Warning: contains spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book.
This isn’t so much a review, but more of what I thought after watching the movie of the book I read just last week, The Hunger Games. On Twitter, I used just one word; rushed. For a movie that has a running time of 2 hours 15 minutes (before credits), the first hour was wasted on extended scenes of nothing.
Of course, movies are restricted by time and can only fit in a certain amount of what is in the book, but when you miss out key elements of the main character, it becomes meaningless and unconnected. It was only because I had read the book that I felt a little connection to Katniss, to anyone else who had only seen the movie, they would be left empty with a long list of questions.
I can’t help but feel that a narrative would have probably been better and could have provided more background story, as it was, even the flashbacks felt out-of-place. When the first one occurred, I thought the movie had skipped back, but no, it was just bad editing.
Then there was the brief thing with Peeta where, they were supposed to have been a lot younger, he threw her two loaves of burnt bread. The movie skips to the ‘flashback’, but you’re not sure why as the story doesn’t explain anything and he only throws one loaf after feeding the other to the pigs. The lead up to them being ‘star-crossed lovers’ could have been better explained, like taking 30 seconds before they went out on the chariots…
Then, the games begin and what do we see? A Cornucopia that looks nothing like the one as described in the book:
Instead, you see some big odd-shaped monstrosity of metal which, as you can see by the image, looks more like a squished, misshapen penis, not the golden wonder of beauty as the book would have you believe. These are details that envelop you into the story, to give you a sense of belief that you’re part of their lives for the duration of the movie, but I can’t help feel that it was too rushed and before you know it, it’s over.
It’s said that it’s better to read the book before watching the movie and in this case, those words could never be more true. I was so much more satisfied after reading the book that I’m not sure Catching Fire will make much sense (I’m now almost on chapter 8 of Catching Fire). There’s the whole what they did after the Games, moving into the Victor’s Village, visiting the districts and other stuff that could have been fitted into about 10 minutes of screen time.
There’s too much to go into about what in my opinion could have been changed, but it’s done and is released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 18th (September 3rd for UK). I’m not sure if I would recommend it, I guess if you saw it at the cinema and liked it, then go for it, but if you read the book first, I don’t think I’d bother.