Hunger Games: My Opening Night Experience

I’m going to start from the end of the night with a conversation I overheard after the movie. There was a group of women in their forties discussing their thoughts on The Hunger Games right after the screening. One of them was talking about how upset she was at the beginning of the film because of everything that was left out from the book. She complaints continued stating that she really was missing the details that were left out (which this woman apparently deemed necessary). It took all I had to not tell that lady if what she expecting going into this movie was a sentence by sentence adaptation than there was no way she was going to be pleased. These type of movie goers are arrogant to film making and need to stick to just reading the books. Film is a completely different medium than the written word. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. Which for me makes the statement “But the book was better” a moot point since they is no way that they can be equals.

My friends and I went to a late night viewing at an XD (Extreme Digital) which I have never experienced before. The screen is bigger than a normal screen, but not quite as large as IMAX. There were two trailers that really stuck out in my experience. Firstly, I saw a new full length trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and I am more jacked than ever to watch it. The other was for Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2. It was during this trailer that the entire theater starting giggling incessantly. To be fair if you are into the Twilight movies I’m sure that the teaser trailer was exciting, but for the rest of us it was just straight ridiculous. Now onto our feature presentation.

For those of you who have read the book a bit of the exposition and character setup in the beginning has been skipped. Anything of real importance does show up in flashbacks occasionally through the movie. Any ancillary characters were understandably left out since they would have just caused the movie to drag on unnecessarily. The cinematography not only lends itself well to the grandiose world this movie takes place in, but also aids in many of the subtleties that you would normally only get through the written word. The sound design added to the drama, the action, and the suspense, but at the same time was very artistic. Which I don’t usually take notice of in some of the other summer blockbusters. At the same time the source material is rife with audio cues that are integral to the story and these cues were well executed. For a movie about teenagers killing each other, the violence was not too graphic without giving up the feeling of danger. This was accomplished through carefully decided camera shots, sound design, and quick editing. The characters were well cast and the actors did a great job (especially considering how many close ups there were).

There is only one thing I thought the movie was lacking slightly and it was not the fault of the filmmakers. I feel like the phrasing of “the girl on fire” sounds good when you are reading a book, but sounds much less impressive when actually said out loud. Most of the time when a character actually proclaims this they sound like a gay host in a reality show (I know you just heard Tim Gunn say it in your heard. Sorry). And to a lesser extent the saying of “May the odds ever be in your favor.” felt like they were trying to create a catchphrase akin to “May the force be with you.” Nonetheless you can’t blame the filmmakers for using such easily recognizable material straight from the book. The fans would never forgive them. This movie is not only a good adaptation if you’ve read the book, but can also be thoroughly enjoyed by people new to the material.

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