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The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

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The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Old 03-23-12, 03:08 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel
I think the film started off great, however, once you get to the actual Hunger Games... well... the film nose dives instantaneously.
Just got back from seeing it.

I agree with a lot of what you wrote, especially the film nose-diving as soon as the games began. What absolutely killed it for me were the number of wasted opportunities they had for taking each other out. It was as if they were on the stupidity level of the camp counselors from a Friday the 13th flick. I wonder, was the book written this sloppily?
Old 03-23-12, 03:09 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Haven't seen the movie yet, but there's so much internally going on with Katniss, that I'm not surprised the movie wasn't able to convey it...the only option would be through voice-over (telling us what she's thinking), and that would get pretty old pretty fast.

Most of the reviews seem pretty postive, and it's clear that reviewers who have read the books REALLY like the film, and Lionsgate has to be happy about that.

$19.7 million Thursday night - not a bad start.
Old 03-23-12, 03:39 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
Haven't seen the movie yet, but there's so much internally going on with Katniss, that I'm not surprised the movie wasn't able to convey it...the only option would be through voice-over (telling us what she's thinking), and that would get pretty old pretty fast.
Again, using Battle Royale as the comparison, there's way to shelve out emotional material without relying on cliched techniques.

Example:

<object width="480" height="360"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/buTapJpXtsU?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/buTapJpXtsU?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="360" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

That entire segment in the film (including the infamous lighthouse massacre) allows Nanahara (Battle Royale's main character for those unaware of it) to realize the senselessness and meaninglessness of the predicament they're in. No scene in The Hunger Games holds that emotional weight or gravitas. However, I don't think any studio picture in America would use such a ballsy technique to get information across nor would your average viewer "get it."

Another issue I had with the film is the game, or the story itself, has no real antagonist.

Spoiler:
Yes, I know the President is the story's main antagonist. However, I only know that as my wife has spelled out all three novels for me already. Without knowing that, I don't think Ross and company did a great job on making the character a foil to the heroes.

Inside the actual games, the District 1 boy (and the core group that follows him) aren't even effective antagonist as they're given nothing to do. Again, using Battle Royale as the comparison, we have antagonists (Kiryama and Mitsuko) who are effective as we see the path of destruction they've created. We also get memorable moments when the characters meet their eventual demises especially as the film's in its climax because Battle Royale's main focus is on the characters rather than the game. You don't get that with The Hunger Games. We don't really get to know the other participants. The story tells us they're bad, but who really cares? Battle Royale shows the audience the characters' motives, The Hunger Games spells out the characters' motives. Or in this case, they're bad, so root against them.

When the climax happens, you could care less if the District 1 boy kills everyone or dies because he's not effective as the bad guy. Him and the other 21 participants that are not named Katniss and Peeta are cannon fodder. They exist for the sole purpose for the heroes to win. They provide no conflict. That alone ruins any emotional core the film has.
Old 03-23-12, 03:53 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

^ So Hunger Games = Battle Royale with Cheese?
Old 03-23-12, 07:15 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Old 03-23-12, 07:18 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

We just got back from seeing this and I thought it was decent. I think they could have done a better job at fleshing out some of the other antagonists in the movie and given us more reason to cheer for or against them. I can overlook the cameras everywhere they go and the little parachute things but one thing that really bugged me was:

Spoiler:
The stupid animals the lady just created out of her imagination and made come to life and inserted into the game. What a crock of shit and really took me out of the movie. At least everything up until that point was still grounded somewhat in reality. I don't know if that was in the book as I haven't read it but would be pissed after reading a story that could be real to then become pure science fiction.
Old 03-23-12, 07:43 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Saw it. Liked it a lot, mostly due to the fact that I had read the book. I will admit that since this is more or less a truncated version, a lot of the emotional impact would be lost if I had not done so. I thought the first half of the movie was superb. I guess because of Ross' previous efforts, I had rather modest expectations about the look. However, he really seemed like he was channeling Ridley Scott and at times, Kubrick. The games half itself was much weaker, and if you hadn't read the books you had no reason to care about who lived or died. Too much shaky cam for my liking, wish the Bourne movies hadn't left this as a "how to" for shooting action scenes.
The acting was really good all around IMO, and I thought it told the story along with making social commentary rather well. Basically, what a good sci-fi movie should do.

I will say that it appears a lot of the gripes on here are from people who have not read the books. For them, I can only recommend that you give them a shot, then re-watch the movie. You will find it is not so anti-climactic and in fact, the last shot was kind of a wink to people who have read them.
Old 03-23-12, 07:53 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD
I will say that it appears a lot of the gripes on here are from people who have not read the books. For them, I can only recommend that you give them a shot, then re-watch the movie. You will find it is not so anti-climactic and in fact, the last shot was kind of a wink to people who have read them.
An adaptation should stand on its own as the filmmakers' interpretation of the source material. It should not stand as a companion piece. Requiring past knowledge of the story let it be through a book, television show or video game alienates your audience. One's enjoyment should come from the one piece itself, not a plethora of pieces. I know a plethora of people that enjoy the Harry Potter films and have never opened one of the books up. I know a lot of people who loved The Dark Knight, but have never touched a Batman comic.

An answer like yours pretty much seals the fact I will never pick up the book. I don't believe I should have to read a book to enjoy the adaptation of it.
Old 03-23-12, 08:17 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Did you read Watchmen? Because if you didn't I have a feeling you hated that movie, because that was about the most alienist adaptation I had ever seen. I had read it and liked it, but had I not, would have thought it dull and plodding.

I have a somewhat skewed bias when it comes to movies based on books. When I view them, I tend to judge them on how faithful they are and if they capture the spirit, and if it does, it is a well made movie in that regard. That accomplishment does not necessarily make it good, as it should at least try to stand on its own. However, I do believe more people should be reading for recreation, so I hope movies like this inspire people to pick up the books and try to get more out of the whole experience. I remember watching the David Lynch Dune and thinking it a mess, but it did get me interested in the book. I then read the book and thought the movie, well, still a mess, but one that was now comprehensible!
Old 03-23-12, 09:00 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel
I don't believe I should have to read a book to enjoy the adaptation of it.
I agree. Two good friends saw it today and they both said you really need to read the book for background info.
Old 03-23-12, 09:18 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

I've read the book, but I can understand where those who hadn't would have problems with the Arena half of the film.

Cato worked better in the book because Katniss legitimately feared him and conveyed this throughout. Her worry over him is what builds him up as a menacing figure. In the film all we're left with are a few scenes with the guy, and he comes off as more of an "asshole who's going to get what's coming to him" character instead of the biggest threat to Katniss in there.

I also felt it was a huge distraction every time they cut away to the producers or something going on outside the arena. I understand that they needed to convey information internal to Katniss in the book, but it still felt jarring... especially since in the book we only see things through her eyes and that isolation is what made the Games compelling in the book (for me at least).

And related to that, if you're going to break from the book and show events that Katniss isn't privy to, why not use this to flesh out some of the other contestants?
Spoiler:
Why not cut away to Cato and his gang as they hunt down and ruthlessly slaughter some of the hapless victims that die 'offpage' in the book? Or cut away to Rue a few times being survival girl before her run-in with Katniss? Why not show some of the other survival strategies and how they contrast to what Katniss is doing?


Despite these complaints, I enjoyed the film. The tone and look of everything felt spot on and everyone was well cast. I know the film already runs long, but I think ten more minutes of the right footage to flesh this puppy out could've made this perfect instead of just good.
Old 03-23-12, 09:40 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel
I think the film started off great, however, once you get to the actual Hunger Games... well... the film nose dives instantaneously.
That's interesting since the book is the exact opposite.
Old 03-23-12, 10:19 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD
Did you read Watchmen? Because if you didn't I have a feeling you hated that movie, because that was about the most alienist adaptation I had ever seen. I had read it and liked it, but had I not, would have thought it dull and plodding.

I have a somewhat skewed bias when it comes to movies based on books. When I view them, I tend to judge them on how faithful they are and if they capture the spirit, and if it does, it is a well made movie in that regard. That accomplishment does not necessarily make it good, as it should at least try to stand on its own. However, I do believe more people should be reading for recreation, so I hope movies like this inspire people to pick up the books and try to get more out of the whole experience. I remember watching the David Lynch Dune and thinking it a mess, but it did get me interested in the book. I then read the book and thought the movie, well, still a mess, but one that was now comprehensible!
I've read the watchmen comic as well as seen the movie (there's 2 hours I'll never get back) and hated them both. The story has one of the most idiotic endings that I have ever seen.
Old 03-23-12, 10:47 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Saw it and enjoyed it thoroughly. I'm a fan of the books but it was a good adaptation. They had a lot to convert in a short amount of time and I thought they handled that well.

One thing that jumped out was they did a great job with a lot of silent moments. I thought they handled the violence well and the "shaky cam" was necessary to keep things less graphic. There was enough there to be effective but it conveyed the frantic motion and fear, especially the initial cornucopia scene.

All in all, I'm happy that it turned out as well as it did.
Old 03-23-12, 10:58 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

^ Well said. Once again, a correlation between someone who enjoyed it and also bothered to read the books.
Old 03-24-12, 12:01 AM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Spottedfeather
I've read the watchmen comic as well as seen the movie (there's 2 hours I'll never get back) and hated them both. The story has one of the most idiotic endings that I have ever seen.
If you hated one, why bother with the other?
Old 03-24-12, 06:53 AM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Everyone I talked about this loved it. They said it made them cry, it was excellent, phenomenal, etc.

Granted, they were all female. Perhaps that had something to do with it.
Old 03-24-12, 07:44 AM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel

Spoiler:
A great example of this would be the character of Rue. We see her on screen for less than five minutes before her eventual death. I know she's one of the youngest people in the game and likes to climb trees. How the fuck am I supposed to feel bad when someone chucks a spear through her stomach based off that knowledge? Gary Ross would like me to feel bad, but he doesn't know how to hit those right emotional points. My wife, who has read the books, said that could've been changed if Katniss would've told Rue how much she reminded her of her sister back home. Well, shit. You McFucked up there Gary Ross.
Spoiler:
Even though I've read the books, I guess I don't feel that relationship was unclear at all. Katniss was shown to be protective of Prim several times in the movie, and Rue is obviously another little girl in need of help. And they showed Rue helping Katniss several times too, they showed them falling asleep in each other's arms and Katniss obviously felt responsible for her. Then Rue ends up dying in Katniss's arms. Do the dots really need to be connected that explicitly to make that relationship work? Just that fact that Rue is a little girl should be enough to connect her to Prim.
Old 03-24-12, 08:59 AM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Saw it and far surpassed my very low expectations. Woody Harrelson was a treat; I was not expecting him.

Any faults are the book's.
Old 03-24-12, 01:00 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Was there a plan to make another movie and will it be based on the second book?
Old 03-24-12, 01:05 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by dsa_shea
Was there a plan to make another movie and will it be based on the second book?
They're going to adapt the trilogy and from what I heard the final book will be split into two films.
Old 03-24-12, 01:28 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD
Did you read Watchmen? Because if you didn't I have a feeling you hated that movie, because that was about the most alienist adaptation I had ever seen. I had read it and liked it, but had I not, would have thought it dull and plodding.

I have a somewhat skewed bias when it comes to movies based on books. When I view them, I tend to judge them on how faithful they are and if they capture the spirit, and if it does, it is a well made movie in that regard. That accomplishment does not necessarily make it good, as it should at least try to stand on its own. However, I do believe more people should be reading for recreation, so I hope movies like this inspire people to pick up the books and try to get more out of the whole experience. I remember watching the David Lynch Dune and thinking it a mess, but it did get me interested in the book. I then read the book and thought the movie, well, still a mess, but one that was now comprehensible!
I've actually read a lot of Alan Moore's works, but the only two film adaptations based on his material I like are: V For Vendetta and Watchmen. There's things I don't like about the film adaptations that I wish would've been carried over the book (like V being a dick and killing anyone and everyone who gets in his way), but I do feel that both stand alone as motion pictures and one doesn't need an in-depth knowledge of either comic to "get it."

I'm all for winks and nods to celebrate the original fan base, but to eliminate large chunks of characterization and than say, "Well you should've read the book first" is both a cop-out and a "fuck you" to any potential audience members you may or may not have.

If I was a filmmaker, my first goal in terms of doing an adaptation would be, "How do I make this better?" I get that a majority of the time the books will be better than the films (and I agree with that), but every now and then you get a film that blows its source material right out of the water.

However, not everything can be Fight Club.
Old 03-24-12, 01:41 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by dino88
They're going to adapt the trilogy and from what I heard the final book will be split into two films.
Is there enough material in the final book to fill two movies or is this a money hunt like the end of both Harry Potter and Twilight?
Old 03-24-12, 01:54 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Yeah there is plenty. One of the shortcomings of books 2 and 3 that you'll hear a lot is that they tried to cram way too much in. I'm hoping the movies will actually improve on them, especially book 3.
Old 03-24-12, 02:05 PM
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Re: The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012) The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Matthew Chmiel
However, not everything can be Fight Club.
or The Godfather

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