We recently had the opportunity to see this movie with some friends at a church function.
I read the books probably a year or more ago, and though I enjoyed them, they weren’t necessarily my favorite. Dystopian literature seldom is, though I can see the attraction of the current fashion of dystopias where the young people can fight a dystopia, and beat it.
I’m going to assume that everyone is at least slightly familiar with the plot.
The movie adds quite a bit of visual images. I think it goes overboard with the jerky view of action shots. I don’t particularly like it when a movie can make me dizzy, even on a small screen. But otherwise it was a visual delight. I enjoyed the views of the capital crowds, with all sorts of different hair color and bizarre makeup and clothing. Especially when compared to the drabness of the District area.
Of course, the movie couldn’t get inside of Katniss’s head, the way the book did, but attempted to overcome that loss by showing us news reports from the capital, shots of people back home in the district, and behind-the-scenes shots of the Hunger Games control room. Altogether, I think they pulled it together well.
Two things I missed that I remember from the books. One is that I seem to remember when Katniss was being interviewed on TV, before the games, she got up, spun around, her dress caught on fire. If I’m remembering it right, in the books, when she sat down again, she was wearing a different dress when she sat down again. That would have been a cool special effect, besides the flames.
The other one was during the games themselves, after Rue died. In the books, then Katniss received a care package from Rue’s district (I think it was something stamped on the bread that let her know where it came from). Katniss found that particularly touching, since the way the economy was set up, though was relatively cheap to send a care package from the Capital, it was highly expensive to do so from the Districts. She assumed that they had scraped the cost together to send something to Rue, and sent it to Katniss instead, because she had tried to take care of Rue. All that depth of thought might have been a bit too much to try to convey in a visual medium, but I still missed it.
All in all, it was an enjoyable film. Though I think it had more meaning because I had read the books first than it would if I were coming to it without them.