Happy Hunger Games!

It’s March 23.

It’s MARCH 23.

OH MY GOD, IT’S MARCH 23!

IT’S HUNGER GAMES DAY!

Ashley and I braved the immense crowds at the movie theater last night just so we could tell you all about the wonderfulness that is The Hunger Games. My ultimate fan-girl ness had nothing to do with it, of course. *ahem*

We arrived an hour early and were greeting with an already packed house. Young teens, college kids, and adults filled the theater, with a fair amount of them showing their HG love. We saw people proudly wearing HG t-shirts (both store bought and homemade) and many long-haired girls were sporting the side braid. We were even fortunate enough to encounter a legit President Snow (rose on his lapel and all), who arrived with Katniss in her training garb. This prompted shouts of “KILL HIM, KATNISS!” and “DOWN WITH THE CAPITOL!” from the already excitable crowd. Me? I was ready to sit back and enjoy the IMAX experience.

And then it happened. The moment we waited months for… at 12:16, the lights went down, the previews were over, and we entered Panem for the first time.

I refuse to give away any spoilers because I think everyone should experience the magic themselves firsthand, but I honestly have never been so impressed with a book-to-movie adaptation.

Everything about this movie was on point. The casting was phenomenal, and I guarantee that no matter how many blogs you search, you will not find a better mock cast. Jennifer Lawrence was full of win as our favorite heroine, successfully portraying Katniss just as we imagined she would be. Lenny Kravitz is incredible as Cinna, and Stanley Tucci was such a fun Caesar Flickerman that it’s nearly impossible not to snicker behind your hand when he appears on screen. Though I had my doubts about him at first, Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) was a prime choice for the lovestruck baker’s son. And nothing against Hutcherson, but Liam Hemsworth (Gale) and Alexander Ludwig (Cato) are pretty smokin’ for two dudes who barely appear in the movie. And I can’t leave out Wes Bentley, who made Seneca Crane a lot sexier than I ever envisioned. *fans self* *faints*

For the most part, the plot of the movie maintained the storyline in the book almost exactly. I saw it as a visual representation of an abridged, condensed version of the book. Some parts were removed and there were a few minor changes, but nothing that affected the final outcome. The movie also gives a better feel for the “behind the scenes” action of the Games, and how the Gamemakers control every little aspect of what goes on in the arena. The settings were all just as I had imagined them when I read Suzanne Collins’s words on the page, and it was very cool to see her creations come to life.

Now that I’ve been able to ponder my thoughts, I can say I’m very happy with it. It was remarkably well done and is an incredible movie in its own right, even if you’ve never read or even heard of the books. I think my family and friends will be happy, too… maybe I’ll stop flailing wildly and swatting them with nearby objects every time a trailer comes on TV. Or maybe not. Probably not. Also, it bummed me out quite a bit when I realized the only way to get a full body makeover like Katniss did would be to participate in the actual Games. Dammit.

I know I’m eager to see it again, and will definitely go for another viewing before it’s gone from theaters. If you’ve seen it too, let us know what you thought of it! If you haven’t seen it yet and are planning to, I think you’re in for a treat. And make sure you bring a tissue or two…. you’re going to need them at about the 1 hour, 20 minute mark. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

And, as always, may the odds be ever in your favor!

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