It's quite fitting that I haven't eaten for more than 24 hours when I found the time and waking neurons to catch the latest YA-Novel-to-bigscreen-superstardom flick of 2012. The Hunger Games is definitely one of the most anticipated movie of the year, and let me just say that all the hype and excitement surrounding the next-big-franchise was not a waste of time. Cower in your sparkly boots, Twilight, teenage angst will only get you so far, but a gripping story and strong independent characters will always prevail in the hearts of the thinking masses.
The movie opens with a sorrowful portrayal of District 12, showing scenes of poverty and destitution in shaky, head-aching angles that could only come from a camera man with a neurological disorder. But aside from the near-migraine I got from the style they decided on showing Suzanne Collin's world, I appreciated how the production made it a point to differentiate the way of life of poorer districts and the lavish colorful existence of those from the Capitol.
Enter the Capitol and the Hunger Games mission control center. From a film with a limited budget and a complicated world it has to portray, I think they succeeded in luring in the readers and giving their imagination the visual candy it deserves. Save for the disappointing silent screen Cornucopia scene (which I found terribly disappointing) and the bloody and violent killing moments which the production decided to soften by again putting their cameraman with uncontrolled spasms behind the lense, the movie portrayal was a success even for the whiniest and eyebrow-raising book fan that I am.
Strongest points of the film? The actors, without a doubt. Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss Everdeen perfectly. She carried the role with such power and social awkwardness that fits the character that I did not have to convince myself that she is the heroine in my mind while I was reading the book. The other actors also carried their own weight, although I do wish that Gale and his jawline managed to get more screen time. In the next movie, perhaps.
Weakest? They could have wrapped up the film more tightly, in my opinion. There are numerous scenes of morose lamentations and soul-searching stares that the 2 1/2 hours of the film could do without. I'm all for character development, really, but in a movie that boasts a televised arena where teenagers kill each other in order to survive, more action, less talk please.
With the end of the wonderful and magical Harry Potter era and the closing of the sparkly slightly-homosexual vampire saga of Twilight later this year, this fan is happy to say that in a time of never-ending book adaptations, there is one that stayed surprisingly loyal to the prose. It didn't need to cut scenes nor add ones to make the film more interesting. Both the written and shot versions were superb and if that doesn't say the odds are definitely in our favor, then I don't know what does.