Hunger Games - The "I saw it" thread (open spoilers)

So I went to the midnight showing of Hunger Games, after tearing through all three books just a month ago…and have mixed feelings on it.

Some things I thought were done quite well. I rather enjoyed the movie’s elaboration on certain events, such as the glimpses into the Game’s control room. I also liked that Haymitch was less of a seemingly incompetent drunk, and showing him meeting the sponsors was a great idea that makes him more of a likable character.

Unfortunately, even at 2.5 hours, the movie wasn’t anywhere near long enough to adequately cover things it should have. Most smaller characters are almost completely side-lined–I felt nothing when Rue died because we’d seen maybe 90-seconds of her up to that point. Hell, I didn’t really care about any of the characters. We also didn’t see nearly enough of how life is in the districts; from the few glimpses we saw, it honestly didn’t seem that bad. And Katniss’s motivations lacked the impact from the book since we’re barely shown her family, or her activities outside the family (hunting).

I also didn’t think the actor for President Snow at all captured what I envisioned of him from the book, with his “snake-like” eyes.

Oh, and the Cornucopia looked nothing like I envisioned. That thing looked like a prop ripped right from a high school play.

In short, I was bored through much of it, even though it is pretty faithful to the book…perhaps too faithful. I think they needed some longer scenes in order to provide better context for the happenings that transpired. But whereas I was completely hooked by the books, the movie left me mostly indifferent.

But how about you all?

I took my niece and her friend (both 14) to a midnight showing and we were surprised when the director Gary Ross came out to introduce the film (and ask us to turn off our cell phones!) It was in Hollywood and the theater had around 8 screenings starting between midnight and 1am.

I agree with a lot of your points. Especially about Rue. I could see her scenes strewn about the cutting room floor. And the shaky cam still bugs me even though it gets used way too much. But on to what I liked. Effie Trinket. She was really brought to life in the movie by Elizabeth Banks. And Caesar (Stanley Tucci) was hilarious and frightening and believable all based off his crazy number of smiles! I really liked the way the killing was visually handled especially due to it’s rating. I thought they faced them head on without making them graphic.
But in the end my niece really liked it (though she may have enjoyed the ‘event’ of it as much as the movie) and I think it’s more for her than me.

I agree with much of the above (though I liked the cornucopia). I felt like the movie really didn’t provide enough of the “is he faking? Wait, is SHE faking?” angst. I don’t know what I would have changed to include it without making it three times as long, though.

I just saw it, and really enjoyed it, despite not having read the books.

I thought Peeta was really in love with her. It never occured to me that he was faking. I thought you could tell she just wasn’t into him, though (not with her cutie friend at home).

I wasn’t expecting to like Woody Harrelson’s character at all, but he seemed to come through for them. He must have learned the hard way about getting attached to his Tributes.

I just got back and I absolutely loved it! It wasn’t perfect but I thought it was great fun.

Some things I wish they’d kept in:

Katniss yelling “Peeta” when they announced they could join teams
Katniss freaking out when they took him away while in the hovercraft
More with Rue and Katniss…although I don’t think I could have handled getting attached to her.
More time post-game, although I’m not sure how they would have been able to do it without dragging on.

Things I liked:

The issues in District 11. I think it set it up perfectly for the coming movies.
Elizabeth Smart was the perfect Effie.
Loved the gameroom and the gamekeeper’s ending. I think they hint about it in the second book, but I like how they portrayed it here.
I liked the improvement on Haymich’s character
I liked Cato’s little meltdown at the end.
I liked that they didn’t waste so much time with Peeta healing.

I’m really nervous about that stupid love triangle. It was my least favorite part in the book. While it wasn’t too bad in this film, I can see it playing a larger role in the later movies.

Pst… It’s Elizabeth Banks. Elizabeth Smart is the girl that was kidnapped in Utah.

Seeing this today. Loved the books and can’t wait to see how the film turned out.

Hmm… Saw it last night. I don’t know. I felt like the first part of the movie was just a cursory checklist of events from the book. “Put this in the movie, check. Put that in the movie, check.” It had the emotional impact of a 6th grader doing an oral book report of the book. “First this happened, then that happened. Oh and her dress looked like it was on fire…um, yeah, some other stuff.” There was no emotional involvement in any of the characters because they seemed so glossed over. I think they should have cut some stuff and captured more of the feeling from the book than try to stuff as many events from the book as possible. I mean, I’m thinking “what? am I supposed to dislike these kids from lower districts? I hardly know them. And what’s the connection with the black guy who helps her out that we only see for 2 seconds? Oh, he must be from District 11 too.” I’ve read the books, yes, I know the answer to these questions, but the movie doesn’t really delve to deeply into any of these relationships and I think if you are just going in to the movie without reading the book, you are getting a superficial treatment. The book had Katniss all unlikeable and needing to be liked in order to get sponsors. Basically, the movie didn’t “show” that, it had a character say “Oh, you need to be likeable coz you aren’t.” It told me things when it should be showing me things.


This is what I get for not looking things up.

We had never read the books and knew nothing of this film when we went yesterday.

  1. Huge crowd for an early screening at the local multiplex here in Vegas. Should make a bundle this weekend if that is any indication.
  2. The film was long - and it felt long. I have no idea where or how they could have cut anything - it all fit together nicely - but still, this story seemed to go on and on and on.
  3. The vast majority of the kids in the game were nameless faces and you didn’t care one iota if they lived or died - not sure if the book went into more detail, but for a Hunger Games virgin, it took any bit of empathy or suspense out of the story.
  4. Great costumes and makeup in the urban city - although they did look like Tim Burton castaways from Alice in Wonderland, it was still fun to look at.
  5. The actors were all very good - seemed like perfect casting all around.
  6. The story was a bit like Lord of the Flies meets American Idol.
  7. Again, having never read the books, I assume book 2 and 3 go into the love triangle, revolution in the districts, the girl becoming the leader of the revolution and the Donald Sutherland character not retiring to a condo in Boca Raton.
  8. Good film, not great. This was no Harry Potter “magic” wonder nor LOTR visual miracle - but we will most likely go see films 2 and 3 when they come out.

I saw the midnight premier as well. My thoughts are pretty similar to everyone’s here. I did really like the movie, overall. Also, my SO liked it, and he hasn’t read the books, so that’s good for the filmmakers.

The number one mistake for me was Rue. She was my favorite thing about the first book, and there was just so little of her in the movie. When we left, my boyfriend actually said, “They must have cut a lot of Rue,” because he knew she was my favorite and there was no way I could have liked her so much if she was in the book so little. So, I’m hoping to see more of her in the DVD.

I think showing things going on at The Capitol was really nice, and perhaps they should have shown more. Since the books take place entirely in Katniss’s head, and she’s such a private person, it was a real weakness of the film. I knew how she was scared, and worried, but for someone who hasn’t read the books, I think she may come across as cold. Which actually isn’t a bad thing, because she develops and that is interesting too, but some of the “Katniss looking stoic” scenes could have been replaced with other expositional bits, and probably made the story more engaging.

Frankly, as long as it was, the movie was just too short. It went by incredibly fast (for me), and I was generally sad about all the things they cut out. I don’t know how to fix it, other than make it longer. I’m sure a good movie editor would have ideas, but I’m just hoping for a bunch of cut scenes to make it to the DVD. I love the books, and I love that world, and I would be happy to sit through a movie twice as long (but then, I realize I’m the exception here). But it really was a good movie, and I will be seeing it again soon. Hopefully on the second viewing I’ll be able to enjoy it more, and not be constantly comparing it to the book!

Thanks for mentioning this. When she died, there were open sobs and wailing in the theater which seemed a tad over-wrought for a character you had only seen maybe three brief times in the film. Now that makes sense if she were a more fleshed-out character in the book and people were remembering that instead of what was portrayed in the film.

I wish there were separate threads, not that I would make them myself:

Hunger Games: Saw the movie, read the book(s) (open spoilers)

Hunger Games: Saw the movie, haven’t read the book(s) (open spoilers)

I saw the movie, and haven’t read the book(s), though the movie made me want to read it/them, so I’m very wary of book spoilers. I assumed Rue in the book would be more fleshed out but what was there was very moving to me.

It’s natural to compare the book version to the movie version, and I’ve done it myself, such as with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, but I hate reading it, and hate myself when I do it. The book of almost anything is ALWAYS going to be better than the movie version. The filmmakers just can’t fit everything in. But at least comparing movies to books isn’t as bad as people who compare movies to stage plays, since you can always find and read the book, but rarely can you go and see the stage play. (I’m looking at Carnage stage play fans, and say fuck them and their elite pretentious “the play was better” bullshit that spread into a general vague “it’s just not that good” vibe and helped torpedo the movie.)

Does it (whatever it may be) work without having read the book? If yes (to those who saw the movie without having read the books, because they have no basis of comparison) then that’s all that matters. Based on this thread, and my own experience, the answer for The Hunger Games is yes, just as it was (usually) yes for The Lord of the Rings, and The Millennium Trilogy and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Harry Potter.

I really only went to see it for Jennifer Lawrence, because I liked Winter’s Bone so much. I thought she did a great job, and the main opinion of book readers that interests me is how they felt about her portrayal. Katniss reminded me of Ree Dolly, Lawrence’s WB character. Spoiler for how the two characters are similar, since it’s very off-topic, though no spoilers for Winter’s Bone’s basic plot: Katniss as a character isn’t all that far away from Ree, who also came from a dirt-poor backwoods community, had to hunt in the woods for food, take care of her family with the dad missing, deal with a shell-shocked mom and younger siblings, and deal with murderous scumbags making her life harder.

I noticed there were 3 times when the cannons didn’t fire (or at least, we didn’t hear them) when participants died, but that’s the only continuity nitpick that I noticed. The rest of the time I was fully engrossed, and the time flew by. I didn’t know it was so long, and it didn’t feel long to me. I’d see it again, and I’d see the other two movies. Though the thought of a potential romance with the dude back home is a bit stomach-churning. I’m sure he’s a nice guy but he looks WAY too much like Taylor Lautner (count that as an “Ugh!”), plus the mushy stuff doesn’t interest me.

I thought that by leaving out the scene with the runaways and the subsequent encounter with the Avox chick, they squandered an opportunity to portray the true evil nature of the Capitol.

Also, I thought there could’ve been more about the real day to day struggle to find enough food in district 12 so that when it came to the scene where Katniss and Peeta see all of the food laid out for them, the audience would know how gluttonous and wasteful and completely out of touch the Capitol really is.

Another glaring omission was the failure to flesh out the relationship Katniss had with her father. That relationship is the basis of Katniss’s archery acumen and her extensive botanical knowledge.

And Rue…I completely agree that her character and whatever friendship there was between her and Katniss were so poorly developed that I was unmoved by her death. They didn’t properly convey to the audience that she reminded Katniss of Primrose, which killed any chance of audience sympathy.

Loved the books. Overall, I was unimpressed with the film adaptation. I may not even care to see the next installments.

I just got home from seeing it today, and I agree with most of what you said, but I really agree with this. This really demonstrated to me that yes, the Capitol this is just a game and they constantly play with new “toys” to see how they can make it exciting. The head Gamemaker as a show director made it very clear to me that what happened during the Games were (mostly) deliberate decisions on the part of the gamemakers - and I don’t think I got that as strongly from the first book.

I kinda like feel like this too. But I don’t see any way for them to correct these things without a lot of deposition in a film that needed a pretty brisk pace just to cover it all.

The way I see it is this is a movie for fans, and for those who might have their appetite wet enough to seek out the books to get in on all these details.

Just me, or did the film REEK of Deus Ex Machina?

Let’s set up some rules*.

Lets then LITERALLY drop in a tree from the heavens
Lets then LITERALLY drop in medications from sponsors.
Lets then LITERALLY drop in some [cougars?] and add two more.
*Lets then change those rules [Only one person can survive]
Lets then change them - or not, leaving the rules as stated still broken.

The entire film reeked of Deus Ex Machina.

I went in expecting The Running Man and Logans Run. I got Romeo and Juliet in The Matrix.

It really must make a difference if one has read the books or not. I have not read the books, and I very much picked up on Katniss transferring her sisterly feelings to Rue. I was indeed moved by her death.

I thought it was pretty good, but I have to say I liked John Carter better. Perhaps it’s because I pretty much spoiled The Hunger Games for myself by reading media articles and assorted forum threads–even without reading the books I felt like I knew too much going in.

People say this a lot, and I swear I JUST DON’T GET IT.

They are in a game. Do you think it’s Deus Ex Machina when someone uses a lifeline on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? It’s a game, meant to entertain an audience. Just like on freaking Biggest Loser when previously kicked off contestants get to come back and stuff, it is completely realistic for them to have rules changes and stuff to keep it interesting for the people in The Capitol. It happens all the time on reality television, and I think it would be less believable if they didn’t manipulate the environment in the entirely man-made arena.

Seriously, can you explain what makes you think “Deus Ex Machina”? Because it really baffles me.

I agree that the movie felt a bit by-rote, but it was well done and serves it’s purpose. I enjoyed watching it.

Oddly, I left appreciating the second and third books more. When I read them, they didn’t really resonate with me. But for some reason after watching the movie I’ve come to appreciate the ways that the books chose the complicatedand nuanced story of the easy one.

I think that’s pretty much the point. The Capital would like to portray the Hunger Games as a spectacle of courage, glory and survival. It’s sold kind of like war- nobody wants it, but if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen with glory and honor and pageantry. Even if you don’t agree with the premise, you can still enjoy the story of the battle and admire the characters.

But the Hunger Games has not even a shred of integrity. It’s a rigged display of cruelty that kills kids for political reasons. There is no glory in survival- all the bravery and integrity in the world won’t stop you from being a pawn in their game. It’s arbitrary and pointless, a raw waste of human life, that is utterly without any redeeming factors. It’s stupid and tragic. There is no glory or honor- there is just stupid pointless death.

Also, I think you missed chunks of the “love story” as well- there is certainly no “Romeo and Juliet.” While guys have crushes on Katniss, she for the most part has bigger things on her mind that worrying about that, and romance is waaaay down on her list of priorities (unlike certain other YA female characters.) Through it she deals with complex feelings about friendship, integrity, and obligation, but she isn’t really driven by teen puppy-love or a desire to be in a relationship.