Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games!!!!!!!

The Hunger Games by Georgia

  Ohmygodohmygodohmgod (*hyperventilating!*)  I AM IN SHOCK RIGHT NOW, AND IT IS NOT JUST BECAUSE OF JOSH HUTCHERSON'S HOTNESS. The Hunger Games was EPIC! I've read all the books a billion times and this was so true to it!
  Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress. Seriously. She is now my official role model!! In one scene in the movie, her hands were literally shaking in pain. She's that good. Josh Hutcherson was really good, too, but he didn't top Jennifer.
  To get this over with, I'll say the mess-ups first (have no fear, there's not many.) Okay, first of all, Haymitch wasn't the drunk pervert he was in the book. They made him look all nice and secure. Haymitch is freaking messed up, people! Also, it completely left out the part when *spoiler alert* Peeta's leg gets amputated and he gets a prosthetic leg. But I can kind of understand why they cut that.And...wait a minute...I can't rant. Something isn't right...I can't rant abut this movie! This is a good sign! Hooray! (That is amazing, considering I can rant about pretty much anything and everything.)
  Overall, the movie was a bunch of epicness. PURE. EPICNESS. If you haven't read the book, read it, and then see the movie. It's not like you can't understand the movie without reading the book, but you should read the book. (And, if you were wondering, I am telling you nothing about the storyline for a reason: read the book. Watch the trailer. I'm just here to tell you how AWESOME it was.) And it was awesome. See "The Hunger Games" today. Seriously. Go. Now. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

The Hunger Games by Amy

May I just say how grateful I am as a mother to Suzanne Collins for giving my daughters someone in popular culture besides Bella Swan of Twilightdom?  I'm going to start this review with my experience as a reader.  Due to Georgia's obsessive love of the Hunger Games series and her months of joyful anticipation in the lead-up to the movie version, I was brought kicking and screaming to the book The Hunger Games. 

Seriously--what parent wants to read a book about kids having to kill each other for sport?  Not this parent.  No, sir.  Thank you very much.  But Georgia said I "had to read the book before the movie comes out" so I bowed to my daughter's will and last summer I read the first book in the series out loud with Georgia.

 From a reading perspective, I credit the author with creating memorable characters and putting them in ridiculously compelling situations that leave the reader with no choice but to keep turning the pages.  Bravo, Ms. Collins.  I would give a lot to have one-tenth of the impact this story has had on its readers. 

What I found problematic about the book was primarily lazy writing--I would frequently edit the lines as I read them, to the dismay and annoyance of Georgia--and the violence which is such a central part of the story.  And there is  a lot of violence.  I also found Katniss's ignorance of her potential suitor Peeta's feelings unbelievable in the book.  The girl is smart and intuitive, not clueless as Collins's portray hers in matters of the heart.

Okay--so THE MOVIE.  First off, I viewed it on an IMAX screen.  In my opinion, if you're going to see an action movie like this, you might as well fork over the bucks and see it on an epic screen.  I can count on one hand the number of book to film adaptations that have surpassed the book's vision.  The Hunger Games is one of those.

The script is clean and free of some of the lazy writing that annoyed me in the book, though there are a a couple of scenes where the screenwriting crew--which included the author--gave up too easily.  I am thrilled to say however that "You got this" is no where in the movie.  Thank you.  I would like to petition that the expression be banned from all future films, tv shows, and the mouths of humans everywhere. 

Jennifer Lawerence IS Katniss.  From the first shot, she embodies the character.  She is comforting her little sister Primrose who has had a bad dream--a very bad dream that will come true the next day--and Lawerence manages to exude compassionate, kind, loving strength in one deft swoop. Lawerence is able to express a range of emotions on her face without being obvious about it.  Instead,  the viewer feel as if she is observing a real reaction to a series of unbelievably awful events. 

There is a quietness to Katniss--she does not like to talk.  She is  a doer.  And it's wonderful to see the interaction between Lawerence and her primary love interest Peeta, played by the talented and adorable Josh Hutcherson (see Georgia's gushing above).  Peeta is a talker, he chatters on about all sorts of things and Katniss merely observes, calculating the unknown of the Capitol when they journey there for the Hunger Games.  It is a refreshing turn to see the boy being the chatty Cathy and the girl being the stoic.

The actors make this movie--Stanley Tucci as the Ryan Seacrest of the Games, Elizabeth Banks as the strange and perky District 12 hostess, Woody Harrelson as the alcoholic with a heart of gold District 12 mentor.   The landscapes of the poor districts are suitably bleak and shot on location in North Carolina.  The landscape of the Capitol provides a futuristic take--citizens here are rich and well cared for by the government--they wear bright colors and dye their dogs an eye-popping pink.  Their strangely clad masses cheering and chanting on the eve of the games is disturbing, they can't wait for the bloodbath to begin.

The movie makes the political realities of this dystopian future more real than the book.  The thumb of the oppressive government is expressed through Donald Sutherland's character President Snow.  I suppose this is an unfair comparison for the book given the range of Mr. Sutherland's abilities to look crazy and inhumane while pruning roses.

The violence is intense and I had to look away several times during the battles within "the arena," though it does feel more restrained than it did in the book and if the restraint was only caused by the filmmakers desire for a PG-13 rating than I say hooray for PG-13. 

The Hunger Games feels revolutionary.  It is a cultural moment.  Boys, girls, men, & women are filling the theaters and talking about the movie afterwards.  I have not read the next two books in the series and won't be.  According to Georgia, the violence increases and Katniss's character loses her sense of self.

I think I'll also call it a day with film number one.  A film where a young female lead triumphs over adversity, saves her family and sparks a political revolution all while fully clothed?  That's my kind of movie. 

P.S. Georgia did not share her biggest disappointment with the movie-there was no shirtless scene involving Mr. Hutcherson.  Perhaps Catching Fire?