This is a movie that was promoted and marketed on the premise that it was not another Twilight, and for reasons beyond my imaginations actual critics saying things like "its darker than Harry Potter" ... seriously? The villains are no where near Harry Potter's and you don't feel that sense of endangerment and gloom that HP gives right from the beginning.
I have not read the book (don't plan on reading it anyway), but one thing I can say was that while watching the movie (director) Gary Ross was loyal and there was no necessary explanations for the way things were, rather as the movie progresses you begin to pick up bits and piece them together . The fact that the appearance (ie costumes) of the characters in the capitol sort of explain how obnoxious they are, which kind of proves itself the minute they open their mouth.
|Lawrence as Katniss|
On to the acting, Jennifer Lawrence has already played the independent young woman in Winter's Bone, a role she perfectly channeled here as Katniss, and she deserves all the praise she's getting; but Josh Hutcherson's role as Peeta was way too wimpy, c'mon the guy could have at least buck up at times rather than being moody nearly all the time, plus the boldness that is a feature of Peeta was nearly non-existent. But my favourite persons in the entire movie were these three - Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, the unrecognizable Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. All three were really amazing in their roles; you have to see 'em to know. As for the tributes, Amandla Stenberg as Rue was the only tribute other than the main actors, that got any sort of significant face-time, and she completely sold it! unlike Cato. Donald Sutherland as President Coriolanus Snow, on the other hand, was bland, his demeanor too was ... blank.
Now on to the promised action, this is where The Hunger Games shows its flaws; Ross' use of a hand-held camera was to take us along with Katniss as she tries to survive in the games but when a conversation is taking place, you've got to change cameras and stop jerking the whole thing around. The cinematography was poor, the shots were too up close as I was unable to enjoy mise en scène, making the games visually tasteless. The build up to the games was pretty good but once the games began, I began to ask - is this what all the fuss was about? Then even the effects of the game across all thirteen districts was underutilized - except for when Rue dies and the rioting in district 11 (which felt way too sudden). The battles were almost rushed through thereby not giving us any inkling of the anticipated action.
I am not saying The Hunger Games is awful but it could have been better; but I am willing to see its sequel Catching Fire, hopefully the studios would get a director that can sync the action with the love triangle without making it look like a Twilight movie.