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A very hot topic lately is the Hunger Games movie and book series, and as a fan of the books I have been super anxious to go see the movie. Well, I did, and I loved it. Here's my review!

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The Hunger Games scenario is a totalitarian government which cements its power over 12 districts in an unusual way: it reminds the districts of a failed rebellion by forcing each of them to give up two children as sacrifices each year in a bloodthirsty gladiatorial event. This event is seen from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen, a district citizen who finds herself embroiled in a struggle for her life at the Hunger Games arena.

Having read the Hunger Games book prior to seeing the movie, my expectations were admittedly high, but the movie did not fail to meet them. The movie summarized the developmental themes of the book quite well without having to resort to narration, was full of action, and held my attention throughout. The director made excellent choices on prioritizing which scenes were important to keep in the movie and which ones could be re-fitted or dropped to save time, and the storyline was easily discernible to the viewer.

Let me just say: The actors did a fantastic job.
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Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is a solid actress, displaying reactions ranging from a hollow lack of emotion when she is chosen to participate in the games to a determined, barely controlled fury when she goes in front of a panel to display her skills. She scarcely looks like an actor, and you really feel her humanity as she fights for her life, cries for those lost, and all the while recognizes who the real enemy behind the slaughter is.

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Josh Hutcherson did a great job as Peeta. I winced when some actions that should be attributed to Cinna are given to him in the movie, but it did help to build his character and draw the audience to him - I just really liked Cinna as a character and don't like to see focus detracted from him and who he is. Peeta seems to be a slightly stronger character in the movie, bravely enduring the pain and forcing himself to walk through it, and the focus is shifted from his injuries to his desire to help Katniss and rejoin the Games as a capable participant.

Spoilers! Do not read this if you haven't watched the movie, as it does give some elements away!
The book includes a great deal of background behind the characters and plot, all of which gives a good deal of meaning to the characters and their actions. Unfortunately, converting this to movie form is difficult unless you go the narration route, and frankly there was way too much to narrate. In order for this to be a 2.5 hour movie, content was going to have to be cut. Fortunately, the director made good selections in this category! The choice to drop Madges entirely from the film and have Kat's sister give her the mockingjay pin was a good one. It removed some history and meaning behind the mockingjay on the pin itself, but that was replaced by the meaning it held for Prim, so the pin still stood for something - even more so after Katniss meets Rue. Cutting away to District 11 to show the reaction there was also an excellent choice, as it displayed the effects of Kat's actions during the Hunger Games on the districts in real time. In the book, she doesn't really recognize what effect her actions have until well after the Game has ended - but thanks to this cutaway scene, the audience begins to recognize the tension rising well before the main character even realizes what she's done.

Overall, the translation of The Hunger Games from book to movie went remarkably well. Translating a book to a movie will always disappoint some viewers, but that's an inevitability when you take words that spark the imagination and convert them into a visual representation of what you read. The movie stuck to the original text in all the right places and left me pleased and entertained. If you liked the Hunger Games books, or if you just want to watch an exciting, action-packed film with some strong underlying political themes, this movie is for you!