Blog #86: Movie Review: The Hunger Games

NO SPOILERS

Where do I even start to review The Hunger Games?  This is one of the most amazing movies I’ve ever seen.  I’ve seen it twice in less than 24 hours.  It was even better the second time and I already can’t wait to see it again.

They got it right.  By “it”, I mean everything.  Yes, there are changes from the book, but they are mostly inconsequential.  The additions really stand out.  Scenes that could not be in the book due to it being told exclusively from Katniss’s point of view really add to the story and the characters.

The Hunger Games has already broken several box office records.  It took in 20 million dollars at midnight showings, the most ever for a non-sequel.  This shattered Twilight’s previous record of 7 million.  The Hunger Games now places 7th all time for midnight release total following the last three Harry Potter and last three Twilight movies.  It also ranks as the fifth highest opening day of all time, and the highest ever by a non sequel.  With an estimated three-day total of 155 million it sits in third place all time for opening weekends behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, and The Dark Knight, and first all time among non sequels.

But, as anyone who has read the books will tell you, it’s about a hell of a lot more than the money it’s bringing in.

That’s it for the no spoilers section.

SPOILERS AHEAD – SPOILERS AHEAD – SPOILERS AHEAD

I wish to make this VERY clear.  The rest of this review contains spoilers not just for the movie, but ALL THREE of the books.  So, you’ve been warned, proceed at your own risk.

SPOILERS AHEAD – SPOILERS AHEAD – SPOILERS AHEAD

Before I get to the review, I just want to remind you, as I have in many other blogs, I’m not a great reviewer.  A lot of this will entail me saying, “so, then [insert whatever] happened and it was super awesome.”  Hopefully there will be something here and there worth reading, but don’t go into this expecting a lot.  Also, I have only read the books once, so it is possible that when I refer to the books I may be misremembering things.  In other words, I probably won’t always know what I’m talking about.  Also, the quotes below may not be exact.  It’s hard to write down quotes exactly when you can hardly see the paper you’re writing on.

Now, on to the review.

After a brief intro to the Capitol with an interview of Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) by Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) we get to District 12 and a screaming Prim (Willow Shields) waking up from a nightmare that she was selected as a tribute.  (Nothing like a little foreshadowing.)  Katniss sings to her to calm her down, and you instantly become aware of how much Katniss loves Prim.  But for the lack of age difference you could easily think them mother and daughter.

Then we meet Prim’s cat Buttercup, who greets Katniss with a hiss.

“I’ll still cook you.” – Katniss Everdeen

Even if only for the one seen, I’m glad they got the mangy fur ball in there.

Then we get some scenes of District 12, and they did them perfectly.  The place looks just as described in the books (to my recollection).  We then see Katniss make her way through the district, through the non-electrified electric fence, and into the forest.  One scene that really caught my attention was after she retrieved her father’s bow, she gets ready to shoot while walking along a fallen tree as easily as if she were walking across a field.  This really struck me, as it shows how at home and comfortable she is in the forest away from the city without having to have her tell us like she did in the books.

Then we meet Gale (Liam Hemsworth).  It’s clear from his conversation with Katniss that he is well on his way to being the rebel he will become in books two and three.  His contempt for the Capitol is obvious even without Katniss’s thoughts to tell us.  It also seems pretty clear that his feelings for her are more than just friendship, but that she has no idea at all.

Then we cut to a brief shot of Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks).  While I realize that Effie is not evil, just clueless and a product of the life she lives in the Capitol, I still spent most of her screen time wishing someone would punch her in the face.  She’s even more annoying than Katniss’s prep team who thankfully get almost no screen time.

Anyway, back to Katniss and Gale.  Gale has a small loaf of bread.  I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that.  Considering the meaning of Peeta giving Katniss the bread years earlier, this is foreshadowing at it’s best.  I didn’t remember this scene in the book, but I looked it up and found that it was in there.  More proof I don’t remember details when I read.  That’s one reason I prefer movies.

Next we get to one of the changes in the movie from the book.  Katniss goes to the Hob, the black market of District 12.  They never call it the Hob in the movie.  Katniss trades with Greasy Sae, though she isn’t named in the movie, she couldn’t be anyone else.  On her table, Katniss finds the Mockingjay pin.  Katniss asks how much for it and Greasy gives it to her.  Mostly this was changed for time would be my guess.  The book later explains that the pin is meant as a dig at the Capitol without being too obvious about it.  By not doing that, at the end of the film, it’s going to make it look like Katniss’s wearing of the pin is what makes it a symbol of rebellion rather than just increasing it’s previous meaning.  So, instead of latching onto an existing symbol, it seems like she unknowingly created it.  At least that’s what it seems like to me.  They could certainly put the explanation in the second book.

Okay, I’ll admit it.  When Katniss called Prim “Little Duck” I cried.  I wish I’d never read the books and didn’t know what happens to Prim.

I really liked the interactions between Katniss and her mother.  You can see that something, though we don’t know what yet, has driven them apart, but that her mother is really trying.  Katniss is clearly conflicted about her mother.  Very well done.

More Effie.  More wishing someone would punch her in the face.

I loved the Hunger Games propaganda film.  I just had one issue with it.  There was no mention of District 13.  They said there was a war 74 years ago, and they make it sound like that is when Panem was formed.  That is not the case.  74 years ago is when District 13 was “destroyed”.  It’s very unclear, but I suppose, not hugely important.  I’m sure they will explain it in the next movie.

After how scared she was, I love Prim’s bravery when her name is called.  She just tucks in her shirt and accepts her fate.

“I volunteer!  I volunteer!  I volunteer as tribute!” – Katniss Everdeen

Only after Katniss’s incredible act of bravery does Prim react and need to be carried away by Gale.  Yeah, I was crying again.

I got goose bumps when Effie asked for a round of applause and not a single person in the crowd made a sound, but instead most gave the three-finger salute, a symbol of District 12.  “It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.” (The Hunger Games, USA Hardcover, Page 24)  This is another place that makes me wonder if I’d feel different if I hadn’t read the book.  Is her surprise that so many people think so highly of her and care about her really as evident in Katniss’s eyes as I thought it was, or am I just remembering that from the book?  I don’t know, but I thought it was perfect.

Then Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is announced, and ascends to the stage.  We get a quick flashback of him giving the bread to Katniss.  For someone who hasn’t read the book, the significance of this can’t possibly be understood at this point, but it doesn’t have to be.  You know something happened between them and it is important.  Superbly done.

Katniss’s goodbye scene with Prim and her mother was excellent, particularly with her mother.  All Katniss cares about is that her mother understands that she can’t be the way she was after their father died.  It’s only after Katniss knows her mother understands that she hugs her, and for just a minute, Katniss is exactly who she is.  A scared girl clinging to her mother whom she will most likely never see again.  Jennifer Lawrence plays it perfectly.

“If they don’t have a bow you make one, okay?  You know how to hunt.” – Gale Hawthorne
“To hunt Animals.” – Katniss Everdeen
“Its no different.” – Gale Hawthorne

The goodbye scene with Gale is equally well done.  Gale cares about her far more deeply than Katniss has ever realized.  It’s hard to know if she starts to here as she did in the book.  The Gale-Katniss relationship will get far more interesting in Catching Fire.

I loved the look of the train both inside and out.  Too bad it didn’t run over Effie. 🙂

“Embrace the probability of your imminent death…and know in your heart…that there is nothing I can do to save you.” – Haymitch Abernathy

Now, at last we meet Haymitch (Woody Harrelson).  He’s drunk and disinterested.  One of the few unfortunate but necessary changes from the book is that Haymitch comes around to helping them rather quickly.  This is simply a time constraint and takes away nothing, but it would have been nice to watch the slow process of Haymitch coming around to helping them.

At this point in the review it occurs to me that my reviews are probably more interesting when I actually have things a lot of things to complain about.  Oh well.

“Better keep this knife.  He knows what he’s doing.” – Haymitch Abernathy

Then came the great scene on the train where Katniss shows some interest in learning how to live and stabs the table with a knife narrowly missing Haymitch’s hand.  We learn about getting sponsors and how important it is to be liked.

Now we get our first look at the Capitol, which was amazing.  Not just the buildings and bridges, but the people.  The people look just like they are described in the books to my recollection.  It’s very clear just watching them cheer for children who are going to die for their entertainment that they are clueless to reality outside their perfect little city.

“So you’re here to make me look pretty.” – Katniss Everdeen
“I’m here to help you make an impression.” – Cinna

I love Cinna’s first scene.   It’s startling that he is the first person she’s met who actually says he’s sorry this has happened to her.  That’s a pretty startling thing to be in a situation where you’re almost certain you’re going to die and keep getting congratulated.

The Tribute Parade was one of the scenes I was really looking forward to for two reasons.  First, I wanted to see how they did the costumes with them on fire.  They were awesome.  I sort of pictured them in my mind engulfed in flame.  Having the flames essentially on their backs trailing behind them was perfect.  Second, to me this is one of the most important moments in the entire series.  This is the moment that Katniss Everdeen, teenage girl, sister, and breadwinner (no pun intended) became “The Girl on Fire.”  I’m getting chills just typing it.  It also can’t be understated how important this is for the tragic connection between this and events in the end of the third book.  (I’m tearing up just thinking about it.)

Also, there is a change here that is small, but worth noting.  In the book, Cinna tells them to hold hands.  In the movie, it’s Peeta who takes Katniss’s hand and when she slaps it away, tells her that the crowd will love it.  Of course, you really can’t blame Peeta if he just saw a good opportunity to hold her hand and went for it. 🙂

“May the odds be ever in your favor.” – President Snow

So far I have neglected to mention President Snow (Donald Sutherland).  He does have a couple of earlier scenes.  I really like this one.  His speech is short, but so well delivered.  Sutherland was the perfect choice for President Snow.

Another scene I really liked was the one when Katniss first goes into her bedroom.  She picks up the remote and brings up some pictures to display on the window.  After a couple of changes, she sees a forest.  I’m not sure if it’s actually the District 12 forest or just looks like it, but it is a very poignant moment when she turns it off and without even saying it, you know she’s thinking that she’s never going to see it again.

“I have no chance of winning.  My mother said, ‘It looks like District 12 may finally have a winner.’  But she wasn’t talking about me.  She was talking about you.” – Peeta Mellark

You’ve got to feel for Peeta.  It must be hard enough to go into the games from District 12 and be expected to die early, and to be so hugely upstaged when Katniss volunteers and then the salute.  The fact that his own mother thinks he can’t win makes you feel for him that much more.  Makes me wonder how this would have unfolded if he wasn’t in love with her.

“Those guys are looking at you like you’re a meal.” – Katniss Everdeen

The training sequence was phenomenal (I don’t think I’ve used that adjective yet).  The uniforms, the room, it was perfect.  During this sequence we see Katniss and Rue taking notice of each other and Cato (Alexander Ludwig) becoming the alpha male so to speak.  The best part though was when Peeta falls and Katniss tells him to throw the weight.

“Thanks for your consideration.” – Katniss Everdeen

Another scene I was looking forward to was the individual session in front of the Gamemakers, and it’s right out of the book.  The look on Seneca’s face when that arrow pins the apple to the wall is priceless, and then Katniss shows as much contempt as possible including a mocking bow.

“I thought they hated me.” – Katniss Everdeen
“They liked your guts.” – Haymitch Abernathy

Katniss scores an eleven making her the highest rated tribute.  Not much else to say about it, I just wanted an excuse to use the above quotes. 🙂

“Seneca…why do you think we have a winner?” – President Snow
“What do you mean?” – Seneca Crane
“I mean…why do we have a winner?  Hope.” – President Snow
“Hope?” – Seneca Crane
“Hope.  It is the only thing stronger than fear.  A little hope is effective.  A lot of hope is dangerous.  A spark is fine as long as it’s contained.” – President Snow
“So.” – Seneca Crane
“So…contain it.” – President Snow

Next comes one of my favorite scenes.  (Yeah, I know, I have a lot of them.)  President Snow has the above conversation with Seneca Crane.  The true ruthlessness of President Snow is really starting to show itself.  We don’t really understand what a terrible villain he is until the second book, but it is completely clear here.  Awesome.

“What did you say to your sister when you volunteered at the reaping?” – Caesar Flickerman
“I told her I’d try to win for her.”– Katniss Everdeen

The interview scene is nicely done, with brief clips of the other tributes.  This is when we get names put to some of the other faces we’ve been seeing in training.  We don’t learn a lot about them, but we really don’t need to know much, we’ve learned most of that in training.  Katniss really succeeds at playing for the crowd, but her discomfort shows.  She has to work at being likeable.  The flaming red dress definitely steals the show.

“There is this one girl I’ve had a crush on forever.” – Peeta Mellark
“Well I tell you what, Peeta.  You go out there and win this thing and when you get home she’ll have to go out with you.  Right folks?” – Caesar Flickerman
“Thanks…but I…I don’t think winning is going to help me at all.” – Peeta Mellark
“And why not?” – Caesar Flickerman
“Because she came here with me.” – Peeta Mellark

I loved this scene.  It was just as I pictured it in the book and Josh Hutcherson played it perfectly.  The best part though was Katniss’s reaction, pinning Peeta to the wall with her elbow on his throat.  This is the only time I recall Katniss having any kind of emotional outburst before the arena aside from nearly skewering Haymitch’s hand and the arrow through the apple.  Both of those times though, her response was fairly controlled.  She could have actually stabbed Haymitch or shot one of the Gamemakers.  That her strongest reaction was to Peeta saying that he has feelings for her speaks volumes about her character.

“I just keep wishing I could find a way to show them that they don’t own me.  If I’m going to die I wanna still be me.” – Peeta Mellark
“I just can’t afford to think like that.” – Katniss Everdeen

This was such a nice scene, and the moment that I think you can truly see something, even if it’s just friendship from Katniss toward Peeta.  Earlier when she helped him in the training by telling him to throw the weight, I think that was less about friendship and more Katniss’s instinct to protect.  They really did this perfectly without any overt acts of friendship.  You just know she cares about him even if it is only as a friend.

“I’m not allowed to bet…but if I could, I’d bet on you.” – Cinna

Katniss’s goodbye scene with Cinna was perfect, but does bring up an interesting question.  In the book, as I recall, each tribute was allowed one personal item.  In the movie, Cinna smuggles the pin in.  This goes back to how she got the pin and not finding out about it’s meaning.  As I said earlier, this makes it look like Katniss will make the Mockingjay a symbol of the rebellion rather than it already being one.  I kind of like this, as it makes Katniss a little more directly responsible for it becoming the symbol that it will eventually be.  (If of course that’s the intent, some of this is speculation.)

When Katniss enters the tube and it closes she turns to Cinna.  That is the first moment in the movie that she looks afraid.  By the time she gets raised into the arena the fear is gone from her face, but that moment makes sure you won’t forget she is just as scared as anyone else.  Brilliant.

The game beginning was amazing.  I loved the silence as the fighting began and several tributes are brutally killed in the first moments as Katniss tries to figure out what she’s going to do.  In fact, she’s very nearly killed while wrestling with the boy from District 9 over a backpack when Clove (Isabelle Fuhrman) kills him and then tries to kill her.

It’s brutal.  It’s fast.  It’s bloody.  They got the start of the games perfectly right.

As the cannons begin to sound we have a brilliant addition to the movie, and that’s Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith (Toby Jones) telling the television audience what the cannon means.  This enables them to give us what Katniss gave us in her thoughts in a way that feels perfectly natural and they continue it throughout the games.

After bumping into Foxface (Jacqueline Emerson and running for a while, Katniss sits down to see what she has in her pack (which includes the knife that Clove threw at her).  She finds a butterfly sitting beside her, and for just a moment, you can see her taking in its beauty and forgetting that she is now in a fight to the death.  One has to imagine if after the games, if she’ll ever find such beauty again.

Of course next Katniss does as Katniss does.  She finds water and then traps food and eats before climbing into a tree to sleep with a rope tying her to the branch.  When she awakens the next morning, she hears the sound of the cameras in the trees.  This is where we learn that every single move they make is scene and observed.  I don’t think that is ever made clear before now, though with their advanced level of technology, I would think that the cameras would be silent.  Still, nicely done.

Next Katniss sees the careers that have formed an alliance (as explained by Caesar Flickerman) with Peeta.  Of course, having read the book, I know what’s going to happen, but Katniss’s surprise is clearly evident without a single word being spoken, and Glimmer (Leven Rambin) and Marvel (Jack Quaid) hanging behind and talking about how they are only using Peeta to find Katniss and then they are going to kill him.

“Get another cannon ready.” – Seneca Crane

Katniss continues to move as far as the can from any of the other tributes.  However, the Gamemakers have other ideas.  Unlike in the book, we get to see Seneca Crane orchestrating the games with his team.  These are great scenes.

The Gamemakers send firebombs to drive Katniss back toward Peeta and the careers (sounds like a good name for a band).  In the process, Katniss is burned.  Now, to my recollection, in the book she was burned far worse than in the movie, but I don’t think that really loses anything.  Katniss ends up in the river to escape the firebombing where she is found by Peeta and the careers.

“Maybe you should throw the sword?” – Katniss Everdeen

Katniss climbs a tree where Cato tries to get to her but falls.  Glimmer tries with the bow but misses and then Cato does the same.  I love Katniss’s teasing him.

Katniss sits in the tree in pain while Peeta and the careers camp out below, we see Haymitch seeing her in pain and at this point you have to know, if you didn’t already, that he does care about her even if he hasn’t always done the best job of showing it.  We get to see him working the crowd for sponsors, and Katniss is rewarded with a silver parachute and some medicine.  They added notes that were not in the books in the parachutes, which makes sense.

Katniss spots Rue in the trees.  She motions above her where Katniss finds a Trackerjacker nest.  As Katniss climbs towards the nest Caesar and Claudius explain the effects of Trackerjacker stings.  Katniss cuts down the nest, but not before getting stung on her hands and neck.  She falls from the tree to find Glimmer dead, disfigured horribly by the many Trackerjacker stings.  Katniss, now feeling the effects of her stings manages to grab Glimmer’s bow and quiver.

While indirect, this marks Katniss’s first kill.

Suddenly Peeta appears out of nowhere telling her to run.  If there was any doubt that he was not really trying to help the careers kill her, now she has it.

As the venom begins to make Katniss hallucinate, we learn of her father’s death and her mother zoning out, and again we see flashes of Peeta giving her the bread.

She wakes up two days later to find leaves placed over her stings and Rue hiding nearby.  Rue tells her she has been unconscious for two days and that she’s changed her leaves twice.

Katniss catches them dinner, and without ever stating it, you can see how she takes care of Rue so much like she takes care of Prim.  The next day they decide to go on the offensive.

One of the things left out of the movie is that Katniss’s mother and Prime are healers.  While not hugely important in this movie, it would have been nice to know and have one more unspoken connection between Rue and Prim.

Rue starts fires to lure the careers away from the cornucopia where they have gathered all the food and supplies into a pile.  This is where we first hear about the Mockingjays.

I was already crying at this point in anticipation of what was coming.  Just thought I should mention that.

As Rue draws the careers away, Katniss goes to the Cornucopia and sees Foxface using stealth to steal food and escape.  Caesar Flickerman fills us in on how the mines have been dug up and reburied around the food.  With the boy left to stand guard having gone after Foxface, Katniss shoots two arrows and cuts open a bag of fruit on the pile.  The fruit spills out and sets off the mines, which blows the whole pile to pieces.  Katniss escapes into the woods and tries to use the Mockingjays to signal Rue.  That’s when she hears Rue scream.

Katniss takes off at a run and finds Rue trapped in a net.  She cuts her out of the net and hugs her tight trying to calm her as she did in the beginning of the movie with Prim.  When Katniss finally lets go Rue screams.  Katniss turns and is narrowly missed by a spear.  She draws her bow and shoots Marvel in the chest.

That’s Katniss 2, careers nothing if you’re keeping score.  It’s her second kill, but the first time she’s killed directly, and it was more than anything, to save Rue.

But she didn’t.

“You have to win.” – Rue

Katniss turns to see Rue pulling the spear out of her chest.  She falls into Katniss’s arms.  Katniss tells Rue that everything is okay and sings to her.  After Rue dies, we see Katniss in a silent scream before she gathers flowers and places them around Rue’s body and in her hands.

As she leaves her, she stops and turns giving the three-finger salute.  We cut away to District 11 where Rue is from, as the crowd likewise gives the salute before starting a riot.  This was of course not in the book, but I think it was an awesome addition.  I think this is the moment that Katniss, the girl on fire, became “The Mockingjay” even if she didn’t know it at the time.

Katniss then breaks down crying.

Then we come to another of my favorite scenes, which has Haymitch talking to Seneca.  Without saying the exact words, he’s trying to convince him that playing up the young love angle is good for the games.  We then cut to a scene of Seneca and President Snow where they talk about underdogs and Snow warns Seneca to be careful.  I really like that we got some clear explanation as to what happens next, who orchestrated it, and Snow’s reaction to it.

An announcement is made in the arena that due to a rules change, if two tributes from the same district are the last survivors, that they will both be declared winners.  Katniss immediately goes off in search of Peeta, whom Rue told him was down by the river.

In the books, when I pictured Peeta’s camouflage, I didn’t really think he had made himself look like the rock, I thought he was just buried in the mud.  It looked amazing, but I have to wonder how it was he managed to do it without a mirror.  I guess he could have seen his reflection in the water, but it seems an awful lot to do with a wounded leg.  In any case, when Katniss hugs him is the first time you wonder if maybe she has feelings of more than friendship for him, though I don’t really think she does yet.

They go to a cave.  Peeta is in bad shape, but Katniss insists that she will take care of him.  She gives him a kiss on the cheek and we cut to a heartbroken looking Gale back in District 12, something we only got to hear Katniss imagine in the book.  Jennifer Lawrence does a brilliant job of showing Katniss’s reluctance to get close to Peeta, but puts her head on his chest to go to sleep.

“You fed me once.” – Katniss Everdeen

They receive a silver parachute with soup and a note saying, “You call that a kiss?”  Katniss feeds Peeta the soup and then lies beside him to go to sleep.

An announcement is made that something will be left for each remaining tribute at the cornucopia.  Peeta begs Katniss not to go and tells her that what he said at his interview was true.  He’d noticed her at school long ago, and should have done more for her with the bread.  He asks her not to go and she kisses him again, on the lips this time, but still hesitant.  Again we cut to Gale, who you really have to feel for.

“Now there’s no way I’m going to let you go.” – Peeta Mellark

Katniss agrees to stay, but when Peeta’s fever gets worse she goes to the Cornucopia.

“Just this once twelve.  For Rue.” – Thresh

Katniss watches Foxface run out to the cornucopia and grab what she needs from the table, so she thinks it’s clear.  It isn’t.  Clove is lying in wait for her, and as they fight Clove gains the upper hand.  Katniss is at her mercy, when Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi) arrives and hears Clove gloating about how they killed Rue.  Thresh kills Clove (rather brutally, throwing her up against a wall so hard that her neck breaks).  Thresh lets Katniss go because of what she did for Rue.

When Katniss returns with Peeta’s medicine, he insists she needs some too for the wound on her forehead.  As Peeta is applying the ointment, Katniss smiles, and to me that is the first time you it seems that she is falling for him.

I don’t recall if we heard the cannon, but at some point here, Cato kills Thresh, leaving Cato, Foxface, Katniss and Peeta as the “Final Four.”  You might say it gives a new meaning to March Madness.  (I wonder if they picked March to release this movie for that reason.)

“I’ll take the bow.  I’m just kidding.” – Peeta Mellark

The next morning, with Peeta’s leg healed (a major change from the book where his leg would ultimately be amputated) they head off to look for food and Peeta makes the above joke.  They go their separate ways and a while later Katniss hears a cannon.  In a panic she takes off at a run to look for Peeta, seeing the berries he’s collected and knowing what they are she continues to search, screaming for him in a panic, and throwing her arms around him when she finds him.  This is yet another sign of her feelings for Peeta.  The scene is well played by them both.  Katniss explains that the berries are deadly, and they discover Foxface dead.  Katniss decides to hang on to the berries.

“What’s that?” – Peeta Mellark
“It’s the finale.” – Katniss Everdeen

The Muttations are a big change from the book.  In the book they are made from the bodies of the dead tributes.  I don’t mind this change, as it seemed to serve only to try to freak out the living tributes in the book.

“I was always dead, wasn’t I?  I didn’t know it till now.” – Cato

Katniss and Peeta take off running with a Muttation following them.  Soon two more join the pursuit.  They make their way to the cornucopia and manage to get on top of it.  They aren’t the only ones.  Cato arrives and a fight ensues on top of the cornucopia.  I love Cato’s speech.  Katniss shoots him in the arm with an arrow allowing Peeta to break free and push Cato off the cornucopia.  As the Muttations begin to tear him apart and he begs for help, Katniss shoots him with an arrow, mercifully ending his suffering.

That makes three kills for Katniss.  One indirect so that she could escape, one in defense of Rue, and one in the name of mercy.  Not exactly what one expects from a Hunger Games champion.  What is even more interesting to me is that as far as we know, Peeta hasn’t killed anyone.  In the book it is stated that he went back to finish a girl they thought might have still been alive, but we don’t know if he actually killed her, and that isn’t mentioned in the movie at all.  So, it’s possible that Peeta survived the games without taking a life.

“Go ahead.  One of us should go home.  One of us has to die.  They have to have their victor.” – Peeta Mellark
“No they don’t.” – Katniss Everdeen

Suddenly Claudius announces that the previous rule change has been revoked.  There can be only one winner.  Peeta tells Katniss to do it so she can go home, but she refuses.  She takes out the nightlock berries and they each take a handful.  Just before they eat them, a panicked Claudius yells, “Stop!”  He then congratulates them for winning the Hunger Games.
xxx
“She saved my life.” – Peeta Mellark
“We saved each other.” – Katniss Everdeen

Haymitch warns Katniss that she’s in a lot of trouble, but she does not immediately understand how right he is.  When it comes to the politics behind the games and the building rebellion, Katniss is still pretty naïve.  She plays up the idea that she was so in love she had to act as she did.  The interview is a great scene and is played brilliantly, but not too brilliantly.  In the book, Katniss is more of a mess as I recall, and seems to have sold it better.  Since ultimately its not good enough, I think the movie does it perfectly.

“What a lovely pin.” – President Snow
“Thank you.  It’s from my district.” – Katniss Everdeen
“They must be very proud of you.” – President Snow

Before the scene when Snow crowns them, I honestly felt like Snow didn’t have any particular animosity against her personally, but then he hasn’t seen the pin.  This seems to be the moment that she became his enemy.  Awesome.  Just awesome.

Another favorite scene has Seneca Crane being escorted down the hall by two peacekeepers.  He is shown into a room and the door closed behind him.  He tries the door to find it looked.  The room is nearly empty, save for a table in the center.  Upon it a bowl sits on a pedestal.  Seneca walks up to the table and sees a small pile of nightlock berries inside.  In the book he was executed as well, but this scene was so perfectly done, the movie is actually better than the book.

“So, what happens when we get back?” – Peeta Mellark
“I don’t know.  I guess we try to forget.” – Katniss Everdeen
“I don’t want to forget.” – Peeta Mellark

They arrive home and when the train door opens we see Prim sitting on Gale’s shoulders.  Katniss and Peeta raise their clasped hands.  Such a great ending, but it wasn’t quite over.

We cut back to a stone-faced President Snow.  He turns and walks up the stairs, leaving an uneasy feeling as the movie ends.

There are no words to adequately describe how much I love this movie.  I can’t wait for the sequel.  It’s going to be a long 607 days.  Fortunately I have Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, Part I, Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters, Iron Man 3, Star Trek 2, Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Thor 2, and a whole bunch more great movies to tide me over.  Somehow, I don’t think they’ll be enough. 🙂

This is a masterpiece of movie making, and if there is any reason and sanity among Oscar voters the movie will get nominated for best film, best director, and best screenplay.  The stunning and talented Jennifer Lawrence gives an incredible performance as Katniss and must be a frontrunner for best actress.  Woody Harrelson deserves consideration for a best supporting actor nomination.  However, given the Academy’s track record of ignoring good movies in favor of crap, I’m not going to hold my breath.

Thanks for reading!

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About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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3 Responses to Blog #86: Movie Review: The Hunger Games

  1. Roxane says:

    Great job! Except for 1 thing. When you stated the “final four” THesh was still alive. The mutes got him and you can clearly hear him screaming.

  2. lmb3 says:

    i-love-otis@hotmail.com, glad you liked it. I thought the cannon sounded for Thresh before the Mutts appeared. I’m sure you’re right. Will have to watch for that when the DVD comes out. Thanks.

  3. In the movie Thresh is actually killed by the Mutts. You can hear them growl and bark as you hear Thresh’s screams. And in the movie we don’t see Cato running up to the cornucopia. He is already there when Katniss and Peeta are there, making it unlikely that he killed Thresh then managed to get to the cornucopia in that amount of time.

    Great review though! 🙂

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