(Yes, the title is inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird) I saw The Hunger Games again (like a week and a half ago), and it was even better the second time! (seeing the beginning was also a plus….) If you haven’t seen the movie yet, or haven’t read the books (mostly just the first book), I recommend not reading this until you have because I will mention eeeeeeverything. Enjoy my super long review!
The movie started out with an interview clip: Caesar Flickerman interviewing Seneca Crane, the Head Gamemaker. I thought this was interesting, because in the books Seneca is only mentioned. They upgraded his role, and he had a good amount of screen time showing the Gamemakers and him controlling various aspects of the Games. They showed Katniss’s house, a little bit of Katniss and Gale in the woods, and then went to the Reaping. The Reaping…. I’ll admit, I almost cried. Effie was perfect, but the one part they didn’t include was Haymitch falling off of the stage, mostly because he wasn’t in the scene at all. While I missed it, what they did worked, and honestly, Haymitch might have ruined the intensity of the scene if he staggered onto the stage. Katniss’s scream of “I VOLUNTEER! I VOLUNTEER!” was so raw, so heartbreaking. Even though I’ve read the books multiple times each, seeing the Reaping scene was like reading it for the first time. Peeta was then reaped and all of a sudden….FLASHBACK! It was cool how Gary Ross made the little backstory with Peeta giving Katniss the bread when they were younger continue throughout a lot of the movie. It was a nice twist. Then onto the train they went! K & P meet Haymitch, who was MARVELOUSLY played by Woody Harrelson. He added some comic relief to the intense storyline, while still pulling off a drunk man who has been tormented by the Games. They get to the Capitol (which looked like an awesome city of the future!), and right away Katniss undergoes beautification. It was very short, probably a minute and a half at the most. Katniss then meets Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz, who is “here to help [her] make an impression.” LK made a great Cinna, and captured his character wonderfully. (the gold eyeliner was the best part) Cinna was played down a little bit, mostly because it’s hard to develop his character without Katniss’s thoughts. The chariot rides come next, and I thought K & P on fire was a little underdone. (haha accidental pun) The suits looked pretty much like I pictured them, but there were no capes or headdresses. The headdresses probably would have been a little too costume-like, but capes would have looked cooler than a little fire coming off of their backs. The interviews were next and Stanley Tucci was the PERFECT Caesar Flickerman. He was slightly aloof while still compassionate, humorous, and blue-haired. Another interesting thing was that during the Games, the movie cut to Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith (HG announcer played by Toby Jones) commenting on the Games, explaining what Tracker Jackers were, etc. But back to the interviews. After Peeta reveals his crush on Katniss, she slams him against a wall. Nice reaction, huh? But alas, there is no time to dwell on their arguments because HERE COME THE TRAINING SCORES! Peeta scores an 8 (Effie: “We can work with that.”), and Katniss gets an 11, the highest score of all 24 tributes. I know I’m skipping some parts of the movie (like the training sessions), but that’s because they’re not that significant and kinda short. That night, K & P have a little heart-to-heart by the gigantic windows of the District 12 floor of the Training Center. And we all know what the next day is………the 74th Annual Hunger Games. The tributes rush out and claim their weapons, and the Careers take charge of the situation. Katniss grabs a backpack and sprints through the woods, sleeping in trees and walking around until the Gamemakers start a forest fire to bring her near other tributes and to keep her away from the edge. The edge of what, you may ask. The arena. They’ve learned from past experiences with tributes **coughHaymitchcough** that they need to keep the tributes from using the forcefield to their advantage. Katniss burns her leg on what looks more like a meteorite than a fireball, and Jennifer Lawrence made it seem like she was actually in pain. Cato, Clove, Glimmer, Marvel, and Peeta find her and chase her through the woods until she climbs a tree to escape them. Yelling encouragements of “KILL HER, CATO!”, the Careers are disappointed when they can’t climb up the tree or throw things to kill Katniss. They wait her out and fall asleep. The adorable Rue pops up and BOOM! There go the tracker jackers. They all get stung and Glimmer dies. But none of us really care that much. The one thing I didn’t like about the tracker jacker scene was that there were no hallucinations. No Glimmer turning to goo, no orange bubbles. Nothing. After I got over my disappointment, Rue and Katniss formed an alliance! Rue is very trusting, and soon she and Katniss have a plan to blow up the Career’s food. Katniss does, and there’s a momentary hearing loss for the audience, and the high pitched noise was really annoying. Katniss heads back (but only after she watches Cato break a kid’s neck) and finds Rue caught in a net. She saves her, but then Marvel shows up and throws a spear at them. Katniss, being the fearsome fighter she is, kills him, and turns around just in time to catch a dying Rue from hitting the ground. I cried and needed tissues during this scene. (being the prepared girl I am, I had some) Katniss sings to her until she dies, and then wreaths her in flowers. She then salutes District 11 with the three-fingered salute used in D12. It cuts to District 11, where they all do the same. Then a man, who I would like to think of as Rue’s father, storms through the crowd and starts a rebellion. D11 is in chaos. This was, in my opinion, the best scene added to the movie that wasn’t in the books. Sure, there was rebellion in the 2nd and 3rd books, but this showed that a spark had begun to grow. It began to catch fire. The announcement then comes that two tributes from the same district can win. Katniss hunts around for Peeta and almost steps on him. Josh Hutcherson made an amazing Peeta, and also seems like he’s in real pain when Katniss looks at his leg wound. They find a cave and right before they get the parachute from Haymitch, she kisses him on the cheek, and a note is included in the chute: YOU CALL THAT A KISS? -H Katniss then plays up the romance by kissing Peeta when she’s trying to convince him she needs to go get his medicine. He refuses to let her leave after that, so like the sneaky girl she is, she waits until he’s asleep. No sleep syrup, just plain old sleep. Katniss grabs the 12 backpack after Thresh kills Clove by brutally smashing her against the Cornucopia until she dies. She heals Peeta and they go hunt for food. The berries scene (yes, the nightlock one) was my favorite scene in the whole movie. While Peeta looks for berries, Katniss gets out her bow to shoot some game for them. She hears a cannon, and can’t find Peeta anywhere. Frantically searching the woods, she literally runs into him and the following scene ensues:
Katniss Everdeen: Peeta! Peeta!
Peeta Mellark: Are you okay?
Katniss Everdeen: I heard the cannon… that’s nightlock, Peeta! You’ll be dead in a minute!
Peeta Mellark: I didn’t know.
Katniss Everdeen: You scared me to death! D**n you!
Peeta Mellark: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
Melts my heart every time. So Foxface dies, and there have been many theories about whether or not she was ignorant that the berries were nightlock, and therefore poisonous, or if she intentionally committed suicide. Personally, I think she was just being stupid and didn’t know what the berries were. The sky darkens and the finale of the Hunger Games begins. K & P hear a scream and then see Thresh’s face beam into the sky. There was a tense moment of them looking around, and right when they began to put their weapons down, the mutts jump out of the trees. The D12 tributes race for the Cornucopia, escaping the dogs but now having to deal with Cato. Cato gives a little monologue about how he always knew he would die, that it was always his dream to be in the Games. “No…. I can still do this.” he finishes. “I can still win.” Peeta points to a spot on Cato’s hand, and Katniss lets her arrow fly. Cato falls off the Cornucopia and the dogs start ripping him to shreds. Katniss mercifully ends his life as he begs her “Please!” The dogs leave and K & P are told that there can only be one victor. This was also a great scene. Peeta is ready to give up his life so she can live, but she’s having none of it. She has now realized how twisted the Capitol really is, and pulls her stunt with the berries. The scene was short, but emotion-packed, and showed how close Katniss and Peeta had become since the Games had begun. After a glimpse of the hovercraft coming to pick them up, Haymitch warns Katniss to be on the lookout, since the Capitol does NOT tolerate this sort of thing. At this point, he seemed more like a father than a mentor, like he didn’t want her to be hurt any more by the Capitol. I love the relationship between Haymitch and Katniss throughout the entire series, but Gary Ross portrayed it very nicely in the movie. It then cuts to K & P receiving their victory crowns from the formidable President Snow (Donald Sutherland, who had two very good scenes in the rose garden with Secenca Crane that I didn’t mention). Katniss and Peeta then go home to District 12 where everyone awaits them with happiness and cheers. The one thing I DIDN’T like about this movie (I bet you just gasped) was that it wasn’t clear that Katniss and Peeta weren’t head-over-heels in love with each other. At least, Katniss wasn’t. The movie made it seem like Katniss wasn’t playing for the cameras, and sure, she does have feelings for him, but at this point, she should be confused and upset with herself. She doesn’t gulp with dread when she sees Gale, wondering what she’ll tell him; she doesn’t break Peeta’s heart on the train tracks. What does she do? She says, in response to Peeta’s question, “So what happens now?” K: “We try to forget.” P: “I don’t want to forget.” Most. Lame. “Break-up”. Ever. But overall the movie was amaaaaaazing, and I can’t stop talking about it. The shaky cam during the fight scenes made everything so real, and the setting/scenery were both perfect depictions of Suzanne Collin’s Panem.
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Scenes in the movie, but not the book: Seneca Crane interview, President Snow in his rose garden, Gamemakers HQ, getting mockingjay pin from vendor then giving it to Prim then getting it back from Prim, Katniss and Foxface collision in the Games, Caesar and Claudius commentary, Cato end monologue, little clips of Gale looking laughably tragic during the Games, Haymitch watching two Capitol kids play “Hunger Games”, Haymitch getting Katniss sponsors
Scenes in the book, but not the movie: Getting mockingjay pin from Madge, the super long mauling of Cato, hallucinations, Peeta’s father visiting Katniss
Characters cut out: Octavia, Venia, Flavius, Madge
Favorite movie scenes: nightlock scene w/ Katniss, Peeta, and Foxface; K & P in the cave; tracker jackers
Best portrayed characters: Peeta, Katniss, Haymitch, Cato
Character who I would’ve recasted: Gale
Best soundtrack songs: Safe & Sound by Taylor Swift (ft. The Civil Wars) and Kingdom Come by The Civil Wars
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And because I’m feeling slightly silly at the moment, give your awards to various HG movie characters! Here are a few to get you started! Tell me what your favorites and fails of the movie were!
Best Hair: Effie Trinket
Coolest Career: Cato
Best Style: Cinna