With a ticket sold every 10 seconds, according to the New York Times, “The Hunger Games” trilogy’s first movie, named after the first book, is a worldwide phenomenon and has been translated into 26 languages already. The first time I read the books was in Spanish, but then I re-read the books in English before seeing the movie.
Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, sparked controversy when she was first announced for the role. She has blonde hair, but the character Katniss has dark hair. After seeing the actress in the movie, I’d argue she’s prettier as Katniss with dark brown hair and no makeup than with her blonde hair and dark eye makeup.
Lawrence has received immense praise for her acting in the movie, and I thought she found a great middle ground of being aggressive and independent while still maintaining some degree of vulnerability.
As the protagonist, Lawrence had a lot of pressure, and I admit that I had little to zero expectations for her, but yet I admired the fact that they cast someone who was basically a nobody as the lead because Katniss in the book is truly one of a kind and unlike any person I’ve yet to meet. I don’t how she got into the role as well as she did, but I applaud her for that; she was an incredibly believable Katniss.
Katniss’ lover and opponent in the Hunger Games, Peeta Mellark, was played by Josh Hutcherson, who most would recognize from movies such as “Bridge to Terabithia,” “Journey to the Center of the Universe” and “Little Manhattan.” Hutcherson was a bigger name actor going into the movie, and he portrayed Peeta’s likability and ease with words well. Seeing his growth from other movies helped him translate the Peeta in the book into the movie.
I was impressed with how Hutcherson made Peeta look athletic but not incredibly muscular, showing his disadvantage from the other opponents in the games. I was glad they didn’t make Peeta look too tough or strong because in the book, it was clear that he was somewhere in the middle of the pack in the games.
Gale’s role, played by Liam Hemsworth, who is most commonly known as Miley Cyrus’ boyfriend, actually provided the audience with further insight than the book does because we see his reaction first-hand to Katniss kissing Peeta, and how he took care of Primrose, Katniss’ sister.
President Snow, who presides over Panem, looked more normal than what I had envisioned in the books from reading them in Spanish. I pictured more of clown-type image with white painted skin and green hair and for him to be much more intimidating than he was in the book, but maybe that’ll be better shown in the second or third movie. After reading the books again in English, though, I noticed that maybe some of the details I had made up of President Snow were in my head and had been presumptions from what the Capital people in general dressed like.
The overall way that the actual Hunger Games was set up was far beyond what I pictured it, and I loved how Seneca Crane strode around a white room with people in white uniforms, adding elements that affect the game. In the book, I thought that the arena was built around an area of land, but the technological aspects surprised me.
When a book is made into a movie, it typically doesn’t follow the book as well as the fan base typically would prefer, but I think that the accuracy of “The Hunger Games” was due to author Suzanne Collins being a co-writer for the movie. This allowed the author to not simply completely sign over her copyrights, but allowed her to have a more active role. I think it paid off in the long run because the book and the movie stayed very closely knit.