hungry for Hunger Games

So…remember how I said that I’m totally not into books that are insanely popular like Twilight and The Hunger Games? Yeah, forget all that (well, not ALL of it–I still fucking hate Twilight), because I went to see the first movie with Erin yesterday for her birthday, and I’m totally on The Hunger Games train now.

The movie was seriously awesome. Now, you have to understand that I went into it having never read the books, and with no expectations and basically no clue what the story was even about. All I knew was that it had something to do with kids fighting to the death, which sounded a little too dark even for me.

But it kind of blew my mind, to be honest. It’s two and a half hours long, and I didn’t even get bored once, which always happens when I see movies in the theater. That’s saying a lot for me. I was completely entranced by the storyline, and I was amazed by how…un-young adult it is. I think part of the reason why I avoided reading the books was because I don’t know if I could get into a young adult series at this point in my life. Harry Potter was one thing, because when I started the series I was a kid, so growing up with the characters made me still care about them as an adult. But to pick up a YA novel now and expect to actually get into it is another thing.

The Hunger Games is really heavy, morbid stuff for young adult literature, though. Certainly every good YA novel has some sort of transgression, but this shit is pretty intense–children fighting each other to the death as marionettes for an evil government puppet master who wants complete control and a cheap thrill. It’s extreme, and impressively complex and involved for a young adult story.

Going into the movie, I didn’t realize that it was a post-apocalyptic setting, nor did I realize that not only is the battle broadcast as some kind of sick and twisted reality show, but it’s also completely fixed by the government. It’s a fucked up, life-or-death popularity contest, and Katniss is the first person in the history of the competition to get the best of the ones who control it.

Now, I have to say that I think they could have made a way better casting choice for Haymitch than Woody Harrelson, but the wayward pick is balanced out by the fact that Lenny fucking Kravitz plays Cinna, who is probably my favorite character because he’s the only person who seems to show a shred of realistic humanity in his compassion for and support of Katniss. Also he looks really cute in glitter eyeshadow.

If this movie can make me actually like Lenny Kravitz then you know it must be amazing.

The movie reminded me a lot of The Truman Show with how carefully the Hunger Games are orchestrated and the players manipulated by their surroundings to provide the most entertainment. It’s not clear to me from the movie whether the average citizens viewing the games are aware of the fact that the government controls the circumstances of the arena, but I was shocked when I discovered that they had the ability to generate a forest fire and toss in wild beasts to make things more interesting. Children fighting to the death and struggling to survive the elements is terrifying enough as it is without some crazy-bearded ringleader ordering up genetically altered hog-mutts and making the sun set on command. This movie was really raw, so much more so than I expected it to be, and I can’t begin to guess at what the next installments will be like.

One detail that I really wish would have been included that I think would have been clutch for the gritty realness of the film was for Katniss to yak all over Effie Trinket when she’s standing on stage, shocked and dumbfounded at the fact that she’s actually just volunteered her life to save her sister. That’s a fucking powerful moment, and I felt a little queasy just thinking about the implications of that kind of sacrifice. What kind of fucked up society necessitates something like that? Jennifer Lawrence does a great job of looking like she’s about to vomit as the realization that she’s going to have to hunt and kill other humans sinks in, and nothing could have satisfied the hungry audience more than an epic barf-fest all over Effie’s idiotic costume.

We can’t have everything though, and all in all the movie won me over and made me eager to read the books to find out what happens next. Add them to my book list and save me a seat for the next movie release.

Bonus points for the Titanic 3D preview before the movie–it was so hilariously awesome that it even balanced out the fact that there were TWO previews for movies starring Kristen Stewart. Ugh.

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8 thoughts on “hungry for Hunger Games

  1. awesome review of the movie, it’s so amazing to see that people who are coming to the movie without having read the books still feel the story’s impact. i totally agree with you saying that the books feel very adult- suzanne collins who originally wrote them was quoted as having said ‘i don’t write about adolescence. i write about war for adolescents.’ she takes her young adult readership seriously and i love that.

    if you’re interested in seeing how the movie compared to the book i’ve written a blog post about it here: http://scribblemein.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/initial-impressions-the-hunger-games-movie/

    – meg x

  2. OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THE BOOKS!!! Haha, I’m glad the movie was able to win you over. And omg screw twilight and freaking “ionlyhaveonefacialexpression” K-Stew. I really can’t stand her OR those movies. tHank goodness hunger games was 9178923882638476 times better.
    And I swear, that movie could have been 4 hours and I wouldn’t have noticed – I was SO into it.
    Thanks for linking up! It was really interesting to hear the opinion of someone who didn’t read the books!

  3. RIGHT??? There’s no way you can’t not like the Hunger Games dude. I haven’t met one single person who didn’t like the books. I haven’t seen the movie yet (tomorrow!! EE!) but it’s really good to hear it’s just a good movie in general, not just because I liked the book. I’m so excited to see it!

  4. This was one of the few times I read a fiction book (well, listened to the audio book, actually), and I enjoyed it. Although I prefer my dystopia a little darker and grittier (ala Philip K Dick, for example), having the main character be a strong female like Ripley in the Alien movies was what won me over. I was actually a little disappointed that some of the inner-monologue stuff didn’t make it into the film, because that really gives you a better understand of Katniss’ strengths/weakness/background/thought process.

  5. I think this was the first review for the movie I read from someone who wasn’t a fan! My bloggy friends and I actually read the books together and fell in love. I loved reading about the parts you liked and didn’t like.

    I loved Woody Harrelsson but I didn’t like what they did to Haymitch’s character from book to screen. If you ever read it, you’ll see that they toned him down a lot and it feels weird to me. They also cut a lot of Cinna’s character down, which made me sad because I love him. Lenny Kravitz was okay. The eyeliner was fantastic.

    I did a post recently about avoiding things just because they are popular. Seems that a few people do that! You never know what you miss though. I’m preaching to myself because I refuse to read Twilight though. Ick.

  6. Hey, I found you through Nova’s blog and I just wanted to say that I really like your blog!

    Also, I went to see The Hunger Games this week too and I loved it just as much as you seemed to. I thought the tension was so amazingly done, I was stressed for pretty much all of it haha. My boyfriend though it could have been a bit more brutal, but I thought the subtlety was probably worse than all out goriness. I was concerned about jumping on the ‘bestseller’ train too, but I’m pleased I did haha. I want to read the books now too!

  7. Yeah, I’m a Hunger Games junkie. Read all the books quickly. I’m pretty obsessed. It just has an incredible storyline and I think is given insight in what may happen in the future. History always repeats itself and people have been doing crap like this for centuries. Just not with all this technology.

    • I’m finally reading the first one now and I’m loving it. I just texted erin today to see if I could borrow the third and fourth because I know I’ll zip through this one – the storyline IS really good, and after seeing the movie I couldn’t even imagine what was gonna happen next.

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