Saturday, 13 December 2014

The hunger games ~ a review

Sorry it took me so long to actually review this, but I wanted to watch it again so I could review it properly. Which I did, on the laptop at about nine o'clock at night, in bed with a bandaged knee. Just got home from hospital a couple of days before. :-) Watching this on your own is actually quite intimidating, especially when it's on your lap! I pushed it away a couple of times.
I was really keen to see this and see if it would not ruin do justice to one of my favourite modern book series ever. I devoured the books in about a week flat (read my review here ). So I'm sure we all know the basic synopsis ( if you don't, it's in my book review:)) so I might just focus on my impression of the movie. Shall we start with the things I didn't like?

They left out Madge. Madge Undersee, the mayor's daughter, owned the pin. It was passed down to her by her mother, and Madge gave it to Katniss to wear in the arena. Katniss did not find it in the Hob or give it to Prim telling her that it would protect her. I did notice, though, that Prim wore the pin at the reaping, which was kind of cool. I just wish they'd left Madge in, not just because I ship her and Gale;-)
What else did I not like? Nothing major. They left out things like the Avoxes. Peeta losing his leg. But some of the subtractions (can I put it like that) were actually good. Like Katniss was allowed to actually wear her robe when she met Cinna, and she didn't have to wash all of Peeta's clothes when he was sick in the arena. Anyway.
On to the characters.

Right from the start, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth were Katniss and Gale. I could never imagine anyone else playing them ever. This first scene with them was really well done (except the shaky camera throughout the movie really annoyed me--maybe it's supposed to make you tense?) and it was really close to the book. I love how Gale refuses to conform to the Capitol. 
At the beginning, Prim's nightmare about being chosen kind of gave it away that she would be chosen. Whereas in the book it's a total surprise. The reaping scene really made me think. Would I take my sister's place and choose death rather than have her killed?

I don't think Katniss stopped to think about it. Her natural impulse has always been to protect Prim.
Ah, Effie. One of the things about the movie that actually cheered me up. Her outfits and her hair......
I thought Katniss's flashbacks about Peeta giving her the bread would be confusing if you hadn't read the book. And he actually tossed her two loaves, not one. I'm so pedantic. 
He looks so stunned when his name is called.

Josh Hutcherson is Peeta. Even though I'm not sure whether his eyes are blue and his hair certainly isn't wavy. He got his character spot-on. 
Prim and Mrs. Everdeen. They look quite alike, as they do in the book, while Katniss resembles her father. Prim is so, so sweet in the goodbye scene.
"Maybe you can win. You can hunt."

Katniss tells her mother to take care of Prim and orders her not to do what she did when her father died. In a way, as she hugs her goodbye and tells her not to cry, you can tell that she really wants her mother to comfort her but she doesn't know how to let her. 
They left out the part where Gale says, "Katniss, remember I--" and is then shut out. 
I know, I'm just being particular again:-)
Haymitch. I love Haymitch in an exasperated sort of way. He was a bit of comic relief, but under the drunkenness was a man who was damaged by the Games in his youth and has never been able to forget. He has been forced to mentor two kids every year and then watch them die.

"Where's the ice?"
Peeta: "We were just talking about how to find shelter."
Haymitch: "Which would come in handy if in fact you were still alive."
"You just killed a placemat."

The Capitol people were pretty weird, like something out of Star Wars. Am I the only one who subconsciously calls the Peacekeepers stormtroopers?

See what I mean? Weird. That lady's eyelashes haunt me :-D
I think the parade was pretty good. I don't remember President Snow being there in the book for some reason, but I really loved the anthem. I have it on mp3 and it's really cool:-)
 I loved Cinna! He was one of my favourite characters in the book, though I think he was a little older in the movie. He did have gold eyeliner though.The costumes were pretty amazing. 

It was funny how at first Katniss didn't want to hold his hand:-)
The first time Cato glared at her, it scared me. He was really brutal. Fighting someone in the Training Centre over a misplaced knife, and turns out Rue had it :-)

I was glad they showed Thresh smiling at Rue. It showed he actually did care about her even though he left her to fend for herself in the arena. The tributes didn't have identical training outfits in the book, but whatever. And Peeta didn't show the Careers that he could throw a weight in the book either, but I guess it helped explain why they chose him as an ally later on. I loved how each of the girls had her own hairstyle.

The interviews were nearly word-for-word. Katniss's interview gown was considerably different from the one in the book, which was covered in gems, but this one was still pretty gorgeous and the flames were amazing!

Whoever played Caesar Flickerman did an incredible job. He's probably the most likable Capitol person. He's hilarious.
"My heart stopped."
"So did mine."
And then Peeta's unexpected announcement--which may or may not have been true....:-)

Was Katniss not the least bit flattered? No, she had to go and slam Peeta into a wall right after he professed his love for her. At least his hands didn't get cut on a broken vase like they did in the book. There are times when Katniss annoys me, but I guess if I was going to be killed in the Hunger Games I wouldn't be very convivial either. But how can you not like Peeta?

The roof scene was one of Peeta's best and one of my favourites. Peeta is worried that the Games will change him and he doesn't want that to happen. Katniss is only worried about surviving and getting home to Prim, but Peeta sees the bigger picture.
"If I'm going to die, I want to still be me."
The time leading up to the launch was tense. The hovercraft ride and the trackers injected into the tributes' arms. Ouch. I must say, when I was in hospital, that's what I thought about when they put the drip in:-D

I don't know why her mockingjay pin had to be a secret. I mean, in the book they were allowed to wear tokens from their district. I have to say, I was really nervous when she was in the tribute tube. It was neat how you got to see the Gamemakers at work, but it also showed how they didn't really care about the tributes. They could do anything to them at the touch of a button. Scary.

The bloodbath scene was scary. The Careers are so, so ruthless and I hate the part where Cato kills the tiny boy with curly blonde hair. He was so cute and young:-(
Katniss escapes with a backpack (with Clove's knife stuck in it) and flees the Cornucopia. She manages to find water pretty quickly and soon traps a rabbit for dinner. When she hears the Careers coming she stamps it out and climbs a tree. Nearby a girl is making a fire so, of course, they find her and kill her. The scream:-(

Apparently Katniss gets too close to the edge of the arena so the Gamemakers manufacture a forest fire to bring her closer to the Careers, where the Capitol viewers will be guaranteed to an entertaining fight. Katniss gets badly burned but still manages to climb a tree to escape Cato, Clove, Glimmer, Marvel, and.......shock.horror. Peeta!
A parachute comes from Haymitch containing burn cream for her leg and hands. I love how Haymitch always put notes with the parachutes e.g. "Drink up and stay alive."

She wakes to see Rue pointing to something above her head and realizes it is a nest of deadly tracker jacker wasps. She uses Clove's knife to cut it down and it bursts open in the middle of the sleeping Careers. This part was horrible, Glimmer dies and her body swells up from the bites. As much as I hate the bloodthirsty Careers, I couldn't help pitying them when they died. Katniss manages to get the coveted bow and arrows from Glimmer's hand and escapes when Peeta bursts through the trees yelling at her to go. She has startling hallucinations brought on by the tracker jacker venom and when she wakes she finds that Rue has been taking care of her for a couple of days.

The two girls form an alliance. They plan to destroy the Careers' food supply. The little girl who played Rue did an amazing job. She was exactly as I pictured her in the book and I really loved her:)
Katniss figures out that the Careers have reactivated the mines around the Cornucopia and watches Foxface navigate them to steal food. The Careers have been distracted and drawn away by the green wood fires Rue built, so Katniss shoots down some apples and the mines blow one by one until all their supplies are destroyed. Cato, of course, is furious. "So people really do tear out their hair and bang the ground with their fists...."
He didn't quite do that, but he did kill the boy from District 3. Cato really is a brute.
Meanwhile, Katniss is worried about Rue, who she finally finds entangled in a net. In the book Rue had already been speared by Marvel before Katniss got there, and it was awful to watch it actually happen. Katniss shoots Marvel (thankfully he doesn't try to pull out the arrow like he did in the book. Not a good idea).

Isn't this perfect? A Little Fall of Rain/Hunger Games....:')

It was quite neat that they had Katniss sing the song to Prim in the beginning to comfort her after her nightmare. It made it twice as heartbreaking when she sang it to Rue because it wasn't just a dream. I loved the tune they put to it, and yes, I did cry.

Then comes the announcement that both tributes from the same district can win, which immediately sends Katniss off looking for Peeta, who is no longer with the Careers.

And she finds him in a riverbank. "Well, don't step on me."

Pretty amazing camouflage. Cato stabbed him in the leg with his sword and the wound has become infected. Peeta can barely walk so they find shelter in a cave. Peeta talks about how he loves her but neither of them can be sure whether it is true or just an act for the cameras, which are on them everywhere in the arena. Stubbornly, Peeta refuses to let Katniss go to the feast at the Cornucopia even though it means she can get medicine to save him. The broth they received in a parachute from Haymitch wasn't enough.

But when Peeta falls into a feverish sleep, Katniss goes anyway, because she knows he will die if the wound isn't treated. Foxface manages to get her backpack before anyone else but as soon as Katniss sets off running to get hers she is attacked by Clove.

Katniss is overpowered after she grabs her backpack and Clove is about to kill her when she is grabbed by Thresh, who heard her cruelly teasing Katniss about Rue. He kills Clove (quickly, thankfully, unlike the book....but I wish they'd shown Cato coming to her rescue and begging her to stay with him. That was a really sad part in the book:( Even though those two were horrible.) Thresh lets Katniss go, because of Rue, and she makes it back to the cave with a nasty gash in her forehead. She and Peeta apply the precious ointment(in the book it was a syringe of medicine) to their wounds and when in the morning they are almost fully healed, they begin to be optimistic about making it back home.

While Katniss hunts for food, Peeta inadvertently picks poisonous nightlock berries while Foxface is
following him. She eats them and dies, and Peeta and Katniss save the berries for Cato. They changed Thresh's death. They actually saw his face in the sky while they were still in the cave, because Cato killed him, but in the movie he is killed by mutts.
"What's that?"
"That's the finale."
Because the audience must have an entertaining fight to the death instead of watching tributes sneak around hunting in the woods. It gets dark very quickly (a trick of the Gamemakers) and suddenly a pack of wolf mutts (genetically altered animals made by the Capitol) is upon them, forcing all three to flee to the Cornucopia. Peeta's leg wound doesn't seem to be bothering him at all (it was much worse in the book.)

Pictures of this scene are astonishingly scarce (this is just a YouTube still) but that's okay because this scene was pretty gruesome. Cato is already there and tries to push them over the edge. He catches Peeta in a headlock, slowly choking him, while Katniss debates whether to shoot or not. They could both fall if she does. Then come some lines from Cato that actually mean something. "Go ahead, shoot. Then we both go down and you win. I'm dead anyway. I always was, right? I can still do this. Just one more kill. It's all I know how to do."
Don't know if Cato felt any remorse for what he'd done, but he did know what he was. It was kind of sad. Peeta points to an unprotected spot on Cato's hand, signalling at Katniss to shoot. She does, and Cato falls down into the pack of wolf mutts. Katniss manages to catch Peeta before he falls and they huddle on the Cornucopia shivering and listening while Cato is dying. Eventually Katniss can't stand to listen anymore, and when Cato calls out "Please!" she shoots him to end his misery.

Morning comes and so does an announcement. The new rule about two tributes being allowed to live has been revoked, and now one of them must kill the other. Peeta is willing to die but of course neither of them will even think of killing the other. Katniss brings out the poisonous berries when Peeta says, "They have to have a victor."
Katniss: "No they don't. Why should they?"
It's a bluff, pretending to eat the berries and commit suicide, but the frantic voice of the announcer stops them before they eat them. Both of them are proclaimed the victors, and the hovercraft comes to transport them back to the glamourous Capitol, where they are hailed as the winners.

Another interview with Caesar Flickerman. President Snow is angry at Katniss's supposed act of rebellion by getting out the berries, and Haymitch warns her that her only defence for her defiance of the Capitol is her madly-in-love-with-Peeta act, so that is how they have to act from now on. Problem is, on Peeta's side it isn't an act, so Haymitch doesn't need to coach him, and Katniss has been so traumatized by the Games that she doesn't know how she feels. She did what she did in order to survive and get back to her family, but it isn't that simple. In the book the interview scene was actually really sad, because that's when Katniss first finds out that Peeta has lost his leg.

When President Snow crowns them as victors, Katniss knows that he is going to be watching her from now on ever since her act of rebellion that nearly ruined his precious weapon, the Hunger Games.

Then they return home to District 12 where everyone celebrates their win. And President Snow starts thinking about how to punish her.

The following pictures are my favourite. They make me so happy:)

I love Gale and Prim's big-brother-little-sister relationship. It's so sweet.


So, what do you guys think of the Hunger Games? Thoughts and comments welcome!! I really loved this movie and thought it was a good adaptation even though The Book Is Always Better:)
Oh, and I watched Catching Fire the other night........... it was amazing:) Review coming up in the near future (hopefully:-D)
Have an amazing day, readers!! xx


  1. Great review! I REALLY want to see the Hunger Games! lol

    1. Thanks! You should:) Have you read the books?

    2. No, I haven't... Are they any good?

    3. Yes, they're amazing!! Definitely not 'Christian' but they're fairly clean, no bad language, and the violence is portrayed as evil. They're really eye-opening and definitely some of the best secular teen fiction I've ever read.