F is for Friday Five (The Hunger Games Edition)

Happy Friday, friends!

I’ve been wanting to post my thoughts on a little movie I saw two weeks ago, one you may have heard a bit about:

The Hunger Games

The thing is, I needed a good long while to fully absorb the undeniable epicness (totally a word) of  my viewing experience, and I didn’t want to do my review (a word I use loosely) an injustice by jumping the gun…

Me and my ticket stub. (I'll refrain from describing all the grumbling my husband did when I asked him to snap my photo in the theater.)

Spoilers Ahead!!!

So… I had a few minor issues with movie (no book-to-film adaptation is perfect, of course), but overall, I was a fan. A BIG fan. Its mood, its message, its unavoidable representation of all things YA lit — all wonderfully executed.

Here, in true Friday Five fashion, is a countdown of the things I loved most: 

5. The Overall Appearance of the Film (costumes, sets, Seneca Crane’s beard…) – The gray disparity of District 12 contrasted with the garish spectacle of the Capitol spoke volumes. The arena’s forests, the tracker-jackers, the tributes’ gear — it was all spot on. So much of what I pictured while reading The Hunger Games two years ago appeared, nearly identically, on-screen. This, as a reader and viewer and fan, was incredibly satisfying.


 4. The Add-Ins (or, things we didn’t get to “see” while reading) – I found the behind-the-scenes (and highly calculated) game-making fascinating, and the District 11 riot was absolutely chilling. Thanks to Katniss’ first-person narration, neither of these aspects were explicitly described in the book (we can safely assume they happened, at least in some capacity), yet they turned out to be two of my favorite bits of the movie.

3. The Acting (Woody Harrelson, Stanely Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg, specifically) – While Liam Hemsworth is pretty, I could have done without his empty stares and choppy dialogue, but the majority of the cast… Yowza! I was in awe of the way they grabbed hold of their roles and perfectly personified their characters, often above and beyond my (admittedly high) expectations. For me, the  performances  of the actors and actresses in supporting roles are what truly brought the movie to life.

This scene: Win

2. The Reaping – I’m not a crier — never have been — but damn it if I didn’t choke up  during the Reaping. That little Prim, the way she trembles and cries out for her sister. The way Gale has to drag her, kicking and screaming, from the ceremony. The pity — and relief — in the eyes of the onlookers. The way Katniss’ voice breaks when she shouts, “I volunteer!”  That whole scene was cinematic gold.

1. Jennifer Lawrence – There was a time, many moons ago, when I rooted for Hailee Steinfeld to earn the lead role of Katniss Everdeen. While I still think Hailee is adorable, having now seen Jennifer Lawrence so totally embody Katniss, I can’t imagine any other actress playing the part. Jennifer was subtle and controlled, yet she executed a flawless Katniss: brave and bold and bright, self-sufficient and pragmatic, so obviously passionate. I could not take my eyes off her, and I cannot wait to see how she helps Katniss evolve as the trilogy progresses onscreen.

Jennifer Lawrence + Katniss Everdeen = Badass

Looking for more on The Hunger Games movie? Check out these thoughtful reviews from fellow reader-writer-bloggers Sarah Enni, Caroline Richmond, Maggie Stiefvater, and Farrah Penn.

Have you seen The Hunger Games yet? What did YOU love?


40 thoughts on “F is for Friday Five (The Hunger Games Edition)

    • katyupperman says:

      It WAS intense! I don’t remember being quite as moved when I read the book. There was just something about seeing all of those kids’ faces…

  1. kford2007 says:

    Excellent review. The scenes with Cinna and Katnis were classic and poignant and I have to say, were my favorite ‘character’ scenes out of entire film.

  2. Pamela Harris (@pamharriswrites) says:

    Great review! I think you pretty much nailed my thoughts on the movie, too. I will say that I wasn’t as “hyped” as everyone else about the movie–even though I did love the book. Overall, it was a solid movie–though I think I would’ve been a little clueless had I not read the novel first.

    • katyupperman says:

      Totally agree, Pam. I can’t imagine enjoying it as much as I did had I not read the book first. So much is lost in a film translation, no matter how good it is.

  3. Liz Parker (@LizParkerWrites) says:

    Great review of the movie! I was surprised they put the riot in, since it didn’t happen until CATCHING FIRE, but it was definitely moving. I wish they had done a bit more with the muttations at the end, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Caesar showing up in Katniss’s hallucination, but those things are so minor to the movie as a whole 🙂

    I loved loved loved the casting. Josh Hutcherson did so well as Peeta! I didn’t really like Peeta at all in the book, but in the movie, I was definitely swooning.

    • katyupperman says:

      I agree: The finale with the muttations felt a bit rushed, but you’re right — it’s a fairly small detail. And yes, Josh did really well as Peeta. I’m more of a Gale girl, so Josh’s performance didn’t register as heavily for me. He was absolutely believable though!

  4. Erin Bowman (@erin_bowman) says:

    The acting was pehnom. I have to say, I thought Josh did a fantastic job, too. He made me fall in love with Peeta in a way the books never quite did. And yes…JLaw is Katniss. Like you, I can no longer imagine anyone else playing that role.

    • katyupperman says:

      Josh did do a fantastic job, though I wasn’t super affected by his performance. While I always wanted Katniss to end up with Peeta, I’m more of a Gale girl myself. 🙂 And yes… Three cheers for JLaw!

  5. sarahenni says:

    I TOTALLY agree about all your points here. The setting was wonderfully captured, the majority of the actors embodied their roles beyond my expectations, and of course Jennifer Lawrence was FLAWLESS. I choked up during the Reaping scene too—I hadn’t considered, while reading, how SILENT the main square would be during the entire exchange. That was almost startling, and it put Katniss’ sacrifice (and the three-finger-salute) to a whole new emotional level for me. And little Prim just ripped my heart out with her screams. GAH.

    I’m so glad you loved it, too! To say there were “high stakes” for this movie would be a ridiculous understatement, but it managed to live up to it, beyond my hopes!

  6. elschneider says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more!!! I really enjoyed this movie – and watching the pages I read unfold on the big screen was amazing. I especially agree with your point #4 – I said this exact same thing to my husband as we were walking out of the theater. How cool to be able to see everything that built up the games to make them what they were – and it all was exactly what I envisioned it would be.
    While I know most adaptations are never quite the same as the book, I think I need to stop being so critical and just enjoy it for what it was – one of my all time favorite reads, turned into a fantastic visual experience!

    • katyupperman says:

      “I think I need to stop being so critical and just enjoy it for what it was – one of my all time favorite reads, turned into a fantastic visual experience!” Love this, Erin! I had high expectations for this movie, and thankfully it surpassed them (for the most part!). So glad the YA community as a whole seems to have enjoyed it as well.

  7. Krispy says:

    I didn’t LOVE the film as much as it sounds like you did, but I agree with SO MUCH here. The acting was fantastic, and the settings were so well realized! The Reaping was something else! In the books, it was dramatic but I didn’t realize how amazingly tense and heart-wrenching it was until I saw it on screen. Such a great moment. And yeah, Jennifer Lawrence really nailed Katniss.

    What a coincidence you posted about the movie today because I reviewed it today too! I also needed the 2 weeks of letting people have a chance to see it, letting it sink in, and discussing it in order to get my thoughts together. Apparently, I had many thoughts because I had to split my thing into two posts! 😛

  8. Jaime Morrow says:

    Looks like we had many of the same loves in this movie. I thought District 12 vs. the Capitol was fantastic (the disparity). All of the same secondary characters that you mentioned played by such phenomenal actors blew my mind. I loved all of the behind the scenes stuff in the control room, and of course the riot in District 11. What chilled me to the bone–and I wasn’t expecting this–was each and every time the cannon fired after a tribute died. I swear it hit me in the gut each time and gave me chills. So well done.

    There are things that I wish were done better, but I totally understand that they just couldn’t include everything. I did, however, think the end of the book where Peeta is separated from Katniss was a pretty important part that should have been included. It’s our first real glimpse into Katniss’ true feelings for Peeta (which she doesn’t even realize exist). It’s just such a terrible, terrible thing to make it through the Games only to think you’re losing someone that you’ve come to care for. All in all, I was relieved and pleasantly surprised by the whole movie, which is more than I could ever have asked for. 😀

    • katyupperman says:

      Totally agree about the ending, Jaime. It felt more abrupt than I wanted it too, and I doubt that people who haven’t read the book really got the true depth of Katniss and Peeta’s relationship. Like you, though, I was impressed overall.

  9. Stephanie Allen (@stephandrea_) says:

    I’ve seen the movie three times now (and yet still haven’t gotten around to posting my review…), and that damn Reaping scene made me cry big, ugly tears, every. single. time.

    I’ve also decided that I am now Team Seneca Crane’s beard.

  10. Colin says:

    I can’t add much to what you said. I too was particularly intrigued with the “behind the scenes” stuff in the movie–the things Katniss wouldn’t have seen and hence we never “saw” in the book. It didn’t come as a shock how much the competitors’ experience was being manipulated from the Capitol, and I’m sure Suzanne Collins, as one of the scriptwriters, wanted us to see that. But it was good to see and well done.

    I have to read the other two novels now so I’m caught up in time for the rest of the movies! Great review, Katy! 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      I didn’t realize that you hadn’t read the rest of the trilogy, Colin. The second book, CATCHING FIRE, is my favorite. I can’t wait to see how it translates on to the big screen!

  11. Leigh says:

    Im reading this for my book club this month- in super excited! Will go see movie after that!
    Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
    #915 from challenge…
    Leigh @ oneandoneequalstwinfun.com

  12. kate scott says:

    I read a LOT more books than I see movies and hadn’t been planning on watching this movie because I loved the books and figured the book is always better than the movie so why bother. Maybe I should bother.

    • katyupperman says:

      I’m glad I saw the movie, Kate. As a big fan of the book, I was very nervous about how the movie would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised, and impressed. 🙂

  13. Elodie says:

    Great review, Katy! (and you do look super happy on the picture with the tickets :D)
    I quite enjoyed as well the “behind the scenes” moments…The reaping got me all chocked up as well as the scene with Rue (the moment Katniss salutes is also done in such an emotional manner…)…
    I loved, loved, loved Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz! Loved them! and Jennifer Lawrence: WOW!
    I think I need to go see the movie again to just really enjoy it without thinking about too much about the book. This first time around, while I got into the movie quite fast there was still those little moments where I thought “wait that´s different, good but different” while I think the second time would be more “laid back and relaxed” because I already know I wasn´t disappointed. Does that make sense?

  14. Rebecca B says:

    I loved the idea of Hailee Steinfield as Katniss back in the day–but wow, did Jennifer Lawrence win me over. She is an incredible Katniss!

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