Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Dukes See a Movie: The Hunger Games

"May the odds be ever in your favor." Is that a movie catchphrase or the new slogan for Vegas? If you are one of the millions of people who have read or seen The Hunger Games you know that clearly it is a favorite saying of the inhabitants of the dystopian world of Panem. If you do not belong to that party I fear you may be dead inside or one of the dreaded "non-conformists" who will not read the books because they fear they will be labeled as a sheep just following society's whim with every passing fad or gentle breeze. To these people I say for shame (you got lucky you decided to read them this past weekend Andrea or I would be judging you as well). Often when a book is popular there is a reason for it. Even Twilight was popular for a reason even if that reason is just to show me how much the world sucks and why I should have no hope for the future (it also makes it easy to screen prospective mates). The idea that it is popular for a reason holds true with Hunger Games. It is popular because it actually a decent book. Now I wouldn't go as far as calling it a literary masterpiece, but I didn't hate myself for reading them.

Entering the movie I was pretty excited because they had been given a decent budget of 75 million and I thought for the most part they did a good job with their casting. There was one exception to that rule though. In the books Peeta is supposed to be super strong and pretty beefy, but the man they cast is 5'7". He is actually shorter than the girl they got for Katniss (she is 5'9"). I had a very easy fix for this in my mind and that would have been to switch the actors playing Gale and Peeta since Liam Hemsworth (who happens to be the younger brother of Chris Hemsworth aka Thor) is a solid 6'3". Josh Hutcherson is fine as an actor but I can only willingly suspend my disbelief so far and he crossed it with his diminutive stature.

I am sorry but that man is tiny and looks like he could be beat up by a toddler.

I did have a few other worries as well. The book is written in the first person and a lot of what we read are the thoughts going through Kat's head. I thought it would be pretty hard to get everything across in the movie without having a narrator of some type, but I also thought that a narrator would ruin the feel of it so I didn't know how they could win. Also the book clearly has some adult moments in it and I wasn't sure how they were going to clean it up so it would appeal and be available to the audience for whom the books were meant.

So with all this circling the old noggin we walked into the theater and I was pleasantly surprised. I have read a ton of reviews that ripped into the movie for being a ripoff of Battle Royale or for lacking in character development and I disagree with them for the most part. If you have never seen Battle Royale it is about Japan in the near future and how the government passed an act to force a random group of students to go out and murder each other with a random bag of weapons. There are some similarities in that it involves child murder but it doesn't go much beyond that, and as a warning to most of you don't watch Battle Royale. It is rather disturbing. As for the character development I think they did a decent job with all things considered.

I know this didn't seem much like a review but rather a hodgepodge of my ramblings and worries and mini-rants. I just couldn't think of a way to write this one is a way I liked so there you go, I decided to be an honesty broker and lay it out there. To make up for this I drew you all a unicorn. Enjoy.

His name is Reginald
 Overall I liked the movie. I thought it did a good job capturing most of the feeling from the book. Stanley Tucci did a great job as Caesar, which doesn't surprise me since I love him in most everything he has done.  I would say that the movie will probably be more enjoyable if you have read the books first. As always I will leave you with my random trivia of the week. The nation they live in is called Panem. This is derived from "Panem et Circenses," or "Bread and Circuses"(also the title of an episode of Hell on Wheels), which comes from the latter days of the Roman Empire. During this time the government would keep the population satisfied not by performing their public services well, but by providing violent and deadly entertainments for the people to watch. I think is rather fitting for the subject matter of the film.

Rating: 3.75 stars

1 comment:

  1. You are crazy... you could not switch Gale and Peeta! You know my reasons