{the life} The Midnight Showing

by Rachel on March 25, 2012

Eric and I made plans to see “The Hunger Games” on Thursday night/Friday morning. I’ve never done a midnight showing before, but if there was ever a movie to do it for, this was it for me. But even as I bought the tickets, I sort of knew it was a mistake.

See, Eric and I also had arranged to get new carpet installed in our apartment on Friday morning. The carpet in our apartment had been through about six years and several previous tenants without ever being replaced; then we went and brought two puppies into the mix and it got to the point where I could no longer stand it. Unfortunately, to replace the carpet, we had to move the furniture room by room…so first we’d move all the furniture from the spare bedroom into other parts of the apartment while they did the spare bedroom…then we’d move it all back in, plus the furniture from the living room, while they did the living room…and so on. Packing up the entire apartment was just not something I was looking forward to, and we really should have known better than to plan to do it all before going to the movie or first thing in the morning after the midnight showing.

But we bought the tickets anyway.

We also knew that the midnight showing of “The Hunger Games” was going to be filled with screaming teenagers. We thought we’d be OK with that. We knew what we were getting ourselves into. We knew they’d cheer when the lights went down and that they’d clap at the end of the movie. But still. Hundreds of teenagers and — worse — their mothers.

But we bought the tickets anyway.

The Line

Around 8 PM on Friday night, Eric and I were sitting in Subway eating dinner. We had been packing and were planning to go home and do some more packing until we left the apartment around 10:30. I wasn’t sure how the midnight showing would work in terms of lining up, the theater actually opening, etc. so I gave them a call. “Well,” the girl on the phone said. “There’s already quite a line here.”

With that, my competitive side came out and I started inhaling the rest of my tuna sandwich. Then we basically sprinted home, where we changed, grabbed our stuff, and headed to the theater. I was already imagining Black-Friday-esque lines. And worse…Black-Friday-esque people. Someone was going to trample me, I just knew it.

The movie was showing in four theaters, so we got a decent spot in one of the lines…in the first hundred for sure. We knew we’d get in, as we had pre-purchased tickets; it was really about not having to sit in the front row. The lines were mostly filled with teenagers, with a few moms here and there. We were the only adults who weren’t there with kids. We played with our iPhones while the kids did homework and…played with their iPhones.

As we sat on the floor, we observed the groups of teenagers flooding in and discussed the politics of high school. Then we began to observe the groups of teenagers flooding in and…seeing their friends and just joining their friends in line. Well in front of us.

And that’s when we both just started to get rullllllll pissed.

I don’t know what it is about people cutting in line that gets all people equally (and somewhat irrationally) angry. It doesn’t matter how laid-back you are; the second someone cuts you in line, you start seeing red. They are effectively stealing what is rightfully yours, what you earned by showing up early. This teeny tiny injustice makes you mad about all the injustice you’ve ever experience and, really, all the injustice in the world ever. You cut in front of me in line, and suddenly I’m mad about slavery, getting cut from the play my sophomore year of high school, Ke$ha, every job I didn’t get, and Rick Santorum.

In this case, I was extra pissed because a mother was the one who was organizing all the line cutting. This woman was clearly who Regina’s mom in “Mean Girls” was based on, from her designer jeans to her Uggs to the fact that she was drinking a cocktail from the movie theater’s bar in line. She was the one waving all the new girls over and saving their spots in line. Eric, the mom in front of us, and I were just raging.

“WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE ARE YOU SENDING YOUR DAUGHTER?” we bitched. “That it’s OK to break rules if it means making more friends?! WE SHOWED UP EARLY! WHY IS THE THEATER SO UNPREPARED? HOW DO THEY NOT NOTICE THE EVER-EXPANDING MASS IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS MOSTLY SINGLE-FILE LINE?!?!”

And on and on and on.

Oh, and we complained to ushers and the theater manager on about ten occasions. They did nothing. At one point, an older man, presumably a dad, who had just walked in stood very close by, listening as I pointed and said, “See this group? They all came in just a second ago.” He watched. And then he just inched closer to that very group, which he ended up walking in with.

When we finally started walking into the theater around 10:30, it got even worse. Because apparently, we weren’t the only ones feeling a bit edgy and competitive. Because all the kids in line around us? Broke into a sprint as soon as they crossed the threshold of the theater. (The irony that this was quite like the bloodbath at the beginning of the games in the movie seemed to be lost on everyone.) I was actually pretty worried that someone would get trampled.

When we got into the theater a few seconds later, there was totally a “Wait, why were we so upset?!” moment. Because that theater? Was huge. Seriously. We got great seats. We could have shown up at 11:00 and still gotten decent seats.

The weird thing was that we were so amped up in line because we were so pissed and so walking in felt like a culmination of that…but then we still had to spend another 90 minutes waiting for the movie surrounded by teenagers who were still really amped. It did give us an hour and a half to discuss how much it must suck to be a teenager in this day and age and we debated certain aspects of parenting a teenager (which just made me want to have my tubes tied right then and there) which was entertaining enough.

When the previews came on, there was a lot of shrieking and people started sprinting to their seats. They shrieked and “WOOOOO!”ed through every single preview. After the “Breaking Dawn Part II” preview and a couple others that looked pretty similar, we saw a preview for what appeared to be some sort of new Abraham Lincoln movie…if Abraham Lincoln were a badass vigilante. Eric leaned over and whispered — totally kidding — “So is Abraham Lincoln fighting vampires or werewolves in this movie?” Moments later, the title appeared: “Abraham Lincoln” Vampire Hunter.”

Based on these previews, I now a little unsure about what we should expect from “The Hunger Games.”

The Movie

Despite how much WOOOOOO-ing the audience was doing during the previews, they quieted right down as soon as the main event began. I’ve actually rarely been in such a rapt, silent audience. I realized after the movie that with very few exceptions, I was more into the story and felt more of the story world than I have in any other movie I can think of.

I have so many thoughts on the movie, and have been reading a lot of reviews and fan commentary that I both agreed with and disagreed with, that I’m not even sure where to start!

Here are some of my thoughts:

The casting was, overall, fantastic. My favorites were Stanley Tucci as Caesar, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I liked Haymitch and Effie too, but we saw far too little of them for them to make a big impact (which was a bummer).

I teared up during the Reaping, when Gale carried Prim away. Also, Gale was a hunk.

The opening was way too short. Why does Katniss hunt? Why is she such a badass? What happened to her father? What is life like in the districts? What does her mother do for a living? The answers to these questions are, to me, crucial to caring about this story. They flew through this part of the movie and I doubt that people who hadn’t read the books understood why the stakes were so high or what makes Katniss this heroine that people love so much.

I was disappointed by how little of Katniss’s makeover in the Capitol we saw. I think that that’s a huge moment, when we really see the contrast between the districts and the Capitol and it’s the point when you realize, “Oh, these people seem so grotesque with their beauty rituals, but…we’re so them.” I was also disappointed by how little we saw of her prep team. Again, I feel like you need them (and Effie) to really explain who the Capitol is; it helps you understand the horror of the games.

I loved the chariot scene. I felt like the Capitol was such an eerie, perfect blend of ancient, 1940s-50s modern, and futuristic and it really felt like it in this scene more than any other.

I loved when Katniss is waiting to get in her tube to the arena just before the games and, when the countdown begins, she looks terrified and actually begins shaking. I mean, who wouldn’t be shaking at that point? I think that a lot of times, the tributes just didn’t look terrified enough and I loved that moment.

I thought they did a great job with the violence. I knew it would be somewhat tame in order to get the PG-13 rating, but I didn’t feel like the movie suffered. I also felt like the music helped a ton. (I actually thought the entire score was fantastic.) The sort of slow ballad made the fight scenes seem less fetishized and more sad, which was important.

I was so excited to see the cornucopia! I could not visualize that when I was reading the books and I really couldn’t visualize the final scene in the games, but seeing that it was geometric and not curved made a lot more sense.

I really liked seeing the Gamemakers’ control room and watching Seneca Crane put on his show. I also loved how they cut to Caesar and Claudius acting as commentators on the game to provide more explanation when necessary. Loved it.

The movie moved so fast, and while that felt a little weird, I don’t know how else you could do it. While being alone with Katniss in the woods was great in the books, that obviously wouldn’t work well on screen. I felt like the movie was very true to the book, it just only showed the action scenes, which makes sense. I do wish it showed more time lapsing in the arena though…they were there for a couple weeks if I recall correctly.

I loved watching the Careers interact and chase down the other tributes because it really made the whole thing feel like high school, which I didn’t get from the book. It was easier to remember that these are kids when those on screen were acting just like the kids in the theater with me. That made it have more of an impact for me. I particularly thought Isabelle Fuhrman (Clove) and Alexander Ludwig (Cato) were spot-on. It was just like, Oh, I know those people. They totally exist in real life.

I loved how the actress playing Rue and the actress playing Prim looked so much alike; awesome casting.

As soon as Katniss and Rue started hanging out during the games, Eric and I grabbed hands and I think both of us felt kind of sick the entire time, knowing what was coming. I’m pretty sure everyone in the theater was crying during that scene.

While the cave scene got pretty long in the book, I think they cut it too short in the movie. At least give us some signal that time has elapsed so we see that Peeta and Katniss are bonding and that she’s taking care of him and nursing him back to life.

I hated how they did Foxface’s death. In the book, Katniss and Peeta are planning to eat the berries; in the movie, Peeta finds the berries and when Katniss sees them, she immediately recognizes them as nightlock and starts shrieking at him. I loved in the book how Katniss realizes she could have easily eaten them and she felt some remorse that Foxface, who she knew had a chance of winning because she was so clever, had sort of unintentionally kept her alive. It was such a slight change, but that’s one of my favorite parts in the book and it bugged me that they didn’t do it quite right.

I didn’t catch it at the time, but they left out the bread from District 11, which was a bummer. That said, I loved that they showed the riot in District 11. But…we needed the bread too!

I can’t imagine what people who didn’t read the book would make of the movie and I really think if you’re on the fence you should just read the damn book first (because it takes like two days, tops). To me, the movie was a great compliment to the book. As a standalone? Eh. I don’t think it would do much for me.

I was disappointed the muttations didn’t have the tributes’ features because that was one of the more horrifying things from the book and I really wanted to see it on screen because I had trouble imagining it.

I didn’t think any of the tributes looked hungry enough, dirty enough, or bloody enough, especially Katniss and Peeta at the end. Like, not a hair out of place. And why was Peeta walking so easily?! I call bullshit.

The Morning After

Obviously, I walked out of the movie with a lot of thoughts and wanted to talk about them. I was both sad about the movie and pumped about the fact that I’d just seen one of my favorite books come to life in the middle of the night. Eric and I stayed up talking until almost 4 AM, then went to bed and woke up at 7 AM to finish packing up the apartment for the new carpet. (And, of course, I dreamt about the games.) I was glad to have seen the movie, but we were both feeling pretty cranky and had way too much to do for the apartment to be in that sort of a mood. If I had known that I’d start shouting at Eric over a stupid conversation we were having about the subject matter of country music around 8 AM…well, OK I would have bought the tickets anyway, but I still felt like an asshole for being so cranky.

Friday (and yesterday…and today) turned out to be so busy as we took our apartment apart and put it back together and then dealt with a bunch of other appointments and errands; I haven’t really had a chance yet to discuss everything I experienced during the midnight showing of “The Hunger Games.” But now is probably a great time, as I know a lot of people just saw it yesterday and today. So…I’d love to hear what you thought!

And if you didn’t see it…can you just tell me whether or not you react to people cutting in line the way that I do? Because, honestly, even though we had good seats and everything, I’m still pretty pissed about that.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Olivia March 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I often go to movies on their opening day right at 12:01 am like this, and yeah it’s crazy, but they always are! But if you really want to see the movie right away, it’s more of an experience than a to-do. Which is why I will keep going to midnight screenings. Didn’t go to HG cause I don’t care for the books or the whole craze, however.

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2 Triz March 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Oh yes, I sure do about line cutting … and I am still laughing trying to imagine why you were fighting about country music at 8 am.

I am REALLY disappointed to hear they cut the part about the bread. For one thing, that is when you see Katniss not only realizing people are supporting her but her APPRECIATING it. Plus, it is key again in Mockingjay.

What did you think of Josh Hutcherson? I loved him in Bridge to Terabithia, but I don’t know about him as Peeta. I already know Jennifer Lawrence will be perfect as Katniss (have you seen Winter’s Bone? For a depressing movie, it is beautiful and gripping) and there can never be too much Lenny Kravitz.

(My ex has belatedly decided to cave and read Hunger Games so I am being made to wait to watch the movie with him. He had better read fast).

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3 Triz March 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Oh, speaking of must-see-at-the-moment things, there should be little eagles hatching on camera here any time at all now (they were due today): http://www.farmyou.com/falcon_cams/index.html

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4 lily March 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I waited until Sunday to see it. They def left alot out of the movie and it seemed to move at such a quick pace. I think if you did not read the book, the story the movie presents seems very simple and there is not enough explanation behind the actions.

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5 Samantha M. March 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm

First: I HATE line cutters. I get irrationally angry, and it’s hard for me to hold back my bitchy comments… but I’m still fairly non-confrontational, so I make lots of huffy noises and bitchy comments under my breath. xD

Second: I admire your bravery and dedication, because I was so nervous that teenagers would ruin the experience for me that I opted to wait until a Sunday matinee to see it. Nice that they kept quiet during the actual viewing for your showing.

Third: I agree for the most part with your likes and dislikes, but some things that bugged you didn’t bug me as much… but I think that’s mostly because I forgot those little details since it’s been 2 years since I read the books and didn’t have a chance to re-read before the movie. So I would probably be bugged by some of those things, too, if I’d remembered them during the viewing! :)

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6 melissanibbles March 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an awesome book by Seth Graham Smith. He also wrote Pride And Prejudice And Zombies which I think is going to be a movie too. I haven’t read Hunger Games, but I’ve read those. If anyone cuts me in line at those movies, I’ll lose it.

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7 Jess-ThatJessGal March 25, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I wanted to go to the midnight showing, because like you I felt like this was the one novel/movie combo I’ve been truly obsessed with, however I didn’t make it since I was traveling with my Mom. I am not going to go until the end of the work week now, but after reading your comments I’m so pumped! (I’m actually re-reading the book this week so I will be super fresh with the plot.) In terms of teenagers, I’m used to them, since I’m a high school science teacher. I hate when people cut in line as well, however remember that teens are totally self centered, so they little to no thoughts outside themselves and their circle of friends. As in the thought, “hey Rachel, you just got here, so of course you can come join us and skip 100 other people in the process” would end with “come join us.” Of course that is why we have parents to guide said young, impulsive and self centered teens. So that was a parenting fail in action. Sad.

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8 Liz March 25, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I agree with everything you said about the movie – especially cutting the bread out! I was really bummed out about that. And the time lapse – they made it seem like they were in the area for like…3 days.

I LOVED the background scenes with Seneca Crane controlling what was happening in the arena – I thought that was so interesting.

My boyfriend went with us and hadn’t read the books – and you literally put every single thought and question he had into this post. I think it’s a great complement to the books, but as a standalone it’s far too rushed.

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9 Rachel March 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Great recap thoughts, I felt the same way on all points!

And people who cut in line should automatically be sent in as Tributes.

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10 crista March 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I have not read the book or seen the movie (though I want to I’m just far behind the rest of the world at the moment ;) HOWEVER, when people cut in line, especially a long line that clearly NOONE is excited to be stuck in I feel a very rare sort of RAGE. Especially when it’s parents trying to look cool in front of their kids – it’s not cool to think you’re immediate desires trump everyone else. Ridic!

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11 Claire March 26, 2012 at 12:10 am

I was actually going to go to the midnight premiere of THG, except I ended up feeling super-sick and having a migraine. That wasn’t the movie to see with those kinds of symptoms, so we went yesterday instead. I was disappointed by some of the choices they made, including the casting of clearly-weaker-than-Gale Peeta, who’s supposed to be lugging around hundred-pound bags of flour, and his “showing off” in front of the Careers when the whole point in the books is that he and Katniss keep their skills hush-hush. I also really didn’t like the way the movie progressed Haymitch from totally drunk and bitter about the Games to caring and wanting to help them, for no apparent reason. In the book, it’s developed a lot better.

In regard to line-cutting, OH MY GOD. It’s seriously my worst pet peeve. I HATE line cutters. They make me very, very angry. It really is about the injustice of specifically arriving early, standing there waiting, only for some stupid kids to cut in front. This was a huge problem at my school, where there was a side door that led straight to the front of the line. You could literally stand in one place for fifteen minutes as kids joined their friends so they wouldn’t have to wait. If people didn’t cut in line, of course, there wouldn’t be nearly as much waiting.

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12 Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 26, 2012 at 7:20 am

Wow, I agreed with a lot of that! I thought the movie was well done but you really missed a lot of the emotions and feelings that the book was able to express. I also felt like you had no idea how hard and horrible it was for them in the games. It was so quickly over in the movie that it didn’t seem like THAT big of a deal.

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13 Jessica March 26, 2012 at 7:41 am

I agree with a lot of what you’ve said. And like you, one of the things I wanted to see more of was the bonding between Katniss & Peeta. I think if you just walked in to the movie without reading the book, you probably wouldn’t be rooting for her and Peeta the way you do when you read the book (or at least I did.) I couldn’t believe it was over 2 hours long, which is crazy because I’m notorious for having to get up and pee at least once during movies, but I almost didn’t want it to end. Also… I kind of wish they’d casted Peeta just a little cuter. I pictured him much cuter in my mind. I did love him more after a while because I think the actor did a phenomenal job. I’m pretty sure I need to see it again like… next weekend.

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14 Dori March 26, 2012 at 7:49 am

Your review was spot-on for me. As you know I really love the books (even better the second time) and I thought they did a really fantastic job making it come to life with the movie. I of course understand they had to change/shorten certain things to make it into a movie, but I agree with you that it wasn’t clear just HOW starving and poor Katniss and her family are — and I wonder why they didn’t show her and Peeta stuffing their faces when they saw the feast on the train after the reaping to explain that better. I also found it odd how they call Foxface Foxface, but never once explain why that is her name. Kind of important, I thought! I also loved them showing the uprising in 11 and I guess that makes up for leaving out their bread gift. Did you notice they never said Seneca Crane’s name? Or did they and I just missed it? The one other thing was that they really downplayed what a drunk Haymitch is. Other than being drunk on the train, he really seemed totally normal the rest of the time. I wondered about the decision to leave him out of the reaping, because his falling off the stage seemed to establish his drunkenness well in the book.

These aren’t complaints though — I just wonder what people (like my mom’s friend who went with her and loved the movie) thought about the characters in the way they were portrayed differently here.

Anyway, I LOVED the movie. I thought Stanley Tucci turned Caesar Flickerman into the best character in it. His laugh and expressions, and the way they showed the images of him making funny faces behind him on the stage — amazing! He really stole the show during his scenes.

I totally missed noticing the music, so now I want to see it again and pay better attention!

At the theater I went to, the kids did not shut up once it started though and like an old lady I found myself actually SHUSHING them.

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15 Dori March 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

I also thought it was odd that there was no mention of 13 at all

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16 Emily March 26, 2012 at 8:03 am

I loved the movie. Parts of it were rushed compared to the book, obviously, but it was already pretty long at two and a half hours and I think they did a pretty good job of expositing in the beginning without getting overly bogged down in the details or doing an annoying Katniss voiceover. The important stuff was all there if you were paying attention: the fact that when her dad died, her mom checked out, that she had to step up and take care of the family. But overall I liked that they got right to the Reaping and scared the shit out of me with it even though I already knew what was going to happen.

There were some minor things I would have done differently — is it just me, or did they make Peeta seem like way more of a wuss in the movie than he was in the book? — and I would have been interested to see how some stuff might have been handled by a different director. But yeah, I thought it was really well done for the most part and I have the biggest girl crush ever on Jennifer Lawrence. Have you seen her on talk shows? She’s freaking hilarious, and she and Josh Hutcherson have a totally adorable brother-sister chemistry going on — which may actually have been problematic in the movie, come to think of it. Anyone else feel like Katniss and Haymitch had, like, a billion times more sexual tension?

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17 Liz @ IHeartVegetables March 26, 2012 at 8:13 am

There aren’t a lot of things that make me angry… but cutting in line is totally one of them. Why is that?!?

And about the Abe Lincoln movie… apparently that was shot here in Richmond. Which made it even weirder when I found my self at dinner with an Abe impersonator on Thursday night. You just never know…

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18 julie @ peanut butter fingers March 26, 2012 at 8:22 am

the bread!!! i was also REALLY bummed that they left out the bread from district 11. i felt like that part in the book showed that the other districts were united in their despair and rage against the capitol. i missed that part as well. i also thought the casting of katniss and caesar was great! and haymitch – though i agree we didn’t get enough of him. i wasn’t sure what i thought about president snow, but i think i’ll form more of a definite opinion when his role is in the spotlight in the next movies. overall, i really liked the movie a lot. loved reading your thoughts, rachel!

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19 Tara @ Sweat like a Pig March 26, 2012 at 8:46 am

Great review, Rachel! I only just read the first book last weekend, but I couldn’t put it down and read it within 24 hours. I’m dying to see the movie too, but I don’t think I could handle the crowds of teenagers so I might wait a few weeks.

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20 RAIN March 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

I saw the movie yesterday, and thank goodness didn’t have to wait in much of a line! That sounds stressful!

I agree with a lot of things you have said about the movie, the casting was excellent, the fighting scenes were good, and I agree that a lot of important key things were left out.

The only thing I didn’t like for some reason was the emotionality. I read reviews where people had said they cried so I was assuming I would tear up a little at some point. But for some reason the most emotional parts of the movie just didn’t hit me right. And I usally cry at movies very easily. There were sad parts, I just don’t think they conveyed as much emotion as they could have.

Very entertaining movie though!

Hope your new carpet is nice :)

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21 Whit March 26, 2012 at 9:31 am

totally agree with your review. I had the same mixed feelings, I loved it, but also could see where they could have incorporated a few more aspects from the book. I would love to hear a review from someone who hasn’t read the books, because I know that made me more critical. I loved the movie though, I really did. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing and the opening scenes made me bawl like a baby.

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22 Malorie March 26, 2012 at 9:45 am

I think my husband and I are going to see it Wednesday because we hate crowded movie theaters (and teenagers..) so we thought going over the weekend would be a bad idea. And yes I totally react the same way to line cutters! It’s just so incredibly rude.

I have had so many hunger games-type dreams since I started reading the books. I’m hoping that after seeing the movie and reading the last book I can get it out of my head and stop having such creepy dreams!

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23 Sara March 26, 2012 at 10:08 am

On the muttations: I agree. But. It would waste so much time and/or be obvious to have to explain that the mutts have the eyes of the other tributes. Either Caesar has to say it, Katniss has to say it, or the whole movie has to focus on Glimmer’s eyes. All of these are too obvious and waste too much time for a small detail that, in the end, doesn’t matter. It’s a cool book detail, but there’s no real way to get it across in the movie without being dumb.

On your questions from the beginning about what life is like in the districts and what happened to Katniss’ dad… they showed that. Her whole trackerjacker escapade revolved around her father’s death, and they literally showed how people lived in 12. The movie is about Katniss at home and at the Capitol, we’re not going to see how people live in all the other districts.

At the end of the day, I’m okay that they cut out Avoxes, the bread, the pin backstory, the mutts’ eyes… none of those are crucial to the storytelling. And, as we all know, words will never be the same as moving pictures and vice versa.

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24 Rachel March 26, 2012 at 10:15 am

You’re right, they did show her father’s death — but they showed it late in the movie, and to me it just didn’t have the impact it needed. We still don’t know that her father taught her to hung, that hunting is illegal and punishable by death, etc. Unlike the mutts’ eyes, I just felt like this, and the avoxes to a lesser degree, was crucial to the storytelling — that this is why she’s so desperate, why they are all so desperate, why they don’t “just rebel” (as a lot of people who haven’t read the book repeatedly suggest).

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25 Sara March 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I get you, but I think they might be able to convey that in other ways. Maybe they’ll get to the hunting restrictions when she’s Little Miss Victor and wants to hunt and they won’t let her out. Hopefully they address it in other ways, in other movies. I’m confident that by the time we see all three, the story in movie form will make sense. Like, mostly confident, haha.

The only thing that really irked me was the District 11 rebellion. I get it, because it shows how volatile it is out there but… Idk. The bread would have been better. I accept the choices though, mostly because I know I’d never be creative enough to turn books to movies, haha!

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26 Maggie March 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

I really liked the movie, I agree about Stanley Tucci being wonderful, and the commentary between him and Claudius filled in some of the gaps that movie left with the book. I thought Effie was great too, there wasn’t a ton of her, but I thought she was spot on.

I also agree about wished they focused more on her makeover in the Capitol, that part was very rushed.

And I wanted to correct you about the berries. In the book Katniss immediately recognizes them as nightlock. She’s upset because Peeta didn’t answer her whistle, she finds him and the leftover food they were planning to eat, sees that it’s been eaten by someone, then spies the berries, realizes they’re different than Rue’s berries, and then remembers her father telling her they were nightlock. Right after that the cannon sounds and she realizes Foxface ate some of the leftovers and the berries.

When I read your post I was like there is no way someone who knows the woods so well would eat berries she wasn’t 100% sure about, but I couldn’t remember exactly. Then I realized I have the book at my desk since I let a coworker borrow it so I went back and looked.

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27 Melissa March 26, 2012 at 11:38 am

We’re living in Sweden right now and this was our first experience at the movies since we moved. I went to buy the tickets only to find that there were only two theaters showing it and each seated 700 people. One theater only had 38 seats left (a week in advance). Here you get to pick and reserve your seats ahead of time. It was really crowded, but with reserved seats it was much more orderly. It was almost all teenage girls and they cheered at the beginning and end and bizarrely enough during the kissing scenes (I really don’t understand this last one…)

I spent so much time thinking, did they change this, oh this is how they handled that, etc that I feel like I need to see it again just to experience it without those thought processes. I was really disappointed that they cut out the scene where Peeta saves Katniss – they showed him telling her to run, but not him getting cut by it and I thought it was important. I think Jennifer Lawrence was terrific, but I really struggled with Peeta. I felt like they missed the kindness and strength of his character.
My husband came with me to see it and he’s never read the books, but he actually liked it (extremely high praise for him). He had questions about a few things, but I think he understood the general points and he picked up a lot of the foreshadowing and symbols they left for the next films. I thought his funniest reaction was to Gale. He complained afterwards that the nice guy who’d always been there got screwed. It seems like a strange reaction to me, because I never thought of Gale as being a nice guy in that sense.

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28 Christa March 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I completely agree with almost everything you said about the movie. I took my boyfriend, who was excited to see it, but hadnt read the book. I ended up having to lean over and whisper explanations about the very beginning to him because he was confused for all the reasons you mentioned. They just didnt do enough to set the story up. And of course i didnt want to puss out and cry when Gale pulled Prim away at the Reaping. They could not have cast it any better. I love that young girls have a heroine that can take care of not only herself but men as well. Bella Swan is b.s and girls have needed someone with some stones to look up to and say ya know what…if things dont go my way i can think myself out of it, not curl up in a ball in the corner of my room and what on a ghostly white, sparkly MAN to come rescue me.

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29 Mel March 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm

“You cut in front of me in line, and suddenly I’m mad about slavery, getting cut from the play my sophomore year of high school, Ke$ha, every job I didn’t get, and Rick Santorum.” THIS. Too perfect!

Agreed with your synopsis of the story. All together, I think I liked this movie adaption more than most book-to-film adaptions I’ve seen. The cinematography led me to panic during several times in the film, even though I knew what was going to happen next. (Hello the first 60 second countdown in the arena!) And the Rue casting was my favorite (her wide, innocent eyes + gorgeous lashes just played up her role).

I waited until Saturday to see the movie and I’ve done midnight showings a few times, mainly for Harry Potter, which I think was OK because I either was a teenager or there were enough families to not make it a tweeny bopper event.

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30 Mel March 26, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Ps. Probably way too deep for a movie/ thread discussion but as I was watching the movie – and especially Rue’s scene – I couldn’t stop thinking about mortality. Because even though HG is a Young Adult novel, I think the concept is purposely less scary to young adults. Meanwhile the whole time I kept thinking about how horrible it would be to die that way.
(I am having serious cases of Law and Order Effect these days!!)

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31 Ally March 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I have AND WILL ALWAYS call ppl for cutting in line. Since we are in public no one has ever held me back or stopped me from being LOUD and making sure the cutter are embarassed. Typically MORE ppl in line join in & tell them to get to the back of the line.

For the movie, it showed a light about how reality tv shows are just highly produced entertainment that exploits people while no one cares about what is reality, including the people who are casts.

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32 Liz March 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I thought the movie was good. What stopped it from being an awesomely, wonderful experience? I have no one to blame but myself.

I stayed out way too late the night before and apparently thought I was 21 again. The next morning I was determined to beat the hangover and have a magical Hunger Games experience. I pumped fluids, greasy food, hair of the dog, etc. I thought I had beaten it, I felt great!
But it only lasted through the previews….By the time the actually movie hit I was in my own battle for survival. It was a constant combat between my nausea and determination to watch the movie in its entirety. I tried every position I could think to get in while dealing with the confines of the movie seat, I tried to overcome the movie’s quick camera changes, and I even eyed the large popcorn bucket of one of my neighbors to use if worse came to worse. By the end of the movie I felt (almost) as triumphant as Katniss. I might have come out a little shaky, clammy and with a pounding headache but nonetheless- I was VICTORIOUS!

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33 Liz March 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

And luckily it was on Saturday at a Movie Tavern so I didn’t have to deal with line-cutters. But I can only imagine if I had, it would have been a serious melt-down/vomit- fest all over that place!

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34 Michele March 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Rachel, I have not seen the movie yet (Wednesday – can’t wait!) but when people cut in line, oh do I get angry. Especially if it is for something I am extremely eager to see or do. Having an adult facilitate the cutting? I would be LIVID! I think at this point I usually start envisioning that they are terrible people and how annoying they must be in other aspects of life. Maybe extreme (and irrational), but sometimes I can’t help it!

I read the book in about 1/2 a day, and could not put it down. After hearing everyone talk about how great the book was, I figured sure why not, I would check it out. Then I read two pages before going to work one day (huge mistake), was hooked, and proceeded to stay up until 2am on the Friday night before St. Paddy’s day to finish it after work! SO SO SOOOO good!!!

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35 Mary March 26, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. hahahah
we had that trailer too. I liked most of the casting as well, particularly Gale (HOT), Cinna, Rue and Peeta’s characters. Personally, Katniss was not my favorite. I like the actress, and she’s definitely beautiful, but she’s not what I imagined for the role.

After finishing the hysterical first part of this post (re: standing in lines, etc), I now have to take a mini-break (lunch). Just realized how long this article is!!! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the flick.

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36 Kim Hansen March 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Line cutting…. I was in New Orleans and accidentally cut in line at the airport check-in and two big black dudes FLIPPED out at me. I was like, “Dude, sorry, I will happily move” and they just kept flipping out. I thought about getting security. It’s just SO silly to me when adults squabble over stuff like that. If you didn’t learn manners in grade school, it’s probably too late to learn. I didn’t cut in line on purpose and I apologized and stepped back and still got my 5’4″ female/Caucasian butt chewed by two beefy strangers for like ten minutes over it. Not to mention that once their mouths fell silent, they gave me the EVIL EYE every time the line moved and they had the chance to make eye contact. What could I do but smile and feel sad for them? How sad it must be to have so little going on in your life of true substance that you’ve got to dwell on “cutters” (intentional or otherwise). I am not saying anything about you as a person…. This is just my view on cutting. It’s wrong don’t do it. If you do it accidentally, say you’re sorry and move back. AND, if someone cuts in front of me, I assume they have a damn good reason (in their own mind). Que sera sera, people.

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37 Matt March 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

I know this is a bit off-topic…but to the point of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It is a book that you should definitely read, immediately. It is incredibly historically accurate, minus the whole part about vampires and such.

I read this book a while back and am looking forward to the big screen adaptation. Also, read the same author’s other book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

…also, Hunger Games was pretty darn good. There were only two scenes I really felt were lacking. The final scene at the cornucopia was really missing the realization that Katniss has that the dog/wolf/bear creatures are in fact resurrections of the other fallen tributes…this was a big moment in the book, when you realized just how evil the Capital truly was.

The other moment that was missing/off in the movie, was the story of how she came to be in possession of the mockingjay pin. I guess they did this to save time, but I would have much rather seen the interaction with the mayor’s daughter.

-Matt

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38 Karen March 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I agree with so many of the things you said.
I got teary during the reaping too! And I love Gale!! (Well, until the end of Mockingjay).
I completely agree about the bread from district 11. I picked up on it right away that it was missing. Showing the riot helped to build the plot for the sequel, but they could have dropped a loaf of bread.
I also agree 100% you need to read the book first! That’s how you get to understand the characters and feel what they’re going through. I don’t think the movie alone did that very well, but I found myself feeling it during the movie because I remembered how the book made me feel.
Seeing the movie has made me want to read the book again!

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39 Jenn April 8, 2012 at 1:19 am

No spoiler alert?! I was halfway through the book when you posted this, and tried to read it, but finally stopped myself. (I think it was already too late.)

That said, I totally agree with your assessment on most points. My husband saw the movie without reading the book, and said he didn’t need any extra explanation, but he couldn’t believe I liked the movie.

I think it paralleled the book too closely, and with future movies I’d probably just wait for the rental. (This was probably especially obvious since I JUST read the book.) I think the previews added a lot to the book-reading experience. The movie did nothing to add to the book, although it was entertaining to see the scenes unfold and how they did them.

Anyway, I enjoyed your story of the night, but please, if you’re going to review a movie the day after it comes out, and share most the plot, let us know first!

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