The Hunger Games (contains spoilers)
When I got a ticket to the movie, my first reaction was, those who have read the books would be slightly jealous of me, especially considering I have not read the trilogy. But thanks to the Internet, I was spoiled before seeing the movie. So below are just some of my thoughts on the movie from a non-reader of the books.
The acting by Jennifer Lawrence is excellent as Katniss. Like in A Winter’s Bone and The Burning Plain she carries this movie. Even though Josh Hutcherson as Peeta is supposed to be the romantic lead in the books/movie, I just could not get into their romance, which of course will be deterrence in the next two movies. I saw more of a friendship between the two, or a forced romance, that and Peeta was portrayed as being very whiny. While on the other hand, Liam Hemsworth, whose acting in the past hasn’t really grabbed me, captured my attention from his first scene in the role of Gale and his chemistry with Lawrence was very believable, more so than Lawrence’s with Hutcherson (and considering Hemsworth is on screen for a very small amount of time compared to Hutcherson, it made Hutcherson even less appealing). They are well supported by Harrelson, Sutherland, Bentley, Tucci and Kravitz.
The original music by James Newton Howard and T Bone Burnett were of their usual standards. The timing and structure of the scores did not overpower the movie.
The cons about the movie are, as I have already mentioned Hutcherson. The visual effects at times were not well done; this was especially in the burning of the forest scene. That and the shaky camera technique, which I’ve never been a fan of, worked against the flow of the movie at times. Though that is more a criticism against the director in his choices of when to use particular styles of shots. It’s interesting to see that Soderbergh is listed as Second Unit Director on the movie. I’m curious to find out exactly which scenes he controlled.
The running time did not seem to be a major factor in the end, but there were points throughout the movie where it slowed down the flow of the story, this is in particular evident in the multiple scenes where they purely focus on Katniss and Peeta in the cave, honing in on as the Capitol calls it a young romance.
Overall, I recommend the movie regardless if you have read the books or not.