So yes, the movie really surprised me in that it was largely done documentary-style, meaning that the camera was shaky and things were out of focus and you could never see anything in detail. And this drove me crazy, but I will try not to let it dominate my review. Except for the rest of this paragraph. I get the value of that style and I see that by having it documentary style they could do more in the way of exposition by interspersing action with commentary. But when the whole movie is like that, I feel like it is far too distracting and undermines the moments when that style could really be meaningful. Like the part where Katniss is having hallucinations. Honestly, if the announcers hadn't just mentioned how tracker jacker venom induces hallucinations, it's possible that you wouldn't have noticed anything was different because the lack of focus and shakiness were just par for the course. Plus, that style just made it hard to watch and I actually had to look away from the screen a few times to give my eyes a rest, which is never good.
The movie itself: I thought that they actually did a pretty good job. They made some changes that I thought were really worthwhile. For example, instead of having Madge, who was hardly a character in the book, give Katniss the pin, she finds it at the Hob, which is both more likely and wastes less time. So kudos on that. They also gave a little humanity to the Careers (there you go, Red!), which I appreciated. And that whole inclusion of commentary was really clever, both for exposition and because Katniss does spend a lot of time imagining the commentary about her and this was the most natural way to include that. As with any film adaptation, they also made some changes I didn't like so much, but only one stands out to me and I won't mention it because it's at the end of the movie.
I really liked the actress that they chose for Katniss. She did a really good job of portraying her various emotions (mostly shock and anguish) and her delivery of key lines was great. And Haymitch was just fantastic - he knew exactly when to be a bumbling drunkard and when to get down to brass tacks. That was great casting. Peeta, on the other hand, wasn't exactly what I expected. I thought he would be a bit more of a heart throb and instead he's...well...a bit of a mouth breather. I suppose he did okay (and the camouflage was really awesome). I guess he just wasn't what I expected, and I never felt that chemistry between him and Katniss that I felt in the book. I suppose that speaks to her acting as well, though I tend to blame Peeta for it since he's supposed to inspire her response. That budding chemistry felt more like a trick for the cameras than a real potential.
|There he is!|
One last note, which is more of a question for others who have read the whole series and saw this movie and which you can skip if you have not and do not want things spoiled: Did it seem to you like they were eliminating the need for a movie of Catching Fire? In the first book, Katniss had no knowledge of any problems in the districts, but in the movie we saw that spark, and saw it catch. Plus I feel like they might be hesitant to show another Games, which I thought was a big (though effective) risk on the part of Suzanne Collins. Do we know if there will be a movie of Catching Fire yet?