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The Hunger Games (2012)
May the odds be ever in your favor.
One of the year's most anticipated film The Hunger Games is a tight, suspenseful but woefully acted film that boasts on its right buildup and crazy suspense, it's a must see movie of the year.
I've read the Hunger Games a year before the movie and this is not because I heard the movie is in production, because I saw it on a bookstore. Being a sucker for YA novels, I got drawn on it. I read the plot and bought the book afterwards. The novel is a fast, electrifying read, cranked with terror, suspense and instilling fear. But I think everything's handled in a gentle way, not unlike similar novels: Battle Royale, Running Man and The Long Walk, which makes sense since it's targeted for teens that I am.
And now, I had the chance to watch the film, I'm exhilarated by it, excited to see how they pump up and make everything from my imagination to the silver screen.
The movie's main premise is wisely introduced by its first scenes, the gritty shot of District 12 shows how dilapidated life on Panem is, the greasy and brooding life on District 12 is just how I imagined it to be. The movie is pretty faithful to the books, though I'm amused by it, some points didn't really hit me, I don't know, I feel something is lacking. I thought that all novels can't be translated well to film, especially if it's faithful as this one.
Lawrence played Katniss exceptionally well, she embodied her, took the character and gave out all her best to show Katniss. Josh Hutcherson is stunning as well, the perfect Peeta I must say. But even with the strong supporting cast, the acting didn't really support the film. I felt it is bland as it can be, the supposed to be emotional death of Rue just passed like it's a certain boring scene with Cinna.
Also one of my main problems of the film is how bad The Capitol and setting in the Arena and the Districts blends. They don't blend at all. It really differs and it appeared like the Capitol is in space.
With a nice buildup, the Games is really worth seeing. The countdown and the Cornucopia bloodbath really had my blood pumping and my senses skyrocketing, the eerie silence used in the scene is really impressive.
And again, I think they missed the point of the book: survival. Here, it shows how easy Katniss found water and food. The death scenes are nice, less is more. They don't need to dwell on blood and gore, it's effective, they are all real.
The shaky cam work is good at times but I'm disappointed that they used for almost the action scenes. It's vomiting and makes you irked. I have to give my kudos to Isabelle Fuhrman for playing the scary Clove!
Overall, the Hunger Games is an amazing adaptation, Ross and his production team clearly seamed the whole movie very well. But right at this point, I'm still lukewarm, I think I need a second viewing. With that, I give the film a solid 7 and wishes the film that all the odds will be ever in their favor.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Triple the fun. Triple the excitement. Triple the tears.
A decade after the second film comes Toy Story 3 which I found exciting as well as heartbreaking.
Just by reading the plot, I know this movie will be too emotional since I'm going to college like Andy and like him I pretty much outgrown my toys and never played with them.
What if toys have feelings? We don't know, but TS3 creates this simple idea into a massive hit. First off, the characters, they are so well done, from animation to characterization. No one is missed out.
Now Andy is 17 and he's off to college, the toys are faced with a very hard situation, Andy is leaving, what will be left of them? Feeling they are being outgrown by Andy, the toys planned many things to get noticed i.e. they stole his phone, puts it into the toy box where they are then calls it but no avail. Mishaps ensues when they are all mistaken as a garbage headed into the dump, the toys realized that they are not significant for Andy except for Woody and decides to go into the SunnySide Daycare.
SunnySide is a perfect place, they will be never forgotten, there are nonstop supply of kids that will play with them. Lotso, a fluffy, cute, pink bear is the leader of the SunnySide, he's a wolf on a sheep's clothing.
The new characters are a great surprise, we got Lotso, Ken, Buttercup, Trixie and much much more. The appearances and disappearances of characters were quite good, this film tends to focus on the principal characters more thus removing Bo Peep, Wheezy and the other toys into the story, which I found amusing and heartbreaking since the toys on Andy's room decreased terribly.
As the characters realized Andy's searching for them they plan an escape after Lotso and his troop imprisons them. It's a series of mishaps, solidarity and nonstop emotion as we follow our characters back into their lovable owner.
Story is quite good, simple but priceless, this is just not a movie about toys, it's about the relationship with it's owners. I loved how the toys feels so nurtured by Andy that they will do anything to get back to him, even though it will take their life, especially on the incinerator scene which got me into tears, I felt a sudden wave of loneliness when the toys gave up and hold each hands where a large fire is in front of them and I will not gave away what happened after this but they got saved.
The last part of the movie is where it really got me, Andy's passing of torch to a little girl named Bonnie. Here, we see Andy flinch for giving Woody away, the line "He'll never give up on you" is so heartwarming, we can see in Woody face (even though he's in freeze) that he's choking into tears.
Andy driving away is the greatest shot of the movie, below we see his toys staring at him as he gets away, it's so bittersweet, it just doesn't tug a string in my heart but punched a big hole out of it. Woody and the gang is not maybe mine but Pixar made me feel they were, this movie is a big part of my childhood, as the credits roll you will realized this is the ending of your childhood and you have to move on... as what the toys and Andy did.
Toy Story 3 is breathtaking, guaranteed to make you cry or laugh from start to finish.