Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Hunger Games movie: I have thoughts

I saw The Hunger Games this weekend and I have thoughts! I wasn't planning on writing them down but then I left this long comment on Laura's post about the movie so I thought maybe I should write my own. But instead of a coherent post I'll just bullet point out things I loved.

*Spoilers so you should probably have already seen the movie. Or at least read the book*
Jennifer Lawrence made me like Katniss. As you may remember, I wasn't exactly enamored with Katniss from the book. Maybe because the book is from her point of view and it's a bad idea to spend that much time in the mind of a sixteen year old. But I thought book Katniss was whiny and oblivious and I wanted to smack her several times. JL Katniss was never whiny. She was brave and strong but still terrified, which is the exact reaction you should have in such a situation.

I loved District 11's reaction after Rue's death. Yes, I missed District 11 sending Katniss the bread after she covers Rue's body with flowers. However, I liked the riot a lot more. This wouldn't have worked in the book because the book was from Katniss's point of view and she couldn't see anyone's reactions. But seeing the people of District 11 riot after Rue's death shows you just how dangerous to the Capital Katniss's actions were.

On the topic of Rue's death, all the stuff about the race and how because Rue is black in the movie (and book people) that her death was less painful. Those people can go fuck themselves because seriously, that was so much more heart-wrenching in the movie. Maybe because you don't have to see this innocent little girl when you're reading. And Collins doesn't really describe her in detail until she and Katniss join up. But in the movie it's brought home exactly how young she is. And how sweet and childish she looks in her dress during the interviews. In the book I thought Rue's death was manipulative, just a chance for Katniss to feel a death and for the reader to feel the loss of a character that doesn't mean too much. But in the movie, just seeing this little girl, brings to the forefront the brutality of the games.

Cato's lines right before he dies. I like the Careers. They're made to be these enemies and in the arena they are a force but they lose their lives while they train for these games. Not only if they lose the game but they lose their entire childhood training to be killers. The movie gives a moment of insight into the Career Cato. He's bloodied and he's holding Peeta in a choke hold while Katniss aims her bow at him. He tells her if she shoots him, he'll just take Peeta down with him into the pack of wolf things below them. He says he'll have no problem killing Peeta. He can do it again, it's what he was trained to do. It's all he knows. And you can hear the shame in his voice when he's saying this. How he knows what he is, how he hates what he does but it's what he does. In those moments you get the feeling that he hates the games as much as everyone else in the Districts.

In the book we see the story from Katniss's point of view and hear her thoughts. We don't have that with the movie so they have the TV announcers fill in the holes. Not only does this mean more Stanley Tucci (yay!) but it also means you get to see how the Game is portrayed as entertainment. It really brings to light how callous the Games are. I've seen sports announcers display more pain at a missed free throw than these announcers display when announcing the death of a tribute. While reading the book you can forget that this is all entertainment but the movie doesn't let you forget.