Review: The Hunger Games

photo credit: mocking jay.net

So this is more of a “my impressions” review than  a straight review. Proceed with caution, because I’m assuming you’ve read the books.

  • I loved the settings, especially district 12 and the arena. They reminded me a lot of the area around Pickerington, OH, where I’ve grown up. You drive twenty, thirty minutes, and you’re in the foothills of the Appalachians (and Appalachia, if you’re going to SE Ohio). This is exactly as I pictured it when I was reading, since District I2 is, essentially, in Appalachian America. I felt like I was in my own backyard. 
  • I thought the Capitol was pretty neat. I liked how they took ideas like the National Mall and implemented it as part of Panem’s capitol. 
  • Loved how the POV was broadened to include the game makers, the citizens watching at home (ohhh, especially Gale watching Katniss and Peeta kiss!), and interactions with Haymitch and the sponsors, and seeing President Snow. 
  • I was REALLY happy with the ending. I was hoping they wouldn’t leave us with Katniss and Peeta being mad at each other, like they do in the books. (Well, OK, actually Peeta miffed at Katniss…) 
  • I cried. That makes only the their movie in my ENTIRE LIFE where I’ve cried watching it. I cried when Katniss and Prim said goodbye, and when Rue died. Oh, man. 
  • THe actress who plays Prim (Willow something)—fantastic. Pitch-perfect.
  • I thought all the casting was really well done. Josh H.—> adorable! Wow. I just wanted a lot more Peeta. 🙂 
  • The Mutts—I was angry when the game makers came up with those. And I even knew they were coming! The film does a great job of bringing home the savagery of the games. 
  • The crazy camera work annoyed me. I was glad for some steadicam! I know that the effect was probably supposed to be showing us Katniss’ POV, but wow, it was a little dizzying. Let’s have less of that next time, please. 
  • Katniss’ final interview dress was gorgeous! Loved that color on her. 
  • The orchestral soundtrack was excellent. I would love to have that. It really captured the moments of the film well. 
  • Did they ask Jennifer Lawrence if she could sing? I thought she did a nice job, but I remembered how her voice was what got Peeta when they were kids, and there is more singing in the next few books, so I just wondered. (This is my vocalist mindset coming out.) 
  • I especially liked how the filmmakers explained things without it being ridiculously “bashing over the head” in obviousness. For example, a film instead of the Treaty of Treason being read, and Caesar’s commentary during the games. Well done. 
  • Can’t wait to see it again. 🙂 

Seven Quick Takes Friday

1) YES I am seeing The Hunger Games this weekend! Probably tomorrow since I imagine tonight is well-nigh sold out. So tomorrow afternoon (it’ll be cheaper, too, ha.) I am vastly excited! Will post report when I get back tomorrow.

2) Saw a fantastic show last night—Columbus Civic’s Moby-Dick: Rehearsed. Wow. Some background: I really dislike the novel Moby-Dick. In college, I signed up for a class called 19th century American novels, because the course description listed things like Little Women. So I thought I’d break out of my Anglophile-heavy load and take something new. Well….not so much. 

First of all, the novel is one part an awesome story and one part Whale Encyclopedia. The latter bored me to tears, and parts of the former are….not so awesome. Reading quizzes with questions like “who was in the first harpoon boat?” only furthered to kill any fire I had regarding this novel. I have tried to read it again (last year, being the most recent) and again the Whale Encyclopedia has defeated me. So I was a little hesitant about the play. 

The play is fantastic. Its premise is that it’s a theater troupe rehearsing Moby-Dick, so things like the boats, and, of course, the Whale, are imagined, which makes for a really immersive audience experience. The cast was great and I had a fantastic time. Maybe this is how Moby-Dick should have been written—as a story about revenge and obsession, instead of whale facts!

3) Had dinner with my parents at IHOP, where, despite the fact that one was recently built near my house, I haven’t been to in 12 years. In spring of 2000, my high school upperclassmen choirs did a “Florida Tour”—singing at Disney World, and competing in a national choral competition.  We drove the 23 hours from Pickerington to Orlando, and when we arrived at 7 am the next day, we went to an IHOP, with a jukebox and a very tropical vibe, thanks to the palm trees around the property. We were a bit sleep deprived and starving: those pancakes were great. Tonight I had their Maui Shrimp, which, surprisingly, was really good. I was skeptical of anything non-breakfast at a breakfast place. 

4) I’m watching Xavier play Baylor, and am, of course, rooting for the Ohio team. It’s close right now with 1 minute left in the half. OSU won last night, and I’m hoping that Ohio U could pull off the miracle against UNC, but I’m doubtful. Still, it would be awesome. 

5) Rehab is still going well…weight being lost, heart cooperating, all is well! Did a great leg circuit today—20 steps (each leg) on a step (like in stem aerobics), 20 releves (except the PT calls them “calf raises”), and 12 wall squats. Then repeat. It’s a great workout for the entire leg/bottom half of the body. 

6) Rehearsal for Bernarda Alba starts on Sunday! I am soooo excited! This is going to be a great, great show. I’ve always wanted to be in a drama—like a straight play drama—so this excited me greatly. I’ve met one of my castmates (she was at Moby Dick last night) and I think we’re going to have a really talented group of women. 

7) Just completed a big food shop at Target. I was surprised to see they have nice furniture! And COUCHES! I mean, wow! It was a fairly comfy one, too! Might be a candidate for the basement room…

A Hunger Games Recipe: Katniss’s Craved Cheese Buns

I have The Hunger Games Cookbook on my Nook—and yes, I find it somewhat ironic that something called the HUNGER GAMES has a cookbook—and have just made my first recipe from it. It was DIVINELY easy and really yummy—think Red Lobster cheese rolls (except probably healthier). 

The recipe is called “Katniss’s Craved Cheese Biscuits” and is described thus: 

Katniss loves Peeta’s family’s cheese buns, and throughout The Hunger Games trilogy the buns become a symbol of home and of Katniss and Peeta’s lives before they became tributes. This symbolism is so pervasive that Katniss’s preference for cheese buns becomes part of Peeta and Katniss’s “Real of Not Real” game to help Peeta find himself after the Capitol violated and changed his memories.

The yield is about 12 buns. You can probably get about 14 if you’re using a regular spoon. 

NOTE: For the non-cooks out there: Old Bay seasoning is usually used with seafood dishes, and can be found near the seafood section (fresh or frozen). It’s amazing! And you use the garlic powder twice—once for the biscuits themselves and once for the topping.

So, here we go: 

2 c. Bisquick

1/3 tsp. garlic powder (NOT GARLIC SALT!)

1/4 c. sugar

2/3 c. milk

3/4 c. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated/shredded (either works)

1 stick butter

1/2 tsp. garlic powder (NOT GARLIC SALT!) 

1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a large cookie sheet. 
  • Mix Bisquick, garlic powder (1/3 tsp.), sugar, milk and cheese until well-blended.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes. 
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter. When melted, stir in 1/2 tsp. garlic salt, Old Bay and kosher salt. Generously brush mixture over the tops of the cheese buns. 
  • EAT! 

The book notes that in Brazil and parts of Northern Argentina, buns like this are eaten for breakfast, as well as snacks. I say they are yummy anytime!

(I adapted the recipe slightly: in the cookbook it says to combine all topping ingredients (from butter onward) in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, until butter is melted. But I don’t have a microwave, so I went the old-school route.)