I saw The Hunger Games movie with some friends this weekend, and I really liked it. No movie adaptation of an adored book ever truly lives up to my hopes, and this one wasn't perfect either, but overall, I think they did a very good job.

In no particular order:

* I thought Jennifer Lawrence was great. She wasn't exactly the way I'd pictured Katniss, but she did a wonderful job of portraying her - fierce, prickly, loving and determined - and that made me happy.

* I also liked Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. He was a great combination of sincere, funny and cute, but also just a little dorky.

* I wasn't crazy about the guy who played Gale. He wasn't bad; he just...wasn't quite right.

* When I first read about the movie a few months ago, I was concerned about the casting of Elizabeth Banks as Effie and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, but I was totally wrong on both counts. I wouldn't even have recognized Elizabeth Banks if I hadn't known it was her. She looked and acted just as ridiculous as Effie should have, and it was lots of fun.

* My concern about Woody Harrelson was that he wasn't old or ravaged enough, though upon reflection, he actually is the right age. I think he did a great job as Haymitch, but I don't think the script writers gave him enough to work with, even though I know Suzanne Collins was one of them. I understand that movie adaptations have to gloss over some aspects of the book, but I don't think the movie fully portrayed either what an absolute drunken wreck Haymitch is, or how incredibly brilliant, strategic and shrewd he is in spite of that. That was a disappointment.

* [profile] marchharetay and I agreed that while it would have been seriously challenging to show the way Katniss knew what Haymitch was trying to tell her by the gifts he sent and their timing, we didn't love the use of notes.

* I also didn't love the conversations between President Snow and the head Gamemaker (whose name I can't recall) throughout the Games. One couldn't even call it foreshadowing of the danger Katniss and Peeta would face after their win; it was just flat-out telling the viewer. I much preferred the book version, where it isn't clear to the reader anymore than to Katniss and Peeta until they've finally made it out of the arena that they're in even more danger than before...

* Rue was wonderful and adorable and perfect. I just wanted to hug her. Even knowing her death was coming, I cried my eyes out when it happened.

* The reaping scene, when Gale had to carry off the screaming Prim, also made me teary.

* I really enjoyed the quick shot of Buttercup hissing at Katniss as she headed out to the woods, although shouldn't he have been an orange cat? No matter; he still made me smile.

* The movie was pretty great visually and set-wise. They did a great job of portraying the desolate poverty of District 12 in just a few shots. The capitol was looked just as ridiculous and excessive as it should have, and the arena was beautiful. Not sure what was up with that thing they referred to as a cornucopia, though...I really don't think it should have been a shelter.

* Lenny Kravitz as Cinna? Absolutely fabulous. He was better than the Cinna I'd pictured, and how often does that happen?

* It was weird that Katniss immediately found water in the arena. Again, I know they have to cut some of the story to save time, but I think her long search for water was important to show just how grueling and dangerous the Games really were, and not just because of the other tributes. I think just a couple shots of her moving through the woods and getting progressively thirstier until the moment she finally finds the stream would have covered it, and they wouldn't have needed more than two minutes to include that.

* I didn't realize this until after the movie had ended, but it's pretty odd that there was no mention of District 13...

I'm sure I've forgotten a few things, but this is already plenty to ask anyone to read! Despite some nitpickings, which are honestly part of the fun of watching movie adaptations, I very much enjoyed The Hunger Games, and I hope I'll have a chance to see it again while it's in the theater - hopefully on Free Movie Night.
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