'The Hunger Games' Review By ejk1
A filling morsel...
Now right off the bat, let me say that I have not read the book nor its sequels, but perhaps I will this summer (after The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest and A Dance With Dragons). So I had no real impression of this story, because I wisely disregarded any notion that this film was like Twilight. Listen, just because it has a love triangle in it does not mean it has anything to do with the "sparkle-sparkles." Love triangles in films have been around literally forever. Hell, they go back to the written word with ancient Greek plays. Also, there's a huge difference between the female leads. Katniss Everdeen beams with life; Bella whatever-her-last-name is depressing, perhaps because she sleeps with dead people. Don't know the reason, don't care. I do know that these two stories have nothing in common, and for anyone to compare them is a disservice to each tale. They each bring something different to the table that many, male and female alike, have eaten up by the gravy boatloads.
So now that I've dealt with that misperception, let us now concentrate solely on The Hunger Games. Now I've read what some people have written on MW about this film, particularly the negative things. Some of it is closer to being on point than others--the handheld camera thing that started with the Bourne series needs not to be stopped, just fixed. These handheld cameras give the audience angles that the regular cameras just don't, but there is a great problem when with the shakiness. Get people with steadier hands, Hollywood!
The one major problem many have is the whole "it cuts some things out from the book." Duh. Of course it would. If they tried to put everything in there, it be like an eight hour film. But I do understand this problem, and feel that there is only one way to analyze this predicament. Did the film adaptation do damage to future films in the series? For example, there are many changes in the Harry Potter franchise, such as in Chamber Of Secrets, as Professor McGonagall tells the class about the Chamber in the film, yet in the book it was the ghost professor, whose name escapes me at the moment. Anyways, HP didn't suffer greatly from these changes. Then take Green Lantern, which did suffer greatly from the changes, as the film took three or four great possibilities out of the equation, including the very popular Blackest Night arc. So did the changes made when going from book to film hurt The Hunger Games? Honestly, I can't answer that yet.
So what did I think of the movie? Well, if you bothered to look at the ratings, you'd know, you dumbass :P Ahhh, that was fun. But seriously, I did like the film. However I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that my actual rating falls at around 4.25-4.3, so I rounded up. The main culprit of negativity is the shaky camera. It annoys at times, not so much the fighting parts, because those scenes should have a hectic feel to them, but definitely when the calm exposition is taking place. Nothing like watching people have conversations while it looks like the screen is having a seizure, am I right?
The story was good, very good. Yeah I know the riff: "but ejk, it's not original!" Let me tell you something my Writing Fiction prof told my class: "Every story has been told and retold. It's a matter of how you do it now." He's right. And The Hunger Games tells a story that has played out not only on screen, but in the gladiatorial arenas of ancient Rome two millennia ago. But they did it well. The Hunger Games felt fresh from the beginning to me.
Now what helped the story along was the acting, particularly of Jennifer Lawrence. There are two scenes that were so good and tense, I shuddered. One especially, when she was about to enter the field of play, the tension was so real and the emotion so raw, that I felt it in my core. I was nervous for her. Incredibly well done. Ms. Lawrence has quickly become a favorite of mine, and could easily reign over Hollywood for the next decade or so.
The other acting jobs were somewhere between very good and good. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch was very good, as was Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Elizabeth Banks as Effie was interesting to say the least, and I am very pleased that Lenny Kravitz did not embarrass himself as Cenna. Now the one gripe I have in the acting is with Donald Sutherland as the President. I just don't find him to be menacing at all. I blame Animal House. No matter what film I see with him, he will always be the pothead teacher that banged Karen Allen.
The Hunger Games film was very good in my opinion. I do wonder if my opinion will change after I have read the book, but I like to think not. Perhaps some changes will seem to me to be good, and some may not. Whatever. One can't ask for all things in life. The Hunger Games did accomplish one important thing as far as I'm concerned. It intrigued me enough to make me anticipate the sequels, and that is great news.