And. Whoa. Some amazing stuff:
- Haymitch and Effie. They deviated from cannon here and had Effie take the part of Katniss' prep team. She was awesome and the banter between her and Haymitch was a much needed reprise from the very serious nature of the film. One of Effie's best lines? "You know what needs a revolution? That hair."
- The Hanging Tree. Why this isn't in the official soundtrack that you can purchase, I don't know. Jennifer Lawerence says she can't sing and, true, she's not Taylor Swift or Lorde but she does have a pretty voice. In the books, Katniss' singing voice is a Big Deal but not so much in the movies. Still, the took The Hanging Tree and ran with it and the effect was so powerful. It's a motif that carries through the entire movie. Listen closely to the background music when Katniss and Finnick are talking during the bombing of D13. It's The Hanging Tree! (Random note: I've had this song stuck in my head for two days and I've been humming it around the house. My four year old likes the song!)
- Gale. I feel like the movie rounded out Gale's character well. In the books, he comes across as a possessive jerk. I wanted to reach through the pages and smack him, telling him to leave Katniss the heck alone, the poor dear had been through enough and didn't need to pick a lover! In the movie, Gale is always in the background, seemingly protecting her. There's a brief scene when they return to D12 where they kiss but it seems like Gale knows her heart isn't into it. In fact, in the movie, it is Gale, not Boggs, who tells Katniss to be with Peeta when he wakes up. He seems to know Katniss loves Peeta in a romantic way and while it doesn't thrill him, he's resigned to it.
- Peeta. Someone needs to give Josh Hutcherson an award for the last fifteen minutes of the film alone. We know he's a good actor but he blew me away with hijacked!Peeta.
- The rescue scene and stuff with Snow. Snow is completely revealed as someone who likes to eff with Katniss' mind. I mean, we knew that but to see the evil of this man...I also loved the rescue scene, which was different from the book. In the book, Katniss is out for most of it or hiding with Finnick. In the movie... well, watch it. It's good. Moving. Imposing. Powerful.
- The ending. Again, give J-Hutch an award for this acting. I was basically correct as to where they cut it but they cut from Peeta in the hospital to a speech to Peeta and... THE FEELS, people. THE FEELS.
What I wish we had seen more of:
- Coin as the evil mastermind she is. Okay, maybe evil is too strong... naw, evil. We learn more about her back story, which makes me wonder if she wants/hopes/is using Katniss to be a replacement for her family. And when that ends.... In the book, Katniss tolerates Coin for the sake of saving her friends and family but in the movie, it seems like Coin really likes Katniss and tries to help her. They're going to have to do some major stuff in movie 2 to make her killing Coin justifiable.
- Finnick. There is no "Finnick Odair in his underwear" scene, which is so funny in the book! That makes me sad! We don't learn much more about his character and his involvment in the Capitol. I guess we don't need to but new info would have been interesting. Annie is in the movie for about five seconds, total, and we mostly see her hair. Because of where they cut it, this is to be expected but I still wish we had seem more of them together. Maybe in movie 2?
I want to go see the movie a second time to pick up some stuff I missed (follow the link above. Dandelions!) I don't know if I will have time so I guess I just have to sit on pins and needles until the DVD comes out!