Well, I saw the Hunger Games movie. I tried not to, because movie theater seats hurt me terribly and because I don't prefer movies with violence. I tried not to see it, but I could not stop thinking about it. I had to go, to get on with my life.
Really, these are very random. I'm not even going to aim for sense or order.
Overall, I'm not incredibly impressed. Crucial grain of salt: I'm not a movie person. That's enough of a reason for you to stop reading now! This book is an important book to me and I was hoping the movie would be, but it isn't. I won't be seeing it again or seeing the later ones. It was... fine.
An early joke (within the first five minutes) undercuts the notion that Katniss's family -- and by extension, the district people -- are hungry. Hunger is a prime thing this movie should be about. What a terrible time for that joke, and why was it there at all?
On the train and in the Capitol, the poshness -- food, linens, beds, but food most importantly -- doesn't seem tempting. Nothing looks lush and rich and delectible and desirable. It should: hunger is a prime point here, and the feeling Katniss has of getting to eat all this delicious satisfying food for the first time is utterly missing. This matters because politically, hunger is one central point of poverty and oppression. I feel like this somehow implies a romanticization of the poverty in the district: we see Gale give Katniss fragrant bread and she loves it, and then after that, no food in the movie looks good. The poshness on the train and in the Capitol seems icky and off -- including furniture and decor and food -- sometimes repulsive, sometimes merely unattractive and "meh" and unimportant. Sometimes alien.
Speaking of alien. Deborah and I had been discussing whether the portrayal of the Capitol would make its citizens seem too mild (not evil enough) or too strong (evil as a caricature, problematic because viewers won't relate to it and won't see it mirroring the aspects of ourselves that we should). In my opinion, it does both. I don't find the film to condemn the Capitol citizens very strongly; I feel like they seem more stupid and shallow and self-centered than truly a critical cog in an evil machine. (I predict that particular opinion of mine will be a minority.) At the same time, they're alien: they are absolutely lacking details that will make viewers see ourselves in them. I don't know movie crit well enough to coherently explain why I think this. I do know that Effie's makeup -- her entire asthetic design -- is evil being shown via foreignness. Her blatantly caked-on base, her colors, everything serve to show us how distant from "us" she is. She's the polar opposite of a visual suggestion to us to examine ourselves for our own roles in this kind of evil. She's Other; she's to point and laugh at. I had no respect for how she's portrayed. It doesn't feel useful to me. It's comic relief, and I'm not interested in comic relief in this story.
(Note: I might have been the only person who didn't laugh at all. I didn't find anything funny. I think I'm a Strident Humorless Something.)
We're never prodded to consider that Effie's a cog in a wheel we need to examine in our own lives.
One thing about Capitol citizens: their combos of hair design and clothing are alien in a way that seems a little queer-coded to me. Which makes me supremely uncomfortable. In the districts, people look like filthy coal miners with normative gender. In the Capitol, people look fancy and frivolous and posh with flibberty-gibbet colors that... I don't know. I don't know how to explain it. Their colorings and clothes and fashions seem queer-coded to me. I can't stand that. Maybe someone can explain to me whether that's really happening and the words to discuss it.
Soundtrack at the cornucopia at beginning of Games: perfect.
Rue is phenomenal. So is Cinna. They were my favorites by far, in acting, in scripting, in everything. Their acting didn't seem like "acting": I believed they were Rue and Cinna. I felt for them and I liked them. Cinna (surprisingly, happily) doesn't trigger the Magical Negro trope to me as I was expecting because, in the movie, he really doesn't have much special wisdom or mystical (or even useful) knowledge: he's a good guy with some common sense. This is a factor of some book details being left out, but still. Cinna is kind, and emotionally present, and that's what sets him apart from other adults. Please tell me if I'm misreading this.
The race issues are what I expected during that last post. Katniss being white makes everyone in it to help a white girl, which problematizes Rue being black -- though the answer isn't to make Rue white (duh), the answer is to have made Katniss a poc (yes, medieval barn doors, I know) or at least to have made fewer people white. Cinna being brown-skinned (his race is unspecified in the book) is a decision I adore, except that with Katniss white, it's part of the hierarchy of many people helping the white girl. Cinna exists as a character to help Katniss. Rue doesn't, but her death shows us Katniss's tenderness. So.
It seems like an oddly white movie. There are plenty of non-white people in some of the types of settings -- including the tons of technicians running the arena -- but I also noticed too much whiteness in general.
Disagreements and thoughts welcome. My physical recovery from sitting in movie seats is gonna be a doozy, so I might not be able to answer soon. Also please forgive typos in this post. I have a serious date with some icepacks.