As an avid fan of the books, I was thrilled to sit down in my plushy seat at midnight and watch The Hunger Games for the first time. Now, after processing what I saw in an excited, albeit sleepy, haze, I can say I truly loved the movie. The cast was incredible, the sets surpassed my wildest dreams, and the film overall gave me the same feelings I had while reading the books.
Having said that, I had one major qualm with the movie: the editing.
At times I understood Gary Ross’ desperate attempts to make the audience feel as uneasy as Katniss and the people of Panem. However, large chunks of the film felt shaky and out of focus. Every once in a while it is ok to give your audience a wobbly shot of people walking or to have primary focus on Katniss’ braid, but the more this inane editing continued throughout the film, the more frustrated I became. I wanted to see the people of District 12’s faces. I wanted to feel the fear from the faces of the tributes without being distracted by motion blur. More than anything I wanted Gary Ross to stop jump cutting from one shot of people walking to a slightly different shot of people walking.
I understand the concept behind the erratic editing. I even agree with Ross’ decision to make the audience anxious with the editing. The problem for me was that it went on for too long. A few jumpy, unstable shots to set the tone would have been more than enough. As a viewer, I wanted to be able to fully take in the immensely detailed images I was given, and I truly feel that I was robbed of the great work the different designers on the film worked so hard to create.
I love these books, and I really do love this film. I plan on seeing it several more times and will be the first person buying my midnight ticket for Catching Fire. But please, Gary Ross, spare us fans the nausea and let us enjoy the richness in the film that begs to be seen.
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