Having read the entire Hunger Games trilogy ridiculously fast, I was excited when the movie came out on DVD and I could see what they did with it. And what they did…was amazing.
The film is set up by showing us the poverty in which Katniss and her family lives; in some ways, it gave a sense of a turn-of-the-century coal-mining town in the south (which the filming location actually was at one point). This was further impressed upon the audience by contrasting everyone’s drab clothing and glum faces to the overly-pink-and-cheerful Effie Trinket. The moment when Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place in the games is powerful. There is no hesitation in her voice.
The acting is remarkable. Jennifer Lawrence brings a combination of vulnerability and maturity to her role as Katniss, and Donald Sutherland steals the show with his few scenes as the calm, assured, single-minded villain Coriolanus Snow.
The visuals were also excellent. The citizens of the Capitol are very colorful and outlandish, especially compared to the poverty we see before. The effects are well done. One thing that people are concerned about is how they portray the horrific violence of the story. Some were afraid that it would wind up celebrating it. But I can say that it did just the opposite. They made the visuals rather choppy at those points, and the acting cemented the idea that this is something that should horrify us, while not being overly gory. However, I wouldn’t recommend this for children. Thirteen or fourteen is the youngest I would go in who should see this.
It’s an excellent film, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they will do with the next two. Catching Fire comes out this November. LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN.
(By the way, I just realized how apt the name is. "Snow" compared to the "Girl on Fire" and "Coriolanus"...well let's just say that was a good choice.)