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The Hunger Games Movie...The Odds are Definitely in its Favor

You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: The Hunger Games Movie...The Odds are Definitely in its Favor

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie...The Odds are Definitely in its Favor

This was at the Rave theater near Cordova Mall in Pensacola.  Someone had a good time making this out of posters.
Today I did something very anti-social.  I went BY MYSELF to a movie.  I can't remember the last time I did that.  I just didn't feel like coordinating with anyone else.  I knew I could go on Friday while the kids were at school and I didn't want anyone to stop me.

I had been drooling to see The Hunger Games movie for about a year.  Probably because I read the trilogy about a year ago.  For the past 12 months, I discussed with the GeekMoms on our message board every time photos from the film shoot, posters and trailers were publicized.

The excitement was pretty palpable by the time I bought my ticket this morning at a theater in Pensacola.  I had to haul out that far because that was the only place in 50 miles offering showings before noon.

Not counting the midnight showings, of course...but I couldn't do that last night, Dave was TDY and just got home today.  If he was home I might have gone.

(Warning: contains some slight spoilers)

The movie was phenomenal.  The crew did an amazing job recreating the grey physical and emotional demeanor of District 12 (Appalachia/coal country).  When Effie Trinket (played by Elizabeth Banks, who you might remember from Zack and Miri Make a Porno), the Capitol representative assigned to the District 12 tributes, steps onto the stage to draw the names, she and a flag of Panem above her are the ONLY splashes of color in an otherwise grey and brown world.

The scenes of the mountains, coal mines, the train, the Capitol and the over-the-top appearance of those who live in the Capitol are all very well done.

Being that I knew the story well, I could mentally fill in the blanks with what WASN'T being shown in the movie (they couldn't cover everything, you know).  For example, even though it wasn't shown, I knew Katniss had a hard time finding water in the first several days.  They just skipped that part in the movie, she was contentedly filling her canteen in a pond within minutes of the start of the games.  To be honest, it wasn't a huge part of the story...except to provide some time setting.

The minutes before Katniss stepped into the "tube" that transported her up into the arena were amazing.  Numerous closeups of Kat shaking like a leaf.  Her eyes convey fear unlike anything I've ever seen in film...not even Carol Ann Freeling!  You're scared right along with her.

Rue's death.  Oh my goodness.  It's a VERY emotional part of the book, and the film paid that scene every respect it deserved.  I got slightly teary eyed when I read the book...I bawled during the movie.  Less Rue's death itself, but when Katniss puts three fingers to her lips and then raises her fingers to salute the cameras...and the reaction of District 11 (Rue's home district).  WOW!  Yeah, I'm glad I had plenty of napkins leftover from my concessions.

The film was entirely shot in North Carolina.  Asheville, Concord, Charlotte and part of several National Forests.  The scenery is stunning...

When I posted to Facebook about seeing the movie, I got a couple of inquiries about whether the movie was appropriate for their kids.  It's rated PG-13, and the crew worked VERY hard to keep it that way.

My two boys want to see the movie.  They've seen enough of the trailers on TV, and a couple of Jacob's friends have already read at least the first book.  I said "No" to them.  I MIGHT read the book WITH them later this year.  I haven't decided yet.  I know Jacob can handle it, he seems quite resilient when it comes to delineating what's real and what's not real.

I can't say whether you should take your child to the movie outright, but I will offer my perspective:

  • I read the book before I saw the movie.  The book's descriptions of the violence, the freaky genetically-engineered creatures and the heartlessness that you feel for those in the Capitol are MUCH more vivid than what's shown in the film. 
  • The "bloodbath" in the first two minutes of the actual games is very graphic in the book.  But the cinematography during that scene is done such that you can't actually see much at all.  In an attempt to capture the chaos that Katniss is experiencing, the camera is very shaky and does a lot of quick pans.
  • You WILL see several of the tributes get killed.  Those scenes aren't gory, though...just sad in some cases, brutal in others.
  • The romance/love triangle is really played down.  A couple of kisses, but the dialogue and emotions that Katniss are feeling isn't at the forefront of the story.  The thrill of the hunt is definitely the priority here.

Let me point you to two reviews written by GeekMom colleagues today.  They also offer similar perspectives.

GeekMom review by Amy Kraft.
GeekDad review by Kathy Ceceri.

There's definitely some drama going on between the incredible craze The Hunger Games has caused...alongside the huge flop that is Disney's John Carter.  This article offers some insight to how The Hunger Games' producer Nina Jacobson ironically used to be co-president of Disney Motion Picture Group.  I wouldn't be surprised if The Hunger Games earns more this weekend than John Carter's worldwide totals so far (as of this writing, about $180M).

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