THE HUNGER GAMES is the latest in the adapting
popular current books to movies trend. The movie has performed beyond expectations as it has taken in $155 million
in the opening weekend in North
America. You will have the fans of the book crying foul or hating the movie when they cut some stuff out.
Movies and books are different mediums. Books can be a very internal medium while movies are an audiovisual medium.
THE HUNGER GAMES does faithfully create an exciting adaptation that has its flaws. Then again book to movie
adaptations are never meant to be perfect.
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is
living in District 12 with her mother and younger sister Prim. Ever year,
one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18 are picked from each district at the Reaping and then they are to participate
in the Hunger Games where only one out of 24 will survive in this game of death. Katniss
enters multiple times for the Reaping in hopes that she will be selected and not her sister (this is her first year to be
entered for the Reaping). Katniss does all she can do even hunt beyond
the electric fence (that doesn't work) to support her family. On the day of the
Reaping, Prim's name is picked and Katniss volunteers as Tribute to spare Prim. The
male (who is picked) is Peeta, the son of a baker. Katniss and Peeta are
taken to the Capitol to be in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a way of
control since they quelled a rebellion decades ago. Katniss must try to
win the Hunger Games, but her actions may start something that is beyond her control.
THE HUNGER GAMES is based on an entertaining
and engaging Young Adult novel (the first of a trilogy) written by Suzanne Collins (who co-wrote the screenplay with the movie's
director). THE HUNGER GAMES film does have a good pace, but they do cut
out a lot of material. The beginning leading up to the Reaping is rushed
and I wish the story was developed for five to ten minutes more to showcase more of life for Katniss in District 12. Her friend Gale is barely featured and it underplays the possible love triangle
in the film. If you haven't read the book, would you care for Gale and his feelings
for Katniss? It is like director Gary Ross and the producers wanted to
get to the Hunger Games and the training leading up to it quicker. That
part of the film is great, but it is lessened by the music score of James Newton Howard (who was a replacement for Danny Elfman
who had to bow out of the project due to a scheduling conflict with another film).
Sometimes the score works and sometimes it shows that Howard isn't my favorite composer in the world. Part of it can be blamed on where Gary Ross wants to place the music in the film too.
Given that THE HUNGER GAMES has taken in
$400 million domestically, the sequel is being shot this Fall. THE HUNGER
GAMES is a faithful adaptation in what time they had for the movie, but they did lose a few things that some fans are complaining
about. My only major dislikes as described above are a rushed beginning and the
music score. Jennifer Lawrence and Lenny Kravitz, and the girl who played
Rue were the best cast in the film. I hope the sequel is a little bit better
and focuses more on Gale. THE HUNGER GAMES isn't a perfect adaptation, but it
is on fire when Jennifer Lawrence is on fire as Katniss, the Girl on Fire.
THE WORLD IS WATCHING-
GAME MAKER- a featurette on Suzanne Collins
and the Hunger Games phenomenon
LETTERS FROM THE ROSE GARDEN- Hear Donald
Sutherland’s letter as he tells director Gary Ross his thoughts on who President Snow is and how Snow sees Katniss as
a threat. This letter inspired Ross to write three scenes in the garden
CONTROLLING THE GAMES- Gary Ross and the
producers explain why they included the scenes in the Games control room for the movie adaptation
A CONVERSATION WITH GARY ROSS- The director talks to Elvis Mitchell about the characters and themes of THE HUNGER GAMES.
PREPARING FOR THE GAMES- Gary Ross explains
his process in directing the film.
Propaganda Film that is featured in the
movie is also included on this disc in full widescreen glory.
Three theatrical trailers and TV spots,
a poster gallery, and a photo gallery round out the disc two extras
Disc 3 (Target exclusive disc)-
STORIES FROM THE TRIBUTES- hear behind-the-scenes stories from the actors who played the Tributes in the movie and how they
CASTING THE TRIBUTES- the Casting Director
and the Tributes talk about how they were cast.
TRIBUTES VIDEO DIARIES- the same actors
in the previous featurettes chronicle their journey up to the premiere of the film via video cameras.
Biographies on a few of the Tributes-
Also included is a Photo Album of the time
that the actors spent together while not playing the Tributes.
Also included in the set is an Ultraviolet
digital copy code which means you can download the movie from iTunes or stream it on a variety of devices. The three disc set has a good case design to it and I like the sleeve cover better than the 2 disc
Blu-ray set cover art.
FINAL ANALYSIS- THE HUNGER GAMES is a decent adaptation of the book despite some parts being miscast and the opening
20 minutes missing out on some character development I miss from the book. The
only extra that is sadly missing from this set are the rumored deleted scenes.
Otherwise, the set has a good assortment of extras with the making-of documentary being the best. The third disc of extras exclusive to Target is only for hardcore HUNGER GAMES fans and it doesn’t
really add much.
This review is (c)8-22-2012 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.
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