Sci-Fi Storm

The Hunger Games mini-review

by on Mar.31, 2012, under Movies

I finally got to see The Hunger Games, and I have to say…it’s worthy of the hype. And I have not read the book – yet. I will be, but I prefer in these cases to see the movie first, so as to not be disappointed at what was left out, or the imagery being “wrong”.

From the start of the movie, although it can be considered a slow start, there is an intensity that builds without requiring the combat which comes later. The setting of they story is told sufficiently, if not completely – some things do get kind of glossed over. At one point, I thought the “country” was called “Pan-Am”, but it is really “Panem”, from the Latin panem et circenses, or “Bread and Circuses” – a fitting name.

The visuals were excellent, if somewhat obviously greenscreen CGI at times. I do think the handheld “shake” shots were a bit overdone, early on, along with some just plain strange shots – like when Katniss was entering the transport in District 12, there were several seconds of looking at the steel entrance – which was totally unremarkable, and if they were trying to establish feeling or something, it failed on me.

The acting was varied, but it was great where it needed to be. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss did a wonderful job, as did Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. And I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Stanley Tucci smile so much or so big as the TV host Caesar. And Donald Sutherland’s understated performance just makes it that much more evil…

Performances from the other tributes were mixed, but part of that could have been confusion as to who some of them were at times. Most don’t have a lot of screen time anyways in which to provide much of a performance anyways. And to that…at times I was wishing they at least gave some sort of running count of how many and/or who was left. Even if you tried to keep count of the cannon blasts, you didn’t hear all of them. It would have been good to at least know a bit about each, but it was already a long movie.

I originally felt that Woody Harrelson’s turn as Haymitch was unconvincing…but I think he grew on me.

Another minor issue I had was that Katniss never seemed to run low on arrows – although she is never seen the reclaim any, and certainly abandoned several. And the big explosion seemed a little too big…

But anyways, it was a great movie…and although there was not an explicit setup for the next movie, there will be one – and it will be eagerly anticipated.


1 Comment for this entry

  • stoolpigeon

    “I was wishing they at least gave some sort of running count of how many and/or who was left” – happens in the book.

    “I originally felt that Woody Harrelson’s turn as Haymitch was unconvincing” – he’s totally wrong for the part and how they had him play the character was too far off. I have a feeling this will be a problem for the whole series.

    “Another minor issue I had was that Katniss never seemed to run low on arrows” – handled perfectly in the book

    “And the big explosion seemed a little too big…” – makes sense in the book

    The books rely so heavily on Katniss providing information via internal dialogue that the film just can’t convey more than the surface level. I found the film to be an interesting visual companion to the book but found myself constantly wondering how anyone who hadn’t read it would understand what was going on. And some of the material left out was rather disappointing, even if I can understand why it probably happened.

    That said, I was impressed how they used the TV commentators to bring in information. I wondered how they would pull that off. They also used some information not revealed until the second book to help things make more sense. I thought this was also smart. Donald Sutherland is good for the role. Just can’t figure out who thought Harrelson would be a good idea.

    I’m still not sure how I feel about the soundtrack and how they set up the mood. The visuals for Capitol city were definitely off. Several key descriptions of the city were ignored and this will have ramifications later, though I think it will be stuff the films just bypass completely.

    You can tell that they kept the budget relatively low, hopefully they’ll be able to spend more on the next two films as the content will just about demand it.

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