Over the weekend, many young adults flocked to theaters to see the latest sensation flick, ‘The Hunger Games’. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t among the millions of people who’ve not only seen the film but read the read; I’ve read all three actually. And, as expected the film scored one of the largest debuts in it’s opening weekend. So much so that it is now the third-biggest opening weekend of all time, beating out all of the “Twilight Saga” movies. It grossed $155 million domestically and earned another $60 million or so worldwide.
Great right?! Now here are my thoughts.
Yes, I agree, the film was great. I can honestly say, out of a 5 I’ll give it a solid 3. The visuals were superb. The attempt to bring the story to life [visually] as it was written deserves a thumbs up. My complaint, however, there were no real emotional connections. This is disturbing because the connections between the characters is the core of the story. It is what pulls at your heart strings.
Unless you’ve read the book prior to watching the film, you may have missed the significance of Katniss’ father’s death in a coal mine explosion and why she was withdrawn from her mother. Long story short, her mother became depressed and blanked out for months following his death and left her daughters (Katniss and Prim) on the brink of death brought on by starvation. Without any means of a steady income, in an already poor and desolate district, anyone would be lucky to survive a long winter. This is where Peeta Mellark comes in. Although he was smitten with Katniss long before her near death experience, he was the one, she feels, saved her life. One rainy afternoon after a failed attempt to earn money for her family, he spots her and throws out freshly baked bread (more like intentionally burned it which got his assaulted by his mother ) from his parents’ bakery. The warm bread not only provided a meal she had long been without but sparked her will to survive. She began to remember all that her father had taught her about hunting and she became her family’s provider thereafter. She never got the chance to thank Peeta and now here they are fighting to the death in the games where only one can survive.
The emotional connection between the two were looming long before Peeta actually confesses his true feelings to Katniss. This important element was lost in the film. It is the reason we [the readers] connected to the story. As for Gale, he’s also in love with Katniss, to which she is unaware, yet feels she is betraying by getting closer to Peeta. This is where the love triangle begins. But more of that in part 2, of course.
We get that every detail couldn’t be depicted in the film. However, there were minor details that could have been better explained. For example, like the significance of Katniss’ mockingjay pin, it becomes more significant as the story progresses.
For now, we say good job. But I believe this film could have easily been better. So much time was spent on capturing the visual of the districts, the capital and it’s people that the heart of the story was lost at times. Perhaps producers will take note and deliver a more heart felt performance for its follow up next November, ‘Catching Fire’.