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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Simply, many over the age of 18 read these books and loved them, and it wasn't because there was a girl, a boy, and another boy in a love story. It was about an awful political system where children faced to the death for their survival with awful paragraphs of cruel brutality. This is part of what made the book unique. The movie, was an attempt to draw a crowd like Twilight for money, and completely blurred out children killing each other to survive so that it could be made PG13. Ridiculous. Jennifer Lawerence is an AWESOME actress though, and she did a great job. Throughout the movie I was never convinced that she lived in district 12 nearly starving... or that Peeta was dying in the hunger games.. it was all very pretty and not anything like I imagined they would do with it. Oh well, maybe they'll remake a rated R version some day that adequately portrays the books theme.
Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of the "The Hunger Games"
book series by Suzanne Collins. I've read them countless times and when
I found out they were making a movie of them a little over a year ago I
was very excited. But I was also worried.
"The Hunger Games" is not very easy source material. The book is written in first person narrative with very detailed descriptions of everything form the characters' looks to the strange futuristic devices they use in Panem, the future version of the U.S. where the story takes place. I couldn't imagine that they would be able to convey every detail as I had imagined it and make the story believable without an R-rating or a huge budget. All of my concerns were wiped away when I saw the movie.
I've never seen a more faithful adaption of a book in my life. All of the costumes, the sets, the locations, the cast (I'll talk more about them in a while) and the pacing is as if they were exactly replicated from the book. And the small things that do differ or are added (such as more insight to the gamemakers' control room) only add to the amazing world Collins created and improve the narrative movie-wise. And the movie is great for people who haven't read the books as well. Not once did I feel as if something was vague or badly explained.
The cast is stellar. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss carries the movie and makes me regret complaining about her casting because she was too "hot" and not starved enough. She IS Katniss and one can feel the graveness of an situation just by looking at one of her expressions. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta is also a true breakout performance. The way he looks at Katniss will makes girls all over the world envy her, just like it's supposed to be. Other standouts in the cast include Stanley Tucci as the flamboyant talk-show host Caesar Flickerman, Woody Harrelson as the sarcastic but caring mentor Haymitch and Wes Bentley as the sinister game-maker Seneca Crane (his final scene might be the best one in the whole movie). The child actors Willow Shields and Amandla Stendberg who portrays Prim and Rue are believable and heartbreaking even though they're inexperienced.
Despite the PG-13 rating the movie doesn't gloss over or sugarcoat anything for their audience. The violence may not be gloriously graphic but it's still there. People will feel the tributes' pain and despair and not even realize the violence isn't gory until you've left the theater. The movie also deals with important themes like survival, governmental control, grief and helplessness. There is a minor love story subplot, but it doesn't distract from the movies main themes. In my opinion I think it rather improves them by showing some light in the dark.
The only complaint I can think of is that the movie feels too short. It's almost two and a half hours long, but it feels as if it goes by in a blink. I will have to see it again to fully pay attention to every detail (such as the costumes and animation of the Capitol, which looked amazing). But this is still not me saying that the movie is rushed, because as I stated the source material is very dense and the filmmakers managed include almost everything.
People are expecting this to become the next Twilight-style teen movie franchise. I can't say I think the two stories have anything in common even though I hope "The Hunger Games" will do as well at the box office. But if the first movie is any indication of the quality of what's to come - this will be a series way out of Twilight's league.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The start of the movie is so obvious, with a tiny little girl scared
out of her wits who has no business being in the Hunger Games, most
predictably the lead actresses little sister it was obvious she was
going to take her place. Even more less surprising we find out that the
boy going with her has a crush on her.
On to 1 hour and 15 minutes of Woody Harrelson being not nearly believable enough as a crude alcoholic become soft hearted, a lot of senseless dinners, a lot of hype for the contestants we know nothing about, absolutely no politics or explanation of what the Hunger Games actually are or how it came about, and an awful underlying message sent out to viewers. "Just be yourself, but do what everyone expects!" Katniss went from being tough, to a weak and sleepy survivor.
Are you bored yet? So, they get thrown out into the Hunger Games, there is absolutely no build up whatsoever. The only person you know is out there is Katniss and the boy who came with her. The rest of the contestants you don't know, hardly have a clue as to what they're capable of, most of them die at the start anyway. Katniss runs away from the initial slaughter, to take a nap. Then she takes more naps. At one point out of the blue she finds herself in the middle of fiery doom, with fireballs launching at her, she barely survives. Well, lucky for her, though we were never told. she has some sponsors save her, with the help of a silent montage of Woody Harrelson laughing with a bunch of poorly dressed somebodies. She gets saved with super healing medicine! She takes more naps.
Later, we find out the boy who has a crush on her is teamed up with the last of the jerks, for some reason, in a game where only one survives, there are people who travel in groups. Okay? Why??? They make some pathetic attempts to kill her, then give up and sleep. Kat makes a new friend who seems to be the most resourceful, herbal expert. She tells her to dump a bunch of insects on them. Then while it takes forever for her to saw a tree limb off, we're told these are evil, dangerous insects that will kill you. How convenient! She gets stung a few times, and conveniently kills a girl with the bow and arrows, which just so happens she's an expert with. How lucky! Too bad she was stung by these insects, now she's going to take more naps and be saved somehow... by a tiny girl who knows herbal remedies. Wish we would have known that! They turn out to be good pals, what a surprise that is. Well, after a lot more boring stuff of not getting to know anything about what is going on, they randomly decide to go find out what the meanies are up to.
Turns out, they gathered all the supplies and somehow found a bunch of land mines to surround the pile. Okay? What's that supposed to do? Apparently, some girl isn't part of their group, she expertly dodges every land mine and gets away with something. So, instead of gathering some supplies, Katniss blows it all up. Then... runs away! Katniss and her little pal find each other, but get attacked, Kat swiftly dodges a spear throw, and sticks the attacker with an arrow. The attacker dies instantly. But finds out poor little girl was stuck by the big spear. Except it takes FOREVER for her to die, we don't know anything about this character, so we don't care, so the long drawn out death is stupid.
Well, Kat runs off alone and finds her boy who has a crush on her. For some reason untold he's not with the group anymore and he's badly injured somehow. Okay, they hobble off after way too long, and then find a cave where it takes way too long for them to get things going. She decides to go off on her own for some supplies, and gets attacked by a girl who takes too long to kill her, but some other guy out of the blue SAVES Katniss... for absolutely NO reason, and then... just leaves her alone! In a game where only one survives, with the perfect opportunity to turn the odds in his favor... just leaves her alone! She goes back, takes a lot more time, and finds out there is only one person left? Really? Thanks for showing us some of the action... but anyway they leave the cave, and the Hunger Game... techs, or IT people or whatever they are, unleash a bunch of dogs that are really big and full of muscle. Kat and her boyfriend OUTRUN all of them to a huge metal platform where they're surrounded by blood thirsty animals... who could easily make the jump to the top of the platform... don't. Instead the last guy, whoever he is, is bloody and looks like he can barely move, beats the crap out of both of them. How he got by the dogs is beyond me... but whoever can do that must be amazing, until, Kat shoots him in the hand with an arrow. This causes him to fall off and get eaten by dogs. But Kat feels sorry for him, and puts him out of his misery.
After this, there is nothing really to note. Nobody says anything important and nobody cares, they just wish it would end, because they don't really know what happened at all. They don't really know anybody but Kat, Donald Sutherland gives some meaningless scornful look, and walks off and the credits roll.
The trouble with this movie is that I'm old enough to have seen many of its antecedents. So before The Truman Show, which is essentially the same idea as The Hunger Games, we have Battle Royale, The Running Man and of course, Rollerball. They all deal with mass entertainment in a dystopian future society and they all have their flaws. What's really disappointing about The Hunger Games is that unless you've read the book, the film will give you only a fleeting glimpse into why the games are called that. There's nothing else to help the naive reader make sense of the plot and because of this, the involvement of children will seem a bit odd to anyone who hasn't read the book. In fact, that's something you should take into account when reading many of the reviews of the film as they're written by people who have read the books and can fill in the wide gaps in the film without even thinking about it. Some have said its plot line is mildy satirical, but in my view that's just an excuse for a poorly filleted and disappointing adaptation of a marvellous book.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
like everyone else, before going to the movies I stopped on IMDb and
read a few criticisms of the film - both those with better than average
grade, and worse. But I think it's finally time to wonder what is the
purpose of this time consuming ritual. because when a little thought,
in few years back, i found that just a couple of films is well
characterized with the average grade on this site.
but here, not only that I stopped with this habit, I decided to write my first review. for me like for many others with first reviews, trigger is terrible dissatisfaction with seen. I did not read the book nor did I know until yesterday that this film is another adaptation. for the book I do not know, but the movie turned out, on my sorrow, to be for children up to 14 years maximum - the magic of 21st century and advertising machinery.
After the first few minutes of the film when you realize you're 28 year old who is stuck with teenage movie and after you realize what would not just the end, but everything, look like, you tell yourself: ''sit back and at least try to enjoy visual side of the movie''. but that too ceases to be an option once you realize that you are about throw up because some producer decided it was more fun instead of continuous motion of camera to record in the way: cut-ear, cut-leg, cut-tree in the background,cut-somebody runs, cut-Hair... and all that in 0.3 second and from different - all possible angles. must be seen to be believed. but even that is not the worst, because imagine what the feeling of nausea you get when you realize that the hour of the movie is spent to describe the characters and get nothing better then awful cliché: bad guys are trained, arrogant bullies that smile too much and of course despite the superhuman strength, arrogant like that, they must be kicked by the petite 16 year old shy girl. but since this is still a children's movie, you will not literally see bloody action scenes where this brave archer girl kills super-strong and skilled bullies, but you will rather see scenes where those skilled bullies can not figure out how to catch a girl who ran away from them to a tree, so they decide camp under a tree until this girl alone does not get hungry and climb down. but because it was cold, of course, the bullies get cold so they find it was smart thing to make a fire and warm themself, but not too close to tree as it could catch on fire and kill a girl they've been chasing to kill.
To conclude, if you're not 14 year old teenager, this is not a movie for you. don't get yourself tricked like I did.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First let me say, I love the books.
Now let me voice my problems with the movie:
Actors were good, I actually expected a worse performance. My problem was a lack of character development, they felt very flat, you don't link with the necessity of Katniss to win.
They are called the HUNGER GAMES. They have to suffer, they have to fight for food, they have to kill each other. They made an R rated book a PG-13 movie and they expect it to work ? The fight had to be brutal like it was in the book, the tension of them moving in an arena that was trying to kill them didn't exist in the movie.
The political implications you never understood them, you don't get that sense people in the other districts are linked in some way to the capitol, you don't sense people in the other districts has to suffer to great extents to find food.
The movie is freaking slow, I was failing sleep, mind you I finished the books in 18 hours non stop of reading. There are some useless scenes, others are too long and the important ones are too fast.
Please kill the director and his stupid shaky camera, it was annoying. He failed to portrait the suffering of the participants, the action, the fights.
I hope they do something for the next two or else I wont watch them. They need a better director, screenplay and writer.
One of the things I liked the most about reading 'The Hunger Games' was
the intensity of how it was written. Feeling the story seemed maybe
even more important than reading it, so when I went to see the movie,
my expectations were very high.
On the upside: Great performance by the main characters, excellent visuals and well directed.
On the downside: The book gives a lot of context as to how the characters feel and how things have come to be the way they are. The movie changes a number of things to make it at all possible to show the story and for me the choices made took down the quality of the story a bit. To give at least some context, it took the movie a while to get really started and even despite that, some of the characters, again in my opinion, didn't really develop in depth the way they should.
Long story short, I liked the movie and thought it was a nice adaptation from the book, but it lacked a bit the intensity from the book.
I will start off by saying that I did not read the books. I'm also one
of those people that when I first saw the trailer, I thought it was a
Battle Royale remake. When I found out it wasn't, I was quite
surprised, cause they seemed very similar. You cant always judge a film
by it's trailer though. So to be fair, I decided to give this movie a
chance, and not go into it comparing the two.
The movie has quite a slow start, and even though they take a long time building up; I didn't get the idea that I was getting to know any of the characters. They really didn't do a good job making any of the characters likable, or let them develop in any way. The main character in this film, Katniss, was already portrayed as a tough girl from the very beginning of the film. Nothing in the first part of the movie did anything to either develop this, or add to it.
When the games finally start, I was kind of excited, because I was looking forward to some action finally. Unfortunately for me; the action was lacking quite a bit. Shaky camera-work, which I guess is meant to be artistic these days, left a lot of the killing to your imagination. Due to lack of character building in the beginning of the film, I didn't really mind who died, cause I didn't feel any connection with any of the characters. On top of that; many scenes from the actual games seem to be lacking dept, reason or logic. It was as if they went for too many scenes in too little time. This resulted into the whole story of the movie being kind of blur to me, and left me wondering if there was even one there.
On a positive note; the acting was quite OK. Jennifer Lawrence portrayed her role quite well, and her acting had nothing to do with me not being able to relate to her character. Elizabeth Banks was splendid, as a character that at first sight seems totally misplaced in this world, but totally works in the way it's portrayed.
All in all, I'll have to be fair and say I don't quite get the hype. The movie seemed to be lacking in too many areas, in order for me to stay interested throughout the entire two and a half hours. Not comparing this film to Battle Royale while watching it was made quite easy, simply because this wasn't close to being as good. A missed opportunity for an interesting theme like this!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Three things first: (A)-Read the review and think about it first.
(B)-I'm a guy! Haven't read the books, but I now want to. (C)-Please
stop shouting 'Team Peeta/Gale, bitch' everywhere!
In "The Hunger Games", a futuristic oppressive upper class society sets 24 children in a battle to fight against each other to the death every year. There are 12 districts and each district randomly selects one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as tributes to enter the Hunger Games as a way to keep the districts in check and keep any signs of uprising at bay. The strong, sure-footed hunter, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), in a first of its kind, volunteers to be a tribute in place of her little sister in the games.
The huge success of "The Hunger Games" should be attributed to the awesome marketing and the apparent title of being the next "Twilight" when it comes to its money making ability in the teen-fantasy genre. The camera-work is just fine, save for the jerk motions when somebody is being killed. You won't feel any nausea if you are used to Greengrass's style of cinematography. The acting from Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks and Josh Hutcherson were great. Where the movie falls apart is in the second act when the contestants are inside the arena. Say what you may, at least "Battle Royale" provided a highly definitive motive for the kids to become killers, didn't glorify the regime and didn't hold back. Of course, since this movie is PG-13, there's relatively no bloodshed on screen and I can overlook that aspect. What kept nagging me throughout the whole movie is, the kids in "The Hunger Games" have no motive to kill each other! Sure somebody should win. But it never explains why they would pick up arms and go kill someone instead of letting nature run its course as Woody Harrelson's Haymitch Abernathy character explained earlier.
The only ones with any kind of character development are Katniss and Peeta. All the others, save for the little black girl and Isabelle Fuhrman barely get to talk in the movie. We have the standard white hunk and his gang of cliché cronies who are the 'villains' and must be brought down. They smirk and take pleasure in killing others while our leads don't get their hands dirty, at all. Peeta, as far as we could see doesn't kill anybody while Katniss killed one guy in self defense trying to save the little black girl. Even the main 'villain' is killed off by cgi animals instead of our leads. So by the end of the movie, our leads are relatively guilt free and their actions in the arena doesn't affect them much. Also they never showed any of the parents being affected by watching their children kill others or being killed brutally.
For a movie where 'hunger' is the main context, the children who come from ravaged, starved homes seem to adapt to the rich lifestyles quite quickly and they are barely starved even during the games. The social commentary completely fails in every aspect. Here we have a world that is like ours, which attempts to market every atrocious thing in a shiny package for the audiences. It was just touched upon and I felt like the writers were afraid of exploiting that storyline. They wanted to tell the story of a totalitarian regime, but ended up ditching it in favor of pleasing the masses. For all its talk of female empowerment, the movie panders to the audience who love Gale/Peeta including cheesy scenes which never come off as true. The Katniss we grew up liking in the movie wouldn't have kissed Peeta at that moment, unless of course it was a ploy to make the 'star-crossed lovers' notion work for the sponsors in the movie, which was never quite clear.
I was in fact, highly excited to see "The Hunger Games". But in its attempt to appease the masses and thereby glossing over the disturbing (yet intriguing) social commentary, "The Hunger Games" does the most heinous act any movie could do. The system which we are supposed to loathe and be disgusted by, is cheered and celebrated by the movie by virtue of making the deaths of the children in the games inconsequential by making them caricatures and inserting a convoluted love story even in the most vicarious of situations, set to pander to the teens who will go weak in the knees and forget about the immoral world this movie is actually set in. By refusing to look directly at its own story and by instead fashioning a convenient morality out of its murderous sporting event, it lets the audience off the hook and even encourages them to enjoy the blood-sport as 'entertainment'.
In a cinematic world of re-makes, re-imaginings and full-blown copies,
it's inevitable to see a movie like The Hunger Games wallow in the
limelight and hysteria of mainstream banality and post-Potter hunger
simply because it's there. Adapted from Suzanne Collins' trilogy of
teen- friendly novels, The Hunger Games looks set to follow in the
well-off footsteps of Harry Potter and the soon-to-cease Twilight as
the next big-money, low-brow saga for the GCSE bound masses.
This moderately engaging adaptation of Collins' first novel plays like a pre-teen spin on Battle Royale. Director Gary Ross shoots for a futurist-retro sense of uprising, endurance and wonder and in the eyes and minds of 11 year-olds, he's on target. There's plenty to behold, but little to absorb. Despite all efforts, The Hunger Games is starved of a character or scenario to really care about.
A hyped-up, cheesy and dumbed down treatise on human nature, spirit, freedom and TV culture, this is a badly-acted, action-crammed movie built on a much explored prophecy that's been residing in both literature and film for years; a nightmare dystopia in which society is slave to a tyrannical regime. But what do you know; there's a rebellion on the cards. And guess what? It's only lead by an unlikely yet inspiring hero. The Hunger Games is nothing new, then, but hold your horses; pitting 24 kids against one another in a game of death on a top-secret island is an original idea that's sure to evoke sympathy, shock and compassion. Isn't it? Well, maybe, but not if you know your films; not if you've seen Battle Royale.
A bloody slice of social satire with shock and awe to spare, Battle Royale was by no means the first to offer up a glimpse into an oppressive fictional world where people are forced to fight to the death. Sparticus, Running Man and even Gladiator all touched upon on this idea of enslaved cock-fighting for the "greater good" and fun of a bent society.
Suzanne Collins' tale may not be a rip-off of Battle Royale, but it is a blatant source. In director Ross' big screen retooling, The Hunger Games is set in a far from terrifying, post-war America whose totalitarian government get their kicks from a legislation born out of the ashes of World War III; each of the country's 12 districts are to offer up one young girl and boy every year to slog it out on live TV in a last-kid-standing tournament set on a virtual island. This; a sacrificial homage to a nation's thirst for blood and conflict. A punishment for an early, post war rebellion. A tribute to state power; The Hunger Games.
The film follows Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), a steadfast teen who puts her life on the line when she volunteers to replace her younger sister in the upcoming games. What follows is a predictable tale of heroism and self-sacrifice as Katniss and clunky love interest Peeta (a wooden Josh Hutcherson) are wined, dined, trained and then hurled into a giant lion's den full of determined, blood-thirsty brats who are there to win, to kill. Will Katniss and Peeta fall in love? Will they both make it out alive? If not, will one of them be the victor? Do you care?
The Hunger Games is a self-assured, self-important piece of profit-reaping cinema whose potentially bleak and barbaric set-up cannot be realised through on screen peril, atmosphere, gore and violence due to its mild target audience. Alas, there is a lot of hand-held camera-work and rapid editing to cover up the scuffles, scraps, impact and blood. It doesn't work. Over-hyped and overdone; turns out it doesn't take much to tailor a totalitarian future concept for the modern-day youths; just strip it of all depth, complexity and darkness, throw in some weapons, some fire, a bit of romance and some heartthrobs and you'll be laughing all the way to the bank.
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