Guest article by our son Shona.
Most people try to compare The Hunger Games to the Twilight films. In my mind, this just cannot be done. One features a strong female lead who sacrifices herself for her sister and district, eventually overcoming all obstacles and defies the oppressive government that controls her life, while the other follows a girl who is torn between a sparkly vampire and a werewolf who lost his shirt. Now it’s time for me to stop writing about a trashy tween movie, and write about a cinematic masterpiece, otherwise known as The Hunger Games.
Do you remember the midnight premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two? I sure do. All the anticipation and excitement, with crazy people dressed as wizards and normal people waving wands at each other…dressed as wizards. That same energy has now been transfused into The Hunger Games, or the “Harry Potter Rebound” as I like to call it. But why this film? Why not, say, Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill? This film has gained such a following because of a girl: Katniss Everdeen. Audiences have finally been given a character that they respect, admire, and thoroughly enjoy rooting for throughout the entirety of the film. Unlike Bella (I’m sorry for all the Twilight comparisons, but it just has to be done), the protagonist is a strong, independent girl not searching for love or anyone to protect her. Her courage is repeatedly shown time and time again without fault, and it is her family that she cares for first and foremost, not a boy.
Perhaps what keeps this movie from being another failed book adaptation is the fact that Susan Collins, author of the Hunger Games trilogy, helped write the screenplay and was one of the producers of the film. This, paired with Gary Ross’ (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville, and Big) excellent directing, makes for a stellar film. Collins and Ross clearly understood what elements of the book needed to be cut out to transform the story into a feature length movie, and they did so without at all ruining the overall story or characters.
Ah, the smooth segway into the characters. For me, every single one of the actors portrayed their characters exactly as I had imagined them in the books. Jennifer Lawrence gives us a spectacular performance, securing her spot as the lead. Given that the book is written in the first person, Lawrence was forced to somehow show her thoughts time and time again without saying a word. You cannot only see it in her face, but you can feel Katniss’ emotions as she struggles through dilemma after dilemma, evaluating thoughts and emotions alike. Woody Harrleson’s portrayal of the drunken mentor Haymitch was not as intoxicated and blundering as I had pictured, but Donald Sutherland’s eerie performance left me satisfied and very creeped out, just as Katniss feels when first meeting the tyrannical President Snow.
Snow is the cause of violence in the story, and the movie does a good job of showing how brutal the games are while maintaining a PG-13 rating. Yes, it’s a movie about teenagers fighting to the death while others watch and bet on them, but this shouldn’t be anything new to people. Things like this have happened numerous times throughout history, and for people to criticize Collins for depicting it graphically is absurd.
Overall, other than a couple of things near the end, I was very happy with this film. It stayed true to the book, the characters were well rounded and I could easily connect with them. The filmmakers chose wisely when cutting material and kept the movie going at a solid pace.
Who will love this movie?
1) A liberal who believes the movie is about the 1% (the capital) vs the 99% (everyone in the districts).
2) A conservative who believes the movie shows the atrocities and downfalls of a government who controls everything.
3) Anyone who just likes a movie starring a hot babe with a bow and arrow (sorry Emma Watson, Jennifer has you beat in bad-assery this time around).
Story and more photos at: The McFlurry