And hey, look at that Interfans! I finally got around to watching this!! After months of being accused of not caring enough about the plight of modern children being murdered by other children I actually moseyed on into a theater this week and watched Jennifer Lawrence shoot at things with a bow. I did not (unfortunately) get a chance to watch the movie I would have far rather watched, namely “The Grey” starring Liam Neeson. Because, frankly, given a choice between watching ninth graders stab each other and watching Liam Neeson fight against the forces of nature and a pack of ravenous wolves well… there’s really not much of a decision to be made there. But anyway moving on past my desire to watch good Mr. Neeson punch a Basset hound let’s talk about the Hunger Games shall we?
Micah Reviews: The Hunger Games
The first thing you need to know about the Hunger Games is that this is a movie that goes directly for the jugular veins of your heart. The little girl crying quota of this movie is astoundingly high! Not to mention the whole “tiny children being hacked to death” factor or the “thing I’m not allowed to tell you cause it would spoil the movie” event. Needless to say even I, merciless purveyor of wolf related violence, had several lumps in my throat over the course of the movie.
The Hunger Games opens up with Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) singing a song to her little sister which goes “Deep in the Meadow” of course naturally I spent the rest of the movie with “Deep in the Hundred Acre Woods” stuck in my head… though I can see where not a lot of people would struggle with that… Anyway after some plot related hunting and banterish dialogue with a boy whose forehead is so large that it has its own four part eco-system.
But this is not the sort of movie where children are allowed to have banterish dialogue in peace. No no no, for the time is once more upon us for the somewhat quesionably named Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a life and death struggle between various children ages tiny to 18. Basically 24 people go in (a male and a female from each of this country’s 12 districts) and one person comes out (sort of like Presidential campaigns but friendlier). Katniss’s sister (who they named Primrose because they didn’t like her very much) was chosen to represent her district but Katniss volunteers to take her place (because she’s the main character).
All this leads to Katniss’s partipation in the grueling tournament where she will have to fight for her life, hopes, beliefs, and ability to hunt innocent squirrels!
On the whole The Hunger Games is an extremely well thought out movie. The cinematography is top notch, the costuming is well done, and the world in which the story takes place is very well established from the get go.
The movie also sets its stakes very well, not just making the tournament about “I must stab these people before they stab me” (pretty much my second grade education) and making you really feel the consequences of Katniss’s actions through the world… country… thing.
A very well acted movie on the whole. Jennifer Lawrence does a great job with Katniss and Woody Harrelson has a stand out performance as the mostly drunk Haymitch (why is he not in more movies?? Harrelson that is… not Haymitch). The movie on the whole though is less defined by having epic performances and more defined by the overall strength of its cast which is in no way a bad thing.
Hard to really grab onto any firm negatives on this one. It’s not that it was a perfect film it’s just that it was tied together so well that any weaknesses were picked up by the movies strengths. Occasionally lines of dialogue would pop up that were a bit out of place but the world and characters are just so well established that it’s hard to pick them out and pinpoint them.
The movie does start a bit on the slow side but I didn’t really mind it too much. A lot of movies based on books run into this problem because you have a lot more pages in a book then in a movie and generally speaking with a book you’re going to be dealing with a more patient audience. Could it have been sped up a little to get us to the actual Hunger Games faster? Yeah, probably. But it didn’t really need to be.
I have not read the books. That said I still was never really lost, occasionally I would lean over and ask my Fiance’ (who has far less free time then I do and still managed to find time to read the first book in the series) to clarify things but they were never big things that took away from my movie experience. I never got that weird feeling you get when your watching say… a bad comic book movie and you know that there are things being talked about that you should be understanding but you don’t cause your not familiar with the source material. Talking through the movie with Cassie at the end of things (something we do after most movies cause she’s smart and awesome and stuff) it sounded like the movie did a great job of appealing to both of us as both readers of the books and just someone watching the movie.
I give it 4 big foreheaded boys out of 5.
A random thought:
In my review of Haywire (check it out here) I gave a internet spittle filled rant on the idea that Haywire was an important movie because it featured a “strong female lead” in an action movie. My problem was that Mallory (the main character from Haywire) was not a strong character at all! She was an almost completely emotionless character who punched people in the face and happened to be a woman. That’s not a strong female lead!! That is a dumb female lead. Just like ninety percent of male lead roles in action movies. Just cause you take an emotionless male role and make it into an emotionless female roll it doesn’t mean your breaking new ground!
All of that to say that the Hunger Games actually features a strong female lead. Katniss isn’t just killing people cause she can or “cause they betrayed her.” She’s fighting for something larger then herself or even her problems. We see her character actually grow and change over the course of the movie and in the end we end up questioning both our own growth as people and the growth of Katniss. Mallory didn’t grow or change over the course of Haywire. She punched people at the beginning because they betrayed her, and she punched people at the end because they betrayed her.
So if you’re looking for a strong female character watch The Hunger Games, if you’re looking for a good movie watch The Hunger Games. If you’re looking to watch Liam Neeson wrestle a wolf, don’t watch Hunger Games… cause he’s not in there. Trust me. I was looking.