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I’m approaching The Hunger Games the same way I did Harry Potter. See and enjoy the movies first THEN read the books and find out about all of the stuff that would have pissed me off about the movies. So far it’s working, because I really liked the movie. The lead character, the archery girl, has a real cunning and agility to her. An almost feline quality. A “catness,” if you will. [pause for applause] Thank you, thank you. I’ll be encasing myself in concrete now as to preserve the look on my face when I made the most perfectly crafted joke anyone has either spoken, written, read or heard aloud. Also because it will kill me, which should satisfy those of you that think I should die for that joke. I regret nothing. Except for drowning to death in concrete.

I wasn’t a complete Hunger Games virgin going in. I knew the basic premise and I had read a bit on Wikipedia to familiarize myself with some of the more fleshed out concepts of the world that would no doubt be left out of the cinematic offering for time and pacing reasons. I felt like the end result was a nice tight narrative that did a clever job of introducing you to its world while not smothering the plot. It was obvious that many characters that certainly had larger stories in the books had drastically reduced roles or were even relegated to background glimpses (further Wiki’ing confirmed this theory). You could see little threads of plot all over the place that the film wouldn’t have time to even address, much less resolve. I think that’s a good thing, because it gets casual observers like me more interested in reading the books and getting a full view of the world building within.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD: Regarding Mr. Kravitz portrayal of Cinna the stylist, there were some fucked up allusions going on with his wardrobe creations. The clothing was supposed to represent the district the tributes hailed from. District 12 is a coal mining area, where both Katniss and Peeta’s father’s were killed in a mine explosion, so Cinna dresses them in coal black clothing and SETS IT ON FIRE!? I’d say that isn’t appropriate or sensitive in the least, but these kids are being lead to their deaths in a child murder contest for the amusement of the home viewing audience, so what do I know? I was surprised at the amount of actual child murder that they showed. I was really expecting them to pull a few more punches and gaping blade wounds. The opening “scramble for supplies” scene was actually pretty disturbing to watch. Right about then the concept of children killing each other sinks in, followed by the concept that it is essentially for entertainment (as well as propaganda, control through fear and intimidation, etc). Back to the coal fire: did anyone else get the impression that Cinna drew inspiration from Centralia, the Pennsylvania town that’s been on fire for 50 years (or 150 by his time)? Maybe district 12 isn’t far from there.

My only real gripe with the movie (knowing a bit more than the average person about the book’s plot, but not nearly enough to get all that upset), the idea that hunger was a central theme of the story just didn’t come through at all. I never got the impression that anyone was starving. Poor? Sure. Starving? Not really. These kids are pretty and plump and muscular and heathly. When presented with multiple feasts, at no point does anyone gorge themselves like a person that has been living off of rations would. I get that they are terrified and tramatized, but the word “HUNGER” is in the freaking title of the movie. It seems like one of the most important themes of the book was just kind of swept under the rug. Also, the movie basically says that Katniss is faking her love for Peeta to garner favor with the audience, but gives the impression that by the end she is actually in love with him. This seemed odd, so I looked it up and, yup, she’s a faker and she totally and in cold blood breaks his heart at the end of the book. I guess they want us to be more sympathetic to her, but honestly in the situation she was in survival is the only thing that mattered. Also, just to clarify, the three finger salute means “Hey The Capitol! Read between the lines jackwads!” right?

COMMENTERS: Did you see The Hunger Games? What did you think? Were you a fan of the books already? PLEASE MARK ALL COMMENTS WITH SPOILERS AS SUCH. 

CHECK IT OUT: My daughter drew another Tiny Titan and it’s up on my Tumblr.