**** – The short of it: The Hunger Games movie receives 4/5 stars from me, and is 5-star eligible. (A waiting period is in effect before I give 5-star ratings. I have to see if I’ll rewatch a movie and how long it will stick with me.)
I love Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. I adore Katniss Everdeen…and, I’d been anxiously awaiting the movie for over a year. You see, the last time someone adapted one of my most loved books into a movie, they blew it. (It even had a perfect cast! Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter?) The writing and directing missed the mark. The movie was not a financial or critical success, and I can’t imagine it inspired many children to pick up the fantastic His Dark Materials series that begins with The Golden Compass.
Thus, last spring, when I finished reading Collins’ trilogy, I used IMDB and RottenTomatoes to obsessively research Chris Weitz, the writer/director who bungled his film adaptation of The Golden Compass, and Gary Ross, the writer/director for the upcoming Hunger Games movie. I was looking for patterns in reviews of previous writing and directing – was Ross likely to make the same mistakes Weitz had in his adaptation? My conclusion was that I could remain cautiously optimistic: Weitz’s record was poor, but Ross seemed to do best when he was creating adaptations from high caliber source material. Phew.
Last week, at a midnight show, the cautious optimism I’d maintained throughout casting (wherein I looked up the acting portfolios of Jennifer Lawrence and her male co-stars, especially, and decided they had the chops) was validated.
It was a good movie.
They did not mess up.
Why did I care so much? Why do I think the movie is good? Let’s start at the beginning.
Do you remember that time, when you were young, that you read a book that sparkled?