Lionsgate | 2012 | Rated PG-13 | 142 minutes
When you read a great novel and then hear they are turning it into a film, your heart lurches a bit with happiness and then dread. What happens if they cast the wrong person in the lead role? How can they possibly get all of that book into a movie? What if, what if, what if? I felt this way when I heard they were making The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) into a movie. I chose to ignore the buzz as best I could – no need to get prematurely disgruntled. But working in the pop culture field as I do, it was harder and harder to ignore the leaked photos, plot information and general craziness that welcomes a YA sensation into the cinematic realm.
I feared that the film would be over-hyped and would fail to meet the expectations of the legions of fans who devoured the trilogy. After watching the film I will say this…yes, it was over-hyped, but – it was also very well done. I have never seen any of the lead actors in their prior films – so I didn’t have any preconceived notions as to how they would portray the characters. I have to ask my daughter what Josh Hutcherson had been in before. Apparently he was in Journey to the Center of the Earth and Liam Hemsworth is not only the boyfriend of Miley Cyrus, he is also the brother of Thor (Chris Hemsworth). I did know that Jennifer Lawrence was in Winter’s Bone and was nominated for an Oscar but I didn’t see that film. So I was surprised by how much these young people embodied the personas of the characters from the book.
Of course there were things left out. Also it was a long film and my daughter cried real tears during a particularly moving scene, but overall, even though, yes, it was slightly over-hyped, I found myself drawn in. I liked the story, liked the characters, and connected to what was presented to me on the screen. Gary Ross (director) did an admirable job handling a beloved novel and the actors truly made it work. I recommend this film to those who have read the books and those who haven’t as well. Remember the subject matter and beware if you are sensitive to violence and blood. If you can get past those things, this was a great way to spend some time on a spring day.