The Hunger Games: Big Screen Version

**This post is spoiler-FREE**

As the final bell rang at school last Thursday, I practically mowed down students and staff as I barreled through the corridor to the front door. Burning a hole in my pocket was a red plastic bracelet–my golden ticket–to an early screening of The Hunger Games movie, and no one was going to hold me back with trifling questions about homework assignments or meeting agendas.

To be honest, all week I’d been hovering on the edge of excitement (for the movie) and fear (of a bad adaptation) and could barely contain myself as I zoomed up the Garden State Parkway to the rendezvous point.  I met my “Hunger Games” connection (and the rest of his coworkers) and off to the theater we went.

A large crowd was already gathered (at 6:30pm!) for the midnight screenings but our group of 40 or so people were quickly whisked behind the velvet ropes into a theater for our private screening.  Of the 40 people in attendance, only a handful had actually read the book–le sigh–and I spent a few minutes giving a quick synopsis to those around me.

Here are my Hunger Games action figures...

At 7pm sharp, the curtains parted and without any fanfare, coming attractions, or annoying commercials, the movie started.  I was immediately captivated and the duration of the movie passed in a moment.

My overall opinion of the book-to-movie adaptation was extremely favorable, and I found the casting to be strong.  While I didn’t love Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, I think the problem was more my own vision of Trinket rather than Banks herself.

While books on the big screen are rarely perfect, I think that The Hunger Games was a very well done translation and my friend and his co-workers were sold on the story–several are interested in picking up the series!

So, did you make it to a screening of The Hunger Games, or are you sitting this one out?

20 Comments

  • At 2012.03.27 23:12, Kathleen said:

    I will haven’t read the series yet so I am way behind. I’ve heard very positive reviews of the movie so I know I want to read the book soon so I can see the movie on the big screen.
    Kathleen´s last [type] ..Review: Between a Rock and Hot Place by Tracey Jackson

    • At 2012.03.30 11:04, Natalie said:

      come on, kathleen! you have to read at least the first book in the trilogy. :)

    • At 2012.03.28 09:03, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

      There weren’t any early screenings here since we live so close to where the movie was filmed. :( I haven’t seen the movie yet. I promised Carl I’d wait for him to get back so I could see it with him.
      bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last [type] ..Wondrous Words Wednesday

      • At 2012.03.30 11:05, Natalie said:

        i hope you enjoy it! let me know…

      • At 2012.03.28 10:25, Jac @ For Love and Books said:

        I also went with two people who hadn’t read the book (although I was nowhere near as cool as you!! A private pre-screening? JEALOUS!!) Both of them have already started reading though – I love that the movie was that good that it inspired the few oddballs who haven’t read yet (*wink*) to read!!
        Jac @ For Love and Books´s last [type] ..Review: Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins

        • At 2012.03.30 11:03, Natalie said:

          listen, i’m all for any movie that motivates someone to pick up a book! i work with hordes of reluctant readers and am thankful for books like these because it gets the students interested in reading! i even lend out my own copies of the books because i’m happy they want to read.

        • At 2012.03.28 10:50, Ti said:

          How did you score that private showing?

          I haven’t seen it yet. Friday is a holiday for the university where I work but not for my kids, so I may slip away and see it then. I don’t know though. I am so fussy these days about my movie experiences that I may just wait for it to come out on DVD. I can’t stand talking and testing and loud candy bags.
          Ti´s last [type] ..Review: Heft

          • At 2012.03.30 11:02, Natalie said:

            ti, i have friends in the right places. lol. actually, i’m just lucky enough to know someone who works at the toy company that made the action figures for the movies. the company got a private screening courtesy of lions gate (the film company).

            as for fussy movie experiences, i’m totally with you. i actually will drive 40 minutes to an “AMC Dine-In Theater” because they don’t let anyone under 21 in and you have assigned seating in HUGE reclining chairs. they serve food and drinks and it’s heavenly. it’s the way to go.

          • At 2012.03.28 12:35, Kristin said:

            I made it and loved it – my full review is here: http://kristinharkins.blogspot.com.

            • At 2012.03.28 15:20, Karen said:

              I took 8 girls and my husband last Saturday (he was the only one who had not read the entire series). All of us girls loved it, and I think many of the girls liked the movie BETTER than the book. And these are discerning middle grade book nerds who hated the Percy Jackson movie. I think that Jennifer Lawrence’s performance gave them insights into Katniss’ character that they hadn’t appreciated in the reading of it. Where they were impatient with Katniss’ indecision in the books, and her reticence, Lawrence’s face and emotional life gave them more empathy for her.
              I personally appreciated that the producers emphasized the socio political aspects of the film (mostly via the reality show manipulations, but also by showing Pres. Snow and the riots that started in District 10) and did NOT emphasize the violence or romance any more than necessary.
              I am going to go out on a limb and say that this is one of the best film adaptations of a book I’ve EVER seen!
              Karen´s last [type] ..CHILD OF THE SOUTH by Joanna Catherine Scott

              • At 2012.03.30 10:59, Natalie said:

                wow, you’re brave to take such a crowd! i also think jennifer lawrence was great–and the lighting on her in some of the woods shots was so perfect that she almost glowed. this book-to-movie is in my top 20 adaptations but i don’t think anything will unseat to kill a mockingbird. :)

            • At 2012.03.28 21:12, Jenners said:

              I saw it today and thought they did a good job. There was so much to pack in. I thought the casting of Katniss was spot on. I can’t imagine anyone else playing the role now. And Woody Harrelson surprised me as Haymitch — he made the character come alive for me more than he did in the books. And Effie was barely in the movie so I didn’t really get annoyed with her. Loved Cinna! Lenny Kravitz was the perfect choice. I kind of enjoyed seeing the “behind the scenes” stuff about the game making that you don’t get to have in the book. Rue was perfect too. All in all, they did a terrific job with it … I was impressed.
              Jenners´s last [type] ..Why I’m Glad I Own A Carpet Cleaning Machine

              • At 2012.03.30 10:57, Natalie said:

                i agree with your woody harrelson thought. when he was first cast, i was disappointed because that wasn’t who i imagined in my head, but he ended up doing a really good job. i was really happy with the movie and might go see it again next week when i’m on spring break!

              • At 2012.03.29 22:07, softdrink said:

                I’m sitting it out…I’m happy with my memories of the book. Although it’s tempting just to see Lenny as Cinna.
                softdrink´s last [type] ..The Fault in Our Stars

                • At 2012.03.30 10:56, Natalie said:

                  he’s worth it! his scenes are poignant and tender…

                  as for your review of The Fault in Our Stars, i can’t read it yet!!! i’m listening to it on audio (and am FROTHING to just BUY it so i can see what happens!) and am at the part they are returning to augustus’s hotel room for the first time. the foreshadowing tells me that the grenade isn’t going to be hazel but augustus. i was describing the book to ant and saying that some passages are just so true and beautiful. can’t wait to finish and then will check your review.

                • At 2012.03.30 21:36, toothybooks said:

                  i completely agree with you! i tried to keep my excitement in check because i have a tendency to absoluitely hate adaptations, but i have to admit that they did a pretty good job with the hunger games. i was definitely pleased by the movie and i thought it could have been alot worse.

                  • At 2012.04.01 16:37, Christy said:

                    I thought the casting was great as well. Jennifer Lawrence was awesome as Katniss – I think of that scene where she is about to go into the tube at the start of the Games. When the door to the tube closes, she just has a look of complete fear in her eyes. I also liked the scene where she calls up the view of a forest in her penthouse room. The action scenes were a little too blurry though – I couldn’t tell what was going on – and the actor who played Cato looked very similar to Josh Hutcherson and it got confusing in that last fight scene. Anyway, I think the book is more intense than the film, but the film was enjoyable.
                    Christy´s last [type] ..Farthing by Jo Walton

                    • At 2012.04.03 11:44, Shelley said:

                      I agree with Natalie: Nothing unseats Mockingbird.

                      However, I hope you told your students how involved you are with this book! They need to see how much we love them. Actions speak louder than words….

                      • At 2012.04.11 21:42, Jenna said:

                        This was one of the best book to film adaptions. Very few things I saw that were different, and most were small things that didn’t make a difference to the plot.. Love.
                        Jenna´s last [type] ..Do You Host A Meme? Book Blogger Meme Directory.