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The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

 

Plot: In the future, the government has collapsed and North America has been broken up into 13 districts. The people in the districts attempt to rebel against their leaders in a place called the capitol. The rebellion is crushed and one of the districts is completely wiped out. As penance for staging a rebellion the districts must send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in “The Hunger Games” a competition to the death with only one victor.

Rate it:  (0 – 3 Guys)

Adam:

Scotty:

Griff:

 

 
So what did you think? 

Adam – I thought it was a decently well done dystopian drama, sort of similar to, other films in the genre.  There was a bit more melodrama than I was expecting.  It seemed like they toned things down quite a bit to get the PG-13 rating.  Sort of funny to me that in the future the 1% are all dressed like foppish dandies.

Scotty – I thought this film was pretty good but very predictable.  Having not read the book I was going in blind and though there are a couple of twists, there certainly was no OMG moment.

Griff – I ran my way through the book in two days prior to seeing this movie I am not sure if it made the movie better or worse for me. I thought they did a great job of bringing the general ideas of the book to the screen but having read the book, I knew about all the details that got left out. I think I almost would have preferred to have seen the movie and then read the book to flesh out the details.

 

Any thoughts before you saw the movie?

Adam – Jennifer Lawrence was excellent in Winters Bone and this seemed like this role would be right up her alley.  Although I had not read any of the source material, I had heard a lot about the films premise via the Hollywood hype machine.

Scotty – This film is the talk of the town and everyone and their mother was asking me if I had seen it yet and what I thought.  I was a bit bitter with the lines and no parking but was hoping to be WOWed.

Griff – I didn’t know too much about it, but it seemed liked Battle Royale to me. It also seemed to be drawing a ton of hype. Before I saw the trailer for this several months ago I had never heard of it.
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?

Adam – As I stated previously, dystopian films with gladiatorial combat, to appease the masses, have certainly been done before.  You could watch Deathrace 2000, Rollerball, or The Running Man and see a very similar plot.   So I can’t really say the plot was fresh or innovative.  The fact that the combatants were pretty young was a bit of a different spin.

Scotty – This film was innovative compared to the cookie cutter scripts that have been finding their way to the theaters but it was very similar to The Running Man in its premise.  The Hunger Games is certainly not that film but the plot was pretty similar, same idea different setting and different characters.  It was almost like the author saw that film and said “I have an idea.”

Griff – Like I just mentioned it is basically Battle Royale but, this movie has a lot more layers to it. I don’t know how fresh it was but it was an interesting premise.

Was the script well written?

Adam – It was ok, some of the dialogue was a bit juvenile and most of it was pretty shallow, but I guess that is the point.  Script wise it seemed like they combined Rollerball, The Most Dangerous Game and Lord of the Flies, mixed them all together and came out with The Hunger Games goulash.  That does not mean it was not fun to watch, but calling it well written would be a stretch.

Scotty – The script was decent.  The writer injected humor, emotion, and drama well, but as I stated before there was no doubt how it was going to go.  From the onset of The Hunger Games you know who is going to win. It is just a matter of how the writer will bring us to the conclusion.

Griff – They did a nice job of taking the general concepts of the book and breaking them down into a 2 and half hour movie. A good portion of the book is taken up by what Katniss is thinking,  and Ross was really able to translate that well onto the big screen.

Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?

Adam – I was a bit disappointed with Jennifer Lawrence’s performance, it lacked the level of intensity and gravitas I was expecting.  On the other hand I thought Woody Harrelson was excellent and I was pleasantly surprised by Lenny Kravitz’s work in the film.

Scotty - I was impressed with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.  She was the whole film in my opinion and carried it well.  She reminded me of Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire.  She had an innocence and magnetism that drew you in and made you pull for her.  I also heard she trained with an Olympian Archer for 40 some odd hours to perfect her craft.  On a different note I thought Woody Harrelson was a bit of a stretch, I kept thinking of him as Roy Munson in Kingpin.  I think it had something to do with his look in this film.

Griff – I thought Jennifer Lawrence was great choice, Liam Hemsworth as Gale was a great choice as well. Some of the other cast members I wasn’t so impressed with. Dayo Okeniyi was an odd choice for Thresh and Alexander Ludwig didn’t seem to have enough menace as Cato.

 

 

Do you remember a song from the film?

Adam – Nope

Scotty – There was music but it was far from memorable.

Griff – “Safe & Sound” by Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars

 

What was your favorite line?

Adam – “ I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute”

Scotty – Seneca Crane- “I mean everyone loves an underdog!“  President Snow- “I don’t”

Griff – “Welcome to the Hunger Games!”

 

 

What would have made this a better movie?

Adam – I would like to have seen Katniss get some more kills, she only directly killed one dude with an arrow.  She won the hunger games where 22 people died, I would like to see more of a body count.  I was also a bit confused about the technology being used.  The elite have hovercraft, bullet trains and an enormous technologically advanced city, yet they rely on coal power.  That seemed a bit odd to me.

Scotty – The filming was a little too choppy for my liking, at first I felt like I was in a found footage film.  Other than that, maybe choose a different lead man, he did nothing for me.

Griff –  For the most part, I thought some of the changes made sense. For example, I thought the choice to use actual dogs at the end instead of some Lycanthrope type creatures was a wise choice. One of the changes that I really took issue with though was when they skipped the scene after Rue’s death where district 11 gave Katniss the bread. In the movie they showed district 11 rioting instead. I think leaving the bread in would have made for a much more powerful scene. It lets the audience know that everyone from the lesser districts is following Katniss and rallying behind her. She is winning over the other districts. The way the scene played out, district 11 just seemed more upset about Rue’s death then anything else.

 

Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?

Adam – How are you going to talk to everyone else about this film if you don’t go and see this at the theater?

Scotty – Certainly worth watching but wait a couple weeks so you do not have to wait in line or struggle to find parking.  The Hunger Games is certainly not worth all the hoopla it has been getting, it was a decent film.

Griff – Get on the hype train! Go see it now.

 

What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?

Adam – If for some reason you have not read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies get on it.  Also the Lord of the Flies film from 1963 is available via Hulu and it’s great.  Skip the 1990 remake it’s nowhere near as good.

Scotty – As I stated earlier in my review The Running Man comes to mind so if you have not seen that than check that one out.  Another film would be The Most Dangerous Game (1932).

Griff – Battle Royale – but be aware, it is not a PG-13 movie for the kids.

 

 

Any final thoughts on this movie? 

Adam -  This was a fun movie, but it has flaws in pacing particularly during the first act.  The majority of characters lack any back story and seem fairly shallow and one dimensional.  Similarly, If they had not dumbed down the source material this would have been a better film.  Lastly, I don’t like how Woody Harrelson stole my haircut for the role of Haymitch Abernathy.

Scotty – This is the most talked about movie in recent memory, selling out all over the country, all weekend long, but why?  Well I am going to give you my opinion, teenagers.  Very similar to the Twilight Series, this film appeals to teenage minds and wallets and if you know anything about business this is the market you want to gain.  Never mind that many schools are having their students read these books in English class and this gets parents excited.  I am not going to bash the film I actually thought it was pretty good but it was certainly not worth the limited parking spots, sold out shows, and the waiting in a line outside the theater to get in.  The Hunger Games is an above average film with a hungry audience but do not go in expecting it will change your life or open your eyes to a whole new world, it doesn’t.  I am glad that teens are excited about something besides video games and bad music, there is an excitement about reading and if The Hunger Games creates a generation of readers, then it is doing a world of good.

Griff - As is usually the case, The book is better. If you haven’t read it, I really recommend checking it out. You will be surprised at how much detail they had to leave out of the movie. Overall a decent start to 2012 movie season. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Pete March 29, 2012, 2:52 am

    Great stuff guys! Glad you enjoyed it! Definitely doesn’t quite capture the excitement, detail and brilliance of the book but on the other hand, I’m just bloody glad it’s not a disaster!

    • Adam March 29, 2012, 10:07 am

      Pete, Its a good but not great. I think it certainly had the potential for greatness but they took the easy double rather than trying to stretch it into a triple with a headfirst slide. Can you tell I am ready for baseball season to start? :-)

  • Jaina March 29, 2012, 10:00 am

    Think Adam’s the one I think I share most of the same sentiments with about this film. Like you I enjoyed the film but wasn’t wowed at all. Found it fairly forgettable actually. Nothing jumped out and it certainly doesn’t leave me with any lasting feeling.

    I wish there was more for Jennifer Lawrence to have done. I thought she was amazing in Winter’s Bone and really enjoyed her performance in last year’s X-Men: First Class. She felt a little flat here.

  • Adam March 29, 2012, 10:05 am

    Jania I am glad you agreed about Lawrence, after reading the other guys praises, I was starting to think I had maybe set the bar too high for her. Now I feel better with my thinking her performance lacked the wow factor I was looking for. :-)

  • Chip Lary March 29, 2012, 2:22 pm

    I feel that this could have been a really good movie, but the crappy shakycam cinematography lessened its impact. I agree with the person who said they most missed the bread scene after Rue’s death.

    • Adam April 3, 2012, 4:57 pm

      Hey Chip, thanks for stopping by, I hear what you are saying about the shakycam, but at least they did not go with found footage ;-)

  • PatMiaz March 29, 2012, 4:00 pm

    Griff, 2 days? I read it in 6 hours and you know I’m a dunce. Maybe that’s why I liked the story so much. I honestly have to agree with all three of you. Missed so much from the book that could have made this character driven instead of special effects. Special effects that where choppy and kind of disjointed. Especially the beginning. Too much fast panning and WAY too much like The Running Man. If you’ve ever read “The Longest Walk” by Stephen King you’ll know the entire plot is predictable. But, I digress. As I watched this film with my 12 year old who finished the book series a year ago, I could tell he was interested. Followed along, yelled out names that were not made clear in the movie, and totally knew what was coming. Fun with him but he was also a bit of a know it all. I guess if I had to rate it I would say 2 out of 10 tomatos and 7 out of 10 claps. Have to come out to see you guys. Sorry not you Scott. I will never set foot in the Belfont again :)

    • Adam April 3, 2012, 5:00 pm

      Mike I love your screen name, lol Why no love for the Belfont? I thought they just fixed that place up?

      We are about 1/2 between LA and San Diego and on the coast so you would have plenty to do on your visit. Thanks for stopping by and adding your two cents, to the discussion.

  • Rae March 30, 2012, 9:21 am

    WHY IS THERE NO LIKE BUTTON FOR YOUR POSTS?!?! Lolol. I love this post. XD Your review for this movie cracks me up, especially all of Scotty’s little comments.

    Griff, just out of curiosity, who else would you have thought for Cato? And where did Safe & Sound even play? o_O I swear I didn’t hear any of it anywhere in the movie, lol.

    • rrclimber March 30, 2012, 5:33 pm

      Hi Rae,

      As always thanks for stopping by and for your support of the 3 guys! I assume you are asking about a like button for facebook on our posts? I think we do have one in place. You can also link us to Digg, reddit, and some other sites at the bottom of the post.
      I don’t really have a replacement for Cato in mind. I just know that I didn’t like Alexander Ludwig. He looked like a goof ball and not like a vicious killer.
      Truth be told I have no clue where that song played in the movie. Sometimes when nothing sticks out for me, rather than saying “nope” or “nothing” like two other guys who will go unmentioned… ;-) I look up the soundtrack on Amazon and go through the tracks to see if I missed something. I heard the track I mentioned on the soundtrack, liked it, and figured I would give it a shout out. I did try and look it up for you today and some people were saying it played during the end credits but I am not sure. You can check it out here though… http://www.amazon.com/The-Hunger-Games-District-Beyond/dp/B0072HTHKS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333153912&sr=8-1

      • scottydynamite March 30, 2012, 7:06 pm

        Mark throwing punches a little here.

      • scottydynamite March 30, 2012, 7:12 pm

        I figured looking up the soundtrack because nothing stuck out was cheating, or am I misremembering that.

      • Rae April 2, 2012, 8:40 am

        Ohh. I meant like the Wordpress like button? XDD But yesyes, I love reading this blog, so I had to give you all a shout on my site. :)

        • Adam April 3, 2012, 5:01 pm

          Rae, Mark is anti-facebook so he has no idea what we are talking about with regards to a “like button” :-)

          Thanks again for mentioning us on your blog that was very kind of you.

  • MarkusWelby1 March 30, 2012, 1:43 pm

    I’m a big time Battle Royale fan myself, and my wife and I actually kind of dug this. I had read the book because of all the hoop-lah, and I’d have to say it was one of the better translations I’ve seen from book to film. Watered down for the pg-13 crowd, but overall not bad.

    • rrclimber March 30, 2012, 5:46 pm

      Hey Markus, Thanks for stopping by. Battle Royale was actually based on a book by Koushan Takami that came out in 1999. Nine years before the Hunger Games was published. I know the other guys thought the Hunger Games was derivative of The Running Man but I guessing it is because they never saw battle Royale or read the book. It’s pretty darn close to same thing without the cutesy PG-13 rating. If you haven’t seen it they did make a part II of Battle Royale which is not as good. The movies just the Blu-Ray treatment a few days ago and there is nice 4 disk set available with tons of extras and both films as well as the directors cut of the original. I am looking forward to picking it up.

      • scottydynamite March 30, 2012, 7:07 pm

        I have never seen Battle Royale but I did have a royale with cheese once before.

        • Adam April 3, 2012, 5:02 pm

          Scott you gave up being a vegetarian?

          • scottydynamite April 3, 2012, 5:44 pm

            No, I just remember having a quarter pounder in my meat eating days.

          • Adam April 3, 2012, 7:42 pm

            Were you still a carnivore when you were out in Cali? They have some fine ass burger joints out here, Fatburger, IN-N-Out Burger, to name two.

  • Ian Hickey March 31, 2012, 11:32 am

    I thought the movie was good – obviously it was written and made for a (pre)teenage audience. Also, I thought it was nice to see a female protagonist.

    • Adam April 3, 2012, 5:20 pm

      Ian did you happen to catch Lawrence in Winter’s Bone? For my money she is much more impressive in that film.

  • Kristin April 1, 2012, 9:29 pm

    This has to be one of my favorite reviews on The Hunger Games. Completely enjoy the diversity of all three of you guys giving your take on it. Couldn’t stop laughing at Scotty’s favorite line. And Griff, I totally forgot about that moment when District 11 gives Katniss bread in the games. Good memory (I read the books last summer, I’m a little shaky still).

    I obviously enjoyed it more than most of you guys, and I’m completely cool with that :) Enjoyed reading the different perspectives. Cheers.

    • Adam April 3, 2012, 5:22 pm

      Thanks for checking out our review Kristin. I was just reading yours as well ;-) I think Mark got a bit more out of the film since he crammed through the book right before watching it.

  • wordschat April 2, 2012, 10:19 am

    I love the back and forth of your reviews. Just like my friends and I discussing a film. As for Hunger Games I gave it a C minus in my blog’s review. It didn’t live up to the hype. One good line though was “For your consideration” when she shot the apple. However I agree with a friend who said that balcony should have been enclosed.

    • Adam April 3, 2012, 5:23 pm

      Hey Mark, thanks for stopping by, Yeah can you tell we all grew up in the same small town and like to bust each others balls? :-)

      I am off to check out your review….

  • Eric April 2, 2012, 10:38 pm

    Nice review, guys. I liked this movie well enough, but it didn’t connect with me in the way it has for most. I felt some of the “emotional” scenes were forced and added little to the film. Still entertaining, but I’m not sure I get all the hype.

  • Adam April 3, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Eric I think I agree completly that I wanted more action and less emo in this film. I hope they crank it up a notch in the next film. However, I think they will sell out to keep that PG-13 :-(

  • Paul Secada August 19, 2012, 8:35 am

    Love to read different perspectives on movies I really enjoy. Although I disagree with a lot of your views, I still find THG to be a pretty cool ride. Having read the books before hand, and differences aside, the movie is pretty spot on. The literary material is devastatingly more brutal but the movie does depict its spirit to a tee.

    All in all, loved your reviews!

    Cheers

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