The Hunger Games

I did not experience it again in IMAX.
"The Games Will Change Everyone"

Happy Tuesday everyone! I thought that with it recently out on DVD that it would be fun to talk about the dystopian action film The Hunger Games, based on the young adult novel of the same name. The film follows the life of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, you might remember her as Mystique in X-Men: First Class) who volunteers to partake in the games to take the place of her sister. The games are essentially the same scenario as the one played out in the Japanese film/book/manga franchise Battle Royale. For those who aren't familiar, a number of adolescents are pitted in a fight to the death until only one remains. In the case of the Hunger Games, one boy and one girl are chosen from each of 12 districts to participate in a televised bloodbath as a form of penance for when the districts rebelled against the tyrannical Capitol.

Katniss is District 12's female tribute, alongside Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). The movie follows the lead up to the actual games, and then the ensuing violence. Other notable cast include Gale, Katniss' friend/hunting buddy/confusing love interest (played by Thor's little brother, Liam Hemsworth) Effie Trinket, the herald of the Capitol (played by a heavily made up Elizabeth Banks, most recently you might have seen her on NBC's 30 Rock as Avery Jessup), Stanley Tucci as the Capitol's favorite talk show host and Lenny Kravitz as Katniss' stylist Cinna (yes, that's right Lenny Kravitz).

Uh... are you really Elizabeth Banks? Nice dress...
So enough summary, how does the movie stack up? For starters, I enjoyed the book, and the movie hedges pretty close to it in pretty much every regard. So does that mean I enjoyed it as much as the book? Yeah pretty much. The movie was cast very well, and the actors all play their parts superbly. The effects were good, with the Capitol looking suitably surreal and futuristic, while  the districts were rustic and low tech. The effects on the mutants at the end were a little rough, but otherwise everything looked good and sounded good.

I wish Katniss wasn't such a bitch to me all the time.
A lot of critics took issue with the shaky-cam style photography that was used in a lot of the action sequences (most notably the opening bloodbath at the starting line) but I didn't and there's an easy explanation for that. This film is about teenagers (or in some cases not quite teenagers) savagely killing each other in an arena for the amusement of a live audience. The movie was rated PG-13, because for it to reach the largest number of fans it had to be kept under that R rating. You would not be keeping a PG-13 rating if a 12 year old killed a 14 year old with an axe. Even without coming right out and showing it though, you still get brief flashes, and I think that, as in so many other cases teasing rather than just coming out and showing ends up being more effective. I feel the same way about most horror movies for that matter.

Just be glad I didn't shoot you with one of these arrows you wimp.
 There were a few things that I took issue with, mostly to do with the ending. While the book ends on something of an open ended cliff-hanger, the movie leaves most of that off, giving a much more "things have all worked out" feeling. It seemed like they should've included more of a cliffhanger given that they are already shooting for the sequel. (Not to mention the two part last book, I guess everyone has to be Harry Potter now). Then again, this movie certainly grossed like it was, finishing out its theatrical run at a whopping 685 million dollars. No surprise then that they immediately started shooting on the sequel. Critics generally liked it too, and the ones who didn't were the sorts who wanted it to go to the 'next level' whatever the hell that means. Does anyone know?

That's it for today! Join me on Thursday, I'll serve up a total piece of crap, I promise.
Peace internet, Tagline is out.


  1. I did not realize that was Elizabeth Banks until now O_O

  2. I pretty much agree with everything you say. I was annoyed by the shaky camera-effect when I was watching it, but you bring up a good point that it was definitely a good way to allude to the violence without actually showing all of it. Also it made me feel anxious and panicky, which contributed very well to the feeling they tried to portray in those scenes.

    1. Yeah at first I was really annoyed with the shaky cam until I stopped to think about what it might be like if it wasn't there, and realized that what I thought I caught a glimpse of was a 12 year old decapitating an 11 year old.

  3. I agree with your summary as well; especially when it comes to comparing the ending of the book and the movie. My coworkers at DISH and I have had that conversation many times, and although I do also agree that they did very well sticking to the book, I still feel like reading it had a stronger connection with the characters. I'm a fan though, and didn't have a problem at all with the shaky cam, when I watched it after getting it in the mail with my Blockbuster @Home package. I don't normally go right into purchasing movies because of the fact the books are usually better, so it was nice to rent it and see how it did. I liked it, so I'm pretty sure I'll be adding it to my DVD collection. :)

    1. Yeah I plan to pick it up too. While I had a few issues with it, like you said I generally enjoyed it, so I'd like to add it to my movie shelf.


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