Faithful adaptation

The Hunger Games exploded during its opening weekend pulling in $152 million, which is the third highest opening weekend ever behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II and The Dark Knight. However, sometimes a movie’s success at the box office doesn’t reflect the quality of the movie. Transformers movies always land in the top three highest grossing movies of the year. Although I enjoy Transformers movies, that doesn’t change the fact that they are awful. The Twilight Saga is another terrible series that always has an excellent opening weekend. Both movie series’ have one thing in common, they entertain. On the other hand, some movies have the ability to entertain, dominate the box office and succeed as a quality movie. These movies include Harry Potter and The Dark Knight. After all the hype and box office success, into which category does The Hunger Games fall?I had two big questions going into the film.

1. Could the movie capture the time period shift?

The Hunger Games nailed the futuristic vision of Suzanne Collins. The outfits, makeup and personalities of the people in The Capitol matched Collins’ imagination.

2. Could Jennifer Lawrence pull off Katniss Everdeen?

She looked absolutely perfect for the role and nailed Katniss’ personality. I ran into some discussions online that talked about how Lawrence should have lost more weight for the role, which is a ridiculous claim. Lawrence mastered her character’s physic changing her hair color and losing enough weight.

Once the movie answered those two questions, The Hunger Games couldn’t fail. As I’ve said before, the casting was spectacular. Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci were fantastic. Elizabeth Banks turned in an excellent and underrated performance as Effie Trinket.

The tributes from every district were again cast very well. In particular, the actors who played Clove, Cato, Thresh and Rue portrayed their characters perfectly.

The actor who played Clove portrayed the orphan in the movie…The Orphan so she already looked the part because she played an evil child in the past. I wasn’t impressed with the actor who played Cato until his character transformed at the end of the movie. Although the actor who portrayed Thresh had little screen time, he made the most it during his most important scene.

The actress who played Rue, Amandla Stenberg, did an exceptional job despite the criticism she received. Sadly, people didn’t critique her acting ability. They instead couldn’t get past the color of her skin. Some fans were disappointed Rue was black and claimed they didn’t have the same connection with her because she wasn’t white. That’s sad. For more information on that topic click here.

Anyway, Stenberg did a phenomenal job with such an important and loved character in the book.

I touched on it earlier, but the most impressive thing about the movie is the film portrayed the book exactly how I envisioned it. Characters and scenes looked the same as Collins described in the book. That’s a compliment to Collins’ descriptive writing, but she shouldn’t get all of the credit. The movie truly captured a time period that doesn’t exist. That’s not an easy task.

In the last paragraph I didn’t mean to snub Collins. She wrote a spectacular story. More importantly, she wrote an original story and I really think originality is an underrated quality writers usually overlook. For two and a half hours, audiences around the world were able to sit down and watch something they’ve never seen. Collins’ strong source material is the key to The Hunger Games’ success.

The only critique I have of this movie is it didn’t develop the relationship between Katniss and Cinna enough. They are very close and although they had a few moments together, they didn’t build the same relationship as in the books. I think that will hurt the series for those who haven’t read the books because fans won’t have the same connection with Cinna.

The movie pretty much nailed everything else and if it added more The Hunger Games might have been three or even three and a half hours long.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Hunger Games transferred the vision from the books to the big screen perfectly, creating a faithful adaption.

I’ll give The Hunger Games 4.5 cups out of 5.

               

As of April 4, The Hunger Games made a domestic total of approximately $263 million versus a production budget of $78 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

The Hunger Games has a rating of 85% at Rotten Tomatoes while users at the Internet Movie Database gave it 7.7 out of 10 stars.

To see the movie trailer for The Hunger Games, click here.

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About dukemich

Samuel L. Jackson
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