Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Hunger Games

Heading in to the theater, I knew that this film was going to produce one of the most interesting reviews of 2012. The question was whether or not it would be because I loved the film or because I was forced to rain on everyone's parade. There was a lot of doubt in my mind heading in, mostly because I'm not a big fan of the obsession that is caused by a popular book series being turned into a popular movie series. The biggest problem I have is the fact that most of these films HAVE to be dilluted down, in order to appeal to mass audiences. It is difficult for me to judge these aspects. without having read the book, but there is only so much that you can portray with that coveted PG-13 rating. Kudos to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for not caring. My main wish for The Hunger Games, however, was that it would not be Twilight...

I will say this right off the bat... this storyline was ten thousand times more intense than I expected. Heading in, I didn't know too much about the storyline, but I had an idea, based on the trailer and the overwhelming gossip. After seeing the film, I was very impressed. It took me a minute to get into the movie, but, once I did, there was never a dull moment. However, there were a few issues. From a story perspective (which is not the fault of the movie makers), I thought the whole thing was a bit predictable. There were plenty of great moments, but never a true WOW! moment that takes the movie over the top. From a movie making perspective (which is not the fault of the author), the biggest issue was with the action scenes. The camera was literally four inches from the actors' faces, which made action scenes turn into giant blurs. The intensity of the idea of these teenagers killing each other is soooo massive and complex, but the intensity is lost when you can't tell what's going on.

I think the characters were a bit of a low point for me. Certainly, Katniss was a great leading character, and Jennifer Lawrence did a fantastic job. The problem was that, beyond Katniss, there was absolutely no character depth. I'm sure that reading the book would fill a bit of that void, but that shouldn't matter. There are plenty of movies based on books that have phenomenal character depth, so it's just not an excuse. I couldn't take Stanley Tucci (as Caeser Flickerman) seriously, at all. Donald Sutherland was not at all intimidating as President Snow. Woody Harrelson proved, yet again, that he can't do serious. The biggest problem, however, wasn't an acting issue; it was a character issue. That issue shone bright with the characters of Peeta and Gale (played by Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth). I never, ever felt like they had any character depth. In the Twilight films, I know to cheer for Edward, because he isn't a little girl like Jacob. With Peeta and Gale, I didn't even know which one to cheer for. Gale said like three words, and Peeta had no depth. He liked Katniss and didn't want to die. That's it!

Best Character: This one was easy. Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg, was absolutely the best and toughest character of them all, and she was only like 12. She is the only character that I really, really loved and well...

Worst Character: This one was also easy. Seneca Crane, played by Wes Bentley, was the worst character and was given the worst performance. I don't know how emotionless he was supposed to be, but he had zerooooo character.

Was this movie the best thing since sliced bread? Absolutely not. However, my review may come off a bit harsh. The main reason that I pointed out all of these negative aspects was because nobody else seems to be doing so. I'm just a little sick of hearing how amazing it is, when there are obviously flaws in both the movie and the story itself. If this movie had gone with the more raw approach that we saw with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it would have been so, so good. But, let's put that aside and give The Hunger Games the credit that it is due. Any film that can make $152 million in one, single weekend deserves to be praised. I am certainly glad that I could be a part of that statistic, and I honestly can't wait to see the next film. I give The Hunger Games 3.33 out of 5 stars, and may the odds be ever in your favor...

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