So I saw The Hunger Games at a midnight premiere last night, and then again this afternoon (and am already planning on seeing it again tomorrow...so yeah...you can kinda see where my thoughts will go). And I have thoughts.
Note: This is the same post I made on my Tumblr.
My thoughts are going to jump around as I try to hit on certain points I've thought over in the last 16 hours, so apologies for that.
If you couldn't tell from my non-spoiler gif post last night, I fucking LOVED it. It was a beautiful adaptation of the book without being strictly tied to the book. Visually AMAZING, the writing was phenomenal, the cast was PERFECT. I loved every aspect of this movie, right down to the way it was shot - Gary Ross edited this movie together brilliantly (though the shaky camera work means my mom probably won't be able to see it in theaters - if she even made it to the tracker jacker scene, she definitely wouldn't make it past that).
I won't say I'm not a little disappointed with some of the things that WERE taken out of the story - My favorite line, the moment I was sure I loved Peeta in the books, wasn't there. Actually, a lot of Peeta's witty one-liners (from the books) weren't there. Though when he told Katniss he'd take the bow, I honestly think that made up for it. Because that line/moment was choice. ESPECIALLY her smile at the end like you could see she was already falling for him.
My biggest disappointment of the whole thing was the utter lack of the antagonism in Katniss and Peeta's relationship. With the exception of Katniss' reaction to Peeta's confession of love, there wasn't much else to go on. You didn't see how they got on each others nerves and made each other angry, which is something I love about their relationship because it makes it so real (ha). You actually didn't see any of Peeta's anger at all (especially since the ending of the movie WASN'T Peeta finding out that it was all an act - I really hope this scene is in Catching Fire somewhere because it's one of the most heartbreaking and amazing scenes in the series). That bugged me a little. I mean, there were hints to the tension between them - especially from Katniss' side (after Haymitch tells her Peeta wants to be trained alone, when she sees him with Careers - so right out of the book stuff, which I think is why it was easy for me as a fan of the books to pick up b/c I know what her internal monologue is in those moments). But I like to see it happen outright. I'm thinking that they're holding off on that until Catching Fire to make it more dramatic (I really wanna see Josh do Angry!Peeta...and then Hijacked!Peeta, but we have a while to go before that happens).
Oh - totally knew Peeta wasn't going to lose his leg. I called it on Twitter months ago, so that was kinda nice to be proven right. It's just not essential to the story (like I said in last night's post, most people tend to forget anyways). And it would've been more work on Josh and them all to try and make that work. So I understand why it's out of the movies (though I love it in the books because OOHHHH, the whump).
I honestly love the fact that this movie wasn't a direct visual retelling of the books. That way, I can enjoy them as two separate entities of the same story. And I love them both equally. There's things in the movie that aren't in the books, and there's things in the books that will remain simply for the books. I mean, 'You here to finish me off, sweetheart?' has a special place in my heart and its integrity actually stays intact by it NOT being in the movie. There's no way they can ruin it (not that I think they would).
Now I'll list some of my favorite scenes/moments (I'll try to keep them in order of when they aired). Some of them will be purely from the movie, and some will be because they are a direct tie-back to the book. Those additions that were unique to the movie, I'll give emphasis why I liked it:
- Gale scaring off the deer and calling her 'Catnip'.
- Her coldness towards her mother.
- The taking of the citizens' blood as 'check-in' at the Reaping - it made the leash the Capitol has over them all that much more real.
- Peeta crying in the car as Effie escorts him and Katniss to the train - Katniss makes mention of Peeta crying in the books, but she never sees it. To see him actually doing it tore at my heart like whoa.
- The immediate antagonism between Haymitch and Katniss. When he called her 'sweetheart' the first time, I grinned so much.
- Peeta playing it up to the Capitol citizens - you can see it in his eyes that he knows EXACTLY what he's doing. Clever mofo.
- Cato watching Katniss after the Tribute parade.
- Katniss fiddling with the remote control wall in her room - I loved seeing the Capitol tech in the hands of a girl from District 12. The way she used it was so innocent and awestruck. And then when she snaps out of it? Totally Katniss.
- Rue stealing Cato's knife, and Thresh smiling fondly.
- Foxface in the Training Center - excellent way to show her cleverness.
- Clove with her knives.
- Haymitch and Effie watching Katniss and Peeta bicker like they've suddenly realized there's more to them then what they've let on.
- The blue shirt Peeta wore in that scene mentioned above (I had to, okay? It was pretty and was doing Peeta/Josh alll sorts of justice).
- Katniss telling Peeta to show his strength, and Cato having an 'ah ha' moment following.
- Katniss' bow and 'Thank you for your consideration.'
- Haymitch's UTTER APPROVAL of her actions.
- Peeta's reaction to Katniss' score of 11 - I never really got it in the book (seeing as it's from her POV), but in the movie...he looks almost terrified like 'fuck, how am I going to protect her now?!'
- Katniss twirling in her interview.
- ALL of Peeta's interview - What a fucking charmer, that one. (It actually makes me REALLY excited to see him make the pregnancy announcement in Catching Fire)
- Her reaction to his confession, and the following rooftop scene.
- Haymitch and Katniss right before she gets on the hovercraft.
- Katniss runs into Foxface and you get to actually SEE her 'fox face'.
- The commentary with Caesar and Claudius - perfect way to put exposition in there.
- Cato and Glimmer's 'flirting'.
- Every time you see Peeta with the Careers - you can SEE he's playing them.
- Seneca Crane and the other Gamemakers - you don't REALLY get just how manipulative they really are from the books. The movie definitely filled that gap PERFECTLY.
- Katniss suffering from the burn on her leg and Haymitch's reaction to it - this is the thing about THEIR relationship that's hard to pick up on in the first two books. Getting to see it directly almost had me in tears. You actually SEE just how good Haymitch was to the two of them (this is emphasized even more when he goes to Seneca about the rule change - 'young love').
- Katniss' hallucinating following the stings from the Tracker Jackers - arguably the BEST Caesar Flickerman moment in the movie.
- Cato snapping the neck of the District 3 tribute - to see the violence first hand really hit it home.
- The uprising in District 11 following Rue's death.
- Katniss hugging Peeta close as soon as she finds him.
- The entire cave scene, ESPECIALLY THE KISS and when Peeta was applying the medicine to the cut on her forehead.
- The 'feast'.
- Cato on the Cornucopia - seeing him realize he's been nothing but a piece in their games is heartbreaking. He was so 'devoted' to the Capitol and their ways and to see that shattered right before he dies is heartbreaking (and actually made me appreciate the character in a way the book never did).
- Peeta playing with her braid right as they're about to take the Nightlock.
- Haymitch's desperation when trying to make her understand just how much trouble she's now in.
- Peeta at their final interview with Caesar.
- Snow at the end looking so fucking menacing.
I know that seems like I just listed the entire movie for my favorite scenes, but really that's only a small portion of what happened in the movie. There were things in the movie I never picked up on in the books (even if it was hinted at in them), but did in the movies like the fact that Thresh was killed by the mutts (seriously - if this was said in the book, I've glossed over it every time), and the UST between Effie and Haymitch.
Okay...if you've stuck with me through ALL of that (you are a saint, btw), I think the most important thing to say is - Go see it. Seriously. Go and watch and experience for yourself. It's an amazing movie, whether you are a fan of the books or not, and it deserves to be watched!