REACTION: The Hunger Games Movie!

Welcome, welcome, one and all to Victor’s Village as we celebrate the theatrical release of THE HUNGER GAMES! Since we opened back in June of 2011, we have been dying for the opportunity to discuss the films with you all!

Now that it’s finally here, we sat down together and chatted out our early reactions to every bit of spectacular cinema that was the film adaptation of the first book! So if you’ve seen the movie, read up on what we loved, didn’t love, and totally saw when we read between the lines. Most of this post is under the cut, so make sure you click READ MORE for the full effect!

When you’re done reading, be sure to tell us what you thought of the film in all its glory!

BREAKING THE ICE WITH A WORD GAME
The Girl With The Pearl: First off, choose one word to describe the movie!
Twiffidy: Genius.
Them There Eyes: Frenetic. ‘Cause of all the hand-held camera use.
The Girl With The Pearl: I’m going to go with FANTASTICAL.

The Hunger Games Peeniss

PEENISS! ..Yeah, we're still 10.

THE CHEMISTRY OF CHAMPIONS
The Girl With The Pearl: What were your thoughts on the acting?
Them There Eyes: Remarkably understated and powerful.
Twiffidy: The acting was phenomenal all around. Not a weak actor in the bunch.
TGWTP: Jen and Josh really hit it out of the park, though. Urgh, their chemistry!
Them There Eyes: The chemistry, dear god.
Twiffidy: The chemistry, I can’t stop thinking about it!
Them There Eyes: Josh Hutcherson blew me away, and Jen… just, watching her take on this role was like everything I hoped it would be.
TGWTP: In a lot of movies, two people get thrown together but it’s not believable. They were!
Twiffidy: There’s nothing forced about the two of them together.
Them There Eyes: The irony is that we’ve already heard reports of Ross saying he didn’t like how they were acting like brother and sister on set, but they so turned it on for the cameras, I did not see anything familial about those “intimate” scenes.

EATING CROWS AND GETTING OUR SOULS CRUSHED
TGWTP: Any standouts between the minor characters?
Them There Eyes: Ludwig!
TGWTP: I have to admit, my latest post is an apology letter to Alexander Ludwig. I doubted him SO HARD.
TGWTP: And he showed me up.
Twiffidy: I was so blown away by him! I had no idea he had that in him.
Them There Eyes: I doubted him too, but he brought it. He made you fear him, and then feel sorry for him with just a few short scenes.
Twiffidy: Also props to Amandla, she captured Rue so well
TGWTP: Amandla was crazy adorable.
Them There Eyes: I actually think I liked Willow more.
TGWTP: Willow crushed my heart into a thousand tiny pieces.
Them There Eyes: So many pieces.
TGWTP: She could not have been more perfect for Prim!
Them There Eyes: You know who was also pretty damn good, even though they gave her very little to do? Mrs. Everdeen.
Twiffidy: Paula Malcomson. I’ve liked her from Sons of Anarchy, she’s such a great actress
TGWTP: I want to see more of her in Catching Fire
Them There Eyes: I remember her from Deadwood, Trixie the whore with a heart. Kristen Bell was on that too!
Twiffidy: Hopefully we will, Mrs. Everdeen does have more to do in that book.

Tracker Jacker by T. Park

Tracker Jacker by T. Park

ACID TRIPPIN’ WITH THE SHAKY CAM
TGWTP: How about the tracker jacker hallucination turning into her family back story? Was that okay?
Them There Eyes: I think so… I liked the metaphor of the house blowing up.
Twiffidy: I think it really hit the point that it triggers your fear center and can really mess with your memories, which is so crucial to setting up Mockingjay.
TGWTP: I was kind of hoping it would be more of an ultra-disturbing acid trip, filled with bright colors and confusing imagery.
Them There Eyes: I was satisfied… I didn’t think Ross would go super super out there, ’cause he just never has, he likes to keep things real, even when his films are set with two 90s teens getting sucked into a 50s sit-com in black and white.
Twiffidy: Oh man, but it was so disorienting, the way the camera would jitter.
TGWTP: The shaky cam! Some people didn’t like that, but I was okay with it. Though you shouldn’t watch the movie if you suffer from motion sickness!
Twiffidy: I liked it too, it felt less blockbuster-y. Plus I’ve seen and been annoyed by too much shaky cam, that wasn’t too much.
Them There Eyes: Like I said in my review, it didn’t feel like a Hollywood film, it felt like an Indie.
TGWTP: Yet it didn’t look awful like The Blair Witch Project
Them There Eyes: How dare you bring up Blair Witch!
TGWTP: Bad shaky cam, my friend! BAD SHAKY CAM.
Them There Eyes: Too true…. and lots of swearing, and eating leaves.

EVERYONE LOVES AN EMO BYSTANDER
TGWTP: Did it bother you that whenever Katniss and Peeta kissed, we got an emo shot of Gale? Because it kind of killed me.
Them There Eyes: I totally pictured them doing that!!!
Twiffidy: Well, the thing that was pointed out to me that made me really okay with it is that whenever they show Gale, it’s a part in the books where Katniss is thinking of him.
Them There Eyes: For months now on the HGFC, people speculated how they would give more for Gale to do, and that’s how they did it… having him react to the Games.
TGWTP: But there’s very little other reaction that we see from him. Every time they showed him, the girls in front of me went “AWWWWWWWWW!” So that probably didn’t help!
Twiffidy: Lol yeah that probably didn’t help.
Them There Eyes: Did they do that at the LA world premiere, Twiffidy… I can’t remember?
Twiffidy: Not that much, more like “Oooooh!”
TGWTP: I know they have to set up the “love triangle,” if we really want to call it that, so I guess I’ll just have to grumble to myself on that.
Them There Eyes: What I’m wary of in them choosing to do that, is your average person will see those Gale reaction shots as mutual affection. But in reality, it’s all him — she’s not even going their inside herself, she’s just Katniss, blissfully oblivious.
TGWTP: Very true. It kind of implies a relationship that isn’t there yet.
Them There Eyes: Yep, but it kind of also sets up even more heartbreak for Catching Fire. Katniss is such a heartbreaker!

Katniss vs Mutts by Swilson429

Katniss vs Mutts by Swilson429

PART BULL MASTIFF, PART BLOODLUST
TGWTP: Wolf mutts vs. dog(like) mutts! Was the change okay?
Them There Eyes: I think that going the dog mutt route was a wise decision.
Twiffidy: About the mutts, the change with the mutts was great. It at least sets it apart from Twilight. I kind of feared they’d look like the werewolves in Twilight.
Them There Eyes: If they had gone overly computerized wolf, it would have reminded newbies too much of that other franchise.
Them There Eyes: Twiddidy and me are brain twins.
Twiffidy: Plus they didn’t look like normal dogs so we got that they were muttations.
TGWTP: I kept trying to think of what breed of dog they reminded me of.
Them There Eyes: It was sort of a mix with 19th century English Bulldog. I can’t wait to get it on DVD and really look at it with my face inches from the screen. They reminded me of this… but more scary. But with maybe some Boxer and Mastiff mixed, also blood lust.
TGWTP: SERIOUS BLOODLUST.
TGWTP: I gotta admit, when that one jumped out at Peeta, I nearly broke my fiance’s hand! NOT my proudest moment!
Them There Eyes: Oh dear!
TGWTP: I’m jumpy!

Capitol Citizens

Oh, you Capitol crazies!

ALL THOSE DETAILS YOU MISS THE FIRST TIME
TGWTP: Was the Capitol all you ever dreamed it would be?
Them There Eyes: the Capitol was amazing, I’m going as a Capitol citizen for Halloween!
Twiffidy: I love the Capitol. I love the grandness of it and the brutalist architecture, and the costumes and makeup far exceeded my expectations
TGWTP: Did we get a shot of the Hoover Dam as we entered the Capitol, or am I making that up?
Them There Eyes: It might be Hoover updated to 25th century, or something.
Twiffidy: Lol we got a shot of a huge dam. I don’t know if it was that one.
Them There Eyes: The lack of eyebrows was fantastic, and really got across that their fashions are borderline ugly.
TGWTP: I didn’t even realize there were no eyebrows! How did I miss that?!
Them There Eyes: Gotta watch it twice!
TGWTP: I was too entranced by all the awesomeness the first time, apparently!
Them There Eyes: I know, I think I was just trying to breathe the first time.

MOVIE!PEETA HAS GOT A LEG UP ON THE BOOKS!
Them There Eyes: Which brings us to the ultimate: How do we feel about Peeta not losing his leg? At first I was iffy about it, then I realized how little it plays into the characters progression.
TGWTP: I’m okay with it. I think it would have really complicated the forthcoming films, though he still should have been grievously injured. I really wanted that scene where he’s dying on the hovercraft and she’s freaking out though.
Twiffidy: I wish there was that moment of him almost dying, but I understand why they didn’t have him lose the leg.
TGWTP: It would have been so powerful.
Them There Eyes: I know, that was one of my favorite scenes in the book.
TGWTP: I would have cried like a 4 year-old at that scene.
Them There Eyes: I know, me too. ‘Cause I was biting my hand while reading it.
Twiffidy: Oh yeah, it would’ve been great to see Jen act that.
Them There Eyes: Makes me hope they just let her loose in Catching Fire with her Quarter Quell freak out. That scene makes me shake. Also… that leads to how not dirty she was by the end.
TGWTP: TRUE! We can assume she bathed, but the ponds weren’t so clean as to keep Katniss looking fresh. Unless there’s a secret ingredient in that river water. Maybe something from Vidal Sassoon.

THE TIME LAPSE COLLAPSE
Them There Eyes: Did anyone else try to take note of the time-lapse during the Flickerman cut-to’s?
Twiffidy: I kind of tried but I would forget.
TGWTP: I didn’t catch it. Anything interesting?
Them There Eyes: The only one I really noticed was one that said the games has been going for 6 days, so I really think they made the games last less than 2 weeks.
TGWTP: Rue said Katniss slept for 2 days straight after the tracker jackers.
Them There Eyes: Still say it lasted less than 2 weeks.
TGWTP: I think it did, but it had to for the movie. You can only do so much time elapsing before you start to lose people.
Them There Eyes: Exactly.
TGWTP: “Hey it’s been 3 weeks!”
“Then what the hell did WE miss?!”

Cato Glimmer

Time to mention again that CLOVE IS ONLY 14.

CATO AND GLIMMER: TOTALLY GETTING IT ON
Them There Eyes: We missed the secret romance between Glimmer and Cato, of course!
TGWTP: Where did that come from?
Them There Eyes: ‘Cause it was there.
TGWTP: I feel like I’ve heard that they like to make out in real life too. Life imitating art or vice versa?
Them There Eyes: That may have been where it all started.
Twiffidy: Haha I remember a black carpet interview with Leven saying that Gary kind of wanted to spice things up among the Careers
TGWTP: And since Clove was 14, that was NOT cool!
Twiffidy: Obviously it’s not like super overt but Glimmer is supposed to be really flirty.
Them There Eyes: I can’t be the only one who noticed that it looked like Cato had a hickey!?
TGWTP: I didn’t notice, but my god I hope that hickey was REAL!
Twiffidy: Lol I did notice the mark but didn’t think it was a hickey until you just said it!
Them There Eyes: It’s a really weird placement for a bruise, guys.
TGWTP: Yes, Cato and Glimmer are definitely all up on each other in the woods when Marvel and Clove are asleep. Or when they’re “hunting”.
Them There Eyes: Okay, yay… Cato and Glimmer, they probably had more endorphins than any one else coursing through their veins.
TGWTP: Bless ‘em!
Them There Eyes: Well, I hope this spawns some insane fan-fic I can stare at and go… “what the fuck?
TGWTP: Please! That is a call to all the fan-fic writers out there!

HUGS NOT KNOCK-OUT DRUGS!
TGWTP: Another changed scene: Katniss does NOT drug Peeta to get to the feast.
Them There Eyes: Yeah! He was just delirious with fever.
TGWTP: I think it was a smart change. People aren’t always understanding about the date rape berries.
Twiffidy: Lol totally, I get why they cut it.
Them There Eyes: “Date rape berries”, I love you.
TGWTP: Or the “knock you out so I can do things without you noticing” berries. EITHER WAY.

WE LIKE OUR POST-ARENA PEETA HEARTBROKEN!
Them There Eyes: Which brings us to this: she didn’t break his heart.
TGWTP: That was disappointing. They’re on the train and I’m waiting for that “It was all for the games?” moment… and IT NEVER CAME.
Them There Eyes: I think it works, because it’s a good thing to hit on in Catching Fire. They can have her tell him point-blank back in D12, that it was a ruse.
Twiffidy: Okay, so second time watching it, I think they did a more subtle thing with her saying she wants to forget everything and how Peeta says he doesn’t. I think they make Peeta seem less naive by not having that “It was all for the games?” moment.
TGWTP: True, but I think the heartbreaking moment at the end would have made me even MORE eager for Catching Fire
Them There Eyes: True. I’m still eager for Catching Fire, but I’m also an overly invested fan so…
Twiffidy: That’s true too, because it’s kind of a cliffhanger
TGWTP: “One last time, for the cameras?” URGH. SO GOOD. I wish that was in there, that’s all.
Them There Eyes: I kind of do too, but I still think it gives them something else to touch on in CF.

Hunger Games Seneca Crane President Snow

A little tension does the movie good!

THE LITTLE BEARD THAT GOT KILLED BY SANTA
Twiffidy: What about Seneca Crane!
Them There Eyes: The best looking man in the entire film.
Twiffidy: Haha that goes without saying
Them There Eyes: There were times where my brain would just flit off and go… “Why you so beautiful, you?”
Twiffidy: I love that we find out HOW HE DIES and what it says about President Snow as a villain.
Them There Eyes: OMG, best sort of vague death ever. Sutherland, dear god in heaven…
TGWTP: It really was poetic justice.
Them There Eyes: He looks like Santa, but every single time he interacted with Seneca, it was like, “You’re this close to death, boy, and you don’t even know.”
TGWTP: Donald Sutherland for ALL THE AWARDS. That man is creepy and mean and perfect.
Twiffidy: Yes!
Them There Eyes: He is! He might get nominated for real.
TGWTP: I think Seneca and President Snow are my OTP.
Them There Eyes: Mine is clearly Glimmer and Cato now.

Now that you’ve got the general gist of things, don’t forget to check out Twiffidy’s initial reaction post that she did for CELEBUZZ‘s 100 Days of Hunger Games alongside Adam Spunberg of Hunger Games Fireside Chat!

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Posted on March 24, 2012, in Actors, Books, Film and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I loved the movie but was frustrated but a few things:

    First off, everyone keeps saying how when converting a book to a movie, scenes will get cut. Then why did Gary add stuff that wasn’t essential? I loved the new Capitol scenes, but what’s with the weird random butterfly in the arena? Or Katniss staring at the forest in her room? When they are cutting out huge lines like, “Here to finish me off, Sweetheart” and the majority of the cave scene, I don’t understand the rational! Even with the bread scene, I feel like non-readers wouldn’t understand what was really going on when Peeta threw her the bread. I especially felt rushed after the arena. Hovercraft, interviews, back to District 12. Would have LOVED to see Katniss freak out on the hovercraft!

    Anyone catch that Peeta never got a crown at the end? It’s like he didn’t win!

    I also thought the camera shakiness was a bit much. Sure I understand using it during the bloodbath, but it made it hard to focus sometimes during other scenes.

    Overall I thought it was a great movie, but was disappointed at the same time. The actors were all AMAZING! Making I was hoping for more Peeta/Katniss development. Hopefully Catching Fire will make up for that.

    • Those scenes actually are essential in conveying what Katniss is thinking or establishing the setting. The butterfly part actually establishes that in this terrible and human-made arena, there are still beautiful/natural things in it. And Katniss staring at the forest shows how much she misses home. We know these things in the books because we have Katniss’s thoughts and descriptions but when translating from book to movie, that gets lost. A lot of what those scenes say tells things in such an implied or subconscious way, and as readers of the book it could seem pointless because we already know these things but from someone completely unaware of this world and these characters, it IS important. And they cut the act of Peeta’s crowning, but he does have one, we’ve checked.

      • Yeah the 2nd time I saw it I noticed he has a crown too. It’s on a pedestal in front of him. You get a side view of it when Snow walks by with her’s and a different view when they show the wide shot of the stage after she’s crowned.

        Also, the crowd in the theater the 2nd viewing laughed everytime they cut to Gale during Katniss-Peeta kisses. I thought that was weird. No one laughed at the midnight showing. Poor Gale.

      • I know I’m a little late here, but I just saw it a second time and I think it takes more than one viewing to appreciate everything.

        About the butterfly: I was so glad they included this symbol in the movie. In the book, Katniss sees these at moments where her character is changing (think metamorphosis) and maturing. In the cave after she saves Peeta she sees a green and silver moth. In the movie, she sees the butterfly right after she has survived the Cornucopia and checked the backpack. She survived the bloodbath–amazing considering half the tributes die there–and now she must enter a new phase of survival. I think in terms of the movie, this is a good place to present the butterfly symbol. I also think that it does represent beauty and nature and how tuned-in she is to the woods. This is what she knows. She does have a chance to win. There is hope for her.

    • I agree with Chelsea. My thoughts exactly. I think I was so disapointed because the cast kept saying how faithful it was and the ending really wasn’t. I was so waiting for them kiss the first time they see each other in the interview after the games. I wanted to see that and her screaming about his leg. I wanted to see Peeta heartbroken at the end. Other then that I agree with everything. I am hoping the cameras are not so shakey for Catching Fire.

  2. I completely agree with all your points. I absolutely LOVED all the scenes they added in the movie. At first, I was kind of disappointed in the changes made toward the end of the film, but now I’m starting to realize that they were all for the betterness of the film. All the acting in this movie was absolutely STUNNING, if this movie doesn’t get some awards in the acting department, I’ll be pissed. Xander def proved me wrong in the end. He did an amazing job pulling off that amount of craziness that Cato has. Also,great choices for the mutts. I’m really glad they didn’t go the wolf route. Overall, anything and everything fans of the books could’ve asked for.

  3. First off I think that Gary Ross did such an amazing job on staying true to the book, and thats why I believe it is such a huge success. However, the only disappointment I had was that they didn’t develop Peeta’s character as much as I would have liked. If I hadn’t read the books I wouldn’t have known how important he was. Otherwise, I FREAKIN loved it. I’m pretty sure my mouth was open the whole movie. I also (accidentally) squealed when Peeta’s said “Because she came here with me”. Although there were some annoying people at the theater who laughed at some parts and I was about ready to slap them, but I persevered, so it’s okay. This post was right on the money! Thanks for sharing another post with everything I was thinking but couldn’t put into words!

  4. Totally agree they were way to clean at the end of the game and we needed the Katniss freak out on the hospital hovercraft. Even if Peeta didn’t lose a limb, him flatlining twice (or she thinking he had) sets her off and we see she really has feelings for him even though she doesn’t recognize it herself. That’s my only hater moment on the film, love the rest and it gets better with each viewing 3 times in 3 days by the end of the weekend). So yeah, they better really bring the melt down in Catching Fire. Hardcore.

  5. Serious “lol”ing at that last bit about Seneca Crane and Snow.
    That entire scene about hope, I’m sitting there with my sister whispering under our breaths, “Dumbledore, Dumbledore, so totally Dumbledore.”
    “I like you.” Scariest. Compliment. EVER.

    I totally forgot about Peeta’s leg! HOW?

    I was planning on hating it. This movie was completely mind-blowing. And I’ve been staring at that Marvelous .gif all day.
    http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1gl2aT7cu1rsxn7io1_400.gif
    Can’t wait for Catching Fire!

  6. As much as I liked the movie (not so much the first time, but loved it the second time), I figure I shouldn’t get too excited about which CF scenes I most want to see. The freakout resulting from Peeta’s electrocution is certainly near the top, but considering how many book scenes they didn’t include, I don’t know if I should count on it. I figure if they don’t use that one, they’ll find some other way to show us Katniss’s true feelings for Peeta.

    On a related note, I missed the banging on the hovercraft door too. But for me, the scene where she hears the cannon and runs to find him, yelling his name, was a good substitute. I didn’t feel that Katniss was playing that for the cameras at all.

  7. I loved all of it! There definitely were a few things that they left out that I would have wanted to see, but the rest of it was amazing. The scenes I can’t stop thinking about are Cato’s death scene and Seneca Crane in the room with the berries. They really left an impact on me. I guess I thought that it kind of let you know more about what kind of people they were. Cato was just another tribute trying to get home (and maybe a little messed up, too), and I didn’t really get a sense of how evil President Snow was until Seneca Crane was locked in that room.
    I absolutely loved the Careers. The actors did an amazing job portraying them. I’m not too worried about the things they cut out, either. Most of them weren’t too important to the story in my opinion, although I suppose the scene where Katniss freaks out on the hovercraft would have been a big step in Katniss and Peeta’s relationship. Then there’s that part in Catching Fire where Katniss tells Finnick she can hear the force field because of her Capitol enhanced ear.
    Gary Ross can totally pull it off, though. Right? I’m hoping Catching Fire will be even better!

    • DUDE. LOVED Cato’s death scene. I’m completely obsessed with it.
      And doesn’t Snow remind you of an evil Dumbledore? Especially when he’s going on about “hope.”

  8. Check out the “a movie cannot be expected to explore an anti-movie theme coherently” over at HogwartsProfessor.com. ‘Gamesmakers Hijack Story: Capitol wins Hunger Games Again’ (url: http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/gamesm … ames-again)

    Granger is a serious reader of the Hunger Games and a big pusher of the books (see his ‘Unlocking Mockingjay’ collection at http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/unlock … on-points/) but says Ross and Sutherland hijacked the movie so that Seneca Crane is the hero/martyr.

    The short version, stripped of his layers of evidence from the film and interviews:

    “Is it really a surprise that Gamesmakers have turned a book unsympathetic to Gamesmakers into a film that shows Gamesmakers in a very flattering light?

    “Of course it isn’t a surprise. It’s what we’ve been dreading and expecting since the film project was announced. What makes the revelation so striking and so painfully ironic is the self-congratulation of the principal Gamesmakers, Ross and Sutherland, for their fidelity to text — and how the JabberJays of fandom have taken up this cry.”

    Great reading, if a little long. I felt after reading it like Katniss must have when she found out after the Quell that everything she thought was real was not real…

  9. Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone
    3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog
    and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the fantastic work!

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