Friday, 23 March 2012

Popcorn Moment: The Hunger Games

I'm not going to say The Hunger Games is the best film ever but what they have done, is create a film for the readers. It doesn't deviate from the plot or cut out great swathes, if anything, maybe they tried to cram a bit too much of the actual book in. There's a long build up to the games only to rush through some of the scenes in the arena later on.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the film. It was rather ruined by the whispering of teenagers in the cinema and at one point where someone started laughing and started everyone else off (except me). If you're over 20, I suggest going to see a late showing!


Jennifer Lawrence was excellent as Katniss, confident in her natural environment but slightly awkward when faced with the glamourous world of show biz. It's a quiet performance, which echoes the introspective feel of the book. It must be hard to adapt first person narrative onto the big screen successfully but I think they've done a good job even if some of the relationships seemed to develop out of nowhere. The commentators were used to explain things that wouldn't work as dialogue in the arena.

I do wonder if the film works for those not familiar with the book. I didn't get any feeling of the abject poverty that those outside the Capitol were living in. Nothing really covered how desperate families were or the real impact of Peeta giving Katniss bread. He saved her life and she owes him...instead there isn't anything but the crush to bind them together. None of the reasoning behind the games (other than a quick propaganda video at the reaping) and swapping entries for food. The opulence of the rich was obvious but the gap between them not so much.

The action is filmed with fast camera movements in the hope no one will see anything violent happening. In the UK, blood splashes were digitally removed from the final cut, though how anyone is going to believe you can kill someone without getting blood on your knife, I don't know. It has been sanitised for a younger audience and somehow loses the brutal quality of the novel. I personally think it rather defeats the object of having a film about a fight to the death for the entertainment of the rich, in order to oppress the masses, if you're going to go around pretending it's not really happening. But that is another discussion altogether.

7 comments:

  1. Great critique of the film. I'm going to see it on Sunday and I'm really looking forward to it.

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  2. Fab chick, hubby isn't too keen after hearing this but I will still be going to see it

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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  3. I have yet to see the movie but really enjoyed the books. You are the second blogger I've visited to comment about the bread scene and lack of explanation. I'll take someone with me who hasn't read the books to get the two perspectives. So far, the reviews have been very positive, which is great news for fans!

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  4. I haven't seen it yet.. I'd heard about them removing gore and such to make the cut for younger audiences. Which seems like it'd spoil it. Thanks for the review!

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    1. Thanks for the review. I've just finished re-reading this book so that I could have it fresh in my mind for seeing the film next weekend. I have high-ish hopes. Too bad there wasn't room for more subtlety, but I suppose filmmakers were going after the lowest common denominator here and for many viewers subtlety is a waste. Maybe there will be extended versions available on the DVDs for those of us who want more of that kind of backstory?

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    2. The problem was that the context was too subtle. The backstory isn't a nice to have in these sorts of films...I have seen some reviews now from people who haven't read the books and it seems that the world is too wishy washy for them. It relies on the viewer having prior knowledge which is great for fans of the book but not for the general movie going public.

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  5. I loved it! I saw the 12:30am show with my 3 oldest. There were no other kids in the theater, it was a lot of college kids (college town). They were all talking when the movie first started, but everyone was silent after about 20 seconds. I didn't hear anyone in the theater at all except when we laughed, and the one time towards the end when we all jumped out of our chairs!

    I had no problem with the action sequences; I actually thought in the arena felt so real, like we were there with Katniss. And as for the horrificness of the whole thing; I felt that with the reaping. I think that one of the best scenes of the whole movie. They did a great job showing how crazy and sick the whole idea was, which is the whole point of the story.

    I do agree that the whole Peeta and Katniss crush thing didn't seem really clear; people who did not read the book where probably like: What the heck? And then of course, figuring out the other tributes and what was going on with the alliances, etc.

    But I'm not going to complain, this movie completely met my expectations!

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