Movies – The Hunger Games

The last item on our agenda for vacation was going to see the newly released movie, The Hunger Games.  I talked about reading the trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins here.

If you want a reference to a good site for movie reviews then I recommend Rotten Tomatoes.  My dear sweet brother-in-law turned me onto this site years ago.  I like it because it provides professional reviewer reviews as well as audience reviews (using a tomatometer).  They also have a free iPhone app, Flixster.  Both provide links to movie theatres, and you can get a good feel for the movies by the reviews on both sides as well as actor bios.  This site always gives me a good idea about which movies I want to see on the big screen as opposed to waiting for them to be released on Netflix.

I give The Hunger Games a thumbs up.  See it in the movie theatre.  Don’t wait for it to be released on DVD.  I suspect that this will be a movie that we end up purchasing for our home collection.

Here are thoughts on the movie from My Baby the Bulldog who is our resident expert on this series.  She loved the books.  She loved the movie.  She felt that there wasn’t enough character development especially in the cave scenes, but understood that a movie cannot flesh out these details as well as a book can.  She loved how Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss.  Her range of emotions was awesome.  I agree completely.  I particularly appreciated the terror she showed in the scene before the tube took her up to the arena.  She was visibly trembling just like you would expect.  My Baby also liked how they fleshed out the control room scenes which expanded on the suggestion of how the games were choreographed in the book.

The second movie in the series, Catching Fire, is due to be released November 22, 2013.  Like many second movies / books in a trilogy series, I expect that it will be the least thrilling as it segues the first and final movies, but I am looking forward to it nevertheless.

As for Jennifer Lawrence, she has been in seven movies so far with three more due to be released or in production.  All but one of the seven movies received very good reviews including the 2012 movie, Winter’s Bone, for which she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress starring in a gritty portrayal as the daughter of a troubled mother and missing, meth-cooking father in the Ozark wilderness.  This movie received a 94% approval rating by the professional reviewers and a 74% approval rating by the audience.  I believe the dark, gritty nature of the subject matter made it less palatable to the everyday person.  The people weren’t pretty or even clean.  Lawrence actually learned how to hunt and skin small game so that she could portray that accurately in the movie.  She isn’t afraid to look dirty and unkempt and not be so nice which is kind of appealing – it reminds me a lot of Charlize Theron who can be beautiful, but isn’t afraid to play roles where she is anything but beautiful.

I also wanted to take a moment and talk about Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg, the youngest tribute in the games from District 11.  There has been some controversy over her choice as actress because she is African-American.  For me, she is just as described in the book.  Young.  Vulnerable.  Small but crafty.  Rue reminded Katniss of her younger sister, Prim, and they formed an immediate bond.  A bond that was not based on skin color.  Amanda’s skin color made no difference to me, nor should it for anyone, as she played the role of Rue to perfection.

There have been a lot of comparisons made between the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, and The Hunger Games trilogy.  There are significant differences between them, and I think my kids would agree that their favorite remains the Harry Potter series with The Hunger Games coming in second.  I think Twilight appeals more to tween girls – my kids liked the first book but not the subsequent ones and did not like the movies at all.

I think the morally complex choices made by the characters in the Harry Potter and The Hunger Games series is what makes them appealing beyond the YA set, and that they will stand the test of time while the vampire / wherewolf rage will gradually fade away.

Peeta: So what happens when we get back?
Katniss: I don’t know. I guess we try to forget.
Peeta: But I don’t wanna forget.

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