So here it is, a review of The Hunger Games on Blu-Ray!
The Blu-Ray contains 2 discs plus a digital copy of the movie, which can be retrieved via iTunes or Ultraviolet (stored on a cloud system that can be streamed on your computer, TV or smart device). I wanted to grab the digital copy on iTunes right away so I could watch the movie on my iPad, but it being so early means the site to put the code in to retrieve it is, as of now, still not live. Also along with the iTunes/Ultraviolet code, there is a code for an exclusive virtual item for The Hunger Games Adventures, which I will totally be snagging!
Upon sticking the Katniss disc in, a District 12 seal comes on the screen with a load bar, followed by a slightly epic intro sequence down the Avenue of the Tributes… just to lead into the previews/trailers. The first disc is pretty straight forward. You’ve got the movie (whoop!), set up screen and a special features selection. Oh no, never mind those aren’t really special features.
Now the Special Features disc, aka the Peeta disc. Yes, we’re getting to the good stuff. There are three sections: The World Is Watching: Making The Hunger Games, Featurettes, and Marketing Gallery.
The World Is Watching: Making The Hunger Games is an 8-part behind the scenes look of The Hunger Games, going from the script writing process (Countdown), through to Casting, prepping for the movie (Design and Arena Ready), the actual filming (On Location in Panem), the Effects and Post Production, and finally the weeks leading up to the release (May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor). You can watch them by section or Play All for a nice documentary-like experience.
Needless to say, my favorite sections were the filming of the movie and lead up to release. It was great to get a taste of what it was like for all the actors filming the movie and what the environment on set was like, and the final section of the making-of got me quite nostalgic for the excitement that was March 2012. The more technical aspects explored in the Making The Hunger Games, especially during post production, design, and effects sections, was incredibly interesting to me though. My nerdy self was a little too fascinated by things like how the Capitol gambling emporium scene came about and the recording of Horn of Plenty (I’ve totally been singing the wrong words).
The Featurettes section is pretty much the miscellaneous extras. Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games Phenomenon goes over how The Hunger Games became as big as it is and who knew it would be such a sensation. Cool, but if you’re a super fan you basically knew most of this stuff. Letters from the Rose Garden was SO unbelievable. It goes into Donald Sutherland’s infamous letter to Gary Ross regarding power that inspired the extra President Snow scenes. Controlling the Games goes into the design and filming of the Gamemaker room. Fascinating to see! A Conversation with Gary Ross and Elvis Mitchell (famous film critic) is semi-interesting, but again if you’re a super fan quite a bit of it is old hat. The Blu-Ray exclusive, Preparing for the Games: A Director’s Process got my nerd juices flowing as it takes a scene from the movie and plays it along with a shot list Gary had typed up (complete with typos) and storyboard drawings! Finally, you can watch the full Propaganda Film shown at the beginning of the Reaping, which reminds me quite a bit of the Skynet commercial they play at the Terminator 3D Ride at Universal Studios.
Finally, there’s the Marketing Gallery with the theatrical trailers, a poster gallery and a photo gallery. Nothing too exciting or new.
So I’m sure there are tons of questions. Is Suzanne Collins in the Making of? Where are the deleted scenes?! Commentary? No, Suzanne Collins is not in the Making of, but I prefer it that way. She’s known for shying away from the public eye, so I say leave her be. And from speaking with the Lionsgate Home Entertainment peeps, we found out that there are no deleted scenes on the special features because there really weren’t any extra scenes. Had there been deleted scenes they would be there. As for commentary, they knew that if they couldn’t get THE BIG THREE together to do it, it would’ve been no good and there simply wasn’t time as they were super busy promoting the movie.
No surprise to anyone, I’m going to give this Blu-Ray a MUST BUY rating. If you’re here, then you’re a Hunger Games fan (hopefully), and if you’re a Hunger Games fan, you’re going to want as many peeks behind the scenes as you can get! I’ve been quoting certain parts of the special features, and that doesn’t happen with your average DVD’s special features. Also don’t forget to watch the credits for Making The Hunger Games. It’s great, trust me.
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Hunger Games on Blu-Ray or DVD on Saturday, August 18th! And don’t forget about the special editions from Costco, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target, not to mention the extras on iTunes!
Also we may or may not have found an Easter Egg or two