Movie Talk: Top 5's of The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games PG-13 / 142 min.
Release date: Mar. 23, 2012
Directed by: Gary Ross

I meant to have this up right after watching it, but I came home from the movie to find my son sick, and myself sick just a few hours later, so I have pretty much been dead to the world this weekend.

I began typing up a review of the movie, and then realized that there are many out there that say my thoughts in a much better way. So instead, I am going to name my top 5's for the movie.

FYI, there are SPOILERS for the movie from this point forward.

Top 5 Actors/Actresses
5.) Isabelle Fuhrman (Clove)  /  That smirk--it is just so devious! It's very short, but I loved that scene when all the tributes are in the shuttle, ready to take off for the arena, and Clove starts bouncing in her seat with glee...Isabelle definitely played her part well.
4.) Donald Sutherland (President Snow)  /  He's the nice old man who lives down the street that you never suspect, until he pulls a gun on you one day. Donald Sutherland did a fantastic job incorporating an evil man behind the calm facade into the role of President Snow. I loved the scene between him and Seneca Crane ("So...contain it!"). It showed how effective he is at intimidation without ever threatening people outright.
3.) Woody Harrelson (Haymitch)  /  I don't think I've ever seen anyone play a more convincing completely-lucid-drunk before. He aced Haymitch. And the one-liners he had going about Effie and the Capitol were pretty freaking hilarious.
2.) Elizabeth  Banks (Effie)  /  I had grown to adore Effie in the books--naive Capitol attitude and everything--but I was a bit worried about how that would translate to the screen. This role could be completely ruined so easily, and while I adore Elizabeth Banks (her blog is so awesome), I was reserving judgement until I had seen her in the role. But, oh man, did she do Effie justice! Her inappropriately-timed comments were completely appropriate, and she, along with Haymitch, provided great comedic relief. I wish I could remember the line, but one of my favorite parts of the movie is when they're sitting down for dinner in their penthouse suite at the Capitol, Katniss says something about the career tributes, and Effie breaks in with her line about how lucky they are because the careers don't even get dessert, but they do. 
1.) Jennifer Lawrence  (Katniss) /  Jennifer Lawrence IS Katniss. I've said it so many times (just had to watch Winter's Bone once, to know this), but I can't say it enough. I could feel every single emotion she felt, and I felt like shaking along with her in the scene right before she enters the arena. If she changed her name to Katniss, I would not object.

Top 5 Scenes
5.) Training  /  It was so cool to see the training room come to life! The careers showing off and grouping together from the beginning, everyone showing their skills, the gamemakers socializing above, watching them as they train...it was brought to life so well. 
4.) Delusions from the tracker jacker stings  /  I think it was really smart of Gary Ross to utilize the delusions Katniss has after being stung by the tracker jackers, to tell more back story about Katniss' father and mother. Instead of more flashbacks or choppy scenes, he told the story of Katniss' father dying in the mine explosion, and her mother shutting down, in dream-like, sequences that didn't detract from the storyline.  
3.) Back in D12  /  After winning the games, it was so satisfying to see Peeta and Katniss back in District 12, with everyone rallying and cheering for them. Even Gale--as annoyed as he must have been that Katniss kissed Peeta--had nothing but as smile on his face as Prim sat on his shoulders waving, and Katniss' mother stood by his side. Even though the next scene proves that this won't be the end of things, it was uplifting, nonetheless.
2.) The reaping & goodbye scenes  /  The reaping is such a powerful moment, and the moment where everything changes. It was even more powerful watching it in the movie than watching it in the trailer, because the movie opened to Prim's nightmare that she had been picked. It's clearly something she was scared to death would happen, which sets the stage for what Katniss had to do; volunteer to save her sister's life. In the goodbye scenes, I was on the verge of tears. It told a lot about their relationship when Katniss told her mother not to cry so forcefully, then almost broke down herself.
1.) Rue's death, and the moments after  /  I know that sounds a bit morbid, but I don't mean it to be. It's just that this, more than any other scene in the movie, caused me to feel such strong, passionate, hate for the capitol. Katniss is clearly trying unsuccessfully to hold herself together, she's just given the D12 farewell sign, D11 has just returned it, and the rebellion begins with their outrage. I cried like a baby. So that's how it began. It suddenly made sense. I like that they included this in the movie, because it was never perfectly clear in the books, which point of Katniss' time in the games actually sparked the rebellion fire. 

Top 2 Complaints
I only have 2. :)
2.) Shaky camera  /  Did anyone else feel a little sick at the beginning? I didn't mind the shaky camera once the movie got into the arena scenes--the shakiness fit in there--but in the beginning, and especially the reaping scene, it was making me sick. There is one part during the reaping scene, where the girls and boys are walking towards the blood sample lines, where it shakes so much it's like the cameraman actually tripped, and they just didn't re-film it. 
1.) Too much in too little space  /  My number one complaint is a hard one, because I don't know what I would rather them have taken out for it to be fixed (if, you know, I even could...which I can't). It just seemed like there was so much story to tell, that it was all squeezed in there by using short, choppy scenes throughout the movie. I didn't mind this much, because I had read the book and could follow along quickly. But I think--and had this confirmed by a few people--that if you haven't read the book before watching the movie, that it would be a little hard to follow along, and might get confusing.

As an end-note, I would just like to say that after watching the movie, my little brother has finally asked to borrow my Hunger Games book. This would be the same little brother who I have been begging to read the books for the past year--even going so far as to offer to PAY him for reading the first book, because I knew he would love it. He watched it with his friends, and came home raving about it. He'll definitely be reading it now. :)

Have you seen the movie yet?  What are YOUR top 5's?



    That got under my skin so bad.

    I have no other complaints. I loved the extra scenes, I loved the rose garden stuff.

    I thought it was so well done.

  2. I really liked the camera. No one else did, though.

    I didn't like Haymitch though. He didn't look like Haymitch. He wasn't as drunk as he should have been. His entrance was eliminated. And the movie didn't explain to nonreaders that he was a victor and that underneath the drunken antics was a broken but wry, intelligent, cunning individual.

    Everything else I agree with though :)

  3. My brother is the definition of a reluctant reader and he wants to read the books now. It is so exciting. I've noticed a lot of comments about the shaky camera but I honestly never noticed. Clearly I'm in the minority. I agree that Elizabeth Bank's portrayal of Effie was spot on. I really wanted more Peeta-isms though. It would have sealed the deal for me even more.

  4. I agree with the shaky camera. That was super annoying. But I guess it gives a dystopian feel? haha :)

    And I also agree that Jennifer IS KATNISS! Oh my gosh, I'm in love..
    So it Josh though. He IS PEETA! I love them.
    here's my review: http://ariannecruz07.blogspot.com/2012/03/movie-review-hunger-games.html

  5. Awesome recap!
    I'm SO with you on almost everything you said.
    Effie made me smile.
    Prez Snow was perfection.
    Woody was made to play a lucid drunk.
    Jennifer was Katniss.
    Rue scene made me cry.
    The flashbacks were MEGA smart.
    I got use to the shaky camera but it did bug me at first.
    My only really gripe is the relationship between Katniss and Peeta.
    I don't feel their connection is really established.

  6. I think it's so interesting to read what everyone liked and didn't like. I completely agree with about the shaky camera. And, I loved your top 5s. And, while I agree that a lot was left out and it felt kind of rushed, I still loved it. My only gripe about the movie is the camera. Everything else, I just love. And, I'm normally not like that. I'm normally very knitpicky about books turned movie. Oh well, I'm glad I'm in the space I'm in with this movie. ;)

  7. I love your top fives! Effie was extra fantastic, I can't get over it. And that dessert line was hilarious! She's so funny.

    SO weird, I didn't even notice the shaky camera! And I've seen so many people complaining about it! I'm probably going to notice it the next time I watch, haha. Definitely agree with your number one complaint though, since it was one of mine too. But how to do it differently?? I don't know. And it seems kind of ridiculous for them to make EACH book into two movies.

    I'm interested/scared to see what they do with Catching Fire, since SO MUCH happens. I feel like that one could easily be two movies, and I'm worried it's going to feel rushed again. Ah well. I still can't wait! :D

  8. I liked the camerawork... considering it's utilized in about half of the movies coming out of Hollywood these days I'm surprised people even noticed. Anyway, I thought it gave the movie a gritty immediacy.

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