I wanted to review the books (all 3 of them) before I reviewed the film, but I'm running very behind with blogging lately so I'm jumping straight to the film! However, I am so glad I read the books first (in a week!) because it definitely helped magnify the details, which was both a negative and a positive.
The Hunger Games is an event that happens in Panem, where a boy and a girl across 12 districts are randomly selected to compete in a staged arena where the winner is the last one standing and becomes very wealthy. This reminded me of Battle Royale (which I want to watch again as I don't remember much of it!) but nevertheless, I knew this would be a great thing to watch. There is so much more history and depth to why 'The Hunger Games' exist, but I don't think this was put across clearly in the film...although I'm sure the sequels will explore this further.
The main character is Katniss Everdeen who is from District 12 and is brilliantly played by Jennifer Lawrence and is the first time I have seen her on screen. Having read the books, Jennifer was near perfect for this character and I couldn't fault her performance at all.
Katniss' younger sister Primrose is originally chosen to enter the Games but as she is so young, Katniss volunteers to replace her. This act of bravery and sacrifice makes her stand out, and continues throughout the rest of the film...right up to a very defining point in the film. The chosen boy from District 12 is Peeta, who is played by Josh Hutcherson and a character I was most disappointed with...but I'll go onto characters later!!
The competitors are then taken to the Capitol to train and promote themselves...these scenes sounded amazing in the book, in regards to the costumes and the crowd but I don't think I was entirely impressed with it in the film. There is a scene where Katniss' and Peeta's costumes are on fire, as part of their stylist Cinna's promotional ideas...this was a huge deal in the book but it was totally forgettable in the film and not amazing enough.
I noticed this a lot throughout the film, some key bits in the book was not projected enough in the film. However, the film was over 2 hours long so I eventually forgot about the small errors because I could tell that a lot of effort had gone into making the film as authentic as possible!
OK so, lets talk about the characters!! As I said, Jennifer Lawrence was perfect, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta was not so perfect!!! When I saw the trailer, I was really disappointed but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt until I had watched the film. Some moments it seemed OK, but most of the time, I still didn't think he was suitable at all. Someone has made a HUGE error casting Josh Hutcherson as Peeta!!!! He is a great actor but he is not Peeta...and the chemistry between his character and Katniss does not seem right, especially as I know what will happen at the end of the final film!! Not only that, but my sister and I couldn't shake out the image of him in 'Zathura - A Space Adventure'!! We both agreed that Chris Zylka who plays Jake in 'The Secret Circle' would have been excellent as Peeta! I also came across some other cast preferences on IMDB - and particularly liked the suggestions from diego potter salazar and greyhound109. My favourites were Jim Broadbent as Beetee (a character in the sequels), Robert Downey Jnr as Haymitch Abernathy, Rachel McAdams as Effie Trinket, and Johnny Depp as Cinna!!
Anyway, characters have been chosen now and there's no going back, so...I do have appreciation for some of the existing ones too!! Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman was hilarious and had me in tears...I am always surprised by his versatility as an actor every time I see him on screen! Liam Hemsworth as Gale was OK but he did not have much screen time so it's still hard to tell, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch surprisingly worked but his wig was awful, Donald Sutherland was great as President Snow and I am still undecided about Lenny Kravitz as Cinna...but this is possibly because the idea of Johnny Depp being Cinna is so much more appealing!!
I can't wait to see the next film which seems so far away but I'm certain it will be even better!!!...I do wish that the film was a 15 rating though with uncut scenes so I definitely recommend reading all the books before watching the film as you will be able to fill in the gaps! Nevertheless, you will certainly be entertained!!!