Popular ‘Games’ book transformed into film

As someone who had never read nor heard of “The Hunger Games” before the promotional videos were released, the only real backstory that I had to go on before heading into the theatre on opening night was what was being shared by the fans in the line outside and what my friends who were total fangirls of the books had told me.The first thing that was easy to notice was the excitement within the theatre alone. The fans were twittering away about what to expect, and though it was pretty easy to block out any “spoilers” that might have been flying about, the excitement in the room had even the people who hadn’t read the books on the edge of their seats.A hard thing to grasp at first in the film was the fact that many of the characters within it were supposed to be starving and pretty bad off in their livelihood. While they showed Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (played by Liam Hemsworth) having to hunt for food, and then becoming super excited over a bread roll, it was difficult to grasp just how bad off their lifestyle was supposed to be. Unless one had been informed by someone ahead of time of the fact, it would have been easy to overlook.The build up to the actual battle along with the various flashbacks to moments within the Capital were points that were able to keep the viewers wondering what was coming next, when it was something that could have easily become boring. The makeup worn by the characters and the real sense of corruption within the government on screen helped portray a definite ‘otherworldly’ feel to the storyline. There were also various points of comedic timing that were surprising and refreshing, as one would normally expect things to be very gloom and doom throughout the entire film.

The battle scenes were very action-packed, but obviously meant to leave the viewers feeling slightly heartbroken at every one that occurred. A loud battle score, which is usually the norm during scenes like that, was left out, and each death played out on screen had the audience gasping and with a real sense of “wow… this kids have to kill each other.” Even the character of Cato (played by Alexander Ludwig), who was supposed to be the villain the entire film had his split second moment that left you feeling like he wasn’t really a “villain” at all, but rather a child who was simply made to fight in the same way that Katniss and Peeta (played by Josh Hutcherson) were.

As far as the love story, or rather love-triangle, goes – Katniss’ and Gale’s relationship came across as more of a close friendship than anything else, while Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship felt like it was meant to build into something more than friendship from the start. Gale’s jealous reaction toward Katniss’s and Peeta’s relationship felt very forced because of the lack of build-up between Katniss and Gale beforehand. Again, as someone who has never read the books, I am confused – is the audience meant to feel this way or have we simply had important scenes with build up taken away from us?

The acting was phenomenal, from the very smallest role to the leads. Every moment of fear, pain, anger and even drunkenness were delivered in a way that left the entire audience gasping, crying and chuckling along. The most notable moment would have to be right before Katniss is set to enter the battle; the moment when her entire body is visibly shaking and her facial expression is the epitome of fear. You could literally feel afraid with her character and it is easily the moment that hooks you into the story completely.