Release Date ~ 3/23/12
Director ~ Gary Ross
Starring ~ Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson
Screenplay ~ Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins
Studio ~ Lionsgate
In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.I had huge expectations for this movie. After all, I have been waiting for this since 2009, when I read the books for the first time. While I was at writing group Thursday, hours before I would leave for the midnight showing my writing mentor started reading us a negative review of it. I got worried. Thankfully, I worried for no reason, because it was the MOST EPIC MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!
I thought the casting was supreme. Jennifer Lawrence made the perfect Katniss. Though she may be a bit too curvy, and over fed (I mean, Katniss was basically skin and bones, right?), she made up for it with the emotional depth that made you feel for her, and the never-say-die attitude that Katniss so famously had in the books. However, I felt like they made Peeta's role less major, so I didn't really get the chance to judge Hutcherson, but I have no complaints for any of the castings. I think the most interesting characters to watch their transformation from page to screen were Ceasar Flickerman (played by the super awesome Stanley Tucci), Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) , Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks). The actors playing them all embodied their roles perfectly, adding clever touches to distinguish themselves.
The tributes were all cast great as well, besides Jacquilene Emerson, who played Fox Face, who instead of coming off as sly and mysterious (as depicted in the books), came out as a schoolgirl looking girly girl. Which ticked me off, because she was one of the people I wanted to match the books the most. That was very disappointing *pouts*
Suzanne Collins, along with director Gary Ross, wove an excellent screenplay that matched the book with it's hooking aspect. Though many details that die hard book fans will miss, such as the removal of characters like Madge, and the Avox, it does the book justice entirely, in my opinion.
The movie was shot using a hand held camera, which was awesome. In the beginning, I found it hard to enjoy it because it was too hard to watch. Then after five or ten minutes, it started growing on me. Then once you were in the arena, it was wicked. All the nitty gritty aspects from the book came to life in front of your face, and it added so much to the movie!
A few things I loved from the movie that weren't in the book was that while the tributes are in the arena, they also switched to the Gamemakers headquarters, where you get to see the gamemakers prepping the new horrors for the tributes to encounter, and Claudius Templesmith (Toby Jones) and Ceasar Flickerman's (Tucci) commentary. SPOILER ALERT! (DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE 1ST BOOK OR SEEN THE MOVIE) The major thing they changed from the book to the movie was when Rue dies, they show District 11 starting mounting a fight, beating up Peacekeepers and vandalizing the district. And that was pretty awesome! END OF SPOILERS.
This movie was just too amazing. I loved every minute, and cannot wait for the Catching Fire movie. If this movie was any better, it might just be illegal.