85: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games – March 23, 2012
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joshua Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks
Written by: Suzanne Collins, Gary Ross, Billy Ray
Directed by: Gary Ross

The plot: “Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.” – IMDB

My thoughts: Yes, I am a fan of The Hunger Games book series (although, I will say that Suzanne Collins’s writing style isn’t exceptional. It’s the plot that’s top notch.) However, rather than blathering on and on about what they did and didn’t do right in the movie in comparison to the book, I’m going to try to keep it strictly movie related.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. Mind you, that might be because I had ungodly high expectations for the movie as I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for it to come out, but all the same, not quite as good as I’d hoped. One thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the cinematography. I get that it was an action movie and that shaky-cam adds a certain something. However, the second half of the movie was action and even then, there wasn’t a ton of all out running sequences. The camera just seemed too out of focus, too shaky, and like Tom Stern (director of photography on the film) couldn’t figure out what the hell he wanted to look at (I noticed this big time in the scene where Effie is making her announcements and pulling names). For a lot of the beginning of the movie, it’s hard to get a good look at where you are or who’s on screen.

The acting was a bit touch and go. Jennifer Lawrence had some really great moments but her delivery suffered a bit when it came to either crying or acting lovey-dovey toward Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta. Still, she remained a badass throughout. Perhaps she just plays the serious side of things a bit better on screen. But I must say, it was the supporting characters that blew. me. away. First of all, when is Woody Harrelson not wonderful? I swear you could give that man a script covered in shit and he’d make it work. He was perfect as the drunken, but still very wise, mentor Haymitch. Elizabeth Banks (and the entire makeup/wardrobe department) did a pitch-perfect job with Effie. Somehow, she manages to completely likable because of all of her unlikable qualities. Lenny Kravitz was good (not enough screen time, though) as Cinna and the plastic bag guy from American Beauty as the game’s director Seneca Crane was also lovely. And Stanley Tucci…well, do I really need to elaborate?

The set design was incredible. It was exactly as I imagined while reading and somehow better. The one thing I will say in regard to the book vs movie is that they certainly didn’t sacrifice or cut out anything stylistically. All of settings were so well done – something I think fans probably appreciate.

In general, I enjoyed the movie. I can see a lot of people who didn’t read the books enjoying it. However, my one gripe is all of the people (read: the girls sitting directly behind me) worrying only about the love triangle between Gale, Katniss, and Peeta because that’s supposed to be a sub-plot. And later in the books, it might not even qualify as that. The point is, she’s supposed to be a revolutionary and a strong female character. Stop worrying about how the super hot guys feel and worry more about the fact that there’s this 17-year-old girl forced to slay 23/die at the hands of her peers at her governments command. Sheesh!

Stars: 4/5

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