The Hunger Games conveys almost everything the book wanted to convey. There are changes to the story but they're well thought-out changes that use some pretty clever tricks to show the things that don't translate to film and then taken advantage of the things films can do, the acting and directing are great and interesting. It has all the details that should be there but it doesn't point them out. Instead a background shot will just have the things a reader knows it should have but to a new-comer it's no more different or confusing than any other establishing shot. There are problems. The placement of the music could be poor. In one part someone is following the blood trail of someone close to them with happy-moment music. Peta and Gale were just slightly to handsome, they were cast like Twilight, but in the end the film still recognised that this is the one rare place where the heroine has more important priorities than who she goes home with. Although they did a lot to establish setting and ideas there was still a lot left up to the viewer. Finally there was no real visual style, but in a way that did fit. The Hunger Games aren't so much a story and if it had style maybe it would be another film where you're not meant to realise how terrible it is that people are dying. Which brings us onto the problem of The Hunger Games in general, that was somehow focused by the film. Why do we want to watch it? It conveyed what the books aimed to convey but that wasn't joy or amusment but how horrid this world would actually be. Some professional reviewers didn't get it and described Katniss as an action hero. One even complained that Katniss only kills one person! We understand why we want fun, excitement, fear, even tragedy but it's none of those. If it had been about the holocaust, even a fictional event in the holocaust, we'd understand why people would watch such a stark look at human beings. Yet The Hunger Games universe is entirely fictional. Does it make a difference? We know humans can be fine with watching other fighting to the death as entertainment. We know regimes can be cruel and oppressive and that people will go along with it and actually fight. But in the end it not real. Does that mean we don't have the same reason to watch it as a similar film in a setting that did happen? I don't know.
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