Mmmmm, so during the Hunger Games movie, I was filled to the brim with bread.
I do mean actual bread from BreadTalk. My brother and I are regular haunts at that place, but we didn’t become conscious of the rightness of our chosen movie snack until we were standing in line.
Me: *starts laughing and gesturing at her bread*
Him: What? What?? Oh. *pretends to toss the bread*
He is now out cold after reading Catching Fire into the wee hours of the morning, and I’m collecting my scattered movie thoughts. All in all? The movie was as good as I expected it to be, and it failed in some ways where it should’ve known better
*Jennifer Lawrence: she was good. On the acting front, I don’t think the casting director was mistaken at all. I don’t mean a broad and sweeping “she was good, I suppose”, and I don’t mean “oh, good enough”. I mean, she really is a good actress. She could express AND she could bottle up, and that second ability is so key for Katniss. In the Reaping Scene? After she volunteers and is led mechanically to the stage? She looks as if she’s been shot through the heart and is trying not to keel over from it. And all the choked emotions with Prim and the anger that comes seeping out when she talks to her mom. Kudos on that, JLaw! No idea if it was a conscious choice, but I like the mild rasp to her voice also.
(Also, how is she so beautiful?? I’m a straight girl, and I found her sooo distracting, from her pretty lips and cheeks to all my thought-bursts of ‘omg I wish I had a body like that!’. How do these two not get distracted by each other's gorgeous all the time?)
*Josh Hutcherson! More about him later, but: I knew he would measure up to expectations after one scene. When they’re in the cab and Effie is blathering about the funfunfun Games? And Peeta has this expression that screams, “We all know we’re lambs to the slaughter, but I will sit back and take this bullshit for now.” As if he was trying not to roll his eyes. When someone can send messages with their face that way, I know a character’s in good hands.
*District 12 was grey and drab. It was gritty, it was forbidding, it was not ‘cinematographized’. And that? Was exactly the right lens for it. I don’t remember if that presentation of Panem’s past was in the book. But gah: the look on all those kids’ faces.
*Prim tucking in her ducktail before walking forward? Or the white-knuckle grip when Peeta and Katniss shake hands? And Effie mouthing the words to the Capitol presentation? Liked those. I really enjoy looking out for these little pop-out details in movies.
*I thought Liam Hemsworth was blah at first—Jennifer was out-acting him in all the hunting parts. But then came the goodbyes and there was that spark in Gale’s eye. That all-important spark. I hope he delivers when we get to the next movies
and that he and Johanna get a bonus kissing scene.
*I totally bought Katniss as a person who is not great with the socializing thing: she looked SO uncomfortable and cinched up in her interviews. Even her smile was tight and fake. Also, based solely on his interviews, I knew that Josh Hutcherson would KILL Peeta pouring on charm for the crowd. And he was still so childishly adorable and puppyish, all goggle-eyed at the Capitol and waving like a beauty queen!
(Basically: when I am thinking of Peeta in those words, you know the actor did his job! I never had many Peeta!feelings when I was reading.)
*Hmmm, Haymitch. I imagined him more dickish-acting, but he had a likeable core from the start. They did right by him in almost every book scene (bit disappointed that there weren’t any staggering, puking parts to show wrecked he is), but I must say, my favorite Haymitch parts are when he’s watching the Games. When he’s glaring at the Capitol kids who are play-killing? When he’s chatting up the sponsors? Oh: and when he sobers up to see Katniss off, and you can see this sudden unexpected faith in his face? Loved that.
*Cinna was quite older than I imagined, but Lenny Kravitz was so soothing that it didn’t matter. That voice of his! I only wish there were more conversations between him and Katniss. The force of his caring practically hits you when he talks to her before the Cornucopia, and that was a lovely scene, but I wanted more bonding Tribute-Stylist talk between them.
*UM HELLO, when Katniss and Peeta both caught fire? When they linked hands and raised hands? Shivers down my spine and all the way back
*I could really feel how the movie was framing the Games into reality TV with a rictus grin. Especially with Flickerman simpering, all blue-haired Ryan Seacrest-ish, and all that glamorous phoniness in the interviews, and that damned adoring crowd. Makes me excited for the Victors interviews in Catching Fire, what a contrast that’ll be!
*The Countdown part. Heart in my throat.
*Something that was perfect: how the movie used silence. At the Cornucopia, I half-expected some pounding music, but there was just…a hush. Children being slaughtered, all the cacophony that you should be hearing is not there, and it’s horrible. I also liked how…non-stylized it was. The kills weren’t filmed in a way that was all: “Look! Cool shit happening! Shiny weapons!” This wasn’t “300” or anything, this was kids killing kids and that is pure horror, that mustn’t be dressed up. The movie got that right.
There also wasn’t anything movie-polished about the arena—so ordinary, it could’ve been the woods behind our old backyard— or about anybody’s gaping, possibly fatal injuries (oh my gosh, the tracker jacks and Glimmer). I liked that.
*Okay, so I have this feeling that there are a few minutes of Katniss-Rue interaction cut out of the movie. And that it will only show up in the DVD. Seriously, they couldn’t give these two ONE bonding conversation? The actress playing Rue was a sweetie and huggable, and I wanted to hear her talk about her family back home! I wanted to feel the loss as personally as Katniss did (although the hush when she was breaking down was, again, perfect)! As it was, I didn’t feel the dread of foreknowledge as much as I should have. I only got really teary when Rue’s vision was fading, and Katniss was covering her with flowers. Heck, I was just as teary about Rue as I was with Cato, and that was weird. I’m supposed to care more about Rue!
*Katniss’s salute and Rue’s dad (oh my heart!) starting the rebellion in District 11, that was brilliant.
*Didn’t like how they wrote the Katniss-Thresh conversation. Katniss should’ve tearfully asked Thresh to kill her fast; Thresh should’ve been gruff with emotion when he learned about Katniss singing to “that little girl”. They took away most of the emotion from the scene.
But I loved Rue and Thresh earlier in the training area, when she steals Cato’s knife and hides in the rafters, and he beams like a proud big brother? My heart!
*Ahhhh yes, let’s get to the heart of this one: I loved every bit of Katniss/Peeta in this movie, though I have never been their most fervent shipper (I like them, I do! I’m not OTP-ish about them, that’s all). Woo-hoo score! Another moment of the movie doing for me what the books didn’t quite accomplish! I really loved that it wasn’t Twilight-style lingering, in-my-face. I really, really loved that they had just as much spark when they first hold hands as they did when Katniss slams him into the wall (am I the only freak who thought that was hot? Bwahaha). And the cave! Some people—including my brother—got nitpicky over what was said there and what was left out. And I understand that, I totally understand wanting the cherished bookmoments to emerge intact. But all that humanity and physicality between them in the cave! I always got Katniss/Peeta the most when I was at the life/death moments of the books, whenever they were desperate for the other to stay alive. How did Philip Pullman put it His Dark Materials? Something like "they were the only two breathing creatures in the Land of the Dead".
The movie honored that every time Katniss and Peeta huddled together, or touched each other’s wounds, or embraced in pure relief at this breathing, living human still in their arms. Loved it so much.
*BWAHAHAHA, I’m sorry, but those mutts look as though Hagrid got high and accidentally cloned his boarhound. Maybe I just played too much Silent Hill as a kid and expected utter horrors. I didn’t recoil one bit at the sight of them.
*Then we got to a bloodied Cato holding Peeta hostage. That line about how all his life has been is killing. Oh man. Unexpected reaction. Tears, and I said aloud, “Oh, kid...”. Movie, did you wanna humanize the Careers? Success: you did it! I always felt a twinge of sorrow for the Careers in the books because what kind of lives are those. But I never cried, you know? I’d also never had any interest in Careers fic before, and now I’m eagerly looking.
*Did the nightlock part feel off to anyone else? Maybe it was because the moment between it and battling with Cato went by so fast, but I feel as though it should’ve been a heavier moment. Instead it was just…there.
-But I liked how they tied it up with Katniss and Peeta playing Romeo and Juliet to the hilt, and Snow turning his back. Also: Seneca Crane and the nightlock. Whoa. That’s the way to set the stage for a second movie!
Icon used because misery loves company, and OMG WINTER IS COMING.