As I confessed on my twitter feed, I haven’t been more excited about a movie premiere since the Harry Potter series worked it’s way through the Hollywood machine. Paige, our movie going wrangler, posed that idea that we go to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games premiere. We had our dinner, played Phase 10 outside our designated theatre doors, and it wasn’t until about 10pm, Thursday night, that things got a little interesting. We had some line cutters on our hands, and as semi-mature 20 somethings, we discussed how to best handle the situation. The couple in front of us tried asking politely for the cutters to find themselves a spot in the back of the line, but the cutters just merely gave a shrug and continued with their silent societal disobedience. My group on the other hand was having none of this nonsense. So we diplomatically talked with the couple in front of us and decided a tactile approach to the situation. When the sound of the doors were being opened, and all fell into their proper place in line, we made sure to be the first at the door with permission from the first couple in line. As the doors opened, and our tickets being asked for, we stood in solidarity, allowing the rightful succession of entry to take way. The cutters finally fell back in line.
Once inside the theatre, I dashed madly to secure nine of the coveted front row seats. I almost took out an 8 year old, but let’s be honest, what was an 8 year old doing at a midnight premiere in the first place. With our seats secure, and the appearance of Katniss and Effie, we began the hour wait until The Hunger Games lit up on the screen before us.
To pass the time, we talked, took photos, sweet talked Effie into announcing the movie, analyzed districts via playing cards the local radio station was handing out, and expertly avoided talking to an uber-psyched new Air Force Recruit. Finally, after prizes were dolled out and multiple trips to the bathroom, the lights dimmed and the trailers began to roll.
I was gleeful at the sheer volume of boos the trailer for Breaking Dawn Part 2 received and clapped along with everyone else at the finish of the Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
trailer. After watching the teaser trailer for The Host
, and at Paige’s urging, I’m considering picking up the book and reading it. Perhaps after writing the Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer’s writing improved…perhaps.
Then, there was The Hunger Games.
The movie itself was a two hour and 22 minutes roller coaster ride. The first half consisted mostly of what we’ve already seen in the trailers; the reaping, Gale and Katniss illegally hunting in the woods, the exchange of the Mockingjay pin, etc, but the moment Katniss got into the tube to rise to the Hunger Games field, all leaned forward in their chairs in silent anticipation.
In the end, the movie is all what I hoped it would be. Yes my imagination differed from the filmmakers, but that’s the magic reading the books gives you. In my opinion, the plot changes made sense on a movie level, having to establish characters’ relationships in a short amount of time, and the tone, perfect. I loved the camera angles and movement, how the revealed District 12’s coal mining disaster via Katniss’ halluciantions during The Games, and Rue’s send off brought tears to my eyes. Gale and Peeta were portrayed accurately enough, and I only wish Haymitch was played a little rougher. Effie, on the other hand, was quite the dreadful delight just as she was in the books. Overall, I’d give the movie an A-. I was not impressed with the CGI efforts of the Tributes filing into The Capitol via fire and Chariot, and why was Katinss’ dad’s photograph made to look like it was taken during the 1800s?
But really, despite the Lord of the Flies and Battle Royale similarities that some professional movie reviewers
are stuck on, just remember that Suzanne Collins created this best-selling YA novel that Hollywood reimagined for the big screen. It was faithful to the tone and message of the book, and for that feat alone, I say, The Hunger Games was a job well done.