marielle, I am in agreement with you on that. Lots of brilliant moments in the movie, definitely a must see.
I think Josh actually does fit the role of Peeta, but there was something lacking. The romance plays second fiddle to the darkness of the books, an almost perfect inversion of the TW series. However, that romance is very important in highlighting just how cruel the games are.
I was a Peeta fan in the books. I became a Gale fan for the movie. Whatever they did trying to set up the triangle didn't work for me. There has to be an emotional punch there. You can either demonstrate the cruelty of the games directly or indirectly. If you have to clean things up to get your PG-13 rating, then you are left with the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. If that doesn't work, then I don't know what to say.
Part of the problem is Jennifer's portrayal of Katniss. She does it too well. Katniss is pretty stoic, but there are a lot of things going on her head. Since we can't go there in the movie, they have to find some other way of doing it.
Here are a few comments in invisible text. Warning, there are a few MAJOR spoilers here:
We need to be left without any doubt that Peeta absolutely loves Katniss, and has loved her a long time. The movie doesn't make that crystal clear.
One major aspect has been cut out. Peeta's leg is severely damaged in the book, and he is nearly bleeding to death at the end. He undoes a tourniquet trying to finish himself off by bleeding to death, giving Katniss the sole victory. There is no doubt at that point just what Peeta will do for Katniss. In the movie, Peeta's leg is fully healed and that moment isn't there anymore. See prior comment, we need to KNOW just how much Peeta loves Katniss.
Something stirs inside of Katniss when she kisses Peeta for the cameras, something that was totally unexpected. That is difficult to portray in a movie unless there is real chemistry between the actors (see TW bedroom kiss). Whose fault is that? I wish I could say.
That scene there is Katniss's and Peeta's scene. There is a quick cut in the movie to Gale (Liam) seeing that on TV, and my wife's reaction was to sympathize with Gale. Yup, there is some chemistry between Jennifer and Liam, but not with Josh. Uh oh. Maybe it isn't chemistry with Liam, he just has expressive eyes. How about this: imagine Kris and Rob as Katniss and Gale, and then Taylor as Peeta. I know that analogy is technically wrong, but there it is.
The real scene to build the foundation of a potential romance or at least a real connection between Katniss and Peeta is the night before the games, when they are talking to each other on the rooftop. Nope, no chemistry, just a discussion.
The "boy with the bread" scene is done all wrong, with both Peeta and Katniss now all grown up. This happened when they were children in the book, that was very important. Peeta was there before Gale. If the chemistry isn't there, then the scenes need to be there and the POINT of the scenes must be understood.
All in all, a fine movie, but with some definite weaknesses that have to be corrected for the sequels.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”