Wednesday, 21 March 2012

My Hunger Games Trilogy Pt 1 - The Wait

The moment is almost upon us…

As anyone who has sat within earshot of me at any point in the last five months will know, The Hunger Games hits cinemas this week.  To say I am excited would be something of an under-sell.

This is one of those weeks where the movie geek that lives inside me breaks out of her otherwise quiet existence and consumes me, turning a normally sensible (sort of) human being into a raving, raging lunatic who speaks of nothing but casting, exposition and correct ordering of movie credits. 

For the most part I like to think I keep that part of myself on a reasonably short leash.  Alright, so that’s a big fat lie – in reality I have to restrain myself from climbing over the seats on the bus to shake the teenager behind me who incorrectly quotes Patrick Swayze in Red Dawn.  My point, however, is that my geekdom, which rears its head for every Big Movie Event, is at its worst this week – not only is The Hunger Games going to be a spectacle (and I do love a spectacle) it has the enormous responsibility of living up to one of the best books I have read in a long time. 

In the week that the first reviews start to pour in via Twitter and the like, the anticipation gives way to something much worse – the anxiety.  People who know me well know that I live and die by the movies.  I love them or I loathe them.  I have outrageously over-the-top reactions to the slightest error in continuity or a laid-back attitude to basic plotting.  My tastes are diverse, though I abhor pretension in all its forms, and there’s nothing I love more than a good adaptation.  And there’s the catch – a good adaptation.  Can The Hunger Games possibly live up to the hype?  Can it possibly be as tense, as compelling, as downright entertaining as the book?

And here comes the anxiety.  I have every possible faith in Jennifer Lawrence.  She showed her quality in Winter’s Bone and her style in X-Men: First Class.  She’ll do Katniss proud.  It’s the other casting decisions that leave me a little less confident.  On first reading who had been cast as the male leads, I assumed the article had accidentally switched them around – Josh Hutcherson as sweet, sensitive Peeta?  Really?  I like the actor, but I’m struggling to see him in this role (though I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised).  And I’m skipping right by Lenny Kravitz…

Then we have the violence.  Seven seconds of cuts had to be made for the UK 12A certificate.  Director Gary Ross and the cast have seemed cautious in some of their interviews about how the blood-shed in the arena would be portrayed on screen.  The idea of toning it all down makes me just a little bit squeamish. 

Last, but certainly not least, on the list of things to make me crazy is the dreaded omission.  You know, that favourite part of your favourite book that didn’t quite make the cut (take a bow, Deathly Hallows Part 2), or that crucial piece of exposition that was left of the cutting room floor (Twilight, I am looking right at you)?  The idea of what might be left out is enough to keep this geek awake at night.

So thankfully we’re heading into the good days – anxiety gives way to anticipation.  I’m not talking about the generic “I’m looking forward to seeing that movie” type of anticipation – I’m talking about squeal-at-every-tv-advert, smile-at-every-poster, WHY-ISN’T-IT-FRIDAY-ALREADY?!  (Some call it hysteria, I call it being a fan.)  This is the kind of anticipation/madness that will set in tomorrow.  Tomorrow I’ll fume all day long, knowing that I could go see the film tomorrow night but that I should wait to pay day (ie Friday).  I’ll amuse myself by weighing up the relative benefits of IMAX and normal screenings, the varying levels of comfort offered by competing cinemas and the best time to go to minimise the chance of someone talking through the movie.  Most of all, I will spend the whole day thinking “please, just let it be brilliant.”

If I make it all the way to Friday before seeing it (unlikely), I’ll be ready with a review on Saturday.  I’m ready to love it.  I want to love it.  The odds are in its favour.  (Yes, I went there.)

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