Parts of the film do justice to the book and other parts simply don’t, however, overall it has been done well.
Scenes of the tributes arriving at the Capitol and being presented to the crowd are perfectly done – particularly the girl on fire, Katniss. Katniss is just as surly and defiant as any Hunger Games fan would hope for, particularly when she spears an apple out of a pigs mouth right next to the game maker.
The gross disparity between the Capitol and the districts is clearly and well managed as is the emphasis on the lack of morals within the Capitol without it being too depressing.
Throughout the movie Jennifer Lawrence does a great job at bringing Katniss to life and in this way separates herself from the character in a way that Kristen Stewart became increasingly unable to do in the Twilight series.
Gael (Liam Hemsworth) almost classifies as a blink and you’ll miss it cameo spot compared to how much his Hemsworthly charms have been pimped out in promotion of this movie. Clearly they will use him much the same way Twilight used Jacob – add a little bit of spice to another Hollywood love triangle.
Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) left a little to be desired. As the smooth talking Peeta he was believable and almost childlike waving to the crowd but as a man in love… I simply don’t buy it.
The movie is as violent as it needs to be to stay true to the book without alienating an audience who is essentially watching the barbaric slaughter of teenagers.
The costumes and the make up are worth going to see alone as is Woody Harrelson’s ability to turn the irritating Haymitch into a more than tolerable mentor.
Unfortunately because the book is so detailed and goes to great pains to develop a relationship between Katniss and Rue as well as Katniss and Peeta, the film really didn’t stand a chance of capturing this. When Rue dies it seems like Katniss is unnecessarily upset given the circumstances whereas in the book you are really led to understand and feel her anguish at the loss of her companion.
Luckily the Hunger Games movie doesn’t drag simply because it has too much to cram into two and a half hours. So much so that people leaving the cinema thought there was no sequel because they weren’t left hanging for what happens next, or even given a hint that there was more to come.
I think if you hadn’t read the book you would love this movie so I’m going to give it four out of five. The costumes, make up and special effects all bring it across the line and cover up for the lack of belief I have in Josh Hutcherson. Otherwise you can’t fault the acting – it is exactly what it needs to be and there isn’t the cheesey-ness that sometimes threatens to overtake (and occasionally does) the Twilight series.