2012, Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) -- cinema
So, that said, the movie is definitely not for the pre-adolescent set, even less so than the books. No, not so much in the visual representations of the violence, but really in the style and direction of it. This movie has a lovely, mature directing sense about it, with loving close shots of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and a reserved nature to the violence. And where the movie has to be grand, it is so, depicting the wealth of the capitol in all its stolen glory. Genre movies don't often get this attention to directing, all too often falling into a series of wide shots, so we see all the lovely dressed sets and action, connected to inventive quirky shots to show off the CGI. But this is a story ultimately about a girl who has to has to make difficult decisions in order to save her sister from an uncaring government. The director cares for Katniss and we see that in the shots.
Only one thing bothered me about the movie, as a comparison to the book, in that it tried to be more science-fictiony in its depiction of the arena. I always had the impression that these were not so much fully man made facilities but more, areas of their own world reconstructed and edited to be self-contained environments capable of being manipulated. Sort of like a nature reserve but with more technology. But in the movie it all seems a bit more like a giant Star Trek holodeck with the ability for techs in a control room to alter anything at will, adding in monsters on the fly or inserting geographical elements as needed. While I accepted that the arenas were definitely manipulated by a superior technological society, as in the genetic engineering of the tracker jacker wasps, I did not like the idea of designing a mutt on the fly to have him appear like tea, earl-grey, hot on the arena floor already chasing Katniss and the other tributes.
(And Kent said....)