Title: The Hunger Games [Sarah’s Take]
Released: 2012

Source Material
Title: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games


See Also: John’s Take

Y’ALL! Y’ALL. OMG Y’ALL. I feel like I just won the Hunger Games! Except I didn’t have to kill anybody! Or sleep in a tree! And I don’t get to move into a fancy pants house in the Victor’s Village! Ok, that last one’s actually a bummer. But whatever, I’M FREAKING OUT. Because… because… I got to see The Hunger Games yesterday!!! WHAT WHAT. NOT EVEN JOKING!!! The odds were totally in my favor! SUCK IT, PRESIDENT SNOW!

But seriously! I saw the movie! I still kind of can’t believe it! But I only had ONE glass of wine (OK, ok, I had two) during the movie so I could take careful mental notes and then share them with you. But before you read any further, know this:

  1. If you haven’t read The Hunger Games trilogy, don’t read this review.
  2. I’m not going to spoil a ton of details, but I am going to be honest with my impressions. So if you want to go into the movie with a totally blank slate of expectations, don’t read this review. (But do come back after you’ve seen it and let me know what you thought!)

Overall Opinion

You guys, it wasn’t too bad! Mind you, I had pretty low expectations, and if you think the film adaptation will be as compelling as the book, you will be sorely disappointed. (Also, when does that ever happen?) But in general, I enjoyed watching it. It stays pretty true to the story, and it was definitely awesome to see pivotal scenes from the book acted out on screen. On the other hand, it had some severe flaws. Like, if it was a tribute, and I was Cinna, I’d have my work cut out for me.

Based on our high scientific standards here at FYA, I’ve broken my reactions down into two categories for analysis. Let’s start with the positives!

Mockingjay Moments

(Things that were awesome)

Screenshot from The Hunger Games, with Effie holding up the microphone to a dazed Katniss

1. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss: J-law is absolutely Katniss. She’s tough and charismatic and a little bit bitchy and just… really fantastic. I know many of us were worried about Katniss’ emotions (which we were privy to in the book) being hidden on screen by her stoic demeanor, but Lawrence masterfully conveys every feeling and reaction while staying true to the character of Katniss. The girl is SOLID.

2. Elizabeth MOTHEREFFING Banks as Effie MOTHERFFING Trinket!!!!: The woman totally and completely steals every scene she’s in, and not just because her outfits are amazing. For the first time, I honestly feel glad that Effie’s still alive at the end of Mockingjay, just so Elizabeth Banks can (hopefully) make a cameo in the third movie.

3. Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman: Such a delight! From his blue wig to his deranged facial expressions, he really nailed the host with the most.

4. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna: SURPRISE! You guys! He really is great. And I am going to cry so hard when his (fine) ass gets beaten in Catching Fire.

5. Rue: OH RUE. You made me cry, just like I knew you would. DAMN YOU FOR BEING SO TINY AND WONDERFUL.

6. Behind the Scenes of the Hunger Games: In the book, Suzanne Collins is pretty skimpy with the deets, so I’m glad that the filmmakers chose to give us an insider’s look at the production of the Games. The scenes inside of the Arena control room are fascinating, and they emphasize the Gamemakers’ utter disregard for human life.

7. Gale Is Only In, Like, Three Scenes: Sorry for those of you on Team Gale, but believe me, it’s better this way. Liam Hemsworth has just enough time to look hot without revealing any hint of douchebaggery. Had he been given more than twenty lines, the Gale mystique would have been shattered. Then pulverized into dust. Then scattered over the forest of District 12. You get the picture.

8. CA-RAZY Set Design: LIKE WHOA, Y’ALL. The set design and costumes in the Capitol scenes are gorgeous and insane and I WANT TO LIVE THERE. I know that makes me a bad person, but seriously. If I could spend all of my days sipping on funky colored cocktails, wearing massively impractical outfits and living in blissful ignorance of human suffering, I would do it. Seriously, Effie is LIVING THE DREAM.

Trackerjacker Stings

(Things that sucked)

Screenshot from The Hunger Games, with Katniss and Peeta facing each other, deciding to eat poison berries

1. Weakass Violence: Gary Ross, dude, you really, really let us down with this one. I mean, you know this book is about kids killing each other, right? So… WHERE IS THE KILLING? I’ve seen a ton of PG-13 movies with insane violence that was totally senseless, and yet, in this movie, where violence actually serves a purpose, you chose to sugar coat it, thereby nullifying both the intensity and the message of the book. Basically, everything that Suzanne Collins made so heart-pounding and nail-biting and gut-wrenching in the book, you ruined. I mean, you took the Cornucopia scene, arguably the most deadly and pee-my-pants-worthy moment in the book, and you made it BORING. YOU MADE A TEENAGE BLOODBATH BORING, GARY ROSS. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Honestly, I’m not sure I can forgive you for that, so there’s no need to continue, even though I have a lot more to say on the subjects of Thresh and Cato and, well, pretty much every tribute death, ever.

2. I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This, But The Games Kinda Dragged: This is mostly due to point #1, but I think editing is also to blame. I remember reading the book and not being able to put it down, like, AT ALL. I even took it into the bathroom with me. In contrast, I actually left the theater to go to the bathroom DURING THE GAMES. And I didn’t even have to go that bad. That’s sad, y’all.

3. Where For Art Thou, Chemistry? You’ll notice that I’m not listing Josh Hutcherson as one of the stings, because the dude did a pretty good job. I mean, he will never be my Peeta, but his acting was good, and his face did not annoy me. HOWEVER. Wait, are you sitting down? You might want to sit down before you read the next part. Actually, grab a stiff drink while you’re at it. Ok? Ok. So… there was not a TRACE of sizzle between Peeta and Katniss. None. NADA. It’s like the filmmakers were totally on Team Gale or something. Even the cave scene–THE CAVE SCENE–was a swoon desert. I KNOW. I KNOW!!!!!! I’m pretty sure that will go down in cinematic history as one of the greatest tragedies of all time.

4. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch: Look, I like Woody. I really do. But he totally phoned it in for this one, which is a real shame, because Haymitch is one of the most complex (if not THE most complex) characters in the entire trilogy. Sure, he got the drunk part down, but when it came time to reveal a glimmer of awakening or a seed of affection, Woody just fell flat.

So there you have it, tributes. I really liked The Hunger Games movie, but I didn’t love it. I think fans will enjoy it, and most importantly, I can’t wait to see what y’all think! So come on back after you see it and let me know if you agree with me, disagree with me or think I must be drunk on Effies because my opinions are wack.

P.S. I do hope they make Catching Fire, if only so I can see Finnick’s abs on a giant screen.

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.