The Hunger Games!

Happy Hunger Games! But was it really, though? Last month marked the big screen premiere of Harry Potter 2.0- err, the Hunger Games, and people went capital C crazy. I couldn’t walk through the hallways without hearing “OMG HUNGER GAMES” or something about how “hot” Josh Hutcherson is. People were staying up all night to watch the midnight premiere and hustling to read the whole series before the movie came out, which seems a little counter-productive to me- if you’re not already a fan of the books, why not just wait a week to see what happens in the movie? Why put in the extra effort to read the books super fast when you can just watch it and be surprised? But I digress. For some reason, I never got into the Hunger Games like most people did. Yes, I did read the first two books, and I did get pretty excited to watch the movie, but I was never a hardcore fan of it. I think my expectations, of both the books and the movie, were what led to my ambivalence towards the whole series.
But about the movie. The first problem I had with it was with its shaky camera work. Seriously, I spent half the movie with a raging headache and whiplash because whoever was holding the camera was suffering through a two and a half hour seizure. An eighty million dollar budget and they couldn’t afford a goddamn tripod or something.
The second problem I had with it was the pacing. The movie seemed too slow at times when it should have been fast, and too fast when it should have been slow. Some scenes seemed to drag on and on, while other scenes were over before they even fully got started. The cave scene, for instance. I didn’t even realize when it ended because nothing happened. It took all of two seconds, even though it was a large part of the book, which should have been transferred into the movie.
It also bothered me how much they took out of the book. Some characters were completely cut out, like Madge, even though they were semi-relevant to the plot of the story. Again, this should have been transferred better into the movie, and it would have taken maybe a minute to explain, which wouldn’t have done anything to the duration of the movie. Did they think like, “Hey, this movie would be too long if we included this one minute long scene, but if we cut it out, it’s perfect”? And Gale. He was a huge part of the series, and he spent all of the first movie looking up at a screen and looking angsty. They also cut out a lot of what attracted people to the books. The violence wasn’t that violent, the romance wasn’t that romance-y, the characters weren’t as well developed as they were in the book.
All that being said, I did like the movie. Not as much as other people did, and not as much as the book, which I still didn’t like as much as other people did, but it was pretty good regardless. Not excellent, not fantastic, just pretty good. And still not as good as Harry Potter, but maybe that’s too much to ask from them.

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