In which we all collectively flail about The Hunger Games

Pretty tributes are pretty.

You know we love us some Hunger Games around here. So it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that we’ve all been giddy with excitement for the release of the first Hunger Games movie last Friday.  And now that we’ve all seen it (ahem, some of us more than once), we thought a followup to our previous Hunger Games casting post might be in order. I promise, no Miley Cyrus movies will be mentioned this time around.

BE YE WARNED, there are spoilers here. Steer clear if you don’t want to know.

Robin Sparkles:

It’s been several days since I sat down to watch The Hunger Games movie and I am still dealing with ALL THE FEELINGS. So, you know, be warned.

I was on the edge of my seat for this one, wanting, needing for them to get it right. And damn, they got it right. First off, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss blew me out of the water. Strong, fierce, loving, and incredibly real. Katniss is such a difficult character to play – the very strength and cunning that makes her such an incredible heroine could also make her incredibly unlikable in less skilled hands. But Lawrence gave her such depth and such pain hiding behind her strength. The scene with Cinna, right before she goes into the arena, gave me chills.

I thought everyone else did an amazing job as well. I know I said in my previous post that I didn’t like Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. I TAKE IT BACK, WORLD. I thought he was amazing. Amandla Stenberg as Rue was incredible, and… you know what? I can’t even talk about Rue yet because of All The Feelings. Let’s just say that Captain Awesome and I spent the better part of the second half of the movie sobbing together in the theater and leave it at that, shall we? Elizabeth Banks was exactly how I pictured Effie, and Stanley Tucci was PERFECT as Caeser. His scenes were some of my favorites, particularly the interview with Peeta. The kids who played the careers were all spot-on, and the delight they showed as they hunted down each tribute was chilling. Honestly, there wasn’t a wrong note hit for me, casting-wise, and that’s saying something because I was very wary of several of the choices in the beginning (ahemWoodyHarrelsoncough). There were some choices I liked better than others, but overall I was very pleased with the cast.

One thing that I did wonder about going into the movie was how well it would translate, as so much of it is Katniss, alone in the woods with only her own thoughts as company. I’m not a source-material purist, and never have been. Yes, I want the same story told, but I don’t need every last detail from the book in the movie. They’re two very different ways to tell a story, and what works well in print can absolutely drag a movie to a grinding halt. So I really loved the addition of all of the Capital commentary and control room scenes. Not only did this break up some of the Katniss roams the forest alone scenes, but it also helped explain things that the readers needed to know without having to resort to voiceovers or Katniss explaining them herself. These scenes enriched the story, and I found the inner workings of the game from the other side fascinating. It also, to me at least, makes the whole propaganda campaign they do in the third book make more sense, because now we have a better image of how this world actually views the games, and how information from the Capital is relayed to the districts. I also thought the movie did a very good job of subtly showing the way that Haymitch and Effie really see Katniss as the one with the chance from the beginning, and Hutcherson did an excellent job of showing that this isn’t lost on Peeta.

I am curious about why they did not have Peeta injured at the end of the games, causing him to lose his leg. This seems like a big thing to leave out, and I’m wondering how it will impact events in Catching Fire. But I’m not worried. After Friday night, I’m confident that the story is in very capable hands.

P.S. I have in the past week become a HG interview junkie, and I think this might be one of the most charming casts ever. Jennifer Lawrence, let’s be friends.

Sword Mistress:

I pretty much agree with everything they already said I HAVE SO MANY FEELS! I do not know where to start. I went to see Hunger Games with my husband who is a reader of plays and not YA Fiction, so he was going into it knowing literally nothing about the movie. As we walked up to the theater, there was a grown woman dressed head to toe in a pink Effie outfit. My husband had no clue what he was getting himself into and I laughed to myself as I overheard the woman saying to a friend that her costume was in part for fun and in part to teach her kids to get over being embarrassed by things, which made it even better for me.

From the beginning of the movie, I was sucked in. I think that it was worse knowing what was coming. I was tense and anxious and trying not to cry half the time because I knew all of the horrible things that were about to happy. At one point, my husband was looking at me with that, “Are you ok?!” look. I believe I told him to “Shut up and watch the movie.” Not one of my finer moments, but I was too engrossed in what was going on.

After it was all over, we both felt that it was a great movie, so even those that have never read the books can enjoy it as a stand alone film. My husband says that he is on Team Gale. We had to agree to disagree.

I can’t wait to see it again and I am devastated that I have to wait until next year for Catching Fire. I can only hope that they film the next two movies back to back so that they come out close together. I waited so long for the books to come out, I can’t wait forever for the movies too!

Princess Consuela:

My main concerns about the movie going in were whether Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz would do my favorite characters justice.  I know he’s done other things, but Woody is forever cemented in my brain as the lovable barkeep from his Cheers days, and I couldn’t make the transition in my head to dark and broody alcoholic.  Plus, in my imagination, Haymitch looks just like Billy Bob Thornton, so naturally,  I expected him to play the mentor, and I was a little shocked when the news about Woody broke.  Can’t the casting directors see inside my head and cater to my every whim?  I am an IMPORTANT DEMOGRAPHIC.  I’m sure of it.  Anyway, I became cautiously optimistic after the trailers came out that Woody would actually be okay as my beloved Haymitch, but I still went into the movie holding firm to my TREAD LIGHTLY, WOODY, I HAVE MY EYE ON YOU line.  Turns out, he did a good job.  Bravo.  Lenny, too.  I was all set to start a petition to have Jimmy Kimmel kick him out of the Handsome Men’s Club if he failed to show how Cinna is handsome from the WITHINSIDE, but I think he pulled it off nicely.  Now I have shifted my focus and am concerned about who will play Finnick.  Finnick is handsome from the withoutside as well as the withinside, so I may need to leaf through the last issue of Sexiest Man Alive to look for likely candidates.  While we ponder our choices, check out this article about upcoming YA movie adaptations to hold us over until Catching Fire comes out.  ENDER’S GAME, Y’ALL.

P.S. This interview with Amandla makes me love her muchly.  Totes adorable.

Rhymenocerous:

I don’t have a lot to say that hasn’t already been said.  I was a little disappointed to not see Rue flying through the trees like a little happy squirrel.  Also, I forgot to ask for butter on my popcorn.  I agree that the movie was well cast–especially Peeta.  That was really a dark horse, I was all set to not like him.

Captain Awesome:

Umm, yeah.  What they said.  I’ll add that I loved a lot of the smaller details.  Like when Prim tucks in her shirt tail when her name is called or the way Peeta looks like he’s trying not to barf when HIS name is called.  I was creeped out by the Reaping propaganda video and thought they were spot on with the  griminess of District 12 and the old guy with the squirrel bones. I loved the fire outfits because I could never quite picture them in my head when I read the book.   I’m obsessed with Wes Bentley’s beard, Stanley Tucci’s maniacal grin when he first turns to face the audience, and Elizabeth Banks’ Effie voice.

And of course the nerve-racking Games themselves.  While I think there was a touch too much of the shaky cam, it help show the disorientation and violence of the games while still preserving that PG-13 rating.  Which I’m fine with.  I don’t need to see a total bloodbath.  And I’ve heard some complaints about the lack of tributes’ faces on the mutts at the end, but I am glad they left that out.  There is no way that could have been done well. In fact, my only real complaint is that I don’t think they developed the relationship between Katniss and Rue long enough.  However, it didn’t stop me from sobbing like a baby at her death, so it’s a minor quibble.

Anatasia:
I was the first of the Rampant ladies to see the movie, because I have a flexible day job where they don’t blink an eye when I say “I’m going to the midnight premiere of a movie based on a YA novel, mind if I come in a little late tomorrow?” I know, I’m spoiled. I also went to see it on IMAX about 13 hours later with Robin and Captain. Because I am a huge enormous nerd.

I think I’ve finally come to a place of peace with my expectations for movies based on books I love. I have accepted that the movie will never and literally can never be the book. So I just want the movie to capture the essence of the book – the core of why the book is awesome. And I have to say, the Hunger Games far surpassed my expectations. I’ve heard a lot of grumbling from some dear friends of mine (none of the Rampant ladies, for the record) about the things that were cut or the things they added, but I loved all of it. I thought the casting was great, the score chilling and perfect, that major feeling of tension that underscored the entire film.

For the record? Never go see a midnight premiere of a film this intense. I got home at 3:30 and barely slept the rest of the night, I was so keyed up. My coworkers can tell you what a joy I was the next day.

My one complaint? That the significance of the mockingjay was never spelled out in the film. The mockingjay as the creature the Capital never intended to create, just like Katniss – that’s a pretty major symbol and theme for the series, so I’m hoping it will be fleshed out in the next film, where the mockingjay symbol really starts coming in to play.

I have to second everyone’s love for the cast. They are all just so delightful and so excited to be a part of this cast. I shall demonstrate with the following gifs I found on Tumblr:






God bless the internet and this cast. I hope they can keep up the enthusiasm and energy through filming and promoting the next 2 (or 3 good grief) movies. I know I will be just as excited every time and will happily lose a night of sleep for each one that comes out.

And yes, I’m already planning to see it for the third time.

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About Robin Sparkles

Robin Sparkles spent her formative years as a teen popstar in the great country of Canada. She went on to a successful career solving mysteries in space using her mad math skillz. Now retired, Robin can often be found at her favorite bar, Hoser Hut, with her good friend and Canadian treasure, Alan Thicke. She still dons her bedazzled jacket on special occasions. View all posts by Robin Sparkles

6 responses to “In which we all collectively flail about The Hunger Games

  • SwordMistressofMeleeIsland

    I forgot to add that I am Team Finnick. I love him and cry every time he dies. I also want to note that I was pleasantly surprised with Lenny as Cinna. I only know him as a musician, so I had nothing to go on and hoped that he could pull it off. He’s already pretty, so that helped I think.

    • Princess Consuela

      Good. Now we can obsess together about who will play him without annoying our other friends. ❤ Finnick. I also feel that Johnny Depp should be part of this franchise. Where shall we cast him??

      • Anastasia Beaverhausen

        We obviously need to start scouring the internet for actors with sea green eyes. NO OTHER EYE COLOR SHALL SUFFICE.

      • Princess Consuela

        Can you search IMDB for eye color? Also, D-Rad did pretty well as Harry even if he doesn’t have piercing green eyes. I still maintain that he should have worn contacts, but it didn’t ruin everything. So I MAY be able to let the eye color slide. Again, TREAD LIGHTLY, CASTING HUMANS.

      • Robin Sparkles

        I keep seeing the rumors of random people to play Finnick and I am not impressed so far. WE NEED AN AWESOME FINNICK, HOLLYWOOD.

  • Divine Intervention* « Rampant Reads

    […] a month ago, when I was right in the midst of not only a massive, pre-movie Hunger Games trilogy reread but also Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I was complaining at work that I needed […]

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