Me and fifteen of my closest friends went to see The Hunger Games last Saturday afternoon, and we had an absolute blast. We went to a 1:00pm showing. Because of the time and the fact that it was the second day of the release, I imagined that we’d have a fairly easy time at the theater. Not so, dear reader. The theater was packed. Luckily, we stood out. My roommate Chels and I, along with our friend Ashley, dressed up as characters from the Capitol!
The make-up was definitely a lot of fun. I wasn’t originally planning on going all-out and dressing up, but then I remembered that I’d take any excuse to use the absurd amount of costume make-up I have. As far as I could tell we were the only ones at the theater who were dressed up, but the response was definitely favorable. There were tons of passing “that’s so cool!”s and we were actually stopped and complimented a couple of times.
The movie was excellent, and I really enjoyed it. It was a solid and beautiful adaptation. One thing did surprise me. The movie was about two and a half hours long, but it still had to glance over a couple of things. I’d expected no problems on that account, since the bulk of the book was Katniss’s internal monologue. Collins’ style really has a way of making you forget how much actually happens in the books. The nice thing was, even though the movie was so long, it was the fastest two and half hours of my life.
A few minor things were changed–Buttercup was not yellow–but nothing that couldn’t be caught up in the second movie. There was some excessively shaky camera work in the beginning and during the arena fights, which annoyed some of our group; but softie that I am, I chalked it up to immersion. Stylistically it was pretty much in line with what I’d imagined, with two exceptions. I’d imagined District 12 being more industrial rather than wooded, which was silly of me being that I am a Pennsylvanian and I ought to know better. I infinitely preferred the forested version. The Capitol make-up was also more 17th century French than I expected: white faces and Cupid’s bow lips with the main wackiness coming in around the eyes. You can tell from my make-up designs for myself and Chelsea that I was imagining something a little more intense. But really, I didn’t mind. Six one, half dozen the other.
We followed up the movie with our discussion at a local restaurant, where I completely failed at taking discussion notes. There was a lot of book-to-movie comparison, obviously, and a lot of discussion about the movie itself. It was generally agreed that while the movie was a good adaptation, there were parts that weren’t as significant without the background you got in the book. Katniss and Peeta’s whole romance, for example, was not clearly outlined as an act on Katniss’s part and the real deal on Peeta’s, so we missed a lot of that tension. We were all very pleased with the casting, overall. It was extremely difficult to keep to the first book in our discussions, though. We had a couple of members who were just beginning the series, so we tried not to spoil it for them. Pretty sure we failed. But we had a great time!
In the past couple of days, one thing I have noticed is that some “fans” are bitching about the fact that some of the characters were black; namely, Cinna, Rue and Thresh. Now Cinna’s skin tone is never specified, but he is said to wear gold eyeliner. I am a white girl and I wear gold eyeliner when I don’t want my eyeliner to be noticeable, because it doesn’t really pop on my skin. With that knowledge, when I read the line about Cinna’s gold eyeliner I assumed that he was black or at the very least dark-complected. When I saw the promo shots of Lenny Kravitz from the movie, I thought he was perfect. Close-cropped brown hair, simple clothes, gold eyeliner. It was Cinna! But I could maybe understand how people didn’t expect him to be black.
Rue and Thresh are a different story. As Dodai Stewart points out in that Jezebel article, those two characters are specifically described as having dark skin. Therefore, I have only contempt for those people who apparently skipped that part when they read the book and then proceeded to whine about how Rue being black “ruined the movie.” And to the asshole who had the audacity to add #sticktothebookDUDE to their tweet?
Please go back to first grade and learn to read.
In summary: the movie was great (but definitely better if you’ve read the book), our group had a ridiculous amount of fun, and some of America is stupid.