‘Hunger Games’ Book-To-Big Screen Successes
First Published: March 23, 2012 3:37 PM EDT Credit: Lionsgate
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The fans turned out in droves last night for the midnight screenings of “The Hunger Games,” (pulling in $19.7 million) to watch Katniss and Peeta fight for their lives.
Many devoted Access Hollywood “Hunger Games” superfans (Mockingjays? HungerHeads?) were lucky enough to catch the fire of the games earlier this week at a screening and we were impressed with how well many of the elements of the Suzanne Collins’ novels translated to the big screen.
1. The Trio: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne) all turned out impressive performances and skillfully embodied the characters we’d grown to love in the books. Though Gale is only briefly used in the first movie, we’re looking forward to seeing the triangle between the three grow, get more complex and eventually flare up with the intensity of a District riot.
2. Supporting Characters: In addition to the three leads, Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman), Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket), Lenny Kravitz (Cinna) and Donald Sutherland (President Snow) added to the impressive cast lineup, often stealing the scenes they appeared in (we’re looking at you, Elizabeth!) With two more books – and three more movies to go – we can’t wait to see what other Hollywood acting heavyweights sign on! (Who will be cast as President Coin, Finnick, Wiress and Beetee???)
3. Special Effects: In what could have been a cheesy take on the diverse world that Collins created in her books (mixing rundown rural areas of the dystopia future with the high tech metropolis of The Capitol), director Garry Ross and his team created sleek cityscapes and a super cool (and very deadly) battle arena (filled with muttations, tracker jackers and fireballs!) that had us in awe and then squirming in our seats.
4. The Use Of Violence: Many of us wouldn’t have minded an R rating for this movie (it’s about kids killing kids!), but we think the film handled the fine line of showing just enough violence to remind the audience just how serious the subject matter of the story is. The opening blood bath scene in the arena at the Cornucopia is one that might have you wincing and the sound of Cato snapping the neck of a fellow Tribute is still lingering in our ears.
5. New Franchise To Root For/Obsess About: With “Harry Potter” a distant memory (in book and movie form) and “The Twilight Saga” winding down, we’re beyond happy that we can turn our fanboy/fangirl attention to “The Hunger Games.” With three more movies to go and what we can only hope are more books from Collins (it should be noted that she’s never said she will write more, but she also hasn’t said that she won’t), we’re hooked on all things Katniss (as if our Mockingjay pins that we wore to the screening didn’t already give it away!)
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-- Jesse Spero