Although I'm only a fifth of the way through the book (which is a page turner), I saw The Hunger Games this morning. My 14-year-old really wanted to go, so I thought, why not, I could use the break. But the first showing was at 12:00 a.m.! What was I thinking? Especially since I came home at 3am to a wife who'd been up since we left the house taking care of one sick child and trying to get the toddler back to sleep, which meant that I then got to take over and essentially sacrifice most of what little of the morning was left for sleep.
However, the sacrifice of sleep was well worth it. This is just a very well done movie, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Entertaining, compelling, and filled with characters that make you care (just like the book).
One thing I appreciated about The Hunger Games the most is the innocence of what little romance there is in it. No one's jumping each other's bones, which, you know, I understand is a little hard to do when someone is hunting you. I get that. However, this is Hollywood we're talking here, and who would it past them? Would you? I didn't think so.
Also, yes, there is violence and people die, but it's not the now oh-so-typical "Let's give you a lesson in arterial spraying and and blood spatter on faces." Most of the violence and almost all the killing is done off camera. You have to imagine it, which was great because I got it. That is, I didn't have to imagine it if I didn't want to, and I didn't. I understood that this person is dead. Now, show me what else you have for us as your $9.50 + $1 service charge/ticket-paying audience.
If there was one draw back, it was the cinematography. Hated it. The film has lots of unusually tight, quick shots. My brain would be trying to focus in on this, that, or the other element, and I couldn't, because just as I had just about done it, vfffffft! Off to another angle we flew.
Right now, if the Oscars for this year were held today, I'd give it one for best script adaptation, another for set design, and a third for best lead actress (for the look of "I'm a caged animal" fear that is in her eyes as she's put into the arena if for nothing else, but there's a whole lot else there).
And if there was an Oscar for best cinematic depiction of what community, love, and the dignity of the human person are really all about, I'd give it one for that, too. In a more sane world, maybe we would have such an award. Hmmmm.
If the Razzies were held today ... Yep, cinematography. (But you got that already, didn't you?)
It's a great film worth seeing whenever or whereever you can (legally, mind you ... I'm not encouraging piracy, which is unjust and therefore wrong).