The Hunger Games

The book was better.

155 million dollar opening weekend notwithstanding, it’s just something you can’t argue with, and frankly, that is how it should be. I don’t care how much CGI magic you have penciled into your budget; it will never compare with the shit your imagination is going to envision when you’re racing through a rip-roaring story with your pulse pounding and trying to resist the urge to flip to the end of the book to find out WHAT. HAPPENS. NEXT!

Adapting a best-seller to the big screen must be a daunting process. On the one hand, you have an advantage in that everyone who has read the book has already absorbed the subtext that has been subsequently excised from the screenplay. Therefore, you can eliminate exposition and replace it with lots of running through the forest, which is much more visual than explaining why the relationship between Katniss and Peeta is as confusing as it seems. On the negative side, the running through the forest doesn’t really matter because if people haven’t read it, they will never understand why Peeta had aligned with the career tributes to try to kill Katniss when he already confessed to having a crush on her. But didn’t the running through the forest look badass!

Clearly I’m on Team Book, but that doesn’t mean I hated the movie. I actually thought they did a pretty good job. Jennifer Lawrence was terrific as Katniss, and was able to convey a lot of the book’s subtext about her character through her acting. Most of the supporting Capitol people were appropriately cast, with Stanley Tucci being a real stand-out as The Games Ryan Seacrest. (American Idol has been down in the ratings this year–maybe Ryan should consider blue hair.) I really loved the additional control room scenes as Seneca Crane manipulated the playing field and showed that the tributes had little to no chance of beating The Games. In fact, I wish they had emphasized the reality show aspect of it more. I think The Bachelor should be like this.

The movie is pretty grim, with its’ dystopian scenes of oppression and starvation. The society is ripe for a rebellion and the Occupy Panem movement starts to build as Katniss defies the Capitol and inspires the uprising. The timing of the film and the modern-day parallels are interesting as we watch the 99% of the Districts start to react to their situations. I wonder what Mitt Romney thinks about this film.

The movie’s biggest problem for me was the whole Katniss/Peeta relationship and how confusing it was. Oh, and the fact that Gale (as played by Thor‘s real life brother Liam Hemsworth) was so hot that no one in their right mind would ever even consider choosing the scrawny baker over him. Can you imagine a holiday dinner with the Hemsworth brothers, Chris and Liam? There would be no ice left in the water glasses.

Thinking about Team Gale made me forget about all the running through the forest which is good thing, because I’m pretty sure a tiny hand-held camera was strapped between the wings of a mockingjay to get the swooping and churning effect that made you feel like you had just been stung in the neck by a trackerjacker. Those were not hallucinations – it’s the return of the shaky cam! There was also a lot of jittery movement in the early scenes of District 12, but no vomiting involved. I chalk that up to the fact that the people were starving and had nothing left in their stomachs to lose.

Barf Bag rating: THREE BAGS (It’s actually more like two and a half but I don’t have a graphic for that. Imagine that someone has eaten part of the third one.)

And a special bonus for your viewing pleasure: Lana del Ray sings the love theme to The Hunger Games!

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2 Comments

  1. i hated the movie, since the books were aimed at young women, the filmakers have been terrified at making anything too violent, but glad i didnt pay to watch it, i watched it at watchthehungergames-online.com

    • Natasha, I didn’t follow your link to see if it worked because I am a firm believer that movies should be seen on a big screen with awesome sound and roaming gangs of vigilantes to beat up people who text in the theatre. Watching a film like this on a computer screen is an insult to all the people who worked to make this the best movie they possibly could. I love film and believe that we need to support the industry by actually going to the theatre to see them, even with the ridiculous ticket prices they are charging. And yes, I acknowledge my own hypocrisy because I have been known to buy one ticket and then see three different movies at a multiplex, but that’s just so that I have enough material to write about. It’s all for my readers – it’s your fault!


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