When it comes to books made into films I am very fussy. Especially when those books in question are ones as brilliant and powerful as The Hunger Games. Without trying to sound too snobby, (and dickish) I think you need something ticking away in the old bonce to truly get what The Hunger Games are about, and therefore need some sense about you to understand the films. I saw the adaption tonight, in Newark, which probably didn't help the calibre of audience; but I can't help thinking it would be lost on some people, and possibly not as enjoyable for those who haven't read the books.
But I could be reading too much into it (literally) and maybe without the knowledge you have once finishing the trilogy, you can still enjoy the action and marvel at the special effects. Let's start with the screenplay. Suzanne Collins, author of the books, said she was happy with the films, so I went in expecting a true to form masterpiece. There are a lot of things missed out and I have to accept that, it's the same case with almost every adaption; but entire characters weren't introduced - concepts like the Avox's were missed out, something not vital to the storyline, but still important to your general understanding of the plot.
After reading the books I wondered how they would structure the film. Katniss' internal monologuing moved the story along, kept pace and gave us, the reader, all the information we needed to build up the bigger picture. Without this voice over, you're left relying on visuals and other characters to explain the situations. This is evidently how Gary Ross chose to do it - several new scenes were either picked from the next books or newly created in order to bring what Katniss' muteness left the audience without. Sometimes I felt as though they were only scratching the surface of the story, but perhaps this is because having finished all three, I can reflect on things that happened in the first book with more insight. Indeed they do allude a lot to events in the next two books - President Snow's roses, Haymitch's involvement with the gamemakers and the coming uprisings to name a few.
Catering for a large audience of fans, as well as trying to appeal to a new audience is always going to be tricky. On one hand, you want to make a word perfect biopic to please the die-hards. On the other, you want to pick out the main thread of the plot and turn it into a movie that can be enjoyed by anyone. I think The Hunger Games has tackled this well, what they have missed out is just my nitpicking, perhaps the fact that it forced me to recall the books, recall what she was thinking and what happens next is a good thing. I certainly enjoy watching films knowing I have that inside knowledge that a newcomer doesn't.
One thing I did dislike immensely was the camera work. God good who gave the work experience kid a camera and let them shoot the first hour? Shaky camera work may suit amateur GCSE media films but it does not belong, for long period of time, on the big screen. Luckily they managed to find the trackers and someone came up with a tripod for the rest of the film.
And Gale, poor Gale. I have always been on his side, because I'd rather have meat over bread any day.* He didn't feature a lot in book one; come two and three his character takes a forefront and I can only hope they make the most of this, and don't cast him out as a secondary character.
So there, mixed reactions. I've pointed out quite a few negatives but overall it was excellent. Jennifer Lawrence does 'running blindly through woods' very well and Lenny Kravitz is a vision in gold eyeliner as Cinna. If you haven't read the books, do, you'll enjoy the films so much more once you know they all win in the end. Oh dear, have I said too much?
Doesn't take much to act in love with Gale really, damn.
*little inside joke for the readers there, ho ho