I went to see The Hunger Games movie with a little apprehension. I loved that the book was written in first person present tense and so the reader was right there with Katniss in the midst of everything, experiencing the struggles and fears along with her. I just couldn’t see how that constant sense of danger and urgency would translate well into a full colour, big screen movie. The images I had seen of some of the characters prior to the film’s release had excited me; however, and I was looking forward to seeing the full stylised version.
At a 12A certificate I knew beforehand that certainly some of the more unpleasant aspects of the book would have been eradicated and others seriously toned down for the screen version, so I was expecting to see a very glossy and Hollywood-emphasised film with lots of action and melodrama but lacking in the deeper emotional content.
I am pleased to report that I was partially wrong. The film had me captivated from start to finish and I did still feel that constant sense of disgust at what I was seeing and that sense of disbelief that humans can behave in such a cruel manner towards one another that I felt when reading the book. The stylistic appearance of the rich capital and all of its elements – indulgent dining, futuristic technology, crisp lines and opulent designs – were the perfect contrast to the gloomy shabbiness of the poor districts, and really hammered the message home.
The film just worked for me in every way. Visually I was stimulated, the relationships between characters were not exaggerated and so portrayed the depth of feeling in a realistic manner, and the casting was excellent; all of which produced a believable adaptation of the book even if it did not give me the same gut-wrenching suspense and tension of the prose. I have only read the first of the trilogy but came away from the cinema wanting to read them all.