Friday, March 23, 2012

May the odds be ever in your favor

*Edit: Haha, I first published this post with the title "May the GODS be ever in your favor"  That's what happens when you try to type up a movie review while simultaneously watching Game of Thrones.*

We joined the mass of college kids and tweeny-boppers and hit up the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.  Being a fan of the books, I was excited about this film, but also very very skeptical.  I'm also a huge fan of the art of filmmaking (I admit to this hipster trait of mine), and there are so many factors that can make or break a movie for me.  So I went into the movie theater as a skeptic.

I give the film a 3.5/5.  Generally, I thought it was a good adaptation...of a GREAT book.  Books are always better, but I'm looking at this from a film perspective.  It was just a good movie, not "amazing", not "great", just good.

I'm just going to list a few things I liked and a few things I didn't like.  I'll try to stay spoiler-free, but if you haven't read the books at all, read at your own risk:

-Firstly, I am NOT a fan of Jennifer Lawrence.  I don't understand why critics rave about her "emotional transparency"...the girl has the SAME facial expression.  Matt even said to me, "watch during the whole movie, her eyebrows never move" hahhaha.  She's always staring lifelessly into the distance.  I know Katniss is troubled and guarded, and we can't fully grasp her character without the 1st person narrative on film, but Jennifer Lawrence's flat acting makes it even harder.

-The opening of the film was great, I loved the documentary-film style camera work as we were introduced to District 12. However, the "shaky-cam" style didn't come across as well in the Capitol or in the seemed forced and gimmicky.

-I was concerned from the trailers of the Capitol being too "clean", as I imagine even though they are well off, there is still a grittiness to the city.  But in the film, it looked great.

-Haymitch was not nearly drunk and disorderly enough.  I think Woody Harrelson is a great actor, and he did an awesome job...I just think he didn't get enough screen time to develop the character.  He's drunk on the train and Katniss mistrusts him, but after that, they have an amiable relationship for the rest of the movie. I feel like he should've felt more like a "wild card" character.

-Stanley Tucci was AMAZING.  Perfect Ceasar.

-I feel like they really downplayed the relationship between Katniss and Cinna.  She trusts NO ONE except him. Why?  I didn't get that in the movie.  Maybe because Lenny Kravitz is not an actor...

-The fire outfits were AWFUL.  Horrible CGI.  I was looking forward to seeing how they did it, and it looked horribly fake (I know it's "synthetic fire" but still...) and the whole scene was not as powerful and awe-inspiring as it should have been.

-Rue was PERFECT.  I love when child actors are more than just cute kids, they actually make you FEEL something (Yes, I am currently watching Game of Thrones w/commentary as I write this...I'm looking at you Maisie Williams and Issac Hempstead-Wright)

-Continuing that thought, that scene with Rue is the ONLY time Jennifer Lawrence had a commendable performance.

-I thought Josh Hutcherson would fail...I mean, the dude is in Journey 2, hahaha.  But he was great!  Maybe I'm just biased because I'm Team Peeta :)

-They did a good job of keeping the bloody fighting pretty "real".  Which is what I wanted to see.  I didn't want them to water it down for the PG-13 rating.  These are kids BATTLING to the death.  It's gruesome.  It's frightening.  To not portray it as such takes away from the gravity of what the Games are and how corrupted the political system.

-The mutts looked awesomely frightening...maybe they spent all their CGI efforts on them instead of on the fire dress?  But I was disappointed they didn't reveal what the mutts really are...

I know there were other things I wanted to comment on, but I can't remember right now.  I feel like I'd need to watch it a second time as well as re-read the first book so I can analyze it better. But overall, slight changes from book to movie were just fine, as I said - a good adaptation.  Did the movie live up to all the hype?  In my opinion, no.  But I am a movie snob.  It was entertaining, but definitely not gonna win a "best blockbuster of the year" award.  (And can I just add here that the trailers for Spider-Man and Prometheus were major win!)

Have you seen The Hunger Games yet?  What did you think?!


  1. I haven't seen the movie (or read the books), but I want to say I adore Stanley Tucci. Always have.

  2. I think you're pretty much spot on, although I would rate it overall 4 out of 5. :) The only other comments I would add to yours are that I thought Elizabeth Banks did a fantastic job as Effie Trinket. I felt she did a great job of communicating the hidden depths to Effie's character in spite of her perpetually cheerleader happy persona. I loved her in the scenes at the Reaping.

    I was a little disappointed with some of the character and plot development. There were little details that were left out which made me feel you didn't get to know enough about the Tributes and the Capitol. Some of the storylines felt a little rushed, and it felt like they glossed over the cruelty of the Capitol by their exclusion of a certain character. Yeah, the Hunger Games in and of themselves were pretty bad and they did allude to some of the other things the Capitol did to keep its citizens in line, but I almost wished it had included more of the violence that was in the book.

    Still, I thought it was a good movie as a whole and a great job as far as the book adaptation is concerned. I'm really happy with how true they stayed to the original story. Now to re-read the book so I can critique the movie again from a fresh perspective. :-D

    1. Agreed - I also thought Elizabeth Banks was amazing! And I agree with the lack of certain plot elements regarding the Capitol...I guess there is only so much you can include in a movie without confusing your audience. I'm hoping in the subsequent films they really bring out some of the darker subplots involving the Capitol.

      Thanks for commenting!!

  3. I have to agree with what you've said. One thing in Lawrence's favor, she can show emotion in her eyes. So she isn't fully KStew with the one facial expression, she at least can act with her eyes.

    I loved how they showed the area of District 12, it is pretty spot on to that area now and to this area even. I appreciated that.

    Best part of the film to me: actually seeing inside the Gamemakers headquarters. It was so interesting to see them plot out what they were about to do to the tributes.

    The mutts weren't as scary as I thought they'd be. I pictured gollum like dogs with human eyes, not actual dogs. But, that might have made the film r rated...who knows.

  4. i too loved the first book; i think it is a classic!
    and so, after seeing the movie last night, i understand now why u gave it a 3.5; TOTALLY agree with you regarding the fire outfits, that was the first question I asked manika, now i know why she didn't have any comment

    my main problem with the movie was it really looked like a low budget film reminiscent of old scifi movies in the 50's almost (and the fire outfit is foretelling of a low budget film); maybe with all tghe money they'll make, let's hop[e they put in more money in the second film

    the movie is not good enough for me to want to see it a second time

    i disagree with you with the beginning; i thought it was so slow and dragging, again maybe because of the low budget (lack of good background music and other "grabbers" at the beginning

    if one has not read the book, i think most will be dissapointed; if i didn't read the book, i'd give it a 2.5/5