Review of Daddy/Daughter Night Out at “The Hunger Games” – The World Was Watching

“I do want to see the movie; just not with you!”  The words every Father wants to hear when inviting his Daughter to see The Hunger Games.  We’d read the books together, we’d followed the news regarding the film, and here it was, Opening Weekend!  I sympathized with her reaction – she’s 14, had her heart set on seeing the movie with her friends, and now she was stuck with boring ole’ Dad.  So how did the evening go?  What did we think of the movie?  Continue reading to find out…

For a while, it looked like we wouldn’t go.  Maggie (my 14 year old daughter) called her friends.  One group was working on a social studies project – 3 girls eliminated in one fell swoop.  Her second call found a friend who hadn’t read the books, and wasn’t interested in seeing the movie.  “I’ll take you to see it,” I said.  My offer was met with a groan, a shrug, and a hint of sulking.

OK, fine, I’ve learned you can’t force it, but after an hour or so I decided to give it one last try.  Plus, I had a trump card up my sleeve.  You see Evie, our 11 year old daughter, was currently at The Hunger Games with her friend.  Here was the pitch…

Maggie, are you sure you don’t want to go?  Evie’s seeing it now.  She’s going to come back and talk all about it.  You don’t want Evie to see The Hunger Games and you haven’t, do you?

Oh that did it.  Heck, might as well use the sibling rivalry to my advantage.  Maggie had not agreed to do something with me and get ready so quickly since she was… well, since she became a teenager (seems like 5 years ago).

On the way to the show, Maggie played it cool.  Clearly no middle school girl wanted to be at the movie event of the year with her Dad.  “Ewww… Seriously??? So gross!”  So I made the most of it.  “Don’t forget to introduce me to any of your friends we run into,” I said, “maybe we could ask them to take a picture of us together.”  I chuckled to myself.  Maggie grumbled and sunk lower in the car.  Despite all that, by the time we arrived at the theater, we were laughing and having a good time.  Of course, that might have been anticipation over the promised bucket of popcorn as big as her head (salty snacks make everything better).

We entered the theater and found a smattering of people, not the crowds we expected, but by the time the movie started, the theater was full.  Maggie’s excitement was building and she kept saying, “I’ve never been to a movie on opening weekend before!”  All trepidations of hanging out and being seen with Dad had vanished.

Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) Photo by: Murray Close


Our impression of the film?  It lived up to the hype, and was quite faithful to the book.  The cast was fantastic, and I particularly enjoyed Woody Harrelson’s portrayal of the oft-drunken Haymitch Abernathy.  Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were very convincing as Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, respectively.  Regarding the portrayal of the violence in Suzanne Collins’ books?  It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Yes, the central plot involved a game where kids kill other kids all for the entertainment of a dysfunctional Capitol government.  That being said, most of the violence occurred just out of sight.  There were splashes of blood (sometimes big splashes), but the violence was not as graphic as imagined in my mind when I read the book.  Children 13 and up should have no problem with the depiction, and mature children down to age 10 who have read the books should be fine as well.

President Snow (Donald Sutherland, left) and Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley, right) Photo by: Murray Close


That being said, there was a universal complaint for everyone in our family who saw the movie.  The last part of the film moved too quickly.  The movie was rich, detailed, and well-paced for the first 90 minutes.  I glanced at my watch, and Maggie said “there’s a lot of movie to go.”  And go it did.  We all thought the cave scene in particular needed more depth.  For such a major part of the book, that scene got a short shrift in the film.  Other than that, we all thought The Hunger Games was well crafted, with gifted performances, and visually stunning (particularly Seneca Crane’s beard).  Our family can’t wait for the next installment.  Maybe I will even be able to get both of my daughters to see that one with me… 😉 maybe.

Did you see the film yet?  What was your impression?  Please share your thoughts with a comment below.  For more news, press releases, images and videos from The Hunger Games, click here, and be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page to keep up with the movies our family is watching.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.