Let me start by saying, I had very high expectations for this movie. I was quite possibly more excited about this movie than I've ever been for a movie.
Paul told me I was too excited, and that this level can only lead to one thing: disappointment. (Personally I think Paul kind of wanted me to be disappointed so I'd stop talking about it so much. I squeeze in little HG references whenever I can. Like, we voted by mail, and Paul was taking it very seriously, I was too, but he kinda watched me do it like I was 5 and he thought I'd mess up. When I finished and sealed my envelope in the way I was instructed by him (and the instructions) I said, "Now can I write, 'May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor' on it?" And yesterday morning at the farmers market bakery, I pointed at a loaf and said, "That looks like District 11 bread." He just rolled his eyes.)
There were two things I was worried about, but didn't want to admit it. One- I don't like Woody Harrelson. The Haymitch the book created for me was very different than what I thought Woody could pull off. Two- I saw Ellen interview Lenny Kravitz and he was blah, he needed to step it up to be the Cinna I had a crush on after reading the books.
Also, the very first
Having said all that, I was still really excited.
And, my expectations? They were exceeded.
I absolutely loved the movie. It was very true to the book. (Thanks to Suzanne Collins for helping write the script.) The casting was amazing. Haymitch and Effie were even better on screen than in the book. Cinna was exactly what I wanted to see him be. The scenery, the train to the capital, Katniss' personality, the peacekeepers, the capital, the capital people and their clothing and done-upness, all was so well done. Also, Katniss and Peeta looked awesome on fire, and Katniss' interview dress was fantastic.
I was more emotional than I expected I'd be throughout the movie. From the moment Effie read "Primrose Everdeen" I got a little teary eyed, and felt on the verge several more times. During Rue's death I did a couple trying-to-be-quite-but-awkwardly-loud-sniffle-cries. It was such a beautiful and heart breaking scene.
There were a couple parts that I really 'got' while watching the movie, and know that if I hadn't read the book, I wouldn't have caught on as much. Like, Katniss' 'acting' in the arena as Peeta's star crossed lover. She was very conflicted in the book about kissing him, playing the game, thinking of Gale, what Haymitch might think of her actions, and you didn't get that much in the movie... Her constantly reminding herself to stay strong, do this, don't do that, etc. in order to get sponsor gifts... Her shock in seeing Peeta with the careers was greater in the book.
But when you think about how much of the book is Katniss thinking, and also the vivid descriptions of everything, I think it was pretty amazing that you could still get so much of that in the movie.
I loved the added scenes that will help flow into movie #2, like after Katniss' salute to district 11 and what broke out there, Seneca Cranes death, and I also loved seeing the game makers workspace and plans. The commentary from Caesar was perfect, I thought, to help the games flow along. Stanley Tucci did not disappoint, but I wasn't worried about that. I was glad the dog tribute mutations scene was short. That was a little much for me in the book- having them look like the fallen tributes, and having them go to town on Cato all night. The finale of the games in the movie was better than in the book in my opinion. But did we all pee a little when the first dog jumped out on Peeta??
I have to say, I had a really sad/conflicted moment at the end when I saw Primrose on Gale's shoulders. I was a little sad that he becomes such a revolutionist in the future, instead of just loving Katniss. But I love how much Peeta loves her, too.
Paul didn't like the parts that were done with handheld camera work. He said he got motion sickness. I don't know, but I didn't feel like it was that much. Just a few minutes at the beginning, and then in the arena, but mostly just the fight scenes. And I think the shaking and the silence that happened was good because you saw and heard less of the blood baths, which also is probably the reason it could get a PG-13 rating. So maybe sit middle to the back to avoid getting dizzy during a couple scenes or whatever, but really it's not that bad.
Anyway, I heart the hunger games, but I'm going to try and move on with real life now. Like, on 'The Voice' when the host announces the next pair to battle in a sing off, I'm going to try not to automatically think that it's a battle to the death.