. He stole every scene he was in.
- Alexander Ludwig freaked me out. His portrayal of Cato was spot on. To me the most disturbing death in the movie (other than Rue's death) was when he snapped the neck of the tribute that was guarding the cornucopia *shudder*
- Donald Sutherland as President Snow. He creeped me out in ever scene he was in. I think the worst/best moment was the very end when he's scowling at the video feed of Peeta and Katniss back in District 12 and then turns and walks away.
There were a few of things that I would like to have seen done a little differently. (I can't even say they were things I didn't like because that wasn't it, I just envisioned them differently in my head and would have liked them to play out that way on the big screen.)
- I wanted Haymitch to be fall off the stage drunk at the beginning of the movie. I thought Woody Harrelson did a great job as Haymitch but I would have liked to see more of an evolution in his character. I didn't get how completely non-functioning he is at the beginning of the movie.
- I thought there could have been a little bit more to Katniss and Peeta's relationship. I think there could have been a few more moments where we saw that Peeta was sincere in his feelings for Katniss.
- The Mutts- I'm not sure why I was bothered by the fact they looked nothing like I pictured them. It shouldn't matter, they still scared the hell out of me when they attacked. I just wanted them to look like they were described in the book.
Ok, I have to stop now. I could go on and on about my love for this movie but I've rambled long enough. I can't wait to see it a third time!! I'm sure I will pick up even more the next time I see it.