My take on…The Hunger Games movie
The movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games novel looks like it will make back its $100 million budget during its opening weekend…just based on the dogro (domestic gross).
Is it worth seeing? Will it live up to fans’ expectations?
My Significant Other and I saw the movie today, and the theatre, while not sold out, was as full as I’ve seen it. The audience was pretty diverse…from young kids (ten years old or so) without adults, to older couples.
I enjoyed it. 🙂
I don’t think anybody left the theatre disappointed.
I should say, I’ve read all three of the novels. I thought they were good…better than I expected.
The movie, adapted in part by Collins, respects the source material, while not unreasonably making changes to fit the cinematic art form.
The direction by Gary Ross was strong and assured, without a lot of unnecessary visual gewgaws, which must have been a temptation with a science fiction premise like this. Instead, they kept the story focused on the characters, where it should be.
Speaking of the characters, the acting was generally strong. My Significant Other was particularly impressed with Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, television host of the Games. It would have been easy to turn Flickerman into a flamboyant caricature…to do Richard Dawson in The Running Man. Instead, we see the sympathetic part…the Oprah-style interviewer .
Everyone seems to be making a real effort. Even actors in relatively in small parts, such as Lenny Kravitz as Cinna and Amandla Stenberg as Rue show a commitment that speaks of strong directing.
The one weak link in a main role was arguably Liam Hemsworth as Gale. Hemsworth seems to be struggling with the accent, but is fortunately not given that much to do.
Oh, and I do want to single out Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket. The part, all full of deliberate artifice, is so different from how Banks is when interviewed…and wholly appropriate for the role.
SPOILER ALERT (if you haven’t read the book)
When I first read The Hunger Games, there was a particular scene that worked for me intellectually, but I didn’t see how it was going to eventually be done in a movie. That’s the mutant sort of killer dogs that have elements of some of the characters. Conceptually, philosophically, it makes sense…but how do you show that on screen? I think reasonably, Collins et al as screenwriters just sort of skipped that.
One quibble for me was how we saw in the Game control room sequences (which reminded me of Westworld) how they seemed to just program the “mutts” into physical existence. That power seems far beyond what existed in the books. It could be that these beasts were already created, and the scene we see is just them being placed into position in the Arena, but it did nag at me a bit.
Overall, I’d recommend the movie. I do like the books better, but it was a good movie-going experience.
In terms of Oscar nominations, it will make too much money for them to consider any acting noms, most likely. Technically, I thought the sound was great. Costumes and make-up are possibilities…there was some excellent wound work in the latter category, but that’s not what impresses the Academy. The score was good: I was concerned we were going to get too many songs with lyrics, but that’s not what happened. There was some interesting editing: there was a disorienting thing they did a few times, where someone would be looking somewhere, and in the next cut, the same person appeared to be in that position, as if they had been observing themselves. I do think that was intentional, and a bit meta, but I don’t think the Academy will go with Editing on this.
Overall, I’d recommend it, and am looking forward to the next two.
What did you think of the movie? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.