From casting to plot, I delighted in the choices made by director, Gary Ross. I form mental images of scenes and characters when I read a book. Jennifer Lawrence embodies Katniss Everdeen perfectly. I heard that many questioned this choice, but she played the part with brilliance. Her scenes draw you in and make you feel her fury and determination. The only casting not aligned with my original image was Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, but he handled the part so well, that I've almost forgotten what I thought Haymitch looked like.
Suzanne Collins captured my imagination with her brilliant writing in The Hunger Games trilogy, and, for the most part, the movie follows suit...except for a few misses on special effects. I sat on the edge of my seat waiting to see how they would handle the fire costumes worn by Katniss and Peeta when they enter the arena for the first time, but I slipped back into a slouch as this scene unfolded. With computer graphics, this scene could have flamed across the screen, but instead we saw a small fireside light. The same problem plagued the creation of the dog-like creatures near the end of the movie. In the book, they resemble the fallen Tributes, but in the movie, the dogs were just big dogs. That's it. I have to ask why? Especially when so much computer graphics went into the creation of the arena control room. Surely, this movie had the budget. Why not use it in the action scenes instead of the control room?
I still highly recommend the movie. Ross handles the violence in a tasteful method earning the PG-13 score for this Survivor meets The Lord of the Flies flavored with ancient Rome's coliseum story. The movie captures most of the book and the entwined relationships, and I can't wait until the sequel, Catching Fire.
Have you seen it? Tell me your thoughts.