Welcome, welcome.  Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

I. Love. This. Book.  After growing up reading Harry Potter, I felt a little part of me die when I watched the final movie last summer.  No more midnight book premieres?  No more midnight movies?   No more heated discussions about he movie adaptation?  What will I do?!!?   It created a hole in my heart.  A gaping Harry Potter sized hole in my heart that nothing could ever fill.

Until The Hunger Games.

Ahhh, midnight showings are back.  (Forget the everyone else in the theater was in high school.  And I had to work this morning.)   Thank you, directors,  for creating a faithful adaptation to the book without adding frills, extra scenes, or taking out major characters.  My literary soul thanks you.  It is vulnerable.  And prone to anger.

Jennifer Lawrence at Katniss is perfect.  I may or may not have a small girl crush on her.  When the directors announced the casting list last year, I hated Jennifer Lawrence.  She was too blonde.  Too pretty.  Too stocky and strong to convincingly play a starving girl from District 12 with an insatiable desire to survive against the odds.  I was wrong. Bravo, Jennifer, you are everything I thought Katniss should be.

Stanley Tucci?  A dead ringer for Caesar Flickerman.  Rue?  Perf.  Effie? Perf.  I wasn’t super thrilled with Peeta, but not for any real reason.  I pictured him stockier and stronger.

However, this movie is not without its flaws.  In an effort to fit everything into the movie without making it 4 hours long and to set up Catching Fire, the directors seems to go for a bare bones approach.  They stripped out everything except what was essential and necessary to the story.  So, basically, we are left with a skeleton that gives us a good idea of what everything looks like and the layout of the land, but without details to flesh it out.  Character development fell completely by the wayside.  Katniss and Peeta’s budding relationship and its complications (is Katniss is playing the sponsors and the audience to garner sympathy and packages?  Or does she really fall for Peeta?) is completely lost.  When she kisses Peeta, it feels forced and completely unbelievable.  I mean, for god sakes, we never even get an explanation of why Peeta teamed with the Careers in the first place.

And Katniss’s survival skills and cunning don’t come across in the film either.  In the book, she is constantly figuring things out.  She and Haymitch have an almost telepathic understanding and connection.  But there was no hint of that in the movie.  Gifts just come to her from the sky.  Without he asking for them or working for them.  Which, to me, was a huge freaking let down!  Half of the reason she stays alive is her ability to understand how the game works – and to use it to her advantage.  The nuances of the character didn’t translate.  For example, at the end of the book when she and Peeta are going to eat the nightlock berries, she doesn’t do it with a rebellion specifically on her mind.  Her actions are more complicated and less thought out.  But in the movie, the nightlock reads like a blatant “Fuck you” to the capitol and President Snow.

Bottom Line:  If you are a fan (AND YOU SHOULD BE), see this movie.  Highly recommend.  Although if you start the Team Peeta or Team Gale shit – I will cut you.

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